LMWDP Rollcall

A haven dedicated to manual espresso machine aficionados.
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Posts: 367
Joined: May 4th, 2005

Postby srobinson » Sep 05, 2005, 5:04 pm

Since this site is becoming quite the lever family, I wanted to start a post to let members say a bit about themselves and hopefully show a picture of their machines.

If interested in joining this elite club, post a short story about yourself as a reply to this thread and your passion for levers. Once your post is complete, click HERE to register; the list below will be automatically updated with your login and new LMWDP member number.

Now many folks have asked about where the Lever Machine World Domination Plot came from. Well my other hobby is old Porsches. I am currently driving a 1983 911SC and as many of you know who belong to other hobby clubs there is a strong rivalry within the marque. So on the Porsche side we created SCWDP as a way to keep our conversations to the truly informed and quickly sort out the other poor individuals who had purchased outside of the 1978-1983 years.

I saw a lot of similarities with the lever espresso machines and also the hard-core devotion around these machines. So with sample in hand, I created this club to be the only active site on the web to actively discuss these beautiful machines. Now world domination is at hand.

With that background... let's see the soldiers of this worthy army...

Official list of LMWDP members:

LMWDP #001 srobinson
LMWDP #003 Rocket Coffee
LMWDP #004 another_jim
LMWDP #005 MarkJ
LMWDP #006 gaggia1948
LMWDP #007 bobcraige
LMWDP #008 KarlSchneider
LMWDP #009 bishopthirteen
LMWDP #010 prof_stack
LMWDP #011 IronBarista
LMWDP #012 TUS172
LMWDP #013 Alchemist
LMWDP #014 Hotrodespresso
LMWDP #015 coffeefrog
LMWDP #016 espressobsessed
LMWDP #017 Fullsack
LMWDP #018 Rainman
LMWDP #019 ladalet
LMWDP #020 Paul L
LMWDP #021 Bob Barraza
LMWDP #022 JonR10
LMWDP #023 Hogfire
LMWDP #024 espressoperson
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LMWDP #026 Dr Jim
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LMWDP #001

Paul L
Posts: 73
Joined: August 25th, 2005

Postby Paul L » Sep 05, 2005, 5:54 pm

As reported elsewhere in this section, I've wrestled with the technical vacuum of a brain I have for digital photography and I hope some casual shots can now be found below.

Now these are not show shots in any sense, just a handful of quick grabs after I had: read all I could find on levers in a handful of days, pondered, read, pondered, monitored eBay for a week or two, found and joined this lever section on HB, considered an Elektra, considered a Pav Pro, a Cremina, a Gaggia Factory, visited a chap with a Europiccola, like the KISS and small size idea, pondered, ordered and received. Phew.

Whilst feeling rather geekish and self indulgent I thought I should perhaps create my own thread, lest any questions arise on my humble set-up.

My brief notes on the five shots are as follows:

Shot 1:

Europiccola EL - not groomed and polished for the shot, just used in fact which is why the boiler cap is off.

This perhaps autosuggests just how quick and easy it all is. Fill, switch on, grind, tamp, milk in jug, light goes out, use lever in whichever method you're following to brew into warmed cup, purge steam wand, froth, pour onto espresso, clean/empty Pav through use of lever and steam wand to ensure it is clean and pressure gone, open top and leave to cool.

A kitchen should be a feelgood room of course and the radio is important. A nice little Tivoli which is no Troughline, tubed Magnum Dynalab, tubed Unico or Kremlin or Accuphase but thankfully is not a DAB monstrosity either. Sorry.

Shot 2:

Not much to add. Note the UK plug, this is some kind of contraption with UK 3-pins that you screw up after putting the continental (European) 2-pin plug inside it. Included for anyone in the UK wondering what La Pavoni's idea of a UK plug is.

Shot 3:

I wanted to help a newbie understand that to render 4 out of 5 (perhaps more) bought coffees as barely drinkable (and often not!) it doesn't take a lot of kit. It also adds to one or two recent posts. The 58mm Gaggia portafilter is shown purely as a comparison with the 51mm La Pavoni one and whilst the Gaggia looks more substantial the La Pavoni is heavier and feels better. I thought I would dislike the fact that the La Pavoni (double) filter basket is not held in the portafilter but actually I seem to prefer it to the (double) Gaggia shown.

