1980 La Pavoni Europiccola - Where to start?

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Jetpac

#1: Post by Jetpac »

So, i'm going to preface this with the fact i am a complete novice. I have been using an Aeropress for some years and I have been looking try espresso at home having recently picked up a Rok GC Grinder and get something like a Gaggia machine, Rok or a Flair but i spotted a La Pavoni Europiccola on Facebook marketplace for under £100 and i have seen they have some espresso provenance so i kind of went on a whim and bought it! It has now arrived and to be honest I'm not entirely sure where to start or even if i've got a good deal or not!).

I have done some research into it and have a few ideas but was after a bit of guidance first as i know it will need some work/refurbishment which i am not necessarily worried about doing myself.

Things I know (or at least think i do!):

  • It is from 1980 (has 80/2 written on the base under the rubber
  • It works - It heats up
  • There is a leak around the boiler cap
  • Nothing comes out of the steam wand when the valve is opened
  • The rubber is starting to degrade on the front right (a few very small cracks and a small tear on the base).
  • There is a small amount of horizontal wobble in the lever arm (i dont know if this is normal)
  • There seems to be very little rust (apart from maybe some spots on the lever arm?)
  • What i'm assuming is the pressure release valve appears allows steam out constantly when heated (there is the sound of steam being released kind of like a boiling kettle)
  • It came with a basket and a screen that i have no idea what they are for (pictures in the link)
I have taken some pictures (i will attach a few here and the rest in a link)

Things that i think I need to do/want to do:
  • Replace all the gaskets (but i am unsure of what kit to get/where/how much is reasonable to pay)
  • Give the boiler a clean (i have citric acid... will this do or could it potentially damage the boiler?)
  • Potentially paint or powder coat the base (probably cream white because brown whilst classic and original...is bloody horrible)
  • Learn how to use the thing! especially in terms of the actual switches and the steam wand.
So i guess my questions are:
  • What sort of condition is my machine in (relatively speaking? I have literally no reference points from experience as this is the first one i've seen and it's older than me.)
  • Where should I start? and where would be good to get the parts i need?
  • What have i overlooked so far?
  • What are the extra pieces i have identified?
  • Any other wisdom that i can glean
Here is the link to the whole host of photos i took (more than the 3 added below!) https://imgur.com/a/RuSgQjj

Any help and guidance will be very gratefully welcomed!




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RobAnybody

#2: Post by RobAnybody »

Hi and welcome to HB!
your europiccola appears to be in a quite good condition!
this version (v 2.2 see also http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/lapavoni_ep_eng.htm) features a steel base which is prone to corrosion, often starting in or below the drip tray.
The leak at the cap is easily solved, the o ring is completely deformed, replace it and the leak is solved.
In general it is a good idea to change most/all of the seals. there are loads of threads here on that (and other useful things) just use the search function.

There is always a wee bit of horizontal play on the lever.
The overpressure valve on this version is supposed to hiss, it will keep the pressure around 0.75 bar when using the 1 setting (for making espresso) the 2 setting is for warming up and steaming.
temperature management is critical for this machine, as the grouphead tends to overheat. (some good guidelines here Reaching the Zen Zone with a Two Switch La Pavoni
You can also modify the group to become water saturated instead of steam heated (bong insulator or home fabricated)
The extra cup you show on the extended fotos is not a standard accessory but can be used to grind into or weigh the beans.
make sure you have a decent grinder and good coffee !
Cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

Jetpac (original poster)

#3: Post by Jetpac (original poster) »

Thanks for this!

I'm planning on attempting a complete breakdown and rebuild i think!

Do you have any idea what the flat screen would be(also in the extra pictures) It looks like the bottom of an odd portafilter!

Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

It sounds like you've got an espresso-capable grinder, so check one off.

Get some fresh beans from a local or reputable mail-order roaster. I'd suggest an "espresso" blend in what I'd call medium-dark. Not oily. Every roaster's definitions are different, but milk chocolate or rich chocolate are better signs than bakers chocolate. Same with nut flavors, dark, heavy nuts are often a sign of a dark roast.

Water is the key to both great espresso and machine longevity. Anything by "rpavlis" is worth reading, even if you don't follow all his technical explanations. There are some simple recipes for starting with distilled water and adding a pinch or so of common, food-safe ingredients to get to a tasty and "non-scaling" result.

