As reported elsewhere in this section, I've wrestled with the technical vacuum of a brain I have for digital photography and I hope some casual shots can now be found below.
Now these are not show shots in any sense, just a handful of quick grabs after I had: read all I could find on levers in a handful of days, pondered, read, pondered, monitored eBay for a week or two, found and joined this lever section on HB, considered an Elektra, considered a Pav Pro, a Cremina, a Gaggia Factory, visited a chap with a Europiccola, like the KISS and small size idea, pondered, ordered and received. Phew.
Whilst feeling rather geekish and self indulgent I thought I should perhaps create my own thread, lest any questions arise on my humble set-up.
My brief notes on the five shots are as follows:
Europiccola EL - not groomed and polished for the shot, just used in fact which is why the boiler cap is off.
This perhaps autosuggests just how quick and easy it all is. Fill, switch on, grind, tamp, milk in jug, light goes out, use lever in whichever method you're following to brew into warmed cup, purge steam wand, froth, pour onto espresso, clean/empty Pav through use of lever and steam wand to ensure it is clean and pressure gone, open top and leave to cool.
A kitchen should be a feelgood room of course and the radio is important. A nice little Tivoli which is no Troughline, tubed Magnum Dynalab, tubed Unico or Kremlin or Accuphase but thankfully is not a DAB monstrosity either. Sorry.
Not much to add. Note the UK plug, this is some kind of contraption with UK 3-pins that you screw up after putting the continental (European) 2-pin plug inside it. Included for anyone in the UK wondering what La Pavoni's idea of a UK plug is.
I wanted to help a newbie understand that to render 4 out of 5 (perhaps more) bought coffees as barely drinkable (and often not!) it doesn't take a lot of kit. It also adds to one or two recent posts. The 58mm Gaggia portafilter is shown purely as a comparison with the 51mm La Pavoni one and whilst the Gaggia looks more substantial the La Pavoni is heavier and feels better. I thought I would dislike the fact that the La Pavoni (double) filter basket is not held in the portafilter but actually I seem to prefer it to the (double) Gaggia shown.
Supplied plastic tampers from both La Pavoni and Gaggia included to show the size difference along with a proper one in the background from http://www.happydonkey.co.uk
. The latter does not break the bank and nicely unscrews for different bases although it is not the same thread size as Reg Barber offerings. Shame.
The jug was the advice of the shop assistant when I bought my Gaggia Cubika earlier in the year, he suggested a smaller jug for home use. Right or wrong? No idea but I've learned to work with it and have no complaints. Certainly the Gaggia wand is fairly low down and does not swivel in height and so a smaller jug helps clear the kitchen top, with a La Pavoni this is not important and I think a bigger jug will help to see what is going in there. Oh dear, as someone said today "APD is setting in fast and there's no return. I mean congratulations"
APD? Acquisition, despair and poverty! I liked that and think it will stick.
Slightly different view to show the filter basket and tamper sizes clearly.
My Macap 4 and the Gaggia Cubika. I don't use the hopper as you can see, I put the base upside down as shown to keep dust etc. away as I use only the beans I need then I immediately clean and hoover the burrs and the doser! Obsessive, I don't know. I took note of all those comments about keeping everything clean so whilst I don't particularly polish outer surfaces I am fussy about the pathways. The nice things about the Cubika is that good-sized metal hotplate so it has its use! Actually, my end result is better from it as it should be by now so it's a useful benchmark. If I get into a different warming routine I can see me donating it, probably to my parents so I can use it when I visit them!
The real indulgence out of all this as you can probably see was the Macap. I figured it's up to me to learn to froth, to source freshly roasted beans or start roasting (iRoast arrives any day!), learn to tamp and master a machine which gets the basics right. The bit that one should not mess around with though and get the best one can afford is the grinder. Am I right? I've no idea but it feels right and I don't regret this.
I'll leave it there and hope it doesn't bore you too much. In the midst of schooling, parenting, business and all the other things which occupy us daily one can lose any sense of reality and perspective on pastimes!