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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Temperamental Italian Genius
You either love it or you hate it. I love mine; others obviously hate theirs. I spent the first two years (yes, two whole years!) making the 'anaemic' shots quoted in another review, punishing myself, guiltily blaming my lack of skill and feeling like I had betrayed my wife by not really liking the machine she had so carefully saved and bought for me.

I had...
Published on 29 April 2010 by Mr. Andrew S. Wright

versus
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars way over-rated, seriously flawed design, mine was unreliable
So I have spent over a year trying to figure out how to get the best espresso out of this machine and it's really not that doable, but here's what you have to do to get close.

(1) Let it warm warm warm warm WARM up. Don't just wait for the green light to come on. No, you have to wait for that, then you need to run hot water through the portafilter slowly (so as...
Published on 18 Aug 2009 by Jonathan Payne


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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Temperamental Italian Genius, 29 April 2010
By 
Mr. Andrew S. Wright (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
You either love it or you hate it. I love mine; others obviously hate theirs. I spent the first two years (yes, two whole years!) making the 'anaemic' shots quoted in another review, punishing myself, guiltily blaming my lack of skill and feeling like I had betrayed my wife by not really liking the machine she had so carefully saved and bought for me.

I had progressed from a very cheap pseudo-machine, via an automatic pumped one to this gloriously vain peacock of an espresso-maker. It had seemed so easy with the others - switch on, wander off, come back, pop the cup under the portafilter, press the button and wait until it was full. Then, in about 20 seconds, would be a thick-crema'd espresso. Lovely, but somehow unfulfilling.

The continental inefficiency of the machine was brought home when I first unpacked it - there were no video instructions, as were promised; no paper instructions, as were promised - just a beautiful machine with a little patch of damaged chrome under the drip tray - already a failing in the world of time and motion and efficiency that we currently inhabit. I made all of the mistakes that the other reviews are talking about - exploding coffee, scalded hands, drips everywhere, milk everywhere, anaemic shots, double-pulls, no crema, nothing but crema...I asked a barista for advice, he laughed, and talked about 'be careful, it might blow a hole in the ceiling!'

However, this machine is so simple in its construction, just a boiler, a thermostat and a portafilter, that I have finally realised it does exactly what you want it to do! However, in the same way you wouldn't try to build a house out of pillows, it can't make good espresso without good coffee (buy good beans, grind them fine yourself, use an expensive grinder); it can't make the right temperature espresso without being warmed up (let it warm a while, release pressure when the green light is on via the steam wand, warm the portafilter with a blank shot); it can't make endless repetitive identical shots (pressure goes up and goes down - treat each shot as a new one, let it warm, release pressure, let it cool and reset itself - apologise for the inconsistency at dinner parties - guests will forgive you when they see you working the machine); it can't create crema without fresh beans (grind yourself)...you get the picture - there's a lot it can't do...but, what it can do is make very very good espresso - I have just had one.

Buy the Pavoni, but think carefully - realise that this is more Rossi than Rooney and will be with you a lifetime if you are prepared to, during which you may never fully understand it!
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pavoni Euorpiccola, 11 July 2003
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
The best lever espresso machine on the market. Makes great coffee, looks cool, can be fixed by you - if you are reasonably competent with spanners BUT requires care and attention to get the best from it. If you don't like the idea of a little craft in the making then get an automatic machine, because you probably don't LOVE coffee that much - so it won't matter.
If you do buy one and get the hang of it (not difficult) you'll be rewarded with great coffee. Beware thoough - you must have a grinder that is good too. Shop bought ground coffee often is not fine enough for the Pavoni. Buy beans - Sainsbury's Lombardy espresso benas are cheap and good - and experiment with the grind - it needs to feel like a coarse powder between your fingers - not fine grains - in other words, its a fine grind. Remember to tap the grind down in the basket and then tamp it lightly.
Stephen Feber
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The true classic - best there is, 26 May 2004
By 
H.M. Stad (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
This is the true classic when it comes to coffee machines. It has been on the market for ages. I am having mine since 1978 and still I am getting an excellent espresso from it.
Nowadays like almost all classic products this machine is probably outclassed by modern computer controlled machines. Unless ....Unless you have found out which grind is perfect, .... unless you have learned when exactly to pull the lever, ....unless you have mastered the craft of making espresso. Practice makes perfect!
This is the ultimate machine for serious coffeer lovers who think it is fun to experiment how to get the perfect espresso.
Huib Stad
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original espresso machine can not fail, 11 Sep 2009
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
With this machine, you will go through the motions and a long and frustrating learning curve to make the ultimate espresso. So you need to be prepared to spend time learning and be a bit of a coffee obsessed and committed nerd. It is also not very good money for value as you can get the same perfect espresso with other cheaper and easier machines (but do your homework and choose wisely!). HOWEVER, it is still unique and the best. Because once you master it, it will simply make you the perfect espresso too, but forever. This machine can not really break. All you need to do is service the gaskets from times to times (Once every other year, id say) and a good clean every year, which requires spanners and screwdrivers. And any rare problem with the machine can easily be fixed by buying any spare part, down to a single screw.

