charliereid Senior Member Joined: 24 Jan 2014 Posts: 3 Location: San Francisco, CA Expertise: Just starting
Posted Sun Mar 9, 2014, 8:37am Subject: La Pavoni EPC-8 Epiphanies
After tinkering for a month or so with my new La Pavoni EPC-8, i have finally come to some conclusions that have helped me create some at least halfway decent espresso. The Crema still isn't quite there as much as i want, but i'll keep tinkering.
1) The machine takes a lot longer to heat up than the manufacturer suggests. Supposedly, when the light goes off after about 5 minutes, the machine is supposed to be up to temp. This is false. I literally had the machine on for 20-30min. before it was pulling decent shots.
2) Fresh Beans definitely help. I know this is probably a no brainer to most coffee aficionados, but the quality and freshness of beans are definitely a HUGE factor for this machine. It's like the difference between putting 87 octane in an Indy Car vs. the appropriate high octane race fuel. She just aint gonna run right without it.
3) My grinder is a Maestro Plus by Baratza and will likely need an upgrade. I have it on the finest setting and, although it gets a decent grind, i still have to tamp as hard as possible to prevent early flow from the pull. I've heard some say the tamp isn't necessary, or don't tamp too hard, but i'm finding, at least with my setup, that i have to tamp really freaking hard to keep things from flowing too fast.
My settings that seem to work the best so far:
1) Heat machine up for 20min minimum up to 30 min.
2) 14g of coffee in the double basket.
3) Tamping as hard as possible (based on my crappy grinder i guess)
4) Freshest beans possible.
The result is a very thick espresso and wonderful taste (better than most i've had at coffee houses on a good day), but the crema still isn't there. Any suggestions would be helpful of course, but i'll keep tinkering. I feel like operating a La Pavoni is like navigating a ship at sea with nothing but a Sextant and the Stars. Fun at times, frustrating most of the time, but when it is rewarding, it sure produces some tasty espresso. Now if i can only get the crema happening!
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