LMWDP Rollcall - Page 211

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.

#2101: Post by hege »

Hello lever aficionados,

new member of LMWDP here: I have just finished setting up my Londinium R, and I have to say I am thoroughly amazed by the quality and hands-on feel of such a machine. But let me go back in time to explain how I ended up with the LR.

My first espresso machine was a refurbished Gaggia Baby I purchased more than ten years ago, and every machine since then was a solid upgrade. I have always paired my machines with hand grinders, starting with a Hario Mini. The Gaggia was then "upgraded" to a first generation 1970s Gaggia Baby, which I paired with the OE Pharos #046 in 2011. The temperature stability of the more massive group on the old Gaggia and the big burrs in the Pharos really impressed me, and I made some very delicious shots.

I have played a bit with the Arrarex/VAM Caravel at that time, but it did not make sense to me why anyone would choose such a machine. Yes, I was a newbie and I had to learn a lot. I thought of manual lever machines as the "steam locomotives" in the digital era. I understood their historical significance, but never thought they could keep up with new machines. I needed more time to grow up and realize that proven old technologies can sometimes easily outperform new tech :|

In 2012 I switched to a Rocket HX/E61 machine. It was a step-up in terms of consistency and certainly look&feel, but as a straight espresso drinker it didn't really improve my best shots. The next logical update was to get a grinder with better ergonomics, so I went for the HG One, which I still have to this day.

Suddenly a few months ago I started wondering whether I should upgrade my E61. For a while, I was looking at Linea Mini and even the GS3. They were quite expensive, yes, but offered even more temp stability, or even pressure profiling. Fortunately I also made a realization that I had some of my best shots on my old Gaggia Baby, and some local cafes that had spring levers (Andytown in SF, or the old Barefoot roastery bar which I believe had a VA Athena Leva?)

I started down the rabbit hole of levers vs. pump machines, and it all clicked. The machines that try to control many variables could actually confuse and distract from the main goal: pulling a delicious shot. Who cares if the temperature isn't kept exactly at a precise temperature, if the espresso tastes delicious? It suddenly made sense that a falling temp/pressure profile would lead to a different flavor profile, and might be more forgiving even. A whole new world opened up, and I no longer was convinced that lever machines are just an outdated old design that we replaced with pumps to improve the shot quality.

So I just ordered the Londinium R on a whim and now I am ready to explore the world of lever espresso. The ordering experience was extremely smooth, delivery was quick, and the machine has such a solid feel to it, I am amazed. My first espresso was OK, ended up pulling 6 more to play with the grinder settings / dose / PI pressure. What I didn't expect is that the machine is extremely forgiving. I have adjusted my HG One at least six settings away from the previous point, and each shot extracted perfectly. I think we'll be good friends.

Is the LR one of the ultimate machines? Only time will tell! I am trying to take good care of it, and explore the world of lever espresso!

LMWDP #631


#2102: Post by zesk »

Hi Everyone!,

Have been into coffee for quite a while. Been drinking hand drip coffee at home as I thought espresso was hard to achieve on a budget. However, from lurking these forums heard about the Flair Signature Pro and managed to get one! Was hooked on how fun a manual lever was and decided to get a La Pavoni Euro 1st get from Franceso's site. Still exploring and learning how to make good espresso especially on these lever machines!



#2103: Post by Pullit »

Greetings All!

Thanks to this site, I've had a fun and educated start to this fascinating hobby. After reading dozens of posts, I started with a Breville Dual Boiler and a Eureka Mignon Silenzio. I like the adjustability of the BDB and the grinder really is low noise. Being in the Bay Area, it is not hard to find a good roaster and I tried as many as I could over the last six months. Then I found my favorite post, "Italian vs. American dosing" and started wondering if that might be the direction I wanted to go. It wasn't until a trip to Italy that I found what I was searching for, as far as espresso is concerned.

