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Learning on the la pavoni professional
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > Learning on the...  
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Shaun_london
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:43am
Subject: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

Hi there!
   So I've been reading a lot on here for the past few months but just registered. I've got a la pavoni grand romantica deluxe and been playing on it for the past few weeks so time for a few questions now. I work in a restaurant and feel like I'm fairly experienced with the semi automatics but this is my first with levers.
   My setup is the la pavoni grand romantica deluxe which is basically the professional model with a iberital mc2 grinder which seems to grind fine enough to choke the machine. I'm buying good beans, the ones I'm currently using are from nude espresso(east blend) and were roasted on the 12th so a week old now and should be perfect. I'm having 2 problems though.
 First is that my shots are tasting a little sour, I'm getting almost a full double pour off them in about 20 seconds and I'm using about 13g per shot with a double spout portafilter. The crema seems good when I pull but seems to be virtually gone after say 20 seconds after the shot has sat. I tend to grind fine and tamp fairly lightly, I've tried a few other tamp/grind ratios and this seems to work the best but still not amazing. Looking at YouTube videos it seems like most great pours I see are with naked portafilters on but feel like I should be able to get it without.
  The second is that I get very little resistance on the first half of the pull. I've tried lifting the lever before locking in and Fellini strokes also but just can't seem to get resistance from the beginning. I had it happen once but have no clue why it did that once and never after? Feel like I'm not getting everything from each shot, don't really wanna start double pulling because it feels like I'm breaking the puck when I try for a second pull.

 Would love to hear if anyone else has been having these same problems! Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


Shaun
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uyeasound
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Shetland
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 1:48pm
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

First to your spongy pulls: ensure you purge the boiler and the group of air.  Hence, when the power light goes off bleed the air through the wand for a few seconds; wait for the light to go out again; again bleed from the steam wand, but now also raise the lever to let a spurt out from the group at the same time; wait again for the light to go out; either release a little more water from the group to speed things up a little, or just wait - the longer the better to a point, but at least 10 minutes I think.  The machine is now at the perfect temperature: you may load your prepared PF and pull a shot, then another straight after which will also be perfect.  After that it might need a rest to cool for a few minutes.  You will know if you use an appropriate thermometer or temp strip.
That may or may not solve your spongy pulls, but if you had not been purging from above the group during warm-up, you would definately get spongy pulls.  Another factor I find, is the way in which you start your pull - what force and what speed.  Try different techniques.  Another one is how much head space you leave above your puck - if it's wrong then the steam won't be forced out of the group correctly and will effect a soft pull.  So always tamp to the same force and depth, when you find what works.
Now the sourness.  You mention tamp&grind combinations.  I wouldn't vary your tamp.  Get a prep that works for you, and don't vary it.  Control the shot using grind and dose.  And in that respect, sour is usually too fast a flow, and hence you need to either dose an extra gram or so, or else grind a little finer: but that will be yours to experiment with really - it will depend on how the shot looks and tastes.

Also, I might make a random guess, if you have sour shots and spongy pulls, there's a small chance they could just both be caused by the machine not being quite up to temperature.  That would give an under extracted sour shot, and a group not purged of steam by the influx of water.  Maybe that is causing both problems...
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Shaun_london
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

Thanks for the reply mate, much appreciated !in reply to the purging I always let a bit of steam from the arm and then pull water from the group head into my cup to warm it, the wait a minute or two until optimum pressure(.7-8 bar on the thermostat) before pulling a shot. In response to the head space in the puck it normally has about 5-7 mm from the top, I'm also pulling the lever up until just before the water will force into the group head before locking in the PF, then I lift VERY SLOWLY while letting water load into the group head because I've found when I go too fast it kind of clicks which feels like I'm hurting my puck. Still just feels like no resistance until the lever is halfway down and then it's a very hard pressure I have to exert on it for the last half of the pull. The temperature issue is one I've not thought of. When I purge the group head, I do so until the water is steaming. It starts off a bit warm and by the time I have a 8oz cappuccino cup 2/3 full it looks quite hot so normally stop there and pull a shot but crema still seems to disappear within 30 seconds(looks good at first but after swirling very thin) maybe I should use a temp probe on the water when it leaves the group head? What temp Am I looking for for a optimal shot?  Just feel like I should be getting better shots after all the research I've done on lever machines since I go into work every morning and pull a espresso with super thick crema every time on the semi auto! Haha.... Big time labour or love the levers!
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uyeasound
Senior Member


