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My First Lever Machine
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > My First Lever...  
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 12:03pm
Subject: My First Lever Machine
 

Hi.  We have owned a fully automated Gaggia Syncrony for several years.  I give music lessons in my living room for a living and like to offer espresso (and lattes, etc.) to my adult students and to the parents of my younger students.

We are considering our first manual espresso machine and I'd appreciate suggestions.  One of the things that troubles me about what I've read so far is the warmup time - our Gaggia takes a minute, perhaps 75 seconds maximum, to go from its power-saving setting to being ready to make coffee.  I need that because the time it takes me to make coffee is coming out of my students' lessons.

I would like to have the manual espresso machine here - I'd like the experience, and I'm happy to buy a good grinder to go along with a machine.  We also need to froth milk but are used to not doing it at the same time as the coffee and that's fine - we froth milk once in the morning for my wife and that's it every day.  All the rest of our coffees and coffee drinks either use no milk or cold from the refrigerator.

I have a relatively limited budget and also a limited amount of room in a small kitchen.  I'd prefer a used machine if I can find one.

In my place, what machines would you consider?

Thanks very much.

Steve Freides in lovely Ridgewood, NJ
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 2:07pm
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

What is your budget for entire set up? Are you sure you want a lever machine?
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 2:10pm
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

diggi Said:

What is your budget for entire set up?

Posted June 9, 2012 link

Our Gaggia was a $900 machine for which we paid $375 used and had to drive an hour to get.  I'd be happy with something similarly priced or less because I'll still have to get a grinder.  Let's say up to $400 used.

-S-
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SteveRhinehart
Senior Member
SteveRhinehart
Joined: 27 Dec 2009
Posts: 855
Location: Syracuse, NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: 1970s La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Baratza Vario, Hario Skerton
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop 3-cup
Drip: Chemex, CCD, Kalita Wave,...
Roaster: Flavorwave/Stir Crazy
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 4:37pm
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

How many people would you be serving at once? In your price range, you should be able to find a used La Pavoni Europiccola, or a Gaggia Factory (essentially the same machine), though they may need some clean up or servicing. However, the smaller Europiccolas are good for maybe three double espressos before they need to be refilled - which requires depressurizing, refilling, and reheating. If you add steam to that you may still be able to get three drinks, but only just.
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 5:06pm
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

Thanks.

A quick look on the Internet shows an 8- and a 16-cup model - I take it that the smaller of the two is what you're saying will make six shots (three doubles) - is that right?

That would do for me.  My only question would be the warmup time for those six shots.  The most I usually need is 4 or 5 shots at once.  My wife usually makes a triple with frothed milk when she gets up and then I make her a double shot iced latte for the commute - 5 shots plus froth.

How long is it from "I want coffee" to espresso in your cup with one of these?

Thanks again for the suggestion.

-S-
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flathead1
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jul 2005
Posts: 74
Location: Mississippi Coast
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Anita, La Pavoni pro, 67...
Grinder: Macap M4, Lelit 53, Solis...
Drip: Bodium Press
Roaster: I-Roast1, Behmor, RK Drum
Posted Sat Jun 9, 2012, 5:50pm
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

With the La Pavoni there are two sizes, the 8-cup model is called the Europiccolla, the 16-cup is known as the Pro. The only differences are the larger boiler on the Pro and the fact that the Pro comes with a pressure guage.

I Have a Pro and plan on 15 minutes from switch on to first pull. I can't say how fast it is on the Europiccola but I don't expect it will all that much faster.

Why get a larger Pro? Number of shots that can be pulled before needing to shut down, de-pressurize and refill. Read the discussions on group head cooling to understand the real limiting factor.

Good luck and happy hunting.
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sun Jun 10, 2012, 5:38am
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

Is there no lever machine that goes quickly (a minute or two) from standby to ready to use?  Our Gaggia lives in standby mode - no idea of how much power it might use - but it comes up very quickly, and you can configure how long it stays ready before going back to standby, currently set at 15 minutes in our house.

-S-
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,508
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Sun Jun 10, 2012, 8:04am
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

SteveFreides Said:

Is there no lever machine that goes quickly (a minute or two) from standby to ready to use?  Our Gaggia lives in standby mode - no idea of how much power it might use - but it comes up very quickly, and you can configure how long it stays ready before going back to standby, currently set at 15 minutes in our house.

-S-

Posted June 10, 2012 link

I may have a solution for you.  A repeat cycle timer.  It would turn on the machine and keep it on for whatever period of time you set (whether seconds, minutes, or hours), then turn it off for whatever period of time you set (again either seconds, minutes or hours), then repeat continuously until you turn it off.  I use this exact one for many projects I do, and it works excellent:

Click Here (www.bchydroponics.com)

So basically you will figure out how long your lever machine needs to stay on to keep its water at a "standby" type temp.  When you wish to use the machine you increase the timer to the amount of time you desire it to stay on; when done revert back to original timer settings.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

Bitcoin Merchant www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com
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RapidCoffee
Senior Member
RapidCoffee
Joined: 4 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,931
Location: Rapid City, SD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: misc
Posted Sun Jun 10, 2012, 9:36am
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

SteveFreides Said:

I give music lessons in my living room for a living and like to offer espresso (and lattes, etc.) to my adult students and to the parents of my younger students...

My only question would be the warmup time for those six shots.  The most I usually need is 4 or 5 shots at once.  

Posted June 9, 2012 link

With all due respect to the leverheads on this site, you do not want a home lever to crank out half a dozen successive shots during music lessons. My advice would be to stick with a pushbutton superauto. Superauto brew is mediocre, but you can focus on being a music teacher rather than playing home barista.

On a budgetary note: $400 for a lever machine plus a decent espresso grinder is somewhat unrealistic.
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Cammie
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 32
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Sun Jun 10, 2012, 9:59am
Subject: Re: My First Lever Machine
 

I think timing will have to be a consideration when you switch from the superautomatic to the lever.  Even if the lever machine is warmed up, there's still the extra time needed to grind, tamp, pull the shot, steam, refill the boiler and clean.  Depending on the lever, you may only be able to pull a few shots before heat management becomes an issue.  The trade off, of course, is wonderful espresso and coffee drinks for your students and their parents.  For example, if you are giving hourly lessons and you are also the person preparing the drinks at the start of the hour, it may take you 5-10 minutes to complete the process of pulling the shots, frothing the milk, etc. for a drink or two.  If the way you schedule the lessons can accomodate the additional time needed, a lever with a timer may work for you.
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