I now have a Profitec Pro 800 and got the Pro T64 grinder to match. I went ahead and put in the SSP redspeed burrs. It really is fun to pull that lever several times a day and know that even small mistakes still make an amazing espresso. I'll show some pics of my setup in another post, but for now I just want to say thank you to everyone here for a great forum!
LMWDP #633


#2104: Post by MASONMAN »

I started in the lever world last year with the purchase of a La Pavoni Europiccola millennium I found for a good price on Facebook Marketplace. I played with it for a few weeks but just couldn't get the quality of shots from it that I wanted and it just wasn't a good fit for me. I have an Isomac Amica, which I really like, and decided to stick with that and sold the La Pavoni. Ever since then I have had sellers remorse and felt the call to give a lever machine another chance. I kept my eye on Craigslist and Marketplace for another deal.....

I found a vague local Craigslist post for a La Pavoni with no pics. After a couple of emails trying to explain to the seller how to add a picture to an email, I received a blurry pic which I thought was a copper and brass Europiccola. I met with the seller and was surprised to find an all brass pre-millennium. The seller had been stationed in Italy and bought the machine while there but she said she only used it a few times and it had mostly been a decoration in her kitchen for many years. My best guess is that it's from the 80's. It must have been dropped at some point and the steam knob was bent but that didn't appear to affect performance. She turned it on and it heated up quickly with no leaks and lots of water flow when the lever was raised. The heater coil was clean with no buildup. I bought it and brought it home. I decided I didn't like the shiny brass lacquered finish so I stripped it off. I am hoping it will naturally tarnish into a nice antique brass finish. I also cut the portafilter to make it bottomless. Still need to clean up a few small areas but I am very pleased with it so far.

I have now had it for two weeks and have fallen in love with her. Because I will be keeping her, I have named her: Mona Lisa. Does anyone else on here name your espresso machines? My Amica is named 'Betty'.

I have done more research and more testing and have worked into a routine which is giving me consistently excellent shots and some of the best espresso I have ever had. I realized that I needed to grind significantly finer on a lever machine than what is best for an E61 and tamp a little less firmly. Still perfecting things but that is part of the fun. I have a new gasket kit and pressure gauge heading my way.

I don't collect machines so I will be selling Betty and keeping Mona Lisa...



#2105: Post by pcrussell50 »

Great story. And I agree about the Millennium version being harder to "work" with. I have a Millennium and a late Pre-Millennium with one switch and a pressurestat. The Pre, while it will overheat faster, is easier to nail the temperature with. I only every make one or two shots at a time on any of my machines, so the the tendency to overheat does not affect me. Anyway, if I had to choose, and only have one Europiccola, it would be the Pre-M. And an all brass one would be too good to be true. Great score!

LMWDP #553


#2106: Post by andino »

Hey all!

I started my espresso journey out of happenstance and a bit of luck a back in 2016 or so. A good friend of mine (who knew I was quite the coffee nerd) happened to come across a well used Breville BES860XL at his office that they were going to throw out. He brought it home and it was all downhill from there.

That Breville wasn't the best machine but it was enough to light a fire in my journey into espresso. I had always wanted to buy an espresso machine but the price of entry at the time was quite steep for a machine. I was fresh out of college and just got an in-between job while I studied for my MCATs. The Breville was a ton of fun to learn on and figure out how to dial in a grind. After a couple months, I really felt like I had found the limits of the built in grinder on that machine. I started searching for a new grinder and ended up finding a really beat up Mazzer Super Jolly. I was able to snag it off craigslist for a cool 80 bucks! That thing had seen much much better days. I had to replace the doser "glass" as it was so caked that I couldn't remove all the oils no matter how much I soaked it. I pulled the burr carrier and soaked it in cafiza for an hour and it cleaned up nicely. After some fresh burrs that was my faithful companion for quite some time.

After I sold off the Breville, I picked up a Crossland CC1 which was a huge upgrade from the Breville. That was an awesome machine but I felt limited since it was a single boiler machine and was slow when I made more than a couple drinks. I stuck with it until last year when I moved in with my long term girlfriend and started making a lot more milk drinks every day. This prompted an upgrade to a Breville Dual Boiler which I still have today. Its a fantastic machine that was more than I ever really needed. I did everything I wanted and did it well. Still... something was missing in my day today even with the flow profiling mods I had made to it. I still felt like making espresso was somewhat disconnected.