Now ask yourself. Is 400 good value for a machine you will always have and will always reward you all your life with the perfect espresso? (and look gorgeous too?)

I have had many brands and types of espresso machines, but since I bought this one 10 years ago, I don't feel the need for any other one. I have also read the interesting and contributing review from the Norwegian Board of Coffee. However, Lever Operated La Pavoni's (which also manufacture Gaggia machines) is consistently under-rated by comparating bodies, but it does not reflect its true performance because of the learning curve to master it which research /comparative studies never take into account. And one that just uses a Pavoni for the first few times can not make a good espresso. I'm also very surprised that they have found the water too hot as precisely, the idea of a lever machine is to use manual pressure in order not to use pressure generated by heat which is too high. So it really doesn't make any sense: In the La Pavoni a smaller pressure is achieved in the boiler, which is then released in the "group" by opening it with the lever. The group acts as a "heat sink" instantly cooling the water before it hits the coffee at about 90 degrees which is the perfect temperature for an espresso (see Illy's book on the matter) chemically, for crema reasons and bitterness avoidance reasons). Heat and pressure-valve machines generally open up at above 100 which is bad for coffee. (like stove-top machines)

So if you're into mastering YOUR OWN espresso, this one's for you. But you'll need to take the time to make it (a good 10 minutes) and after 6 espressos, the thing is too hot and needs to lay at rest. ... Very... crafty and temperamental. Old school basically, but then who wants a new school espresso...
It is NOT a machine for the person who is constantly in a rush in the morning to grab a cup before going to work. As you've gathered: I wouldn't change mine for anything else.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Espresso, 26 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Top of the range machine which produces espresso on a par with the best coffee shops in the high street. The best...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic machine with just a little effort, 4 Dec 2012
By 
Martin Dearlove (Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
I've had my La Pavoni for many years. After a little practice I soon found it makes a sensational cup of coffee. You do need to get the grind right. Too coarse and the steam/water just floods through; too fine and you need to be Superman to depress the lever. But once you've set the grind on on your grinder it is no longer an issue.

I always use the larger filter as the smaller one just doesn't hold enough coffee. I don't have any problem with warming anything up - mine works fine as soon as the green light blinks out. Always get a lovely crema on the coffee.

Never had the greatest luck with the foaming wand - I just use a frother (the plunger type - it's very good) and some warm milk. I wouldn't recommend the machine for use at Dinner parties - it just isn't designed for that - however, if you do want to make multiple cups - best that you get several filters so you can remove one and just pop the next one in.

Since getting the machine I've invested in an expensive grinder and a coffee roaster - quite a learning curve - but the knowledge gained has helped me prepare coffee exactly to my taste.

If you are not prepared to invest a little time in getting it right, then this is not the machine for you. If you are prepared, you will be immensely rewarded.

And, on top of all that - it is simply beautiful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply brilliant, 4 Nov 2012
Make no mistake these are not cheap also it takes a while to learn how to use them, however when you do it is better and cheaper than any coffee house experience.
We bought one two years ago and couldn't life without it now. 1st thing in the morning with a latte and then a machiato in the afternoon.

