Is the La Pavoni Esperto worth it? (vs new La Pavoni Professional)

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jgillick

#1: Post by jgillick »

Lately, I've been eyeing the La Pav lever machines and am curious about the Esperto. Does anyone here have experience with it? I've read the speculative discussions posted when it was coming out, but I can't find any discussions or reviews from someone with first-hand experience.

Personally, I like the look of the La Pav Professional better, but I'm worried about the concerns I've heard about the overheating issues.

I've used commercial equipment, home machines and have been using a ROK for the last few years (not the best setup, but has fit the space until now). I wouldn't say I'm an amazing barista, but I enjoy the craft and I'm excited about the learning curve on a lever machine like this. Ideally, I'd like to avoid a machine that requires too many modifications out of the gate, but maintenance and upgrades as I go are great.

ojt

#2: Post by ojt »

Hmm, for me it's a no because I don't like the looks, I got professional for cheap enough to buy the difference in parts, I get to choose exactly what to upgrade.

But, if you do like the looks or can live with them you get:

- Bottomless portafilter (about 50 to 100€ separately)
- All three IMS filters + shower screen (about 150€ here).
- The pressure profiling kit, with the better lever design (150 - 200€).
- Stick-on temperature strips (heh..)
- Wooden handles and such

So I think it's only a matter of whether you like the looks, and the handles etc. For me it's worth it to get parts that I really like, for example the handles and grouphead thermometer.

If you're like me and like to think about each single part get the Pro and a grouphead thermometer and you're good to go. If you already know you'll want everything I listed above, get the Esperto Abile.

Edit: Also, the esperto does not solve any overheating issues, which the millennium machines do not really have anyways IME. I've left mine on for a few hours.
Osku

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drgary
Team HB

#3: Post by drgary »

La Pavoni home levers are not very heat stable, but that's not necessarily a problem. You can surf different temperatures for different coffees. If it starts to overheat, you can toggle power off briefly, or you can use various cooling methods, like a wet bar towel or a vessel of cool water that you draw into the group. The crucial temperature to measure is at the group, and people do this with temperature strips or by attaching a thermometer, which is a DIY project. Some people measure heat with an IR sensor, but I find this clumsier. The Esperto and the Professional will have the same 3rd generation group.

People are moving to measuring pressure profiling. I don't think that's necessary if you're consistent. Over the years La Pavoni has tended to reduce build quality while emphasizing a flashy look with different platings. Unless you find a late model all-brass machine, the late model machine bases are made of plain steel underlying the plating. The early first-generation machines had cast aluminum bases, and some first and second generation machines had cast plain steel bases that were vulnerable to rust.

This is the best reference site for changes over time. Here are three excellent pages there. Francesco Ceccarelli hasn't updated it for the Esperto, maybe because he thinks of it as a blinged out Stradivari.

La Pavoni

La Pavoni Professional

La Pavoni Europiccola - same underlying group as Esperto

La Pavoni Stradivari - same basic cosmetics as Esperto

Once La Pavoni moved to stamped metal bases from cast aluminum and then cast steel, they introduced flex at the base with a hard pull. That can be avoided by not doing an intense pull, which means that generally you're overdosing or are grinding too fine. Third generation machines have a slightly larger group and are more temperature stable than second-generation ones, although you can do a mod to make the second generation group water-heated rather than steam-heated, like the first and third gens.

There are a number of other manual levers. The ones immediately below are pourover machines that are similar to the ROK but better, and all are in current production. These are all discussed on this site and the Robot and Flairs are reviewed here:
Cafelat Robot
EspressoForge
Flair, Flair Signature and Flair Signature Pro

For classics, there are several, including:
Arrarex VAM and Arrarex Caravel (open boiler, temperature stable)
Faema/Faemina Baby
Gaggia Gilda (more than one version)
Marfci/La Cara/La Graziella (parts are harder to get, similar to La Pavoni Professional)
Vintage Olympia Express Cremina (the first versions are built on the base of the La Pavoni Europiccola, the second version is a complete reworking and improvement, also closed boiler)
Zacconi Baby

Other manual levers at a higher price point:
Olympia Express Cremina (closed boiler like La Pavoni, reviewed on this site)
Streitman CT2 (open boiler and adjustable thermostat)
Gary
LMWDP#308

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

jgillick

#4: Post by jgillick »

ojt wrote: If you're like me and like to think about each single part get the Pro and a grouphead thermometer and you're good to go. If you already know you'll want everything I listed above, get the Esperto Abile.
I'll want almost everything you listed above, except for the handles and the eagle...but I'm assuming I can swap those out.
Edit: Also, the esperto does not solve any overheating issues, which the millennium machines do not really have anyways IME. I've left mine on for a few hours.
This is great to know. Thank you.

jgillick

#5: Post by jgillick »

@drgary Thank you for those links. Very interesting!
drgary wrote: Cafelat Robot
EspressoForge
Flair, Flair Signature and Flair Signature Pro
These are where my search started, actually. However, I kept feeling like I wanted to move back towards something closer to a real espresso machine and then fell in love with the idea of a lever machine (also, they seem to be compact, which is good for where I live).
drgary wrote: For classics, there are several, including:
Arrarex VAM and Arrarex Caravel (open boiler, temperature stable)
Faema/Faemina Baby
Gaggia Gilda (more than one version)
Marfci/La Cara/La Graziella (parts are harder to get, similar to La Pavoni Professional)
Vintage Olympia Express Cremina (the first versions are built on the base of the La Pavoni Europiccola, the second version is a complete reworking and improvement, also closed boiler)
Zacconi Baby

Other manual levers at a higher price point:
Olympia Express Cremina (closed boiler like La Pavoni, reviewed on this site)
Streitman CT2 (open boiler and adjustable thermostat)
Looks like I have more to look at... :D

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IamOiman

#6: Post by IamOiman »

drgary wrote: Once La Pavoni moved to stamped metal bases from cast aluminum and then cast steel, they introduced flex at the base with a hard pull. That can be avoided by not doing an intense pull, which means that generally you're overdosing or are grinding too fine.
I got around this bend by having my left arm hold the portafilter handle and plant my elbow on the table my Pavoni rests on. This allows me to pull pretty forcefully without issue and get shots with a very heavy body.

Also note my first machine was the Pavoni. Little did I know it was a gateway machine and after having four commercial machines and another domestic machine bought since then I know for a fact my purchasing is not done yet...

Be warned :lol:
-Ryan
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
LMWDP #612

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Chert
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by Chert »

FWIW, for my use, the double boiler volume of the professional is unnecessary. The 8 cupper has plenty capacity for a couple times a day use up to 8 shots per boiler fill and heats up faster. AFAIK, the boiler size is the only difference.
LMWDP #198