Elektra/Pavoni side by side - Page 2

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another_jim
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#11: Post by another_jim »

You must be very experienced on the machine. There was an alt.coffee thread about how much force it took to get 9 bar on the Pavoni. This took the obvious lever ratio stuff as well as few excusions into converting pounds to decipascals and from there to bar and from there to pounds per square inch. After someone took the shortcut of staying with pounds, 40lb force was the rough answer.

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srobinson (original poster)
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#12: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Now I have been avoiding showing shots on the Elektra since it took me a couple days to dial it in. I was struggling with the grind. Since I am truly in love with my new Rocky DL (from one of our great sponsors...Chris' Coffee), I wondered why people continue to pine about upgrading grinders. Then this week I started to understand when I got caught between the notches. I spent the better part of two nights working this...I was either choking the machine out or getting shots with very thin crema and no body on my pulls. I found the Elektra much more sensitive than the Pavoni since on the LP, I could always adjust my pull to compensate for any changes in my grind and tamp.

This forced me to be a bit more disciplined than I normally am and was able to focus my technique to solve the problem. I had been playing with using my finger to distribute since it has been discussed a lot in the barista technique section and I believe that this was resulting in me overdosing on the tighter grind. I went back to just a level sweep and things started to improve dramatically. I can now get great shots pretty close to what I have done with Dan and his Super Jolly.

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Things were working so well tonight that I thought that we might be able to capture some of those glamour shots that you see those guys on other coffee fora waste megs and megs on. Since I have never made a naked portafilter for a lever (I can't quite figure out how to pull, watch, and photo...all at the same time). I decided that I would go for hang time.

I present to you in a HB world premier lever machine coffee porn....enjoy.

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Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

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srobinson (original poster)
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#13: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

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Well it's been a fun week with two levers in the house, but its back to Dan's tomorrow for the Microcasa as we get ready to start working on the A3. He swears that it has a lever on it so that I don't fully stain my reputation.

It's a bit sad to see the Elektra go. It is a beautiful machine and the overall build quality is simply amazing on it. With regards to the Pavoni, I felt that it excelled in a couple areas:

1) I loved the base and the stability of the unit. It rarely slipped, skidded, tipped or attempted the Pavoni shuffle. The Pavoni is like an appendage to me now after 9 years, but the light base is a continuing issue for new users of the machine.

2) I loved the spring lever. While I would rate great shots about equal once fully dialed in, you had to be pretty dead on with the Elektra. The spring loaded piston is a very elegant approach and even my wife found the physical effort much less than on the Pavoni.

3) I feel that maintenance will be easier on the machine as well. You can get to the head gaskets in two simple steps vs. almost 7 on the Pavoni. I also liked the piston design which I feel would prevent another problem that you see on a heavily used Pavoni where the piston starts to unscrew from the main post. I did not compare prices on the maintenance parts, but based on the price I got on an Elektra basket, I am sure they are not cheap.

4) Finally they got the basket right and fortunately that will be an upgrade that I use on the Pavoni.

With regards to the Pavoni, I think it still excels with

1) Size. With the Europiccola, I have yet to see a machine that can do as good a shot as it does with such a small footprint. It heats fast, only weighs 11 pounds and it the perfect travel companion when you have to take it with you. Many times, I was already sipping a cup from the Pavoni while I was waiting the 11 minutes for the larger Elektra to reach pressure.

2) Design. There is just something about that shape that I love. The Elektra is a stunning machine, but the Pavoni has the functional beauty that is hard to beat. Now I am not crazy about brass, so the full chrome Elektra without the bird would possibly be the best of both worlds.

3) Price. I feel the Pavoni is still a lot of value for the money, especially as a second machine and as a good used machine.

I want to thank every one for the all the encouragement this week as you followed along with the fun I was having and I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know if there is interest out there on more threads on levers, process, and the science behind them etc since I tried not to cover ground that is readily available on other sites.

