Lavazza Espresso Point Matinee

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slybarman

#1: Post by slybarman »

Just picked up a brand new Lavazza Espresso Point machine today. A guy in my area used to own a restaurant supply business and has a bunch of these in a storage unit. Some are new and some are used. He found a brand new one for me. I bought it largely as an impulse buy because it was so cheap, but it is actually going to work great as a dedicated automatic machine for my wife when she wants decaf for iced lattes. It so darn cute and fun to use. The pods are about $.20/ea. It uses a thermobloc to heat and it steams and does hot water. I confess I am not sure if it actually brews under pressure or is just a cool looking Keurig. :?: I see some listing specs claim a 15 bar vibratory pump. I think I will change the little light bulb that lights the brew area to an LED, otherwise I am super happy with it.

He is selling these machines for only $50. I see them on ebay for $300-500. If anybody in the DC area wants one, let me know and I will put you in touch with him.


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slybarman (original poster)

#2: Post by slybarman (original poster) »

LED bulb installed. a good bit brighter and cool white gives it a slightly more modern look.


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slybarman (original poster)

#3: Post by slybarman (original poster) »

I made myself a decaf latte this morning, just to see what the quality of brew would be. I was really fearing the worst based on it being a pod, thermobloc brewing and the fact it was decaf. I have to say, I was really pleasantly surprised. The resulting drink was actually quite pleasant and drinkable. The shot had the crema Lavazza seems to be known for. I pulled a single shot at the smallest setting, I think that is 1 oz (maybe 1.5 - I forget). Seems like Lavazza does a good job of selecting a coffee that works well with its system which is important given there is no control over dose, grind or temp. I am curious to try one of the regular (non decaf) blends. I imagine it is that much better. I can see why these little machines were popular in small restaurants and offices.

Steaming the milk was a bit more challenging. It has been years since I steamed on a machine like this - probably the saeco super auto I owned 12 years ago or so. Surprisingly, I ended up over-texturing the milk. That part needs a little more work. I'm not clear if the wand is the panarello type that automatically injects air.




SutterMill

#4: Post by SutterMill »

Never heard of this machine before. Looks like a fun device. How is the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor)?

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slybarman (original poster)

#5: Post by slybarman (original poster) »

LOL. High because all you have to do is put the pod in, close the door and push a button. no muss, no fuss. plus it is fairly small and looks good on the counter top. these are older machines, no longer produced as far as i know, butt plenty of them still around. mine was manufactured in 1996.

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slybarman (original poster)

#6: Post by slybarman (original poster) »

The steam wand is definitely some flavor of panarello. I steamed another pitcher of milk and did not manually introduce any air, but is still ended up with a ton of air and bubbles in it and was way over aerated. Most panarellos that I have seen have small hole toward the top that sucks in air. I did not see that on this. Best I can tell, it was sucking in air between the outer sleave and the inner steam arm. Is the outer sleave itself the panarello device?

Anyone familiar with this sort of steam arm and know how to make it suck in less (or no air)? Do I just leave the outer sleave off all together?

.



OK31
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#7: Post by OK31 »

Wow that looks almost vintage and so cool.

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slybarman (original poster)

#8: Post by slybarman (original poster) replying to OK31 »

Thank you. I agree. This is a really nifty little machine and punches well above its weight as far as the final product in the cup. The fact I can get a latte I actually enjoy drinking from a machine I spent $50 on is really crazy. Even at $500, that is impressive. While it certainly doesn't rival what I get from my main set-up, that isn't the point of this type of machine. I wonder if these little lavazza pods are what Lavazza uses in their espresso vending machines I saw when I was in Europe - at train stations and such.


To answer my own question above, I tried removing the outer sleeve from the steam wand. That was definitely the panarello. Steaming improved dramatically without that sleeve on. I was able to get a good swirl going and produce micro-foam good enough for latte art. If anyone else is using one of these machines, I highly recommend ditching the pannarello. It also makes wiping down the steam arm much easier.

JRising
Team HB

#9: Post by JRising »

A former employer of mine used to rent those out for free with the understanding that the company renting it would buy a certain number of pods/month. I gotta admit, it sure looks better than little plastic pod machines.

Give them good water. Their little steam generators clog up. We must have had about 80 of them circulating in and out of the shop back in 2008-2009, always coming in blocked. Mechanically they're quite robust.

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slybarman (original poster)

#10: Post by slybarman (original poster) replying to JRising »


Thanks John. My municipal water here is quite soft thankfully - as confirmed by Homebuerrero's evaluation of the numbers I gave him - and I soften it a bit further by pulling my water from the refrigerator's filter. I descale my main machine every 12-18 months to remove what is only light scaling. Is there anything different/special about descaling a thermoboc unit like this?