La Pavoni Europiccola upgrades... worth it? - Page 3

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drgary
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#21: Post by drgary »

rbrave wrote:What specific temp sensors are people using? There appear to be a lot of different options, some nicer looking than others. I'm about to try out one of the passive ones from Flair (https://flairespresso.com/product/temperature-strips/), but would go digital if there was something that didn't look like it belonged in a furnace control room.
Temperature strips work well and are inexpensive. You can do group thermometers yourself if you search this site for "Pavoni thermometry." All of mine are temp strips or DIY. I expect that there are more recent aftermarket products that work well and look forward to others listing them here. I haven't been following that carefully because all of my levers have been measurable for a long time.
Gary
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ojt

#22: Post by ojt »

My recent temperature experiences may be influenced by the fact that I have the stainless steel sleeve, and also the piston might need to be heated up. If I just pump up to temperature right after the boiler is done heating and extract the result is definitely different than if I wait longer and extract at same temperature. But by all means, we all need to know our own machines :)

EDIT: fixed typos
Osku

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Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#23: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

ojt wrote:My recent temperature experiences may be influenced by the fact that I have the stainless steel sleeve, and also the piston might need to be heated up. If I just pump to pressure right after the boiler is done heating and extract the result is definitely different than if I wait longer and extract at same temperature. But by all means, we all need to know our own machines :)
This is my experience too. I use a cheap digital thermometer with a bare k-type TC held in place with a silicon band (like wrist bracelets).
I like the Bplus or coffee sensor one with a metal frame that can attach to the boiler.

LObin

#24: Post by LObin »

I use the coffee-sensor metal bracket but not their thermometer. Even though he uses the same unit, I prefer this guy's sensor over the metal tube from Coffee-Sensor:
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/Pavoni-group-he ... 637-2357-0

He also makes teflon heat breakers for La Pavoni levers.

I've purchased a few of his thermometers as well as the gen 2 water heated gasket kit and I only have good things to say about him or his products.

Here's mine:

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drgary
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#25: Post by drgary »

ojt wrote:My recent temperature experiences may be influenced by the fact that I have the stainless steel sleeve, and also the piston might need to be heated up. If I just pump to pressure right after the boiler is done heating and extract the result is definitely different than if I wait longer and extract at same temperature. But by all means, we all need to know our own machines :)
That's interesting and a new data point for me. Thanks!
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

opother
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#26: Post by opother »

I currently use a La Pavoni Europiccola older 1980s mode with 49mm pf 2 switches, and steam heated grouphead. I have had it for well over 15 years maybe more. It is the fastest heating model of all of the La pavoni levers. I don't need a bottomless portafilter. Bottomless did produce a different taste on my Brewtus but nothing radical. I have over the years learned how to manage this machine and it's good for pulling one great shot maybe 2 with perfect timing.

To Answer Your Question

Worthwhile changes on these newer machines in my opinion is replace every one of those plastic, ryan, or whatever parts with metal. That includes the sleeve, piston (I think maybe LP had so much trouble with plastic pistons that they now use metal ?) The plastic parts are going to give you problems later down the road. My impression is plastic will eventually start to weaken with all of the heating and cooling cycles over time not to mention breaking when you try to unscrew when it's tight. Whatever the case a plastic piston is a time tested and proven no no wait if you must to replace other parts but a plastic piston should be replaced.

I do not like the bong insulator although I have never tried it. I would rather they make a drop in metal (brass or stainless plug and tube) water cooling conversion without that bulky insulator but that is me thinking of modding my older 1980s model.

As for the newer models Now that they have stainless steel and brass replacement parts for the newer 51 mm group heads (La Pavoni Q group head ?) I am really interested in how these perform.

My impression is the newer Q group head can bolt right in to my model (can it?) The new group with replacement metal parts (I will not tolerate cheap plastic disposable parts) and required new 51mm pf would likely be an over $300.00 upgrade for those of us with older machines.

It's about $100.00 US for the brass or stainless sleeve and brass tube holder if you already have a newer machine that comes with the newer group head.

It is not a new concept. The first LP lever machines used the same type of water cooled sleeved group head in 49 mm (parts are not interchange with current newer model) for a while before switching over to the steam heated group head and then now back to the water heated sleeved group head. Those older ones were said to have better heat stability than the steam heated group heads. Except for plastic parts the current new versions work the same.


I can now pull great shots out of my runaway heat generating monster, a machine I used to hate but now is my favorite. You can find a routine that works with yours although the newer machines are not going to pre-heat as fast as the older steam heated machines but they are also not going to overheat as fast.

toolate

#27: Post by toolate »

color me skeptical but will any of these change the taste of my espresso enough to notice? maybe for someone not well experienced in use of the machine.

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drgary
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#28: Post by drgary » replying to toolate »

Here's my 1964 first gen machine with no screw above the sight glass to add a pressure gauge and the group screwed directly into the boiler so you can't add a heat break gasket. It slowly vents steam to control boiler pressure and not overheat. I tuned the spring in the pressure relief valve so it cruises at 0.8 bar except when the High element is activated for steaming. The group is fitted with a brass sleeve, which was how they were made. The group is water heated, not steam heated like the next generation. If I were pulling the same coffee always, or the same roast level, it wouldn't need temperature strips on the group. Measuring group temp on these is key to using half pumps to preheat the brew chamber, so that's my first mod on any La Pavoni home lever. And if your temperature is off, you will definitely taste it. Espresso made with this is comparable to pulling shots on my vintage Olympia Express Cremina, which is also only equipped with a group thermometer.

Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

ojt

#29: Post by ojt »

toolate wrote:color me skeptical but will any of these change the taste of my espresso enough to notice? maybe for someone not well experienced in use of the machine.
As above, temperature management is the key.

That said my wife did notice differences between various upgrades. I notice more the ease of use perhaps. Using the machine more it gets a bit muddy. Having two machines, one stock millennium pro and one with all the goodies, you'd probably notice the difference. Is it worth it? Depends what you value and how you use it. If you pull multiple shots in a row sometimes the isolator is a must. And so on and so forth.
Osku

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drgary
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#30: Post by drgary »

Also don't underestimate practice, practice, practice. I'm sure I could develop a consistent routine and pull great espresso without any mods at all. I agree that one of the upsides of mods is the convenience of pulling consistently through measuring.

An example, is isolating the group a must? You can toggle power on and off and watch group temperature to pull consistent back-to-back shots on a second generation, steam heated machine. For that it helps to measure boiler temperature via a pressure gauge. Even there, if you're watching group temperature and it's overheating faster than before, you can toggle off more.

In the following thread, I added a Teflon gasket to a second gen, steam heated machine to make it more temperature stable, but I don't think that is necessary for back-to-back shots that don't overheat.

Reaching the Zen Zone with a Two Switch La Pavoni
Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!
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