Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 5:31am Subject: Re: Lever Machine right for me?
Levers make some great espresso! I have sold some very expensive machines, like a GS/3, to keep my Lever machine.
It has been asked before, but maybe not stressed enough; GRINDER!! A great grinder will go a long way to making a good brewed shot.
Flat burred grinders will give a different taste in the cup than a conical burred grinder so figure out which one you like. Conicals tend to be more "Bright" in flavor so the floral notes will present themselves where as with the flat burred grinders are a more muted flavor note so chocolate flavors are more noticeable.
jaycimo Senior Member Joined: 22 Apr 2013 Posts: 4 Location: houston Expertise: Just starting
Espresso: la pavoni-professional
Posted Sat May 25, 2013, 11:11am Subject: Re: Lever Machine right for me?
I have a La Pavoni Professional that i bought at a garage sale for 100$ and i love it after figuring out how to make a great espresso.I would recommend getting a Kyocera Ceramic Coffee Grinder or some other kind of manual grinder before spending to much.Mine was 50$ new on amazon and i find its plenty for me since I dont make espresso for other people very often.If your planning on making a lot of shots for guests a manual is not for you,but then neither is a lever espresso machine.good luck !
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 10:09am Subject: Re: Lever Machine right for me?
The Caravel is pretty rare and certainly difficult to find under $500. Another complication is that many of them take European 220 volts, necessitating a conversion or a slower warmup process (some people just boil the water on the stove and then put it into the tank). Parts are really difficult to find as well. On the other hand, the LP (either version) has been made for quite some time, parts are easy to find, and deals are there, sometimes. I got mine for $175 on Craigslist and it was in great shape. Not a difficult learning curve, either, imo. The LP is quite unforgiving of inferior grinds, however. The Cremina is much more forgiving, but completely out of your budget.
Posted Fri Jun 21, 2013, 11:44am Subject: Re: Lever Machine right for me?
If you watch ebay patiently, you should be able to buy a Caravel for well under $500. I bought one from Italy two years ago for 128 EU.
Regarding availability of replacement parts, the previous post is a bit misleading. You'll find much of what you may need at Orphan Espresso: https://www.orphanespresso.com/Caravel-VAM-Espresso-Machine_c_325.html The element should be all you need to worry about, and people have been able to source replacements for that too (see discussions on home-barista.com... I'd provide a direct link but it seems to be down right now). There's not much else that can break. For regular wear & tear (seals & gaskets), OE has you covered.
If you don't want to steam milk and you like the idea of a manual lever, it's hard to go wrong with the Caravel. If you find it's not for you, you can surely re-sell it quite easily without losing any money as they are rarely sold on this side of the Atlantic (those of us who buy them tend to like them a lot!).
If you're still not sure, head over to the lever forum on home-barista, you'll find hundreds of pages discussing it!
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