These are both great machines and if you have not experienced a lever then you should. They are both elegant solutions in tackling the complexity of making espresso. While they are not simple to use, I do not view them as out of reach to begin to master by any skill level. You will learn a lot about your skills and in turn be able to apply that to all of your barista endeavors.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

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HB
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#14: Post by HB »

This morning Steve returned with Elektra and the Pavoni for a friendly competition. There's no way around it -- I got thumped hard by the leader of the LMWDP. Below is a out of focus picture of one of his creations:

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Not a godshot, but certainly a gosh shot. I really expected his third shot to be off-temp, but he managed a smooth and balanced espresso. My mojo was clearly missing as I pulled three that were only passable and one that was not worthy of Elektra's driptray. He faulted my overfilling as the culprit. Alas, the best of the series that I managed was on the Pavoni under the careful scrutiny of The One. And now I see what he means by the Pavoni shuffle.

On other news, we packed up the A3 and all the supplies Steve will need for his test run. Apparently the prowness of Steve's espresso-making skills have earned him brownie points with the missus -- she's allowing him to drill in the Corian countertops for a clean installation. Look for Steve's comments in the Bench starting late next week.
Dan Kehn

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KarlSchneider

#15: Post by KarlSchneider »

Steve,

Many thanks for this comparison. I have been on the brink of buying a lever machine for a good while and when someone on CG wanted to buy a used HX I decided to take the plunge. I sold my much enjoyed Giotto and am eagerly awaiting my new Elektra Microcasa a Leva.

I anticipate having many questions for the lever users on this list as I work my way through the learning curve and hope to earn an LMWDP number.

I have just been appointed Dean of my college so I wonder what the parallels in the learning curves will be.

KS

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srobinson (original poster)
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#16: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Karl, thanks for the post and congratulations on seeing the light and joining the LMWDP (lever machine world domination plot), which will result in ten-fold the coffee enjoyment with 1/10th the engineering headaches.

Best of luck on your new machine and I would appreciate it if you could post a few pics of your early experiences with the machine.

With the power granted to me by the HB team, I hereby grant you LMWDP member number #008.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001

jd576

#17: Post by jd576 »

I am using a newer Pavoni (purchased this year) with the 51mm portafilter. And I am still unhappy with the basket size - it just needs to be a bit bigger, to hold about 15 gm. I saw your comments about the Eleckta, and immediately thought I had a solution -- then realized you were using the older 49mm basket.

Are you aware of any slightly large portafilters that will fit the 51mm model??

Thanks for any tips -- and thanks for a great review. The gasket replacement section was extremely helpful!

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HB
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#18: Post by HB »

jd576 wrote:Are you aware of any slightly large portafilters that will fit the 51mm model??
I asked Brian at espressoparts.com about a larger basket on your behalf:
The only thing close to this is the Solis PF. They are close but I believe a bit too far off to work properly. Maybe with some heavy mods you may have success but I don't think much will show up in your cup in the end. Thanks for the query.

Brian.
It may be worth contacting the lair of the chrome peacock site owner, or posting on CoffeeGeek / alt.coffee. If you do find a lead, please let Steve and the other LMWDP members know.
Dan Kehn

jd576

#19: Post by jd576 »

What I am thinking about doing is purchasing a second Pavoni portafilter and having it "modified" to crotchless (bottomless) by espressoparts.com -- they offer this service for about $25. I have two old 51mm baskets that actually hold about 24gm (really big) and will fit in a bottomless La Pavoni portafilter. Of course it would be nice to find a 51mm basket that is right around 16gm. If anyone has experience with such a mod, let me know.

If I get the job done, I will send a report. I enjoy working with the La Pavoni, but like about 3 oz in my double shots -- and I can barely get a good 2 oz (and 1.5 pulls) without overextracting using the stock basket. And per the referenced article above, I think the basket size makes a big difference in the richness of the shots.

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srobinson (original poster)
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#20: Post by srobinson (original poster) »

Before you went to too much headache trying to find a perfect fit, I would start with 16 grams in your larger basket and work from there. Assuming that it is straight sided and you can get a good tamp, then I think you would be OK. You can play with the preinfusion and rate of the pull and you should be fine. Still should be a little less than two full pulls. Nice thing is that you will have some headroom to work with and you may find for your full 3oz that you may need 18 or more to be your optimum amount.

Now if you can pull, hold the portafilter and take pictures of your pour then please post some pictures.
Steve Robinson

LMWDP #001