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La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,590
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Tue May 28, 2002, 12:00am
Subject: La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
 

La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review

Lever machines bring out the hands on craftsman qualities that can be possible in espresso, and the La Pavoni Professional fits this bill perfectly.
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,590
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Compak K10 WBC
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Clive Coffee Drip Stand
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Sat Jun 8, 2002, 11:23am
Subject: What, no feedback?
 

What, no feedback yet?

Yikes, that's either very good, or very bad...
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Duncan
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 35
Location: Sydney Australia
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Pavoni, Techno, La Cimbali...
Grinder: Cunill, Rossi RR45, Mazzer...
Vac Pot: No
Drip: No
Roaster: Withams Coffee
Posted Mon Jun 17, 2002, 2:54am
Subject: Maintenence & Cleaning
 

To remove dispersion screen:
  1. Remove both nuts at the top of the piston (Just above lever)
  2. Remove and slide out connecting rod that connects lever to piston rod. (There are two rods, only remove the one that connects the lever to the piston)
    3.Replace connecting rod in the lever but do not connect to the piston unit. Use the lever to force down the piston assembly.  ** Make sure the group and basket are removed, prior to this removal **.  
    The dispersion screen and seal and the piston assemby will now all be forced down and out for replacements and cleaning.

To replace piston V seals.
  1. With piston out as described above, remove old V seals (there are 2) Take special note of the way the seals are located.  The open side of the V seal should be on the upper piston slot, facing upwards  and the lower seal should have the open side of the V seal facing downwards.

The piston can become fairly grungy and should be cleaned every 3 months.  The group seal and the piston V seals can be reused but should be replaced every 1-2 years depending on use.

To reassemble.
Gently slide piston back into body taking care not to damage the V seals. ( A little food grade lubricant really helps the reassemby)
Reconnect lever to piston.
Replace dispersion screen and then replace the group seal.  Use the group and basket to force seal into correct position.

This is not really that hard to do and is the only way over the 11 years of owning the professional that I have worked out for cleaning and maintaining the machine.  The Australian distributor also uses the  same method of removal and reassembly.  If I had been smart I would have checked with him in the first place and saved myself a lot of heart ache.
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gianni
Senior Member
gianni
Joined: 17 Jun 2002
Posts: 5
Location: Leeds (UK)
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: lapavoni pro lever, elektra...
Grinder: elektra, san marco
Drip: varied
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2002, 5:36pm
Subject: Diesel & Dust, Heat & Rust
 

I've had a Pavoni for 7 years. Still like the look and yes, you can achieve that elusive caffe perfetto if you carry out cooling of the group (I use a wet tea towel) in between shots. Grind is absolutely critical, more so than on any oump machine I've used but once you've arrived at the correct setting (obviously varying for different beans/atmospheric conditions) you can achieve consistent results. You'll know if the grind is way too fine....it'll be near impossible to depress the lever!!

After 7 years hard use the following problems have appeared and will I'm sure continue even with the uprated model....
  1. The base rusts under the drip tray (this problem appeared quite early on) and mine is nearly all the way through. This is caused by the poor chromium plating and thin material used for the base (this is not true of the rest of the machine which is much more solid and better finished).

  2. Seal wear can be rapid but it's not a big deal to change the seals.

  3. The drip tray can distort with the heat from the machine.

4.The plastic ring at the base of the boiler will eventually heat harden and disintegrate.

  1. The plastic guard over the sight glass will discolour at approx 2 years and look unsightly.

  2. Avoid these problems and get an Elektra Microcasa a Leva which is better in virtually all respects!!!
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stagger
Senior Member
stagger
Joined: 2 Dec 2002
Posts: 18
Location: Boston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Pavoni
Grinder: Saeco
Roaster: HGDB
Posted Mon Dec 2, 2002, 11:36am
Subject: replace the seals
 

the sight glass discolored probably because of old/worn seals. replace them when you replace the cover.
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lvmauck
Senior Member
lvmauck
Joined: 29 Sep 2003
Posts: 1
Location: Dallas
Expertise: Intermediate

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional,...
Grinder: Pasquini Moka Grinder,...
Drip: Phillips, French Press...
Posted Sat Oct 4, 2003, 9:37am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
 

In The summer of 83 I had the pleasure of traveling through Italy with a woman who was originally from Europe and it was at that time that I fell in love with the espresso produced from a lever machine. Not long afterwards, as a result of that experience, I purchased a very nice Italian made semi-automatic machine here in the US and used it for several years, but the romance of "pulling" my own brew with a lever machine was not there. (I have classified myself as an intermediate on this site, but I do have a lot of experience making espressos, cappacinos and the like.  To me, an advanced user would be more along the lines of a geniune Italian Barista, lol.

Recently, I purchased a used, 15 year old La Pavoni Professional over Ebay.  It was extremely well maintained and from the looks of it, rarely used.  

The gentleman that sold it to me was extremely helpful in providing hand written instructions on the use and maintenance of the machine.  He also sent some finely ground French Roast from Peets Coffees of San Francisco along with that beautiful contraption loving known as "The Chrome Peacock".  That, coupled with this article, enabled me to pull a great shot the first time I used the machine.  Lots and lots of crema!!!  

I have now used the machine several times with only one failure (experimenting with an Ethopian coffee to see if I could get good results out of a bean that others claimed one could not. They were right).  

