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La Pavoni PA - Brendan Getchel's Review
Posted: July 24, 2001, 3:43pm
review rating: 7.5
feedback: (5) comments | read | write
La Pavoni PA Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The La Pavoni PA has 25 Reviews
Arrow The La Pavoni PA has been rated 6.14 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow La Pavoni PA reviews have been viewed 80,826 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Rob Novak 9.00
Mike Dahlor 9.00
Chris Chase 8.25
Vincent Sapone 8.00
Brendan Getchel 7.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 5.2
Manufacturer: La Pavoni Quality: 4
Average Price: $65.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $45.00 Cost vs. Value 6
Where Bought: Coffee Beanery Aesthetics 4
Owned for: 6 months Overall 4
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Saeco MC2002, Rancilio MD-50/AT, Mazzer Mini
Bottom Line: Coffee yes. Espresso, definately NOT! Better than a blade grinder, but not by much.
Positive Product Points

Its cheap.
Adequate for non-espresso grinds. Not great, but certainly better than any whirly-blade grinder. Makes a satisfactory dedicated burr grinder for press pots (Bodum, etc), Vac Pots, or other non-espresso coffee makers. Possesses both a timer and grind adjustment, so it's nice for "set it and forget it" grinding. Just fill with beans, press the button, and walk away to get the same amount every time.

Negative Product Points

Its cheap.
Do NOT consider it for ANY espresso machine!
Very messy--the definition of static cling! A pain to clean.
Very nominal grinding range--"20 settings" is very misleading--neither very fine nor very coarse. Coarsest setting is questionable for press pot brewing. Grind is uneven and will leave modest "sludge" in the bottom of a press pot.

Detailed Commentary

For my first-ever espresso machine I bought the Saeco-branded version of the Starbucks Barista (Saeco actually manufactures the "Barista," Starbuck$ just puts their sticker on it), identical in EVERY way, for $177.50 *including* shipping. About 15-minutes into the process, I figured out that my Krups blade grinder wasnt going to cut it. Knowing that I needed a burr grinder I went out to the local mall and picked up the Pavoni PA for $40, figuring anyone who spends $200+ on a grinder is a moron. Another lesson learned.

The PA is adequate for non-espresso grinds. I now use it for my Bodum Press on a higher setting--which isn't very coarse--but I use a fairly fine grind for my press anyway. The results are certainly better than any blade grinder could possibly produce abd therefore does a satisfactory job as a dedicated press pot grinder. Once you've determined the optimal grind for your tastes and set the built-in grind timer to produce the proper amount of grounds, it's only a matter of filling the small hopper and pressing one button. The PA does the rest so you don't have to keep an eye on it to shut it off when it's ground enough coffee. A nice feature.

The mess this thing generates is horrendous. There is ALOT of static buildup and grinds find their way everywhere. The unit also gets warm if you leave it plugged in (the manual says this is normal, but "hot" and "plastic" together does not inspire confidence) and is cheaply made. Quality-wise its no better than my $10 Krups blade grinder. On its FINEST setting, my "Barista" pulled a DOUBLE shot in UNDER 10 seconds; and thats after packing the portafilter and tamping with 3/4 of my 240-pound weight behind it.

Even after tearing it apart and making every possible adjustment, it still can't grind fine enough for even the whimpiest of espresso machines like the "Barista," so don't buy one thinking you know something we don't and will be able to modify it for espresso use. It ain't gonna happen.

Cliches become cliches for a reason, and the applicable one here is: "You get what you pay for." The PA is priced at about $40 for a reason--that is what it's worth, not a penny more. The Rocky or Innova are $200 for a reason--that is what they're worth.

You have been warned.

Buying Experience

Walked into store, took from shelf, walked to register, payed cashier money, took grinder home. How tough could it be?

Three Month Followup

On a positive note, the PA is still working months later with no signs of quitting. It's still messy, produces uneven grounds, is a pain to clean, and who knows how long the burrs and unit will last. Not that it matters, because at less than $40 it's a throw-away plastic toy anyway.

If there's any possible way, I would *strongly* recommend stepping up to the Solis Maestro at about $120. You (still) get what you pay for.

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review rating: 7.5
Posted: July 24, 2001, 3:43pm
feedback: (5) comments | read | write
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