La Pavoni Pro in the hands of pros - Page 3

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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KnowGood

#21: Post by KnowGood »

uscfroadie wrote:What in particular did you not agree with/procedure(s) you needed to undo?
Sorry for the late reply. All these below I find to be bad advice:

• Step One (that ridge going all the way around the boiler, do know why it is there?)
• Step Three/Five (manual says right in it to keep it closed - this is just me nitpicking)
• Step Seven (I'm putting 14.2 in my Kyocera assuming that there is 0.2 loss for a 14g basket - again nitpicking)
• Step Nine (over-dosing or 12g - what is it? Can't be both)
• Step Ten (25lbs... really??? :roll: )
• Step Twelve (no headroom = no disturbing the puck)
• Step Thirteen (it wouldn't require significant pressure if you didn't grind so fine and tamp so damn hard)

I could rewrite it, but why bother. When I suggested that there be no headroom, people freaked out with only Doug (and I'm guessing Richard too, since his tampers have 5mm sidewalls) suggesting that this works for them as well. Oh well, what can you do.
Lyndon
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uscfroadie

#22: Post by uscfroadie »

KnowGood wrote:Sorry for the late reply. All these below I find to be bad advice:

• Step One (that ridge going all the way around the boiler, do know why it is there?)
• Step Three/Five (manual says right in it to keep it closed - this is just me nitpicking)
• Step Seven (I'm putting 14.2 in my Kyocera assuming that there is 0.2 loss for a 14g basket - again nitpicking)
• Step Nine (over-dosing or 12g - what is it? Can't be both)
• Step Ten (25lbs... really??? :roll: )
• Step Twelve (no headroom = no disturbing the puck)
• Step Thirteen (it wouldn't require significant pressure if you didn't grind so fine and tamp so damn hard)

I could rewrite it, but why bother. When I suggested that there be no headroom, people freaked out with only Doug (and I'm guessing Richard too, since his tampers have 5mm sidewalls) suggesting that this works for them as well. Oh well, what can you do.
KnowGood,

I don't think the things you highlighted are "bad advice" and that people should avoid the steps mentioned within this thread. Clearly your preferences differ, and there's nothing wrong with that either. What tastes good to you may be swill to someone else, and vice versa. Having said that, I find that the things you mention as bad advice are really personal preference differences; however, I do disagree with you on one point - Step Twelve (headspace). Having said that, below are my thoughts on your comments...

* Step One - No comment as this isn't advice.

* Steps Three/Five - You can do it as it heats up or once you think it is up to temp to relieve false pressure. Personal preference.

* Step Seven - Understand. This is all personal preference, not bad advice.

* Step Nine - I hear you as the dosage was not consistent in the posting. In reality, some blends are better at normal doses; others up-dosed.

* Step Ten - Some people like finer grind/lighter tamp while others like a little coarser/harder tamp. There is no right or wrong - all personal preference. It's apparent you like the finer/lighter.

* Step Twelve - Disagree with you on this one. If you don't have headspace you have allotted no room for the coffee to expand once water hits it. Also, you should lift slowly (5 - 10 seconds) as the piston is really nothing more than a big syringe; lift too fast and yes, you will disrupt the puck. You can easily test this by inserting your portafilter and lifting the lever quickly, stopping just before exposing the water port. Pull out the portafilter and take a look at the puck.

* Step Thirteen - Your comment highlights the beauty of a manual lever - alter the pressure on the pull to achieve the "pressure profiling" that is all the rage on pump machines, only it's a no-cost option on manual levers. Sounds like you like the lighter pressure of say a spring lever ~ 6 bar versus something closer to a pump-driven's recommendation of 9 bar. Once again, not bad advice as it's all personal preference.

Cheers, and many happy pulls to you!
Merle

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KnowGood

#23: Post by KnowGood »

uscfroadie wrote: * Step Twelve - Disagree with you on this one. If you don't have headspace you have allotted no room for the coffee to expand once water hits it. Also, you should lift slowly (5 - 10 seconds) as the piston is really nothing more than a big syringe; lift too fast and yes, you will disrupt the puck. You can easily test this by inserting your portafilter and lifting the lever quickly, stopping just before exposing the water port. Pull out the portafilter and take a look at the puck.
This is where you adjust the grind without losing any of the profiling of the coffee. Believe me, it works and your pucks are always perfect - showing no signs of disruption, plus you get the benefit of a final tamp from the dispersion screen.

As for the swelling, leaving headroom and allowing for swelling can result in choking. Before you write it off, please try it: coarser grind (I'm using a kyocera hand grinder), light tamp with 5mm space from the lip leaving the dispersion screen doing the final tamp (2mm) and let me know your findings? If everyone here is for a better cup, why write off suggestions?
Lyndon
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michaelbenis

#24: Post by michaelbenis »

There's no reason why people shouldn't try what you recommend.

Dosing up to the screen can work quite well on the pre-millennium Pavs.

On the other hand, it wouldn't from my experience work well on an Elektra.

But it's certainly worth people trying whether or not it works out for them - especially on a lever machine, where success in the cup is even more than otherwise about getting a feel for things.

