La Pavoni Europiccola upgrades... worth it?

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Rickpatbrown

#1: Post by Rickpatbrown »

I've been digging into into all the past posts about the La Pavoni. It's interesting seeing how much has changed in 15 years. Not so much with the Pavoni, but mostly grinders. Based on modern recommendations and equipment (Apollo grinder, TC probe on bell, proper dosing, etc) I found it pretty easy to get good (on occasion... amazing results). I see that there are some other really major events things you can do to the machine, and I'm wondering what the return on that investment is. Mainly, I'm thinking about stuff like:
1) pressure profiling kit
2) brass sleeve insert
3) custom tamper
4) shower screen
5) precision basket
6) pstat adjustments

I'd love to hear the feedback for how much of an impact these upgrades (or others) made on the espresso.

LObin

#2: Post by LObin » replying to Rickpatbrown »

Seems you're considering a millennium/gen 3 machine, correct?

The mods I think are game-changers are not actually part of your list! :D

1. Bottomless portafilter
2. Puck screen
3. Digital group thermometer
4. Single hole steam tip
5. Steam tap silicone mod
6. Bong isolator or teflon heat breaker (if making more than one shot per session)

A better tamper (a necessity), IMS shower screen and group sleeve upgrade (SS or brass) are also worth it no doubt.

A pressure profiling kit is a nice addition but a lot of owners have reported not looking a it as much after a while. If it was me, I'd favor all the things I've listed before thinking of a PP kit.

You're about to enter the rabbit hole... enjoy!


Cheers!
LMWDP #592

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Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#3: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

Ah yes ... it's a newer Millenium.
I just cut the portafilter last weekend with a hole saw and sanded it to buff out the scratches. Looks pretty good.

LObin

#4: Post by LObin »

Nice. Check the first item off my list then ;)

There's a huge La Pavoni owner community on FB. You'll find load of information there.

A puck screen improves extraction, keeps the shower screen and piston clean of coffee fines and oil, plus it gives nice dry puck time after time. I have the Coffee-Sensor one. Love it.

A digital group thermometer is like getting your first pair of subscription glasses when you didn't know you had myopia...
LMWDP #592

Amberale

#5: Post by Amberale »

I really like the LP, but....
What rankles me is that the company has done absolutely nothing over the last 20 years to bring it into the current century wrt technology and theories on thermal stability.
Nothing at all!
For the price of a LP and then all the add ons/work arounds to get any consistency they just are not worth it in my mind.
If I could pick up a second hand model cheaply I would consider it but at over a thousand bucks (AUD) for a basket case plus the same amount for the add ons and still farting around with wet towels and bodgied temperature sensors I'm just not going there.

ojt

#6: Post by ojt »

Amberale wrote:What rankles me is that the company has done absolutely nothing over the last 20 years to bring it into the current century wrt technology and theories on thermal stability.
Nothing at all!
That's actually what appeals to many of the LP owners, I think. And the small size. Depends where one is but here in Europe / Italy it's in my opinion a very good machine for the price. I paid 600 for a new Pro model.
Rickpatbrown wrote:I'd love to hear the feedback for how much of an impact these upgrades (or others) made on the espresso.
In my opinion:

0. Good grinder.

1. Digital thermometer, better if high resolution K-type probe or similar. This is the number one mod.

2. Puck screen or just a simple paper filter disc.

3. The isolator mod if pulling multiple shots but you can do without.

4. Bottomless PF

5. Funnel, WDT tool, etc for puck prep. Not LP related though.

In fact the machine itself doesn't need that many mods IMHO. The thermometer is the number 1. The original plastic sleeve might be the best isolator of all the other options for example. But many like to switch plastic parts to metallic ones. It's up to personal taste. Just get a good grinder, fresh coffee and a thermometer and you're pulling good coffee in no time.

Was to buy one again I would get a grouphead service kit and some DOW / Molykote 111 and service it immediately. Also probably open the base and do some kind of an anti-rust treatment.
Osku

Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#7: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

Amberale wrote:I really like the LP, but....
What rankles me is that the company has done absolutely nothing over the last 20 years to bring it into the current century wrt technology and theories on thermal stability.
Nothing at all!
For the price of a LP and then all the add ons/work arounds to get any consistency they just are not worth it in my mind.
If I could pick up a second hand model cheaply I would consider it but at over a thousand bucks (AUD) for a basket case plus the same amount for the add ons and still farting around with wet towels and bodgied temperature sensors I'm just not going there.
It's certainly not worth $2000 ... although I have to say, it has produced somenof the best espresso I've tasted. I just wish it did it more consistently. We are pretty lucky in the US. These guys pop up used all the time. $300-$500 is easy to get. I'm trying to not let the add-ons double or triple the price.

I havent heard anyone mention precision baskets. Are these not so effective?

I'm gonna try an aeropress filter this morning.

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ojt

#8: Post by ojt »

Rickpatbrown wrote:I havent heard anyone mention precision baskets. Are these not so effective?
Depends what you have. My OEM baskets are clearly made by IMS. Exact same hole pattern and all. The "precision" baskets are jus a bit shinier.

Perhaps the shower screen upgrade might make more sense.
Osku

Rickpatbrown (original poster)

#9: Post by Rickpatbrown (original poster) »

Paper filter semmed to work really well. It's a total pain to cut them to size. I think a dispersion screen in the puck is a good one.

The stock baskets taper. Do other baskets have straight sides that promote a more linear water path?

ojt

#10: Post by ojt »

My precision baskets are exactly the same but shinier

Osku