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Found 19 results

  1. Hello everyone! I've just received an ancient model of the La Pavoni Professional (looks like full-brass exterior, with lots of greenish and/or white corrosion) which is in terrible condition. I've looked for videos of de-scaling old, unused machines, but none of them even closely resemble what I see in my La Pavoni. If anyone knows, can you tell me if the La Pavoni's boiler was always made from nickel-plated brass, and is it safe to use citric acid on all models? The residue in the boiler is a pile of light brown, 2mm thick material, that looks a lot like calcium deposits, just.. brown. Now, I know that the boiler supposedly is nickel-plated brass, but neither nickel nor brass corrode light-brown, and calcium, to my knowledge, is white. I emptied the whole boiler into a big bowl, and the bowl was almost filled to the top with brown stuff. The brown stuff does dissolve in citric acid, I guess that's the good news. I got it for ~100 pounds from ebay, and nothing seems to be corroded to the extent of it being broken. I've bought insanely cheap la Pavonis from ebay before, and restored them without a lot of trouble, but this thing looks like it's from another world. Before I start restoring it, please, give me all your input and experiences with old machines. I do not want to destroy the poor thing.
  2. Hello! First proper post, so please be gentle with me... I managed to pick up an ex-Costa CMA Astoria Lisa (the full-auto model) on Ebay a few weeks ago. It was advertised as (and is) fully working, but being a meddlesome sort I wanted to see what went on under the hood and give it a bit of a clean. As with all these things that’s turning into a bit more of a full strip-down and restoration… still, I have a Silvia with PID doing fine service right now and will be moving house in a few weeks so I’m in no particular rush, better as always to do things right rather than quickly. I thought I’d document how it goes for you all – any suggestions or ideas gratefully received… Here’s how it arrived, next to trusty Miss Silvia for scale (though there is much more to de-scale, that’s for sure ): (please excuse poor quality, only had the mobile with me) Clothes off: Lovely to work with so much space! Few duff screws, but overall not too bad at all, just a bit of frame rust. Above the boiler: First issue – the machine auto-fills fine, but the water level is above the top level on the sight tube – is that normal? When draining, it also seems to sit at half level when the boiler is empty. I’m thinking blockages – first clue that a full strip down and descale is needed… Not certain of the correct height of the level probe (it's close to the cup-warmer), the two over-pressure safeties (why two?), and I think the anti-vac valve and the level probe are in the wrong holes. Finally there seems to be an un-connected element thermostat on this boiler too, in slightly ropey condition. The manuals for this machine (Boosted system) show it, but the cct diagrams have no place to connect it. A bit odd – any ideas? Have ordered most of the gaskets and washers needed for strip down and rebuild - with great help from Peter at Espresso Underground, waiting on arrival of them now. Next is strip down of the group head... Euch, I’d hate to have drunk from this! More to come. Cheers, Colin
  3. Thought I'd share my restoration project here to maybe inspire some others as well as to get some pointers from Gaggia veterans! I wasn't satisfied with my old Breville BES830XL machine and some searching led me to either the Gaggia Classic or the Rancilio Silvia. After watching a couple of teardown videos on the classic and seeing how mechanically simple the machine was, it was the route I decided to take. I found a used Classic from the late 90's for sale and began the project. To say it wasn't well maintained would be a serious understatement! I forgot to take a pic of the machine prior to tearing it apart, but the gold coating on the case was in pretty rough shape and while it seems some folks like the gold look of the older models, it wasn't my cup of tea! Got the machine torn apart here. The bolts holding the boiler to the group head were seized quite badly. Had to use a torch to try and expand the brass on the group head and then I was able to thread out the bolts with some vice grips attached to them. Here's everything laid out and organized so I don't lose track of things As you can see, the boiler and group head were in pretty rough shape. All metal parts ( boiler, group head, OPV, solenoid valve, etc.) got a nice soak in a citric acid bath and I hand sanded the surface of the boiler down to get rid of the pitting. A little more sanding with some 150, 400 and 800 grit and I got the boiler face cleaned up pretty nice. I also did a bunch of hand sanding inside the boiler I ordered up an ebay gasket set and and got everything back together. Now onto the case. I stripped it down to the bare metal and was contemplating leaving it like this, but there was just too much pitting on the front and in the bottom where the water reservoir and drip tray sit. Painted it a "stainless steel" tremclad colour. Turned out alright. We'll see how it holds up over time. Now onto the next phase. Adding a PID controller. I didn't like the look of the external boxes everyone is using, so I decided to use a small arduino + SSR setup and will keep all of the components inside other than a small OLED screen that will sit outside the case. Here's a shot of the boiler with a thermocouple with M4 threads that screwed into the old coffee thermostat location. Testing out the solid state relay with an arduino board I had already made up for another project. This is what the current arduino board looks like. It's not the final state either, but it's much smaller. As is stands right now, I've got the machine up and running and have been using it daily for about a week and it's been running great. I need to finished up the arduino bit and get it all mounted inside. The PID control is working quite well. I also ordered up a bottomless portafilter from ebay and splurged on a nice VST 18 gram basket. Additional things I have planned. Not all of them are high priority: Create multiple pages for the OLED display and cycle through them Read the status of the steam switch to crank up the boiler setpoint for the steam wand. Either add an analog pressure gauge to the front of the machine or use a pressure transducer and use the MCU and OLED to display it Read the status of the brew switch so that the OLED displays a second timer to time the shots Add a second SSR to PWM control the water pump to add a pre-infusion stage The code running on the arduino is here. I'll keep the thread updated as things progress.