Supplied plastic tampers from both La Pavoni and Gaggia included to show the size difference along with a proper one in the background from http://www.happydonkey.co.uk. The latter does not break the bank and nicely unscrews for different bases although it is not the same thread size as Reg Barber offerings. Shame.

The jug was the advice of the shop assistant when I bought my Gaggia Cubika earlier in the year, he suggested a smaller jug for home use. Right or wrong? No idea but I've learned to work with it and have no complaints. Certainly the Gaggia wand is fairly low down and does not swivel in height and so a smaller jug helps clear the kitchen top, with a La Pavoni this is not important and I think a bigger jug will help to see what is going in there. Oh dear, as someone said today "APD is setting in fast and there's no return. I mean congratulations"

APD? Acquisition, despair and poverty! I liked that and think it will stick.

Shot 4:

Slightly different view to show the filter basket and tamper sizes clearly.

Shot 5:

My Macap 4 and the Gaggia Cubika. I don't use the hopper as you can see, I put the base upside down as shown to keep dust etc. away as I use only the beans I need then I immediately clean and hoover the burrs and the doser! Obsessive, I don't know. I took note of all those comments about keeping everything clean so whilst I don't particularly polish outer surfaces I am fussy about the pathways. The nice things about the Cubika is that good-sized metal hotplate so it has its use! Actually, my end result is better from it as it should be by now so it's a useful benchmark. If I get into a different warming routine I can see me donating it, probably to my parents so I can use it when I visit them!

The real indulgence out of all this as you can probably see was the Macap. I figured it's up to me to learn to froth, to source freshly roasted beans or start roasting (iRoast arrives any day!), learn to tamp and master a machine which gets the basics right. The bit that one should not mess around with though and get the best one can afford is the grinder. Am I right? I've no idea but it feels right and I don't regret this.

I'll leave it there and hope it doesn't bore you too much. In the midst of schooling, parenting, business and all the other things which occupy us daily one can lose any sense of reality and perspective on pastimes!
Coffeetime (UK) Greens Club

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Posts: 412
Joined: May 25th, 2005

Postby KarlSchneider » Sep 05, 2005, 7:18 pm


Thanks for the photos, show quality or no. I enjoyed reading your story. I will soon be posting some more photos and an update on my first month with my Elektra. I think those of us who have decided to take the "less-travelled road" should tell our stories.

And again, thanks to Dan and Steve for creating this space within HB!
LMWDP # 008

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Postby espressoperson » Sep 05, 2005, 10:38 pm

Just watched the Phillies lose in a valiant effort to hold on to the lead in the wildcard race but still happy because I discovered this forum! I joined home-barista back in June but didn't hang out here much and didn't notice these lever threads till this weekend. However - talk about the amazing abilities of lever machines - my Cremina got to this forum three weeks before I did!

I bought my new Olympia Cremina for $350, over 20 years ago! Can't say I've been as lucky in every area of life (e.g., I bought a betamax), but no question I lucked out on this one! There is nothing flimsy or cheap about the Cremina, NOTHING! You've got to see it and feel it to appreciate how solid it is. The portafilter has a nice heft to it, the 49 mm basket holds a comfortable 15 g of coffee, and it easily produces rich 2 oz shots. It fits my drinking pattern perfectly. One double at a time, every few hours throughout the day. We emulate the Italians' drink; why not emulate their drinking patterns too?

I can apply most everything I read on the forums about improving espresso output and taste to the Cremina. For example, the new and recent (to me) emphasis on distribution of grinds has improved my lever shots just as it has improved peoples' pump shots. And while a Solis Major Plus grinder will produce good shots, a perfectly dialed in Mazzer Mini will allow me to finesse a pull with perfect resistance and produce shots with bountiful crema and sweet, sweet taste.

