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La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
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charliereid
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Jan 25, 2014, 11:24am
Subject: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Hi all,

 I'm new to the espresso world and i just purchased a La Pavoni EPC 8 (i know i know, it's a little advanced for a beginner, but i'm willing to suffer). After the past few days of tinkering and reading the forum, i figured i'd ask for some advice on troubleshooting. My problem has been that i cannot produce decent crema. It just comes out of the thing like strong coffee.

Some issues i might be having:

1) I have a Baratza Maestro Plus Burr Grinder. After tinkering with the grind settings i finally settled on the finest grind setting that this grinder would do and it still comes through the portafilter too fast with little to no crema. My hunch is that maybe this grinder just doesn't grind fine enough. I don't have the money for a new grinder at the moment after dropping some coin on the la pavoni, but i've heard that a good hand grinder can work in the meantime (i.e.-Porlex).

2) I purchased a new tamper as the cheap plastic one it comes with is terrible (hasn't arrived yet). Also, i tried a couple of different tamping pressures to see if that helps slow the espresso from coming through too quickly. Even when i practically break the plastic tamper trying to tamp it down, it still runs through too quick.

 So i'm thinking it may be my grinder primarily, but i wanted to ask if there are some other variables to play with in regards to slowing the drip and providing the thickness and crema on the espresso from this machine. i.e.-temperature adjustments (i've heard some folks turn the machine off for a couple minutes before pulling the shot), etc.

 Thanks for the help,

      Charlie
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 148
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 7:32am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

It's likely the grinder isn't up to the task but besides that you need to consider the coffee.  Are you using fresh roasted coffee? That is coffee roasted less than 14 days ago? That can be a major factor as well.  How old is your machine? The '74-2000 machines had steam heated groups, and understanding the operation is critical. Monitoring group temps will greatly improve consistency and shot quality as well. Once you get the hang of it, I'm sure you'll love that machine.
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charliereid
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jan 2014
Posts: 3
Location: San Francisco, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Jan 26, 2014, 1:41pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Yeah i ordered a hand grinder (Porlex) to see if the grind is affecting the quality. Also ordered a heavier tamper as opposed to the cheap plastic one it comes with. It is a brand new machine, not the pre-2000 ones. Any tips on adjusting for the temperature? I've heard some turn off the machine for 2-3 minutes after it reaches temp.
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Whitey72
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Great Sampford, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Hario Ceramic Slim
Posted Wed Mar 12, 2014, 2:32pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Hey charliereid, you must be my coffee twin! I similarly bought an EP recently (2nd hand on ebay) and have been playing with it (mostly unsuccessfully) since. I had a Krups GVX2331 grinder which wasn't up to the job and then bought a Hario Ceramic Slim as a budget option. This seems to produce a much more consistent grind and a better result in my very naive opinion but still only got a good crema once! Jus about to invest in a better electric grinder and am rather confused by the variety of opinions on CG. My budget would accommodate a Rancilio Rocky but have read some fairly dismissive opinions just now. Where are you at with grinders? Anyway can't imagine much of this is of use to you but as someone on a similar part of a similar journey would be good to hear how you're getting on.
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 5:50am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

I have a LP 8.
Yes, you are suffering from 'grinderitis'.
You may be suffering from 'Europiccolitis', as well.  This happens when you are trying to get boiler water slightly above optimum temperature into the grouphead slightly below optimum temperature in order to get an infusion at optimum temperature but failing because you are flying blind to temperature, complicated by needing the correct grind to facilitate good resistance for an appropriate pull duration.  Your ratio may also be off.
If you cannot grind fine enough, then here is a second-best suggestion.  It is not the correct solution, which would be to grind appropriately, but it is a cheaper help: if you are using a single basket (and I do not know anyone who does) then move to a double basket and increase your dose.  Pulling through a deeper basket will increase the resistance and allow you to pull with greater force for a longer infusion time.  This may help the body/crema situation, as well as overall flavor.  If you are using a LP double basket and your LP is a pre-millenium, move to a Microcasa double basket and up dose but measure the depth of your PF because some LPs are deep enough (25.25mm) for the 49mm diameter basket and some are not.  You can buy an MCL double basket for a lot cheaper that a LP double basket by taking advantage of a special available on line at Stefanos Espresso Care.  To repeat, this will help you get a drinkable infusion while you are saving up for or waiting for your correct grinder to arrive if you can grind almost fine enough but it is not the best way.