  4. Hello, Do you have some recommendation on how to clean the aluminium boiler of Gaggia Gilda? And what to do next? Polish and preserve or plating nickel, chrome, ...? Thanks for any help.
  5. I've bought myself a small wooden toolbox, it's in really good condition, but I wanted to freshen it up a bit, so it's now in bits with me trying to decide on what's the best approach. The box has a few drawers (which can be removed all the way) and the top swivels open like your standard metal tool box. The whole lot is varnished on the outside (main box, top lid and drawer fronts) and I'm contemplating whether I want to sand it down and re-varnish, or simply keep the finish as is and just wash it. Sanding + re-varnish would be easy I reckon although I'm not 100% sure how deep the existing varnish soaked into the wood, it might turn out I need to sand the hell out of it. On the other hand washing it is not going to be easy with it being wood, so a wipe-down is probably as far as it's going to go. Any advice perhaps from someone who's done something similar? Cheers, T.
  6. Hi Guys, I am about to embark on a re-build so thought i had better join the community! I have an old La Cimbali lever machine, the same as this...http://yemanha.de/Cimbali/ that whilst in pieces at the moment will be a great machine with some work..... well al lot of work! Going to buy a well loved espresso machine with a PID in the interim, but mainly joining for the great advice. Photos to follow when i can get into my storage Andrew(inuk)
  7. Hi! I bought a very old and battered, rusty and scaly la Pavoni off ebay, and I'm currently restoring it - after extensive descaling, there is still a very thin *black* layer on the inside of the copper pick-up tube. Does anyone know what it is, and if it is bad? (My tip is fat from coffee, but I'm not sure if there's some kind of black copper oxide.) The machine was made between 79 and 82 (it has a flange, but the base is not yet plastic). As far as I can tell, the pick-up tube is brass. There's also a thin black layer on the thread that gets screwed into the group. Much obliged.
  8. In the process of repairing my Rocky, I found a supplier of Rancilio spares near me. They service loads of cafes in London, and while I was there I noticed a rack of old Mazzers with a sign saying 'Cheap Used Grinders for Sale'. I asked the guy about them, and he said they were sold as-is, but most were in working condition and being swapped out for newer models at cafes. They would need new burrs, but he showed me a Mazzer Mini Automatic which he quoted at £75... So at that price for a working grinder, this got me thinking that maybe it's worth a try at getting some new burrs and having a play around with fixing one up? There were also about half a dozen SJs there, but the guy I spoke to couldn't tell me if they were in working order or what the prices would be, he suggested I ring when his boss was in the office sometime this week. I was wondering if I could get an operational SJ for around the £100 mark. I snapped a few pics of the Mini: There are a couple things I was wondering: 1. Am I mad to take one of these things home? Is £75 a reasonable price for one of these grinders in this condition? Would it hold any resale value if fixed up? 2. With an automatic, is it difficult to modify it to a timer or use it as-is for single dosing? 3. By the time I put a new set of burrs in (around £30) would it make a suitable (£100ish) bridge between my Rocky and my next grinder? Cheers for any advice!