I do not understand why anyone would think the La Pavoni was a difficult machine to use. Admittedly, it is a two handed machine, which requires a bit more work than the average European made semi automatic or the "push the button and now you have espresso" automatics sold today.  However, the experience of pulling your own shot and the satisfaction of tasting the great brew that comes from a La Pavoni far outweighs anything you could get from any other type of machine. I haven't even found the lever difficult to pull, but then again, although I am 49 years old, I am in good shape due to a mild routine of weight lifting.  Perhaps those who have trouble balancing the machine or pulling the lever should tone their muscles enough to lift a gallon of milk!

Congratulations on a great review.  It has certainly made my initial experience with a La Pavoni Professional a success. I love this contraption!
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COBoy
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2003
Posts: 50
Location: Colorado
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europicolla
Grinder: Kitchenaid A9 burr
Vac Pot: none
Drip: French press
Roaster: Heat gun - Milwaukee 1220
Posted Wed May 19, 2004, 10:20am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
 

I'm thinking about getting a La Pavoni lever machine but not the Pro model.  I'm looking at the Europiccolo.  The main differences seem to be that it's smaller (20 oz capacity vs. 38 oz), does not have that pressure guage, and it's $200 cheaper.  Mark's review makes it sound like only the first 1 or 2 shots are any good so I don't see much reason to go with a large capacity model.  And the lack of the pressure guage -- some users have written that they find the guage useless and the true pressure to worry about is the pressure you exert via the lever.  

So I'm getting the cheaper Pavoni.  Can anyone describe reasons to lay out more cash for the higher end Pro model?
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NJAddict
Senior Member
NJAddict
Joined: 23 Jul 2004
Posts: 28
Location: New Jersey, USA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Lever
Grinder: Macap M4
Drip: Technivorm KBTS (w. Nissan...
Roaster: I-Roast I
Posted Fri Jul 23, 2004, 2:36pm
Subject: Go For the Professional!
 

I have the Carina Grande model, which is comparable to the Professional, and I love it.  The art of making espresso with this machine is time-consuming and a lot of trial and error in the beginning (getting grind and tamp right, as others have noted), but oh so enjoyable.  And, once you have mastered it, it makes fabulous espresso!

The larger version is preferable on several counts.  First, the pressure guage tells you when the machine is up to operating pressure.  Without it, you can't be sure.  Also, it will let you know if maintenance needs to be performed if it is not generating sufficient pressure.

As for the quantity of the boiler, even though I generally pull only two double shots at a time, I find that I can easily use a third to a half of the water in the tank, what with steam and pulling water to clean off the screen after I'm done with no portafilter in).

As far as I'm concerned, the only drawback of this machine is the effective recovery time for multiple shots, caused by heating of the group.  Other than that, it's a joy.
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koffeekev
Senior Member
koffeekev
Joined: 21 Jul 2002
Posts: 693
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Posted Sat Feb 12, 2005, 2:29pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
 

Driving to a sales call with the company owner I was surprised to find out that he owned a Pavoni Professional and didn't have any idea how it actually worked. Knowing his lack of patience I could understand why he wasn't easily successful with this machine. I asked him to bring the machine in so I could learn how to use it and then teach him.

No instructions were available and I wanted to try using it before coming to CG to find a first look. I used my old Pavoni grinder that I set up to make 25 second ristretto's on the Valentina as a set point. I don't understand why the portafilter insert doesn't stay in place so I wrapped a little teflon around it till I find out. I played around with the different arm positions until I had made enough of a mess to clean up and figured I had a pretty good idea how this worked. (Seems as if I was very close after reading the first look). I didn't know whether to pre-infuse or not so I tried several different ways until I acheived a pretty fair looking shot. The result was double Ristrettos because I didn't think you could raise the arm twice. The flavor was quite harsh but now I understand about the temperature issues.

Feeling rather pleased so far I decided to try the single basket. I filled and tamped, locked and loaded. I was able to pull about 1/4 of the way before it simply locked up. I pulled with a little more force but no go. I slowly began to remove the portafilter in order to try again when all of a sudden I heard a sneeze. Not just an ordinary sneeze mind you but the kind that scares you unexpectedly from behind. I call the result my "dirty bomb". I called out to Ann and asked her to please not come into the kitchen until I had cleaned up the mess. The white microwave and can opener were now brown as was about a 24 inch circle on the counter. Coffee grounds were being baked in to the hot boiler as I stared with disbelief. We won't be trying that insert again any time soon.

Milk frothing is a breeze. A simple Cappa is almost too easy with the microfroth being of a velvet consistancy.

I am sincerely hoping I can talk the boss out of wanting this machine opting to let me have it instead. It is very cool and makes me feel as if I am truly pulling the shot. One of the goals I had given to myself a couple years ago was an Elektra Micro Casa semi-auto. If fact it is still written on the bulletin board in my office. If I can't procure this Pavoni I think I shall indeed strive for the Electra. The only difference will be instead of semi-auto it will be leva.
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sexyfranklangella
Senior Member


Joined: 31 May 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: La Pavoni pro
Posted Tue May 31, 2005, 2:23am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Professional Detailed Review
 

I was willed my pavoni pro. It was bought in the early eightys and the base is very heavy and feels like cast iron and painted red. I have never had a problem with it being unstable and it pulls a great shot. I do agree that it heats up too much after the first shot but its still a great machine and i would not switch. Its like driving a standard car vs. automatic. Its the interaction, the feel,  between you and the machine which creates a bond. My pavoni pro is over twenty years old and has been used almost every day of its life and still looks and most importantly works perfectly.
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