'22 La Pavoni Europiccola unusable out of the box

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lassepavoni

#1: Post by lassepavoni »

First of all: I mostly knew what to expect beforehand, so I'm not complaining, but rather just ranting a little :wink: .

Anyhow I was a little disappointed at first nonetheless.
I got myself a brand new Europiccola two months ago, when I decided that my French Press needed a serious upgrade. Of course I had looked for a second hand machine for a while, ideally including some bells and whistles already, but to no extent. So now I own the latest 2022 pre-millennium model, so to say, and the first surprise came in the shape of a red plastic tamper out of the box. Anything I had read up to this point had me expect a black plastic tamper, which would have the wrong diameter for the bigger pre-millennium baskets. Instead it was red though, and actually has a bigger diameter that almost fits the supplied baskets.
It does fit the single basket pretty nice, but I am not going to use that one anytime soon. It does fit the first one or two millimeters of the double basket, too, and then it just gets stuck :shock: .

Of course I had already ordered a serious tamper by now, but it was still on its way across Europe. Thus my first experience with a lever machine was like: dammit, seven hundred bucks and you can't even use it out of the box?!
In the mean time, while waiting for the parcel to arrive, I had tried to file away some material from the circumference, but that turned out to not work as beautiful as expected. The plastic tamper now does fit a bit better, but still jams in the basket much too early.

Fast forward a couple of days and a beautiful 51.6mm tamper from coffee sensor arrived. Not exactly cheap with 55 bucks, but still cheaper than the shipping cost to the ''remote area'' where I live. What shall I say - the next disappointment ensued. Of course the new tamper fit the single basket nicely, but again got stuck in the double basket. What the ... :evil: !

Surely I used it anyhow to make my first experience with the Pavoni. With mixed results. Turns out that it is kinda doable to achieve an acceptable result, but it isn't fun. I basically have to fill the basket to the brim with grounds and then don't tamp too firmly, as when the tamper gets jammed, it widens the basket a little and produces a nice channel right around the whole puck. And of course you know what that means.

Next thing I did was to order a new basket. IMS Competition seems to be the one, so there went another 20 bucks. And bingo - that one fits the tamper much better than my tight vanilla basket. It arrived just yesterday, so now I'm all set for really getting my feet wet with the Pavoni.

Long story short: On top of the 700 bucks for a brand new machine, I had to spend another almost 150 bucks for some aftermarket parts to actually make it useable. And of course we haven't even factored in the requisite quality grinder and scales....

Here is some photographic evidence for your enjoyment:



Stock tamper stuck in stock basket.





Stock basket to the left, IMS competizione to the right. Tamper just inserted by gravity, not pressed in.
Regards,
Lasse

Jonk

#2: Post by Jonk »

The old black plastic tampers used to be undersized instead, so you had to tamp several times if you wanted to get to all the edges. I can understand your disappointment, but also think you're overestimating the importance of the tamper. A very light tamp is preferred by many Europiccola owners and you can pull shots without tamping at all if you wish. Filling to the brim sounds perfectly normal.

Can't fault Pavoni that a 51.6mm tamper didn't fit their 51mm basket :D but at least you've now got 2 upgrades already.

jtrops

#3: Post by jtrops »

Once you get a proper grinder you will be in for a treat with your new machine. It is a bit of a learning curve to get it all working well, and you will probably change your process over time.

I have two nice tampers (Cafelat, and Orphan Espresso) for my millennium model, and I no longer use either of them. Having a level puck seems to be more important than tamping, and I use only a leveling tool anymore.

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lassepavoni (original poster)

#4: Post by lassepavoni (original poster) »

Jonk wrote:A very light tamp is preferred by many Europiccola owners and you can pull shots without tamping at all if you wish.
Never heard that before, but it certainly sounds interesting and I'll give it a try. Thanks for bringing that up.

Jonk wrote:Can't fault Pavoni that a 51.6mm tamper didn't fit their 51mm basket :D but at least you've now got 2 upgrades already.
Didn't measure the plastic tamper, but from my observations it is probably closer to 51.6mm than to 51mm. The real culprit seems to be the basket, not the tamper, though.

jtrops wrote:Once you get a proper grinder you will be in for a treat with your new machine.
Didn't mention my grinder yet, but you probably won't consider it a proper one :D .
Regards,
Lasse

jtrops

#5: Post by jtrops »

Hmm. I guess I misunderstood that last quip about "factoring in the grinder."

Sorry about that.

Enjoy the new machine! I've had mine for about 20 years now, and I haven't felt a need to upgrade. Well, I have gone through a few grinders, but the machine is still working well for my needs.

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Kaffee Bitte

#6: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

I know how you feel. Almost every user of La Pavoni's feels those feels at some point. It is inevitable and largely just the learning curve frustration. Try to remember that you are on two learning curves with an LP at the start. The first is the machine itself and all the quirks, the second is espresso itself and all the grind, prep, temp, pressure that goes with it. Either of these learning curves can throw you off the bench. Sometimes both at once.