  9. Hi guys! I'm currently restoring an ancient La Pavoni Professional, worse condition than I have ever seen on here, without contest. I already took everything apart to see what needs replacing, de-corroding , descaling and cleaning, but now I hit a dead end with the boiler nut. The bloody thing doesn't want to come off. I've started using a lever with the factory tool, didn't work. Then I saw that OE used a hammer in their rebuild, so I got a hammer. Didn't budge. The brass is already a little chipped from the hammering, even though I put wood between the hammer and brass, so I'm afraid to keep hammering. Does anyone here have experience with this kind of problem, or any recommendations of what tools to use, or how to loosen the nut? Thanks so much. Ps.: In case "boiler nut" is the wrong word for it, I didn't know what to call it so I googled it, and this is what I mean: http://www.coffeemaker-spareparts.com/La-Pavoni-Spareparts/La-Pavoni-Boiler-Bodyparts/La-Pavoni-boiler-nut-brass::4042.html
  10. After long enough hiding within the forum, I felt it was finally time to start my own thread. However, before I get started, I just want to say a massive thank you to @jimbojohn55 for his incredible patience with my many questions, and to @joey24dirt for just being a general bad influence when it comes to getting lever machines and the accessories that are also defintiely a "must have" Another thanks also goes to everyone on the forum for the many threads filled with information on these machines that have built up over the years. So, I already have a Post Millennium Europiccola, which I have had immense fun making coffee with. I always fancied seeing what a pre millennium machine would be like, and then this Professional came turned up and I couldn’t help myself. It was in of a clean, but everything worked. So why not, even it meant carrying it back through a few tube and train journeys. That is all part of the story right? I have tried my best to detail out most of the steps along the way. I also hope this formats ok. Bit of rust under the drip tray, but I followed an old thread and gave it a clean up and will just keep an eye on it moving forward To start with, I did the rounds in boiler with descaler. I decided to put off the disassembly of the base for another time (more on that later). Safe to assume it wasn't descaled often/ever. While that was going on, time to clean up the group. Having cleaned the group on my other machine, I thought I was ready for what lay inside. I was wrong. I was so wrong. I am not even sure I want to know what the last coffee made by this machine tasted like, or if the drinker survived it… With that experience out of the way. All other the parts were cleaned. With the new seals and the new sight glass protector ready as well, I put everything back together and added grease where needed. Unfortunatley no buffing, so no polished piston. But still alot better than what I started with. Assembly complete, it was time to switch the machine on. It didn’t blow up on me, so that’s something, but there are still a few things left to do: - Restore/replace the handles and knobs. The steam assembly in general was in a bit of a state and needed a fair amount of grease and adjustment to move smoothly again (once again, cheers for the guidance Jim). - When hot, the boiler rotates, so its time to get the oil wrench on order and sort that out when I can. - The wiring most likely needs an update. I replaced one of the connections, but given I may just take the base apart to redo all the seals etc and tighten things up. I might change all the connectors while I am at it. Especially as I think they are still the original ones. When will I get around to doing it? No idea, depends where work takes me, so stayed tuned for another update at some point
  11. Quite a few years ago, I picked up a Gaggia TS from fleabay for £70. The owner said it needed some TLC. He was not kidding. The controller was completely fried, rubber gasket perished, everything gunked up with coffee grounds, porta filter that were supposed to be shiny chrome were a new shade of black, well you all get the idea. Well I cleaned it up, replaced the controller and gasket, and gave it a good clean and off we went. Therefore, for the last few years I have been making decent espressos, cappuccinos and lattes up until last August when the solenoid got blocked again (not the first time I might add) which is a typical problem. Therefore, I thought I would take it out of service, give it a complete makeover, and clean it up big time. Well life gets in the way and it was not until April of this year that I got round to it. Do not worry my modded Gaggia Classic stepped in as usual, as I cannot start my day without decent coffee. So this is what my TS looked like when I started to disassemble it.
  12. Hello Chaps, I'm looking for some advice from people who have renovated their Mazzers, or any other equip for that matter. I bought an old mazzer jolly on the weekend for a really good price. It looks 10yrs old and has never been cleaned. I've stripped the machine, cleaned all the oils and smelly gunk etc.... given it a good clean and I'm ready to move onto the paint job. There are some great examples of where people have done their own sanding/painting online, but I am torn whether to go down this route or whether to get it professionally done. I've had a quote for £120 from the nearest car body shop, which seems expensive! I'm not worried too much about the later levels of painting, its more the sanding down the current unit and initial prep that looks onerous. My possible questions are: 1) Has anyone used a chemical paint stripper with success on these units? 2) Does £120 for a strip, primer and paint sound expensive if paying? 3) People who have sanded and painted, do you wish you'd paid now, and is it worth £120 to do? 4) Has anyone removed the motor? I read about having to bake in the over at 200 degrees F/100 degrees C to get the motor out? (I don't fancy doing this)
  13. I am going to document a restoration that I have just completed on a Mazzer mini but wanted to start it off by showing you the finished item, In the next few days I will show how I got this lovely little grinder from a scratched up mess to this I will detail how to remove the auto mechanism, how to do the simple Sweep clean and most important how to get this finish, it has taken some time but I think the finished item was definitely worth it.
