Help a lever newbie out? La Pavoni Pro? Wait for an Argos? A Vectis? Or, or...? - Page 3

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Accidemic627 (original poster)

#21: Post by Accidemic627 (original poster) »

guijan12 wrote:The LPP is my daily driver.
And with the Bong isolator and pressure kit, even the back to back shots from a La Pavoni are unbeatable in quality.
A steep learning curve though, and it is not a very good milk foamer (though with the one hole tip, the quality of the foam is good, it only takes time....).

Since you also consume milk drinks, this is doable with an LPP, not with the Rock or Flair 58.

Welcome at the forum, btw :D
Thanks Guido! Interesting, so for you, it's a modded LPP. So I was on Tudor's site and pricing out all his various mods. You could definitely start jacking up the price on one of these once you add various parts. Do you think the standard pressure kit is all you need, or would you add the Airbuster too? What generation/model year of LPP would you recommend, and how much would you say is a reasonable price for one?

Accidemic627 (original poster)

#22: Post by Accidemic627 (original poster) »

drgary wrote:Conti Prestina, Faema Lambro, any vintage small commercial lever would be great as a daily driver. Any of those choices I mentioned can make excellent espresso. I would get one and enjoy it until you buy your dream machine, unless what you get out the gate is your dream machine. The Prestina surprised me and ended my upgradeitis.
Dr Gary: aside eBay, are there resellers for vintage small commercial levers that you recommend I check out? There seems to be precious little out there. Not even used Creminas anymore.

Accidemic627 (original poster)

#23: Post by Accidemic627 (original poster) »

Amberale wrote:Hi Greg.
I second everything that Jeff and DrGary have said.
I got a Faema Baby by chance at half the price of a Robot.
Then got a Caravel at around $350aud, I would not pay 600euros.
Then I virtually stole a CT1 from a bloke(actually paid a lot more than he asked).
I love the CT1. It is beautiful and hard to make a bad coffee with.
The open boilers in these two are more temperature stable because they don't have the addition of pressure complicating the process.(Boyles law, it's for gas but that is what you get in a pressurised boiler)

I also have a Lelit Bianca but in my continuing journey I have:

An Argos being built and awaiting CE certification that should ship soon and round three of orders should reopen then but I wouldn't expect deliveries from those orders until next year.
I expect the Argos to be the machine I finally take into an aged care facility when I downsize(decades to go).

I also have a Vostok wending its way from Naples to Oz. I have the room, love the idea of the pressure controlled shut off(no more scales) and want that big beast on my bench.

If the Faema Faeminas are in good workable condition I would consider one of them.
They are supposed to be more temperature stable than a LP and I love their Art Deco styling.
Yeah, I don't think I'm patient enough to wait a year for an Argos to ship, compelling as I find them in concept.

Suddenly, after reading all of Jeff's, Dr Gary's, and Amberale's thoughts here, the open boiler concept is starting to sway me. I know the Flair and the Robot will make great espresso... but I dunno, there's just something about these that aren't doing it for me, can't put my finger on it. For steaming milk, I have the bambino plus for now, and it's actually a capable little milk steamer, does a better job with milk than with coffee, I'd say.

If anyone has suggestions about where to find any of these vintage machines-whether a Caravel or a Prestina or a Lambro or a Faemina or a Cremina-please let me know!

And espressotime: is that an Export your using? Thoughts?

As for coffee, I'm blessed with numerous good local roasters right here in LA, along with cafes that sell really good roasts from around the world, so I feel fairly confident I'm working with the right kind of beans. I've tried every bean and roast and origin imaginable on my chintzy bambino plus and, sure enough, it really only likes to brew medium to dark, more traditional roasts. And really, who knows where the temp and the pressure is on that thing... you just prep your puck as perfectly as possible, maybe do a little manual pre infusion, then sort of take what it gives you...

User avatar

#24: Post by espressotime replying to Accidemic627 »

Yes.Ponte Vecchio Export.
Next to my Lambro.

It' s a great little espressomachine.
Positives: Very narrow base .6 inches.
Takes 10 minutes starting from cold to make an espresso.Great espresso quality.Very good steamer.Cheap.I bought mine secondhand for 350 euros.Almost new.
Negatives: Not suited for making two espressos with one load.Just not happening.Needs fellini move.(But that to me is a non- issue).

User avatar

#25: Post by retireddude »

The Vectis is likely to be available for order very soon, it seems like they are gearing up for production.

The Argos (which seems a better value at less the $1000, and capable of direct or spring configurations) will likely be a longer delay if you have to wait until the current pre-orders are fulfilled (I have one on order that I'm not expecting before late August).

If you need something right away I'd recommend a Cafelat Robot. You could sell it later and consider the cost a small rental fee, and it would be a great machine to learn on. I have one (and a Londinium Compressa) and the Robot is capable of producing truly excellent shots. I used it for travel espresso, along with a hand grinder and electric kettle.

Here's a recent video of the Vectis in action. It looks like a great little machine. Very old-school simple, like the Cremina.

User avatar
Team HB

#26: Post by drgary »

Accidemic627 wrote:Dr Gary: aside eBay, are there resellers for vintage small commercial levers that you recommend I check out? There seems to be precious little out there. Not even used Creminas anymore.
Francesco Ceccarelli, of course, if he's listing them. The last I looked he didn't have any for sale, which in the past has meant that he was on vacation. Otherwise, I would check our Buy/Sell forum, where you're likely to find something well restored and FaceBook groups for those machines as long as you can buy with recourse. Creminas tend to be very pricey when you find them used these days.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

User avatar
Team HB

#27: Post by baldheadracing »

He currently has 1957 and 1964 Faemina's in 120 volt:
Not sure if a two-switch machine is compatible with what the OP wants, though - Gabor just posted some interesting data on his instrumented machine: James Hoffmann (finally) 'gets' lever machines
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

User avatar
Team HB

#28: Post by drgary »

The version 1.6 La Pavoni Europiccola shown there is a restored machine with the cast aluminum base, original group and very solid build quality. If you go into the listing, it appears to be available in 110v. It may still be available, but when I do a fresh load of his site, the "For Sale" link is hidden, which suggests that he is away.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

User avatar
Team HB

#29: Post by baldheadracing replying to drgary »

The pics of that machine show a European plug and mains cord.

The English side has the "For Sale" link - the Italian side does not.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada


#30: Post by mipe »

I'm also in the search for a smaller lever machine. My candidates are similar Argos, Vectics, Cremina ... . I currently own E61 HX which I rarely use and also Cafelat Robot (my main driver for espresso these days). The thing is that I prefer light (Scandinavian) roast. In my experience many of the espresso machine are not made for light roast (higher brew temperature).

On E61 HX I could set higher temperature but by increasing the boiler pressure through pressurestat. But then the steam was too powerful especially for smaller amounts of milk. And don't get me started on temperature surfing.

The Cafelat Robot I really like for the results, build quality and simplicity of its design. What I don't like is the preheating (basket, piston via a special 3d printed "cup"). And also I miss a little bit the consistency. As I like the declining pressure profile, some times I think that spring lever would bring more consistency in my workflow.

I also asked Reiss about Vectis and light roast and the answer was that you will have to perform a restricted flush to increase the temperature. Not the answer I was looking for.

So, what would be your recommendation as small lever that will be suitable for light roast as much as possible without doing some special preheating routine like temperature surfing, flush ...