On yet another hand, certain coffees are exacting if you want to get the best out of them and require some experimentation over both grind and dose. This may not be as simple as just getting the grind "right" to avoid choking the machine when you fill the basket so that the grinds are up against the shower screen. The best balance for extraction and taste profile may simply leave more headroom.

In other words: it depends on the beans.

In many ways gaining an appreciation of this balance between bean, grind and dose is the most difficult aspects to learn.

And it's one of the reasons why the only golden rule with coffee is that there ain't no golden rule. :D
LMWDP No. 237

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KnowGood

#25: Post by KnowGood »

michaelbenis wrote:
And it's one of the reasons why the only golden rule with coffee is that there ain't no golden rule. :D
I'll drink to that! :)
Lyndon
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orphanespresso

#26: Post by orphanespresso »

geez, whenever I see my name referenced, seemingly positively, I can't help but say something, even on a zombie post such as this.....but the 2005 pro how to is a bit suspect since La Pavonis are out there in force with some pretty hard headed owners pulling over the top great shots with them....even with little Japanese hand grinders yet!

With all of the complaints about the machine, light weight, heat, "weird portafilter" et al the machine has not change much in what, 51 years? La Pavoini did not see fit to put lead weights in the base or some external cooling system and try to solve every nitpicky issue since they are making a pretty challenging machine....boiler and group, all exposed, no case, pretty demanding project overall. Though they have tried to address the temp issues, and most people don't appreciate the plastic piston and liner, so that's the thanks they get for trying!

Even though the machines haven't changed much it sure seems like the shots have really improved in the 5 years since the beginning of this post.

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michaelbenis

#27: Post by michaelbenis »

Well, I don't know about the thanks for trying. I think many see the plastic piston and liner as cost-saving measures as much as anything else.

But I very strongly agree that the so-called weaknesses of the Pavoni are exaggerated and out of perspective.

No one would criticise a Mini because it can't travel over rutted snowbound country roads. So I see it as equally inappropriate to criticise the Pavonis for not being able to knock out shot after shot after shot without requiring some attention to cooling. And even then it can be done, especially if you have a sink within easy reach.

There's no doubt that one can produce outstanding shots with them once you've got a good feel for the machine - and with outstanding controllability. To that extent they can do much more than any domestic machine I've ever tried in their priceband, while looking a damn sight more attractive, taking up less space and offering infinitely superior reliability and serviceability.

Cheers

Mike

PS: Hey, Doug: Happy New Year to you and Barb! :D
LMWDP No. 237

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Psyd

#28: Post by Psyd »

michaelbenis wrote: No one would criticise a Mini because it can't travel over rutted snowbound country roads.
Prolly 'cause they don't have a problem with it. There was a really good reason that the 'real' Mini's were a popular Rally choice...
But I knew what you meant. I love my lever for what it is and what it does. It seems to me that the lever is a very organic, 'as little betwixt you and the bean' sort of a process that, as I said earlier, may pose some issues with folk that are expecting the machinery to do much more than get the water hot and provide some method for you to manually push it through the puck.

It's called a 'manual' machine for a reason...
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

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DJF

#29: Post by DJF »

Zombie thread or not I'm sorry but I can't help myself.

I have had an old '90's Pavoni Euro for ages that I never did use. A couple of months ago I gave it a new life with all new seals and a gauge and intended to try it straight away - until I started to read this thread. I became oddly fearful and intimidated by the whole process and of the little chrome gizmo with the big lever. It looked like it was gonna be too hard.

Every morning I would stagger out for my daily fix from my beloved Faema and ignored the little chrome thingy sitting in the shadow of the E98. I was missing something. Early this morning I read the whole thread again, mashed everything together in my head and out came a little of everything posted.

Today I looked at Pavoni and said "Enough already - today we make espresso!" I got no reply.

I filled the boiler and with trembling hand turned Pavoni on. Shortly I got a reply. Using a condensed formula of lots of stuff posted here, I pulled a nice shot (blink!), steamed the milk into good micro (double blink) and drank one delightful cappa. Must be a fluke I thought. Did the cooling down thing and went again. Good result - again! I did the whole thing five times, three or four shots a go with same grind and a few tamp and temperature control variations.

With the exception of a few sinker shots, all the rest were good, excellent or drinkable and my only big mistake was when I forgot to steady Pavoni whilst pulling a shot. He shot out of my hands like a Dr Who phone box and nearly rear ended the Faema. Faema cross.

Hey! I learned a valuable lesson here. Don't worry, don't get brained out with details and just because someone else says so doesn't make it so.

I found my way so thanks to all who went before me. And sorry to anyone who hoped this thread had passed away.
"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I don't think so."

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yakster
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#30: Post by yakster »

Great story, Don, I loved the way you wrote it.

This line especially made me chuckle.
Today I looked at Pavoni and said "Enough already - today we make espresso!" I got no reply.
So I guess maybe a good motto, with apologies to the American Homebrew Association, would be "relax, don't worry, have a hand pull." Naw, sounds too risque.
-Chris

LMWDP # 272