Help a lever newbie out? La Pavoni Pro? Wait for an Argos? A Vectis? Or, or...? - Page 5

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#41: Post by drgary »

Over time, I have come to care less about shot volume. If I want more, I can pull another shot, perhaps of a different coffee. Sometimes I pull singles to enjoy the variety or have just a bit more caffeine.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#42: Post by guijan12 »

Accidemic627 wrote: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?

Well Greg,

Your head must be exploding, due to all the information you have to process, by now....

As for the LPP options, IMO;
- Bong isolator - must have
- One hole steamtip - must have
- Airbuster - I'm not sure; I have no experience with it. The only advantage I see is it prevents the PF sneeze, so nice to have
- PPK - For the beginner very helpful, later on a nice to have
- Temperature strips - cheap and helpful, for beginner must have.

Mine is a LPP 2.6, from 1994 and I'm very happy with it.
Good luck making a decision. :mrgreen:


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#43: Post by drgary »

And since you're new to La Pavoni history, the first generation groups screw into the boiler directly. You can't attach any kind of isolator. And you don't need to. That group also has a screw-in brass cylinder so that it has lots of metal mass, and it holds stable brew temperature if you have the low power switch on. It constantly vents, so you won't leave it on indefinitely.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#44: Post by espressotime »

Jeff wrote:To add to Craig's comments, another challenge you will face with small levers is traditional shot volumes. Most of these machines were designed for a style of espresso with a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio.

Unless you've got a high-extraction burr set (64MP, 98HU, probably some Kafatek), you will probably need to be pulling shots in the 1:2.5 to 1:3 range to get reasonable balance for anything around Tim Wendelboe and lighter. A double-pull technique may work, but you risk disturbing the puck. It's a bit of faff that sounds like what you're trying to avoid. The Argos may prove itself viable for Nordic and lighter roasts. I believe the claimed shot volume is 50 g or more, which at least gets you over 1:2.5.
Might be true because I absolutely HATE light roasts. Mine are all medium to darker.

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#45: Post by Jeff »

espressotime wrote:Might be true because I absolutely HATE light roasts.
Thanks for clarifying that your opinions are out of context on this thread.

The OP, in the lead post, stated
My Bambino Plus just can't do light roasts, period, so it's mostly medium over here (acquired from local, bespoke roasters here in L.A. and beyond); if I could profile, I'd certainly get into lighter roasts.

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#46: Post by espressotime »

Jeff wrote:Thanks for clarifying that your opinions are out of context on this thread.

The OP, in the lead post, stated
Thank you.


#47: Post by LittleCoffee »

What a thoroughly enjoyable thread!

I know nothing about Lever machines, but have really enjoyed reading and learning - Francesco's site looks amazing! And now I know what a bong isolator is! And that Fellini thing - am I really reading this right - there's a whole school of thought on espresso methods of brewing based on some background activity in a Fellini film? I find that amazing!

Though I now nothing about levers, it's pretty clear there is an iterative process in this thread where various suggestions are helping OP figure out what it is they want by presenting executable options of which the OP was unaware, which is no doubt helpful (and entertaining to watch!).

I once learned a technique which does that which I wonder may be of help to OP. It basically centers on the idea that people are bad at ranking unrelated priorities in an order (e.g. spring, manual, 120v, PID, open boiler, sub $x cost etc. etc.) but are actually quite good at comparing any two priorities and picking one (e.g. would you rather have a PID OR a 120v heater inside the machine?). You can then use this to come up with a scheme where you compare every possible pair of priorities and then rank them accordingly.

To do that write the list of priorities in an Excel column. Then copy and paste but transposed at the top to get half a rectangle. Then go through each cell and write a 1 if the priority at the top is more important and zero if the priority on the side is more important to you. You should end up with a square full of zeroes and ones. Sum the numbers vertically and hey presto that should give you a ranked list of your priorities.

Maybe that can help when it comes down to picking. Good luck!

