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Pasquini Livia 90 - Anthony Baselli's Review
Posted: April 22, 2003, 12:29pm
review rating: 7.4
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Pasquini Livia 90
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More About This Product
Arrow The Pasquini Livia 90 has 48 Reviews
Arrow The Pasquini Livia 90 has been rated 8.76 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Pasquini Livia 90 reviews have been viewed 339,093 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Sandy Andina 8.33
Rich C 8.33
Peter H. 8.25
Michael Nelson 8.17
Rai - 8.00

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.6
Manufacturer: Pasquini Quality: 9
Average Price: $1,250.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $1,025.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Whole Latte Love Aesthetics 10
Owned for: 1 year Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Rancilio Silvia
Bottom Line: Overall a very good home espresso machine that can handle volume.
Positive Product Points

Positive:

Very good looking machine plenty of chrome and brass excellent steaming power and recovery. All interior components carry some weight and are built to last. Machine makes excellent espresso, heat exchanger, parts and service are readily available in the United States. Machine can be left on 24/7. Adjustable boiler pressure. large reservoir

Negative Product Points

Negative :

better drip tray, price is a little high, requires temperature surfing when machine has been left idle on for an extended period of time before extracting espresso. Additionally machine sputters hot water when pump is first activated after this idle period. Had to place machine on an additional base because steam wand is too low to the
counter. I also bent the steam wand giving it more of an outward angle from the machine this helps in placing a larger milk pitcher in position for frothing.  Faulty solenoid valve have had numerous problems and have replaced it five times in the past year. Machine should come with two portafilters one single and one double along with a better tamper.

Detailed Commentary

Detailed :

Being born in Italy I basically had espresso in my baby bottle. About a year ago I finally decided to purchase a real espresso machine had used a toy Krups machine for years. I began my espresso adventure with a Rancilio Silvia from Whole Latte Love. After three months of tamping,grinding and multiple maneuvers to achieve a great espresso on the Silvia I decided to exchange it for a machine with a quicker recovery time that also had the ability to handle a larger volume of drinks. After researching several different machines and web-sites I decided on the Pasquini Livia Auto for the following reasons.

* Portability
* Large reservoir
* Time tested machine
* Excellent steaming ability
* Ability to steam and make espresso simultaneously
* Service and parts availability (United States )
* Small foot print
* Good looks
* Plenty of information and reviews on the product
* Heat exchanger
* Brass and cooper boiler

