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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars19
4.1 out of 5 stars
Colour: Black Base|Change
Price:£355.66+ £9.00 shipping
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on 29 April 2010
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) 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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on 11 July 2003
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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on 11 September 2009
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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on 4 December 2012
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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on 26 May 2004
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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on 4 November 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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on 26 May 2013
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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on 11 September 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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on 11 July 2015
Having owned a Gaggia, this is my first foray into the realm of serious coffee. I love it. After a bit of practice you can make amazing, strong espresso with a thick crema. A few observations/recommendations:

1) Read the instructions fully before using the machine. It's part of the joy of owning such a piece of kit, and you will get more out of it if you understand the equipment and prepare it correctly before use.
2) It takes a while to get properly up to temperature - I tend to leave it for ten minutes, minimum.
3) The second shot you produce is always better than the first. I have no idea why, but it is.
4) You need to have very finely ground beans - much finer than the type sold as espresso ground beans in the supermarket. I went to my local speciality coffee shop and they ground the beans for me. The difference was amazing. If you can afford a good grinder then perhaps this is an ideal compliment to this machine.

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on 16 March 2013
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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