Given some time and practice you will soon enough be pulling good shots. Try not to rage quit before getting to the good stuff.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
____________________

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lassepavoni (original poster)

#7: Post by lassepavoni (original poster) »

jtrops wrote:Hmm. I guess I misunderstood that last quip about "factoring in the grinder."

Sorry about that.
You're welcome. I was hinting at the additional cost of those two items, as everyone will tell you that you really shouldn't use pre-ground coffee for a lever machine (or any espresso machine, really), except maybe you can get your fresh grounds from 'round the corner, produced after your exact recipe.

Before I got my Pavoni, I already acquired a manual grinder that I used for the french press. Call me strange or whatever, but I expressly chose a manual grinder over anything noisy and electric :roll: . Until now I get along with it pretty well. It is called Chestnut G1 by chinese manufacturer Timemore (good stuff from China actually, like Fenix flashlights). https://www.espressogear.com/collection ... ooden-base

One thing really nice about that exact model is that the container for the coffee grounds perfectly snaps into the portafilter of the Pavoni 8) . I can put it on top of that container, flip it over, give it a gentle knock and then lift off the container. No spilled grounds, no mess. Really like that.








https://www.espressogear.com/collection ... ooden-base

Kaffee Bitte wrote:Try to remember that you are on two learning curves with an LP at the start.
That sums it up pretty nice. In my case I'd add a third learning curve, as I'm still acquiring my taste for coffee, actually :oops: . On the other hand that makes sure that I won't rage quit, as I was much more intrigued by the procedure of manually pulling shots, than I was looking for the holy grail of caffé. Haven't been disappointed yet.
Regards,
Lasse

martinlhoff

#8: Post by martinlhoff »

I've had my Europiccola for about a year now. I didn't have the tamper problem - that sounds super odd. Maybe the double basket was a tad small?

My original tamper didn't have a good feel, was just a tad undersize for both single dose and double dose baskets supplied.

I got a nicer tamper, but that was more on feel. The real deal (in my case) was to get a good grinder. I got a good conventional grinder, but wanting to try a broader range of coffees, ended up getting a Niche Zero.

Upgrades I've gotten
- Nicer tamper - optional!
- open portafilter - optional, but great to see how it flows, and allows for...
- 18g basket
- Niche Zero
- Grouphead Thermometer (posting separately about this)

Jonk

#9: Post by Jonk »

lassepavoni wrote:One thing really nice about that exact model is that the container for the coffee grounds perfectly snaps into the portafilter of the Pavoni
Oh, so that's the profile picture :)

I had a G1 myself and I think it enabled quite tasty shots, but it could take something like 2-8 minutes to grind a dose with the original burrs:

(big beans meant trouble, small beans were better)

I think the newer "spike-to-cut" design with horizontal grooves in the top portion of the cone burr is supposed to be faster, but if you have the old version it could be worth picking up the espresso focused set instead: https://eightouncecoffee.ca/collections ... m-burr-set
(in my experience those won't exactly improve flavor but will greatly increase grind speed, even for a turkish grind if you wish) EDIT: nevermind, it seems shipping is so expensive it'd be more worthwhile to buy another grinder if you feel the need.

The clicks don't allow for fine tuning, so I understand if you want the tamper to reach deep into the basket if you're having to adjust your dose instead.

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lassepavoni (original poster)

#10: Post by lassepavoni (original poster) »

martinlhoff wrote:Maybe the double basket was a tad small?
Yes, that's what I think, since the stock single and the IMS double basket both work fine with both tampers.

martinlhoff wrote:I got a good conventional grinder, but wanting to try a broader range of coffees, ended up getting a Niche Zero.
That thing sure looks nice, but is hard to come by here in Germany, and would set me back about the same amount as the Pavoni did. Ouch :shock: ! I'll keep an eye out, but I think I'll have a lot of things to try out before I can justify that expense. To be honest, I'm already looking out for a second Europiccola or Professional, since I have a really geeky idea for a modification, but don't want to sacrifice my ''daily driver''.

martinlhoff wrote:- Grouphead Thermometer (posting separately about this)
That's already a work in progress for me.

Jonk wrote:Oh, so that's the profile picture :)
Exactly :mrgreen:

Jonk wrote:I had a G1 myself and I think it enabled quite tasty shots, but it could take something like 2-8 minutes to grind a dose with the original burrs
That's true. A little tedious at times, but it helps to pass the time while the Pavoni heats up.

That other burr set looks quite interesting. Unfortunately I didn't find a supplier here in Germany, so you're about right with your assessment of the shipping cost. I'll give it a closer look and see if I could simply add those ''spike''-grooves with an angle grinder. That'd still leave me with five instead of six burrs, and missing that ugly titanium coating, but it might still be an upgrade.

I have also been thinking about a ''double click'' upgrade à la the Red Clix stuff that you can buy for the Comandante. Should be doable by drilling some additional retention holes in the click plate.
So much stuff to try...
Regards,
Lasse