Joined: 27 Oct 2011
Posts: 8
Location: Shetland
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Dec 21, 2012, 6:54am
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

It could be a temperature issue I think.  The crema fading would make sense.  Your machine will find the correct temperature if you allow it to warm up a little more gradually.  I would keep your routine the same until the point when you draw the cup of water off, and it boils.  That may be making the group over heat, and also it's not very repeatable in terms of accurately warming the group - remember you're trying to hit a target temperature with an accuracy of half a degree or so.  Instead of releasing a large amount of water, I would release either nothing or only a moment's worth.  Then allow the machine to sit for at least ten minutes, but a half hour wouldn't hurt.  Then when you load, no up-and-down with the lever, just do what you mentioned - partial raise to lock in, and slowly to the top.
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Shaun_london
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 16, 2013, 7:26am
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

Well a little time later and both issues have been resolved! Thought I'd post my findings in case people had the same problem. It was a temp issue, my pressure being set at .7 bar was too low but after readjusting it to .9 - 1.0 bar I was surprised to find that not only did I get ALOT more crema but the sourness was completely gone and I'm now getting pressure all the way thought the pull which I didn't think it would have changed. So yeah all in all good, one thing I would recommend though is taking it to a shop to get it set to 1.0 bar because I've snapped a bit of plastic doing it and now have to let steam out of the wand every time I pull a shot so will have to get that repaired which will run me 60 but at least I know where I was going wrong now....SUCH a difference in shots!
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driggers
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Apr 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Victoria, BC
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Jan 16, 2013, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

Shaun,
I'm glad to hear your issue was solved, but I have one comment.  I saw you are using a 13g dose, which means you probably have to guestimate or weigh it because that is nowhere near the top of the double shot basket, if you are using the same one I am.  I have used my Pavoni pro / rancilio rocky for four years now and 2 things made the output top notch for me:

- some coffee journaling
- sticking to a full basket dose (18-19g)

The first is obvious.  It helps me remember what I did so I can improve on it.  Recently I started doing it again in a spreadsheet that I can edit on my phone.  Keep in mind I am not a professional, so my descriptions are not what you might expect.  Here is a link to it! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0 AteYMZKKbggZdFZPSlBfSmZJMHdaektLMjVudldRZ3c

The second is important because you don't have to weigh it and it holds the dose variable constant.  I tap the basket as I fill it to losten clumps and give a consistent amount, then I wipe with my finger so it is evenly concave on top.  I have tested it and it is consistently about 18-19g.

Holding a variable constant means that improving the other parts becomes easier by an order of magnitude.  ie I don't give up on 18g and reset all my other stuff for 15g or 16g.  I just stick to one easy-to-measure dose, and adjust the grind, tamp, temperature, extraction to suit it.

:)
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Shaun_london
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Dec 2012
Posts: 4
Location: London
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Jan 17, 2013, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Learning on the la pavoni professional
 

Cheers for the reply, I am now using about 18g doses. I was using 13g at the start of this thread because if I fill from my grinder to the top of the PF and then weigh it it was coming out at 13 on my scales. Starting reading more on here though and ended up buying a yoghurt pot to make a funnel so I could dose way above the top but once tamped it leaves about 5mm below the top which is working well. Thought that might have been my problem with the no resistance on the first half of the pull but temperature played a bigger part in it surprisingly. Coffee journaling is a great tip also, ill start a little moleskine today!
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