Buckley
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Whitey72
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Great Sampford, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Hario Ceramic Slim
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 6:36am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Just tried your suggestion, Buckley, I.e. Using a double basket. Got the best shot I've done out of my EP. Thanks. Incidentally how much coffee do you put in your double basket? I'm measuring 15g to try to control at least that variable but there's plenty of space for more. Charliereid, sorry for hijacking your post.
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 1:06pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Whitey72 and charliereid,
As long as we all are newbies with the Europiccola 8 (I am including myself in this) there is no reason why we all can't get something out of a discussion centered around the LPE 8.
I use 14 gm in a MCL basket.  I used to put 14 gm in the LP double basket.  Are you using a premillenium 49mm basket or a millenium 51mm basket?
I always weigh my dose but I have lately also been weighing my shot (something I don't usually do with my other machine) as part of my training to see what kind of ratio I am getting.  I want to make sure that I am getting a good fill of the group before pulling.  The overpressure valve hisses and I cannot be sure that I am hearing the beginning and the end of the water surging into the group head but I can feel it gurgling in through the handle.  If I get an ounce (anything from 24-30 gm), I am happy.
B
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Whitey72
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Great Sampford, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Hario Ceramic Slim
Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 4:29pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

51mm from what I can see. There's a label on the box with a 2002 date so presumably that points fairly strongly at a millennium. Weighing the shot? Now that is new to me. So much is. I'll try that tomorrow. Dare I ask what grinder you use? I think this question contravenes all sorts of off post forum etiquette so feel free to point me at a thread in the grinder section and we can reconvene there. I'm on the horns of a grinder dilemma...
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Buckley
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2011
Posts: 423
Location: Internet
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Mar 13, 2014, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

W72,
LPs are bought by either dedicated 'lever heads' or by newbies. Because they are inexpensive.  Newbies need to know that the performance of an LP depends upon a good grind and a fresh roast, so let's keep the discussion here because it won't be too extensive.  The equipment for me and most other posters is listed beneath their handle or forum name in the left column.  If you just spend enough time in the grinders section looking at the advice given to newbies, you will get an idea of what to be considering. The Gaggia MDF was a good first grinder for me, although it is stepped and I now like stepless, or infinitely variable better.  I have heard good reports about the Baratza Vario and Virtuoso as good first grinders.  Browse a little and see what you come up with.

Check page two for a link. --->
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Whitey72
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Great Sampford, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola
Grinder: Hario Ceramic Slim
Posted Fri Mar 14, 2014, 5:37am
Subject: Re: La Pavoni Europiccola 8-Troubleshooting Help/Advice
 

Hi Buckley, yes, i've been looking at the reviews and grinder section here and elsewhere. The restrictions I have are:

Budget - now I've read a lot of advice along the lines of wait until you CAN afford a better one but, I'm impatient and my other half is still coming to terms with my new 'interest' so I've got up to 300 and I want to spend it!
Space - as per above the wife will not tolerate a beast of a grinder monopolising workspace
Flexibility - I would really like to be able to use this grinder for both espresso and FP without too much fuss

Given all the above I have come up with a shortlist of:

Rancilio Rocky
Ascaso i1
Macap M2

The Baratza models have come in for a bit of stick on how long they last and to be honest I hadn't considered the Gaggia. Out of the above I'm leaning towards the Rocky in spite of the flak it has had on CG. It is apparently very well built, the stepped issue seemingly can be mod'd, it has a small footprint and looks OK. The Acaso looks great, has a small footprint and is stepless but with no markings would be fiddly and time consuming to move from espresso to FP and back again. The Macap is a late entry on the shortlist but looks good and also has reviewed well. And now I've just seen the Anfim Haus could be had for a little more money...

I've read a lot of praise for the Lelit PL53 but these do not seem to be available in the UK.
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