Since I am the only one in the household that drinks espresso the Livia is more than enough machine for my two to three drinks per day. At first usage the Livia and I had to get acquainted, after much tamping and grinding and adjustment to the pressurestat I finally now have the ability to consistently extract a good espresso. In comparison the Livia is finicky but not as finicky as the Rancilio Silvia. I originally purchased a Rancilio Rocky grinder which I have now returned and upgraded to a Mazzer Mini. The consistent grind from the Mini has made a world of a difference in my espresso. I also own and am currently not using a brand new chrome Pasquini Moka grinder. I used it for one month before the Mini arrived. It is also a very good grinder but lacks the fine tuning to the grind that is available on the Mini.
My espresso adventure has not been problem free. When my first Livia Auto arrived it was in perfect condition no visible flaws. After about two months usage the machine began making a loud knocking sound during its initial warm up.
I contacted Pasquini in California who listened to the noise via telephone. I was told that the heating element within the boiler was either loose or defective. At this point I contacted Whole Latte Love who agreed to exchange the machine for another brand new Livia Auto. Since the machine is under warranty they paid for the postage as well.
When the replacement Livia arrived I noticed a few minor flaws with the machine. The brew group was mounted at a slight angle out of level towards the front of the machine exposing more brass. The steam knob was loose and the metal lid on the water reservoir did not close properly on one side. I contacted Whole Latte Love on this matter but since none of the flaws affected the performance of the machine I decided to keep it as is. It just bugs me to pay all that money and not receive the machine in as perfect condition as I had received the first one.
In addition after about three months usage during my weekly cleaning and backwashing maintenance with Pulicaff the machine failed to release pressure into the drip tray via the solenoid valve. At this point I again contacted Pasquini in California who free of charge mailed me a replacement solenoid valve. Being a handy person with plumbing experience I was able to successfully replace the valve at home. To make a long story short I basically have had to replace the solenoid valve on this machine every three months. I have now installed the fifth and hopefully the final solenoid valve on this machine. I am told by Pasquini that the final solenoid valve that was shipped to me has been modified and upgraded to be more heat tolerant. With all prior solenoids the problem stemmed from a rubber plunger that broke off inside of the valve. Once this occurred the machine was not able to properly release pressure via the drip tray when brewing or backwashing the machine. I am told that possibly the frequency of the backwashing process and the detergent it self may have played a role in the continuing solenoid issue.
I am now three months running with the modified solenoid ,in addition I have also changed the frequency of backwashing with a detergent to every three weeks. So far no issues to report I have also recently added additional insulation between the boiler and the computer control module within the machine. I have removed the cardboard since I have read that over time the heat from the boiler has caused damage to the control module.
With respect to microfoaming I am able to consistently do so after I exchanged the plastic one hole tip provided with the Giotto two whole stainless tip. I tried the four whole rosetta tip that was also provided but it was to fast and I was unable to achieve good results. I would like to add that I use Poland Springs from Maine bottled water in my machine. I tested it for hardness and it tested quite low on the hardness scale. After a years daily usage the machine shows no visable
signs of requiring a good descaling. I must praise Pasquini for their service and assistance throughout my ordeal, it is nice to know that they are there and that they stand by their product.

Buying Experience

Buying experience:
I  would not buy again since I would like to try an E-61 group machine ,but in the process I do not want to sacrifice the steaming and recovery capabilities of the Livia 90.

Three Month Followup

See 1 year follow up for ownership detail.

One Year Followup

This actually is a ten year follow up :  I have now officially retired my Pasquinade Livia Auto after 10 years and spending a lot of money on parts including a new boiler which I installed myself without an issues. The parts came to me directly from Pasquini in CA; they were extremely helpful and assisted me in installing both a new group head and the new boiler on the machine. The reason I replaced the boiler was because I was getting small metal particles brass in color from the original group head on the machine. The thought process was that by changing the boiler and the group head the small metal particles in the water would disappear. Sorry to report that even with a new group head and boiler the metal particles continued to appear.  I grew extremely tired, frustrated, and puzzled by this after flushing both the boiler and the group head with water time and time again over a period of several months.
Note that I have only used the same spring water in this machine throughout the past ten years.
As a result after owning this machine for ten years I have decided to retire it and purchase a new E 61 group commercial espresso machine.
Additionally parts for this machine are very expensive.  In addition to the group head and the boiler over the ten years I have replaced the solenoid valve 5 times, the pressure stat and the main control module. Luckily I am handy or else I would have had to incur both shipping and labor costs on this machine.
One tip on this machine the control module is very close to the boiler, there is no insulation between the two as a result the control module gets hot. Over a period of time this will reduce the life expectancy of the control module. What I have done is I simply cut a piece of cardboard to size the entire length of the vertical boiler wrapped both sides in aluminum foil and simply placed it inside the machine between the boiler and the control module.  Problem solved.
Bottom Line: The Livia Auto is a great machine that has served me well and can handle large volume plenty of steam power but at least my own Livia Auto did come with its share of problems over the years.
The machine with the proper elements fresh coffee, proper grind, (I use the Mini Mazzer), and proper tamping technique will make a great espresso.
Personally I have always wanted an E-61 group machine my next machine surely will be a commercial E 61 Faema style group espresso machine.

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review rating: 7.4
Posted: April 22, 2003, 12:29pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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