Is it easy to learn? I can't remember :-). It's easier and faster for me than using Silvia. I believe that time spent trying to master it will be paid back in improvements and eventual mastery. Just think about the trouble people have with their new Silvias that they can push through to success because of the many users around to help them through the learning curve. There are just fewer of us lever users around to help prospective lever users over the hump. Too bad, because the lever machine is perfect for the "small is beautiful" crowd. 99.9 % of my espresso usage is just me - 3 to 8 espressos per day, and maybe one or two for my wife. Why buy a machine for the few times a year we have a crowd over? Let them suffer with freshly home roasted pourover drip.
PS. This is an updated version of a post I made on another forum last month in what turns out to have been a parallel thread to one on this forum. Just a few thoughts to add after having tried to catch up on all the wonderful post here this evening.

Besides the beautiful woodware added a few months ago, my Cremina is stock, except for whatever Jim at 1st-Line has done to keep it running at its peak, including a new heating element a year and a half ago. The wonderful thing about being the original owner is that every scratch, dent, ding, on the machine is mine! I want those reminders of my life with Cremina. So I'm on the other side of the spectrum from Steve, who wants to create his own canvas for living with the machine. Still I marvel at the transformation he has made. Can't help wondering if the Cremina was just meant to have a glossy black shell all along? Will mine be crying out for a paint job soon? Talk about an exclusive club!

I already posted a couple of notes about my low-tech steam wand mods for the Cremina. I'm hoping someone here will get on the case and come up with a more permanent solution to improve frothing that we can use.

Finally, I'm staking a claim as the oldest AND longest using creminaut here. A distinction others may not want to claim even if deserved. So I'm hoping Steve will grant me an out-of-turn LMWDP number of 24 - which I would share with my baseball hero, Willie Mays, and which I hope would be retired when I do.

Many thanks to the creators of this forum and the contributors.


Olympia Cremina 67
Mazzer Mini

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Postby JonR10 » Sep 05, 2005, 11:47 pm

I have owned a couple of lever machines now. My current one is the miniGaggia.
It's about 30+ years old and in pristine condition (could probably use new seals).

I used the machine almost exclusively while I waited for my WEGA to arrive, and still keep her on the counter for those times when I want to be at one with the coffee in a more personal and intimate way. The mini has an open boiler, no steam, very steady temp.

For more pics go to http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espres...nes/125858

And here's the machine herself...

And one more....
One thing I really like is the 58mm standard size PF and basket.

Here's a shot from the miniG...

Jon Rosenthal
LMWDP #0022
Mazzer Mini
mini Gaggia

No plans to use this number in any standard signature - I just thought we were having fun.

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Rocket Coffee
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Joined: June 8th, 2005

Postby Rocket Coffee » Sep 06, 2005, 7:39 am

It all started for me a good 15 plus years ago with a never before used, still in org. packaging 1950's Europiccola (and a blade grinder). I still use my LP on average twice a month and take it with me for extended trips and vacations.

The LMWDP is growing... it's growing I tell ya!



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Joined: August 26th, 2005

Postby ladalet » Sep 06, 2005, 7:28 pm

My journey to become LMWDP #19 began about 4 years ago. At the time I really did no even like coffee let alone espresso. A friend took me to a Starbucks for some coffee one day and I did not know what to order. The Barista, back then they actually still tamped and pulled shots, recommended an americana. I really liked it. Shortly after that I was the proud owner of my first espresso machine. I purchased a Krups Bravo Steam Espresso (moka) machine and a Braun blade grinder. The brew actually tasted about as good as what I had at Starbucks. A couple of weeks later, while taking a little vacation in the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound I tried an americano at a little espresso shop. A light went off--so this is how coffee is supposed to taste. I also found out that I did not have a real espresso machine. I needed one with a pump.

When I got back from my trip I purchased a Saeco Via Venito and a Capresso 551 grinder from Costco. All was happy in my coffee universe for about a year. Because I like to do things right and found espresso very interesting, I started looking into espresso equipment and going to espresso sights like CoffeeGeek and CoffeeKid. I learned about 3-way solinoids, aluminum vs commercial brass groups, heat exchangers, and most devastating of all--pressurized portafilters with crema enhancers. That was not real crema. It was a trick. I really did not know if I was actually pulling a good healthy shot. Although my coffee was better than Starbucks it did not hold a candle to a good cafe. Now I knew why. I needed a brass commercial group, a three way solinoid, a heat exchanger, and most important of all--no crema enhancer. While doing research for a better replacement I found myself strangely attracted to lever machines. However, the steep learning curve made me decide to get my sea legs with a good pump machine first. The machine that had the best reputation and history as "THE" home machine at the time was the Pasquini Livia 90. Someday it would be mine.

