Olympia Cremina vs. La Pavoni Europiccola

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Bobby G
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#1: Post by Bobby G »

I currently have a La Pavoni Europiccola (pre millenium). I typically make 1 shot of espresso per day in the morning, no steaming. Will I notice much of a flavor improvement/ease of use if I decide to get an Olympia Cremina? I tend to drink dark roasts. I have noticed even for my 1 shot it is hard to get a consistent temp from the Pavoni. Does the Olympia tend to have more consistent temps? If I do get the Olympia I would probably try to find one second hand. I have changed grouphead seals on my La Pavoni and also on an E61 grouphead so having to do work on a used machine is no big deal for me. I would love to hear feedback for my specific situation of just 1 shot per day of typical use.

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baldheadracing
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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

I'd say a Cremina is a bit less picky than a two-switch pre-mill. If you have a consistent workflow, then first-shot results are going to be consistent on either machine. One just has to be more consistent/careful with the Europiccola, for example, in timing how long the machine is on before pulling, how full the boiler is, etc.

Assuming that you are using the same basket and you are already getting consistent first-shot results with the Europiccola, then I wouldn't say that there is much of a difference in first-shot taste - but in manual levers, it is up to you.

The Cremina can be much nicer to use - a larger drip tray, a case around the boiler, less noise, much better build quality than most pre-mills, etc. - but the cost these days is pretty high.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Marmot

#3: Post by Marmot »

I think you will have an improvement in taste an ease of use. The machines basically do the same thing but my shots on the Cremina come out better more often than on a Pavoni. They both have the same russian roulette style of brew temperature delivery but you get used to it.
What I especially like about the Cremina is the build quality and precision of the parts. They were really handbuilt to such a degree that sometimes you have problems swapping something like a steam tap because it was precisely fitted on the one machine it came from. You also have very little play on the lever compared to a Pavoni. The Pavonis from the 60s also have the same kind of build quality as Creminas though.

I also enjoy dark roasts, especially neapolitnan brands like Borbone and Barbera. One thing I only recently discovered is that it is better to brew them hot and with high pressure. An austrian youtibe channel invited the house barista from Passalacqua to show them how he recommends to brew their blend. He preheated everything (portafilter and cup) and brewed at 96 degrees Celsius and 10 bars with 16 grams in and 28 grams out in about 28 seconds. I tried this as well on my Izzo (E61) and it really came out better than with less heat and pressure or the declining pressure from the Strega.
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erik82

#4: Post by erik82 »

I found the new Cremina pretty easy to use opposed to a pre-mill Pavoni. Especially in terms of ease of use and not overheating the Cremina wins easily. Both do have a pretty low volume per pull. If you don't need steaming and want a big improvement I can recommend a Strietman CT2.

Bobby G (original poster)
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#5: Post by Bobby G (original poster) »

I like the small footprint of the Pavoni and it seems the Cremina has a similar sized footprint and height. I also like how easy it is to service the Pavoni and ease of obtaining parts. What other lever machines have a similar footprint, look good and deliver a quality shot consistently?

The quirky things about the Pavoni I could do without would be tendency to tip when pulling a shot and the Side to side play in the lever. I love how simple it is to use and maintain. Ever since seeing pictures and reading about a Cremina I've wanted to get one but the Pavoni is a quirky joy to use every day. I don't mind the small shot size as I've found it to be the perfect size for me. Larger shots from my E61 machine got me too caffeinated.

John49

#6: Post by John49 »

For espresso only a CT2 is a better fit for your needs. Better temperature control and cheaper than the Cremina.

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chopinhauer

#7: Post by chopinhauer »

I have both machines, a 1980 Europiccola, and 2 Creminas (1973 and 2011) and I agree with Craig above, for the first shot there isn't that much difference; both the Pavoni and Cremina can pull a god shot first up. But after that it's Cremina all the way; more temp stable, more user friendly and simply produces far better results for shots 2, 3 and 4 if necessary. I also use roasts on the darker side.

But for just espresso shots John49 might be right, the CT2 might be the way to go. Many think they outperform the Cremina in this area. If though, you need to make milk drinks for someone else then the Cremina is definitely the way to go. Expensive, but cheap to run, lasts for ever plus great resale value.
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baldheadracing
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#8: Post by baldheadracing »

Bobby G wrote:... The quirky things about the Pavoni I could do without would be tendency to tip when pulling a shot and the Side to side play in the lever. I love how simple it is to use and maintain. Ever since seeing pictures and reading about a Cremina I've wanted to get one but the Pavoni is a quirky joy to use every day. I don't mind the small shot size as I've found it to be the perfect size for me. Larger shots from my E61 machine got me too caffeinated.
The Cremina will tip as well, but in the Cremina '67, it is also a sign that you might prefer the shot with a little less pressure :wink:. Regardless, unlike a Europiccola, there are lots of places to brace a Cremina without burning yourself.

For your Europiccola, the side-to-side play can be reduced but how to do it depends on what parts, if any, are worn on your particular machine.

I hear you about wanting a Cremina. There's absolutely no logical reason for me to have a Cremina - my 'Ultimate' Europiccola is arguably a better machine for my use - yet I also have a Cremina.

For other machines, for dark roasts and no milk, how about a Robot, or a Flair 58 Pro, or an EspressoForge?
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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mrgnomer

#9: Post by mrgnomer »

I have a pre millennium Europiccola and an old Cremina 67. The Europiccola is flexibly robust. The Cremina 67 is tank solid. The Europiccola is finicky with both extraction and steaming. The Cremina 67 has more extraction consistency and steams with more forgiveness. If I had to choose between the two for overall quality it would be the Cremina 67.
Kirk
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baldheadracing
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#10: Post by baldheadracing »

BTW. I found this video useful when I was pondering looking for a Cremina '67:
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada