La Pavoni Europiccola Beginner Questions

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
navier_stokes

#1: Post by navier_stokes »

Hi all,

Just bought a new Europiccola and have a question or two.

Firstly, I followed the instructions in the manual to run the machine a few times with just water to clear out any manufacturing residue etc. It all seems to be fine... I wait for the green light, release the pressure, wait for the green light again. But then I lift the lever to the top and instead of nice flowing water I expect, it starts spurting/splutter everywhere (even out to the sides) with lots of steam... should it do this? To me it seems, that if its spluttering there is still air within the boiler and I have not released enough false pressure... but I have tried numerous lengths of pressure release and still the same thing.

Also, the lever has quite a bit of resistance to it when I pull up, and it has to be held at the top - is this normal for just with water?

Is there something really obvious I am not doing?

Any help would be appreciated, thanks

User avatar
HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

navier_stokes wrote:But then I lift the lever to the top and instead of nice flowing water I expect, it starts spurting everywhere (even out to the sides) with lots of steam... should it do this?
Sounds normal to me. How do lever machines work? explains and includes this nice diagram:

Image

Your Europiccola has a similar design, i.e., the brew water is fed from a steam boiler. Since the water is above the boiling point in the boiler, it flash boils when it exits the grouphead. Under brewing conditions, the grouphead acts as a heat sink, reducing the incoming superheated water to brew temperature. This worked quite effectively until the group overheats. The Europiccola and its ilk work nicely for a 2-3 espressos prepared within their "ideal temperature window", but be aware the brew temperature is rising with each shot and when the machine idles.

I've only used the Europiccola a few times, so I cannot comment precisely on the expected lever resistance. I don't recall it being onerous; maybe your La Pavoni needs lubrication?

PS: Also see La pavoni europiccola: water boiling when exiting group and Best techniques for La Pavoni Europiccola for related discussions.
Dan Kehn

Aida Battle: Indigo Reserve from world renowned Finca Kilimanjaro in El Salvador
Sponsored by Aida Battle
Jarno

#3: Post by Jarno »

navier_stokes wrote:Hi all,

But then I lift the lever to the top and instead of nice flowing water I expect, it starts spurting/splutter everywhere (even out to the sides) with lots of steam... should it do this? To me it seems, that if its spluttering there is still air within the boiler and I have not released enough false pressure... but I have tried numerous lengths of pressure release and still the same thing.
This is quite surprising if it is new. The way you describe the problem, there might be a defect high in the copper tube, possibly at the elbow. Alternatively, the copper feed tube screws into a connector which in turn screws into the group head. There might be defect along those interfaces, such as the tube or the connector not being screwed in tight enough.
navier_stokes wrote:
Also, the lever has quite a bit of resistance to it when I pull up, and it has to be held at the top - is this normal for just with water?
When the boiler is at temperature, there should be about 4 lbs of force at the lever assuming your boiler cut off is approxiately 1 atm. Alternatively you'll notice when the machine is cold, there is no resistance to lifting the lever.

Hope this helps.

navier_stokes (original poster)

#4: Post by navier_stokes (original poster) »

HB: So spluttering is normal when it overheats?

Note I don't get spluttering when I pull with coffee in the basket - only when its empty.

On a separate note, do people usually go with euro/us convex or flat tampers with the La Pavoni basket? I notice the (crap) tamper supplied with it is convex?


Thanks for the replies!

User avatar
ogatasan

#5: Post by ogatasan »

navier_stokes wrote:HB: So spluttering is normal when it overheats?

Note I don't get spluttering when I pull with coffee in the basket - only when its empty.
Yes the spluttering is a normal effect under these circumstances. The machine heats up to steam temperature which is more than just the brew temperature. If you raise the lever without the portafilter you get a powerful steam shower - be cautious though.

The grouphead serves as heatsink, this works fine for the first one or two shots, then you need to be inventive to not overheat the machine or the group which would just burn the coffee.


The resistance on the lever when pulling it up - I have that too, but that varies from machine to machine. Some machines force their lever up after they cool down others not. Mine started picking up that behaviour again, after i changed some gaskets...

Enjoy the learning process with your Pavoni and check out the forum for some great information...
Chris H
LMWDP #148

Jarno

#6: Post by Jarno »

Yes, I suppose it does sputter and steam when the head is too hot. But when the temperature of the grouphead is under optimal temperature, it's a (very) hot water shower.

User avatar
ogatasan

#7: Post by ogatasan » replying to Jarno »

what are you worried about, everything seems normal....
how is the coffee? isnt it that what it should be about?
Chris H
LMWDP #148

Cerini Coffee & Gifts: official US importer for Olympia Express
Sponsored by Cerini Coffee & Gifts
Jarno

#8: Post by Jarno » replying to ogatasan »

No problems. It seemed that the original poster was having issues with the machine, but perhaps he only wanted to know more about how it was engineered.

User avatar
ogatasan

#9: Post by ogatasan » replying to Jarno »

Oh Jarno,
You are right of course. My apologies, I mixed you up with the original poster and thought he was still uncertain that everything is alright.
Chris H
LMWDP #148

User avatar
mogogear

#10: Post by mogogear »

Ahhhh Chris-
I love that our Euro members keep the avatar world more dynamic than the rest of us! I liked the subtle avatar just prior- the LP in the shadows and all- Now the SIP! So it is on rotation and runs through several frames every so often--- ? I am such a Luddite - ! :oops:

Thanks for adding good comments AND presence!
greg moore

Leverwright
LMWDP #067