About this time I started going to a local URM Cash and Carry grocery outlet. Up high on a shelf they had a Pasquini Livia 90 and 3 drawer base just out of reach--physically and figuratively. One day when chatting with the Asst. Manager I joked that if they ever just wanted to get rid of that machine that had been up there for at least the 6 months I had been shopping there to let me know. He said, in a serious voice, just a minute I'll be right back. A few minutes later he returned with a smile. It is yours for $650 with the base. After a few silent seconds I closed my mouth and made sure I was dry and wrote out a check. I thought I had reached coffee heaven with this purchase--until I got home and tried to pull a shot--a quick 8 seconds of colored water gushed out on my grinders finest setting. I quickly realized that I was going to have to upgrade my grinder as well. I found a Gaggia MDF on sale at WholeLatteLove for $149 and now all was right with the world.

That was 2+ years ago and all was well when about 2 months ago my sisters Saeco Classico gave up the ghost. She wanted to know what machine she should get or if I wanted to sell mine. She only wanted to spend under $700 and wanted a 3-way solinoid and HX. I told her the only upgrade I would even consider being interested in would be a good lever machine. I came up with an idea that could work out for everyone. Since she was very proficient at using Ebay, I suggested that she buy me a lever machine that met my needs, now matter how cheap, for under $700 and she could have my Livia. At first I had her bidding on a Elektra Micro Casa a leva. Because of price, I had not even considered a Olympia Cremina. But there it was on Ebay with 7 hours to go and was at $355. I phoned my sister to forget about the Elekra and try to get the Cremina. Well, she won the bid at $660 and now she has a well maintained Livia 90 and I have my Cremina. Now I am #19 in the Lever Machine World Domination Project and all is right and good with the world. The Espresso Gods have led my down the path to espresso Nirvana and showered me with blessings. I really appreciate this Lever machine thread and look forward to learning from the other members the finer nuances of producing this divine nectar of the holy bean.
Lance Goffinet
LMWDP #019

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Joined: August 24th, 2005

Postby h00ktern » Sep 11, 2005, 4:47 pm

I notice espressoperson has LMWDP #24, and am hoping that I may become privileged to display LMWDP #25; I have personal reasons for desiring twenty-five...

Qualification: I recently purchased an Elektra Micro Casa A Leva for home use, together with a La Cimbali Junior. I got tired of using the crappy retail machines over the years, even though I have become fairly proficient in sqeezing out drinkable shots and milky mixes. I am partial to the latter, as drinking several "colladas" per shift were not doing my system any good. My "cafe con leche" addiction leads to my packing of Moka pots and camping stoves whenever I am away from my own, or another's qualified brew. A day just isn't the same without it, and work nearly impossible. I am definitely of the American "Super-size" culture, but only from my own hand. I think I drink too much coffee, going through 2 and a half gallons of milk a week at work.

I am currently trying to become proficient in the diminishing art of espresso, and the draw of the lever was almost instantaneous. I am drawn to the details of this craft, and want to master it for my own enjoyment. Attaining that, I will be happy to share the fruit of my labors. I am slowly reducing my super-size addiction, in favor of more reasonable euro quantities. At home, with this equipment, it is not producing withdrawal symptoms. The quality of the drinks, as well as the "routine" of entering the zone while producing them more than makes up for the smaller quantity.

I am happy to have found this site, especially this forum. Levers rule...

Safe trips,

Dr Jim
Posts: 58
Joined: May 30th, 2005

Postby Dr Jim » Sep 13, 2005, 11:47 am

OK - lets see here, am now down to 'only' 1.5 La Pavoni machines - the half machine has a cracked grouphead and is a steamer only - but our original Europiccola continues to chug along making daily shots for Katherine.

The Pontevecchio Lusso machine is now securely installed onboard Nonchalant and provides me my daily excercise:


The La Peppina sits, somewhat neglected, on a counter at the Lab - while we blissfully play with our new toy, an Isomac Rituale, but it will soon find another home.


