La Pavoni Europiccola - Change chrome to copper - Info on surface finish.

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#1: Post by saborcafe »

Hello guys, I am new to the site but have been searching the forums for many years.

I have a few "Chrome" Pavonis and wanted to get some information on refinishing the boiler, grouphead, etc. I would really like to change one of them to the copper look. So a few questions to maybe achieve this are:
1. Does the Pavoni have a brass or copper boiler?
2. The finish on the Chrome Pavoni is chrome or nickel?
3. Do the Pavonis with the "copper" finish have some sort of finish to protect against oxidation?
4. Has anybody tried doing this before?

Thanks for the feedback.


#2: Post by Yotam »

1. From what I know, a chrome plated LP boiler is brass (or a copper alloy, the late rpavlis mentioned it in one of his posts)
2. ^Chrome
3. I know most brass and copper LP are coated with a varnish to protect them
4. I remember reading in these forums that someone had attempted this.

I don't think you'll get the same look as the copper/gold LP that are being sold now. I would not attempt this without sandblasting and a proper buffing wheel.

User avatar
Team HB

#3: Post by drgary »

Years ago I made the mistake of descaling a lever machine group that was chrome plated. I left it too long and the descaling solution removed some of the chrome finish. I wouldn't be surprised if a longer descaling bath did the trick. However, doing this too much to the boiler, especially its interior, would dissolve away some of the brass and could produce pinholes. I think a better approach would be to sell one or more of your chrome machines and buy a real copper and brass one, preferably an older version that has better build quality than the newer ones.

Real brass or fake brass re: used La Pavoni Europiccola

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!


#4: Post by saborcafe »

To provide some insight on my adventure.
The boiler was brass, copper plated, then nickle plated, then finally chrome plated (industry standard that must be on this order just like you first prime, then paint, then clear coat). Pretty much every part in the machine is brass with a few things being stainless.
So to sand blast chrome is way too difficult, plus you are left with a textured surface.

To change the brass boiler to copper finish:
Strip chrome back to nickle, takes a few minutes and it changes color, but it is extremely subtle. It was not obvious to me at first. Using off the shelf product from company below and power supply.
Then you can flash copper using off the shelf product from company below and power supply.
Proceed to buffing.
Then mask off the rest of the boiler and leave exposed the areas to be brass plated. You may strip all the way back to brass on those areas but is is much harder than plating brass. To plate brass use off the shelf product from company below and power supply. This was much easier than the copper because it is done using a wand method.
Finally, it must be finished with some sort of metal protector or else it will tarnish with time.

To change finish to brass for the other accessories:
Strip chrome using off the shelf product from company below and power supply.
Strip nickle and copper. Performed using same bath using battery acid and power supply.
Will be left at brass, very dull.
Then you can buff and apply clear finish.
An alternative to this is to strip chrome, flash copper, then plate brass, but if you go this route you have to be careful while buffing or you might remove too much brass and have to redo that step. I did it both ways and definitely prefer to strip all the way back.

I used Caswell products for the chemicals needed, the company seemed great but shaky with customer service, but we will blame it on covid. This is definitely not cost effective at all, but I learned a lot and most of the stuff I already had. It was also very time consuming, especially the research. Attached are a before and after, the after is not completely done yet, some of the stuff is not bolted yet (waiting on parts).

Hope it helps.