Accidemic627 (original poster)

#48: Post by Accidemic627 (original poster) »

Hello again everyone! GD here (OP),

Indeed, this thread has been fantastic. I've learned a ton.

Little Coffee: that's a great idea about the spreadsheet and the priorities. That may be my evening project.
As Guido noted, my head is veritably exploding... though I believe my objectives are becoming more focused over the course of this convo.

Alas, that 110V 1971 LPE on Francesco's site (which may not have been 110 after all) has been sold...

While I haven't entirely ruled out a Faemina, they are considerably more expensive.

There are no Caravel's available on Francesco's site at the moment... but there's still the one available elsewhere, in seemingly good condition, that I found for 400Euros plus shipping, and suddenly that's not seeming like such a bad deal.

But I also just got off a very long chat with Reiss about the Vectis... and I gotta say, that one could really just check a lot of the boxes for me, short of going all the way to a Nurri.

(Frankly, after this thread, I'm feeling actually pretty good about something simpler and more manual and more self-serviceable for now...).

So a Caravel in the short term and a Vectis when I can actually get one (Reiss seems doubtful I'd succeed at getting one from the first batch, for some reason) could be a good strategy.

BTW: I am well aware of the diffs. between a Vectis (or a Faemina or any spring lever) and a LP, namely the spring vs. direct lever. Jury's out on that one for me. But Caravel followed by Vectis could be a good way to have a hand at both.

The Vectis certainly looks like a worthy competitor to the Cremina, that's for sure. I'd be interested to hear folks' impressions on that count (based solely on conjecture, of course, since the Vectis is not available quite yet).

I've read a thread here on HB from a few years ago comparing the Faemina to the LPP/LPE, but I'd be interested to know what people think. The Faeminas on Francesco's sites are upwards of 2x to 3x as expensive. Are they that much better? Or just that much more rare?

Finally, espressotime: Thanks for the link to that site in the Netherlands! Really cool! No Lambros or Prestinas available now, but maybe I just contact them directly to see what they might be able to find.

Keep it coming folks! Lots of fun...


#49: Post by RyanP »

It needs to be said that a manual lever and a spring lever share little in common aside from that they both involve a lever. You really need to first figure out what the experience is that you are looking for from the machine. I've owned, used, and loved both. I primarily drink light roasts and had no issues using a Londinium R for several years. I've no specific attachment to the company, but do think it's a very reliable and solid choice, but also think that there are several good spring lever options out there today including the nurri and acs leva. If you have the space and the budget you can expect rock solid consistency shot after shot. They're a pleasure to use.

If you want to be more in the driver's seat a manual lever is a fun and completely different experience. I am less impressed with most of the options that are out there, though. I've owned a Cremina, la Pavoni, Robot, and Strietman. The La Pavoni lasted a month before I got fed up with all the design issues. The Cremina lasted a few months longer than that. The Robot is fine for medium to dark roasts but never produced great espresso with light roasts, at least with as involved of a preheating routine as I was willing to work with. The Strietman has seen 4+ years of use on my counter. If you don't need steaming and it's within your budget it's a very good choice. Aesthetically beautiful. Maintenance is dead simple. Heats up in minutes. Wide range of shot volumes, not restricted to ristrettos and can easily pull lungos. There is some temp surfing, but it is a narrow window and is very predictable after some use. Due to the saturated group design you can be very precise with shot temps. It uses the caravel piston design which minimizes air above the puck / spongey pull feeling. No portafilter sneeze after finishing the pull. The price is certainly a thing, but if it's in your budget it's one of those costs you completely forget about once it's on your counter and you're making espresso with it.

The Argos is a very compelling closed boiler machine on paper. I'm looking forward to seeing how it pans out once it starts shipping.


#50: Post by mathof »

RyanP wrote:The La Pavoni lasted a month before I got fed up with all the design issues. The Cremina lasted a few months longer than that.
I was wondering why you got fed up with the Cremina. Did it too have design issues?