  14. Hi a friend has found an old Turkish coffee grinder in the loft. The brass is a bit dirty but the steel also has some surface rust. Can anything be done with this, or should it just be enjoyed as a piece of family history? I understand that the outside of the brass can be polished but can it realistically be salvaged? Thanks
  15. As some of you know, I recently won a Gaggia TS on eBay and got it shipped to Bulgaria. The couriers managed to do some damage and although it was nothing too major, I decided to do a full strip down to treat a few internal rust spots, replace the seals and descale. First I thought I'd wait until my CFA exam passes but today I got fed up with my consecutive 6-7 hour study day and decided to start playing with the Gaggia. Right now I've managed to disassemble everything. I've labeled the connectors, made photos, and started collecting all the bits and pieces that need cleaning. I'll share some photos later but now I need help with removing the boiler element. It appears that due to scale and the seal being 10 years old, it won't come off. This is how the boiler on the side of the element looks (not my photos): The round piece with the connectors is the base of the element and it is bolted to the triangular piece which is part of the actual boiler. I've removed all bolts but it won't come off. I tried using a flat tip screwdriver to separate the element from the boiler but that tip can't get in the space between the two. Any ideas?
  16. Not my work, I'm far clumsier than this. I enjoyed watching, perhaps others will. [video=youtube_share;zFbHfB2AnVQ]
  17. I am new to espresso machines, but I am thinking about picking up this used machine for what I consider to be a pretty good deal (~$250USD). It was a restaurant machine, and I assume used fairly heavily, but it is still in working order (comes with external pump, reservoir). According to the owner, it was serviced every 6 months and routinely de-calcified. I anticipate a bit of a restoration, but is there anything major to look out for with this model? Anything words of warning or recommendations would be greatly appreciated, as I am a newbie here (and these do not seem to be that popular in North America) The end goal would be a fairly complete restoration -- strip it down, powdercoat the frame and externals, etc. I saw a recent thread on this forum about the same topic, and I know of a German forum where they have rebuilt a few of these. My concerns: It is a 2-group, and according to old manuals, runs around 4kW off 110V. That is a lot of current! Anyone with a home machine that draws that much power? Definitely would require a 30A breaker minimum. I realize that this is complete overkill for a home machine. Should this be a deal breaker for me? The external pump is kind of a pain. I have attached a picture of a similar model. Thanks in advance.
  18. -WARNING, I got carried away. Also will have to be multiple posts due to 5 photo per post restriction. And sorry about rotation- Part1 About a couple of weeks ago and after a few failed attempts at wining a bid on a Pavoni on fleebay I happened to be scavenging the depths of Gumtree for misspelled ads at 2am as one does. And would you believe it, there it was! An il pavoni europiccolo (a.k.a. La Pavoni Europiccola) for £50… in Leeds. Couldn’t believe my luck. I texted, emailed and texted again, and all that before 8 am. Got a response eventually from a very obliging seller much to my disbelief and took it from there. Arranged for a door to door courier service with Parcelforce 48 which with a 10% off code came to just under £14 to London. It was one of the only courier companies that didn’t have coffee machines on their prohibited list or excluded items and offered free cover up to £100. I was of course very suspicious about the whole situation thinking id be left £50 + £14 poorer but the seller was excellent and packaged the item really well and despite being really busy managed to coordinate with me on this. (I count myself lucky on that front). Now in terms of the machine…. well…. the photos presented it as this lovely old rusted ornament that may or may not hold water and with little chances of life, but I was after a project after all so right up my street. Thank you @jimbojohn55 for the pre and post-guidance and @coffeechap for sharing his passion about levers. Upon opening the box and getting past the first whiff of rust I examined the contents. Some rust, bit more rust, scaling, neglected, crusty, dull finish, strange aroma emanating from boiler (almost like pine resin) and a plug! So the first stupid thing to not do is turn it on right.. ? So I filled it, turned it on and flicked the switch.. It’s alive, I’m alive and the house windows are still in place. That was until it started pressurising… and pressurising and then almost shaking. Steam and water started coming out of every part of the machine. Switch off, pretend that never happened and jump onto theespressoshop website and fill my shopping basket. So it turns on, it heats up but that’s about it. I therefore ordered 1x group service kit containing all gaskets, seals and washers, all potential O-rings and seals for the other areas, a brand new brass piston to replace the manky plastic one, sight glass seals. I was now up at £90 in spares and that’s pretty much just for seals and gaskets. Had to get circlip tweezers a few more spanners, as the 16mm one does not come in your standard pack, some sandpaper and brass brushes.
  19. Hi, We’re a team of artists, writers, historians, musicians, actors, and sound designers united by our zeal to reinvent the London walking tour. Given everyone's undoubted love of coffee, but possible ignorance of the historical antecedents that have brought us to the present day world of coffee, the following will hopefully be of interest: Join actors, musicians, and Dr Matthew Green for a caffeinated tour of London's original - and best - coffeehouses: from the City's warren of medieval streets, through St Paul's Churchyard, down historic Fleet Street, and into the cobbled courtyards of the Temple. Free shots of black and gritty coffee, brewed after the 18th-century fashion, included. For more information see here: http://www.unrealcityaudio.co.uk/ Best wishes, Roger L'Estrange
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