Get a $15-class scale that weighs up to 500 g x 0.1 g. This is for your dose and to keep track of your weight out ("ratio"). I find a notebook to keep track of things as well as flavor impressions helps me learn faster what changes have what impacts in the cup.

Edits:

Mini scale for Cafelat Robot has a bunch of recommendations.

Stefano's EspressoCare is a site sponsor, Stefano often provides great advice here, and I've read of many members getting excellent service from him. I'm pretty sure that when I restored one for my kids many years ago, I used Stefano's for the parts. He's US based though. I don't know about UK/EU vendors. I'd probably contact http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/ based on his dedication to levers and a seemingly very good reputation here. (See http://www.francescoceccarelli.eu/Faida ... pavoni.htm for parts diagrams and some of his suggested vendors.)

Here's a guide to some of the "flavor descriptors" that some roasters use. It helps me figure out which flavors are "darker" and which are "brighter" ones. https://counterculturecoffee.com/learn/ ... avor-wheel

LObin

#5: Post by LObin »

I have the exact same V2.2 Europiccola (although 110v).
Also got it for a steal about a year ago. Did a quasi full restoration even though it wasn't in bad shape.

Here's mine now:


Here's a list of parts and mods:
- Changed every gasket from the heating element gasket to the boiler cap o-ring.
- Got silicone piston gaskets.
- Changed the lever arm and handles.
- Converted the portafilter to bottomless.
- Got the IMS shower screen and Elektra Mcal basket (stock 49mm double is not tall enough imo).
- Got a single hole steam tip and did the silicone tube mod for the steam tap.
- Converted the group to water saturated with a gasket kit from Espresso Italiano on Ebay.
- Added the digital group thermometer.
- Puck screen.

Our model has a weird water diffusion pattern that creates holes in the puck and channeling in the same spot everytime (12 o'clock). The puck screen resolved this. It's a must with this version.

All the other mods are neat and help with repeatability and also when pulling multiple consecutive shots.

I raise the group temp with small lever pumps and lower it with cold group baths.

It's a wonderful machine that requires a bit of patience at first but it will reward you with amazing smooth shots and many sunny mornings.

Congrats on your purchase!

(*what's wrong with my brown base!? :lol:)

Cheers!
LMWDP #592
★ Helpful

RobAnybody

#6: Post by RobAnybody »

Jetpac wrote:Do you have any idea what the flat screen would be(also in the extra pictures) It looks like the bottom of an odd portafilter!
That looks like the screen from mokkapot. Maybe the previous owner used it on top of the puck, or it just got in there by accident.
cheers,
Rob
LMWDP #647

Jonk

#7: Post by Jonk »

Just to make it clear, you probably don't need to do a full rebuild. Change the gasket on the boiler cap, unscrew and clean the parts of the steam assembly that are not directly fastened to the boiler, get some good beans and try it out. Perhaps the brown will grow on you 8)

The group should be easy to remove and relatively safe, but the other parts can be stubborn and perhaps only really necessary if you're repainting the base.

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scrane

#8: Post by scrane »

It looks to me like you are missing a thermal fuse or breaker. Getting one is the first thing I'd do.

Jetpac (original poster)

#9: Post by Jetpac (original poster) »

Jonk wrote:Just to make it clear, you probably don't need to do a full rebuild. Change the gasket on the boiler cap, unscrew and clean the parts of the steam assembly that are not directly fastened to the boiler, get some good beans and try it out. Perhaps the brown will grow on you 8)

The group should be easy to remove and relatively safe, but the other parts can be stubborn and perhaps only really necessary if you're repainting the base.
I don't think it has ever had its seals replacing so I would imagine after 40 years it is probably overdue or is it a case of not broke dont fix it? (boiler cap is the obvious exception here!).. I just don't know what seals to get a lot of the kits I find to seem to be quite expensive including parts i may not need for more modern machines)

Jetpac (original poster)

#10: Post by Jetpac (original poster) »

scrane wrote:It looks to me like you are missing a thermal fuse or breaker. Getting one is the first thing I'd do.
I dont think there is one on this machine (a missing place that i can see!) Is that an addon/modification that needs to be made or just a part that needs to be bought?