If this seems like a fair number of machines, it is, but we have a boat, an apartment, and a Lab to keep in espresso so they all get used.

I'm <<still>> looking for a full-sized 58mm spring lever machine like an old Gaggia, Astoria, or Rancilio, since I've become absolutely addicted to the 18gm grounds capacity of a triple basket in the Isomac.



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Postby chopinhauer » Sep 15, 2005, 6:05 am

Hi All,

I've recently joined HB and would like to introduce myself, tell my story (a bit longish, I'm afraid)and join the plot. So here goes.

I just sold my three month old, perfectly functioning Rancilio Silvia and reverted, happily, to my 25 year old perfectly functioning Pavoni Europiccola. And I think from now on its lever machines for me. Why?

But before saying why I sold Silvia, I should set out why I purchased her in the first place, when I had a old, but basically perfect little
Pavoni. The answer to this is the internet: Coffeegeek and alt.coffee in particular (as well as the message board, coffeesnobs in Australia) where Silvia has a strong following. I've long been a coffeegeek in the sense of searcher for the perfect coffee and just felt I had to 'step up' to a 'real machine'. After years of reading, and being cashed up and ready to go, I decided to get a Silvia. I could have purchased basically any machine including an HX in the sub-Cimbali junior class, but decided that an HX was overkill; especially if the limitations involved in moving from coffee making to milk frothing could be overcome by having two machines; one for coffee (silvia) and one for milk (pavoni).

So I purchased a Silvia from an excellent local vendor close to where I live. (I also purchased a Rocky in my go Rancilio campaign, even though I already had a very capable pavoni jolly grinder, which, in Oz, retail for more than the Rocky). And, to be honest I was immediately happy with my initial results, especially after I began to use a new blend of strong and sweet beans produced by the local roasters, Allpress. I'd long been looking for just such a blend, and serendipitously I discovered it just at the time I changed from the pavoni to the Silvia. Anyway, I was happily making coffees for all, sundry and myself until I began to sense a bit of sourness in every second or so shot. I'd never really experienced sour coffees with the pavoni, whose problem was bitterness, and I realised that temperature issues were beginning to creep in to Silvia's performance. Yes, I was still satisfied, but realised that Silvia was not really consistent, something that has been said countless times in these and other forums, and something I knew when I purchased her.

So a month or so ago I got the europiccola down, loaded her up and made a coffee. It was totally perfect. Strong, sweet, neither sour nor bitter. (Regarding strength, the double filter for the pavoni, holds the same as the la marzocco single that I was using on the Silvia but produced a much stronger, sweeter shot. I always found that the double on Silvia was a tad too strong and, dare I say it, 'under-complex', for my tastes). Anyway, I began using pavoni again and found that with the new blend of beans and new grinder it was producing consistently better espressos, macchiatos and piccolo lattes than Silvia, as well itself, before I moved to the Rancilio. Plus the Europiccola is far more beautiful, smaller, has no heat up time, and makes milk instantly and just as well as Silvia for smallish quantities. Yes, it does overheat after two coffees, but 98% of the time I just make coffees for myself anyway.

So I bit the bullet, limited my financial losses, sold Silvia and went back to my first wife, Pavoni.

The lesson of all this. It is not that Silvia is not as good as it is cut out to be. Quite the contrary, Silvia is just as good as everyone says, but no better than it's sympathetic critics make it out to be. Rather it is that the Pavoni is a really fabulous machine, especially if one uses it only for oneself. If it must service more than two people then its compromises become quite limiting. But all the stuff about it being hard to master is utter rubbish. Yes, it takes some getting used to after one becomes habituated to pump machines and yes one can chuck out the minuscule single filter which holds about 5 grams. But once one gets used to it, uses only the double filter basket, it is very, very predictable. And it produces coffees of a particular sweetness and texture that I find more complex than from vibe pump machines.

So I guess I'm a lever man to stay and, as such, would like to be at the vanguard of the revolution. Please put me in the front line to fight those Silvias, Giottos, Livias, Andrejas et al.

LMWDP #027

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