When I purchased my HG-1 from a local, he let me test it out with his La Pavoni lever. This was a really interesting experience but I wasn't sure that it was for me. The LP seemed a bit too finicky but it was a ton of fun to pull shots on. Much like my cars, I prefer a manual trans and rowing my own gears. Something about that need to balance the gas and clutch to take off or taking one hand off the wheel going into a turn to downshift smoothly to not upset the balance of the car... that was something missing from my espresso routine. I put a pin in that for a while and for the last year or so, have been happily pulling shots and steaming milk with my BDB. But curiosity always was there about levers....

So about a month ago, my curiosity got the better of me and I started looking into LPs. I came across some talk of spring lever and the L-R came across my radar. The L-R was something that I had seen in photos many times in other's coffeestation posts. It was always such a work of art. The more I read about these spring lever machines, the more excited I got. So two weeks ago, I decided that I wanted one. I pulled the trigger on an L-R after searching around a bit for a used one. I always reached out to someone on here for a L1-V2 but I drink a lot of light roast coffee so I felt that I would always wish that I had the L-R since it was designed with lighter roasts in mind. I don't have the ability to plumb my machine so the R felt like a great balance.

Well the L-R arrived today and I was more excited than words can convey. I drove to work this morning so that I could swing by DHL to pick it up after work. Mind you, I work and live in SF if that gives you any indication about how excited I was to get my L-R today after waiting for four days while it sat at customs. A week from UK to USA isn't bad at all but I was looking forward to getting it setup and pull a shot. I can say that I'm very happy with my decision to get a lever. The first shot I pulled just a few mins ago really filled in what I felt was missing from my espresso journey. Looking forward to learning more about this as I get some more seat time with it. I can tell its going to be a fun ride and definitely don't regret for a second not getting a DE1pro instead! Though I'm sure that I'll have one of those on my counter at some point to complement it when I decide to sell my BDB. Who knows!

- Andy

LMWDP #635


#2107: Post by beanspucks »

I am back in the Lever game. I was originally number 147 in the group (beans bats), but haven't been active in years.... so now I am beanspucks. I started with a Pavoni, moved on to a Lusso, and just last week got back into the game with my dream lever machine: A Profitec Pro 800. After spending a few hours getting the grinder and water pressure dialed in I have started to pull some really good shots. I can't wait to start playing around with the included naked PF and see how good or bad I am actually doing ;)




#2108: Post by Hiroki »

Came across an Arin at a garage
sale for around $25. Didn't find much about it on the web. But posts here were quite helpful.
It's a Spanish spring lever with an open boiler sitting above the group. Is a very compact & cute design.
Holds 250cc of water, any more and you will get scalding water burbling up through the opening onto the hand that is stabilizing the top to keep it from flipping over when you depress the lever arm.
Portafilter holds between 5-8gm grounds, and it seems happiest with about 7gm.
Using a 51mm tamper & it might accept a 52mm. The 53mm I tried did not fit. With around 6.8gm gently tamped you will just see the ridge where the filter basket starts to narrow so is easy to see that you have an even tamp.
It appears or evious owner added a power switch on top (I don't see one on the web images I found) which is convenient. Add water, heat, can use an instant read thermometer or watch and listen for the boil. Switch off, then pull the lever down. There is a little bubbling bc there is some air pocket released when the piston comes up (see note re scalding-Keep your water just below the level of the horizontal plate inside the boiler). Water starts to be introduced to the puck about when the arm is halfway down.
Not much crema, but have consistently obtained shots with a very nice mouthfeel and good flavor. Best feature is that you can pull a shot, knock out the puck, rinse the portafilter, tamp another, load and pull again quickly, and noiselessly. Can get 3-4 shots before emptying the boiler. The boiler has a decent thermal mass so pull-to-pull variation is not too bad.
Son and I were happy to find we are getting better coffee than the shop nearby with a nice Marzocco. :-)
Update: Piston gasket failed, luckily spares are on their way. So added some shots of the insides
LMWDP #637

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#2109: Post by yakster »

Nice find, Hiroki, don't forget to proudly display your LMWDP # in your signature, welcome to the club.

LMWDP # 272

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#2110: Post by yakster »

Not spring, but there's the Portapresso and this crank driven project.

[PROMO] New manual crank handle espresso machine

LMWDP # 272