As well as this it looks great in the kitchen almost prehistoric looking. You do have to take care of it, cleaning wise it is good to descale and clean the attachments with real care at least fortnightly.
I cannot recommend the Pavoni enough.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best espresso ever, 11 Sep 2011
I selected this item because i didn't want yet another pump-driven-quickly-broken machine. I read reviews written by people who have had this for well over ten years, and in light of that, thought the price was very reasonable. I was slightly cautious about the machine being difficult to master, but i like tinkering, and thought i'd be alright after a few weeks or possibly months.
Well my message to anyone considering this item, or the pro version, who might also be worried about mastering it, is don't worry. If you are prepared to try tinkering with a couple of variables (tamp force, amount of coffee, fineness of grind, pre infusion time), and if you are able to watch a couple of you tube video demonstrations, you will master it in a few days, or possibly a week, like i did. It isn't difficult.
And when you've mastered it, the espresso it can produce is wonderful, and indeed can be tailored exactly to your tastes - this is not a one trick pony. You have complete control of the brewing process.
It takes me around ten minutes now, from switch on, to produce exactly the espresso i like.
A good machine.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply The Best, 16 Mar 2013
By 
John Woodman (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After deeply unsatisfactory experiences with cheap-ish pump machines - yes, I'm talking about you, Gaggia Classic - I've returned to my first love, the La Pavoni. As long as you have the patience to watch a couple of YouTube how-to videos and to experiment with your grinder to find the right setting, you will be rewarded with the best espresso you will ever get from a domestic machine (can't speak for anything else because I don't make it). Simple, satisfying, worth every penny.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars way over-rated, seriously flawed design, mine was unreliable, 18 Aug 2009
By 
Jonathan Payne (Atherton, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: La Pavoni Europiccola Lever Espresso Machine, Chrome Base (Kitchen & Home)
So I have spent over a year trying to figure out how to get the best espresso out of this machine and it's really not that doable, but here's what you have to do to get close.

(1) Let it warm warm warm warm WARM up. Don't just wait for the green light to come on. No, you have to wait for that, then you need to run hot water through the portafilter slowly (so as not to use up all the hot water) to try to get the filter group to the proper temp. It took me a long time before I noticed that the second shot was always way better than the first.

(2) It takes at least 10 minutes to get to temp. so you can start steaming.

(3) Since there's only one boiler, I am not sure how it keeps the coffee from getting too hot while providing the nice, super hot steam you need to get a good, fine, micro foam. In fact, I couldn't even do that no matter what without bending the steam wand so that it pointed straight down so one of the three holes at the bottom wasn't pointing up into the air, splattering all over the place. (I even had the guys in the store try to demo it to me and they couldn't make it work either.)

(4) Everything is manual. So, after you force your shot through the machine and into your glass, there's no valve that opens to relieve the pressure. So if you just take the filter group off you might get blasted with steam all over your hands. The manual says to do it slowly and angle it away from you. BUT, I found it very difficult and hard to predict how much back pressure remains, and sometimes there was so much pressure that it splattered coffee grinds all over the place! I finally figured out that if I pump the handle twice, getting a larger shot, somehow that ... fixed that problem.

(5) Mine has developed leaks twice (not my fault). The symptoms were that it was running a little hotter than usual, which ironically enabled me to produce the kind of foam I like. Also, once (I admit) I turned it on with no water in it. Instead of blowing a fuse (like it is supposed to) the thing developed an electrical fault that flipped the circuit breakers in my house. How hard is it to protect a device like that from such a thing?

In summary, For 500 I expected a lot more. This thing is really just not up for the task. It's a bad idea to have a single reservoir that you build up so much pressure in that steam comes out one place and hot (and often TOO hot) water comes out another.

PS: I love with a passion the ritual of making espresso in the morning. I looked forward to it for many months while still trying to figure out the missing ingredient to the way I was operating the machine. And then I came across an article explaining more traditional machines having valves that release the pressure on the filter head/group when the shot is done, and that's when I knew it was just complete and utter nonsense.
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