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filthynines

First thoughts on the La Pav

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I'd had my eye on La Pavs for a little while, and earlier this month I bought one of the two '73 La Pavs lovingly restored by jimbojohn in this thread: https://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?42247-Pimp-my-70-s-Disco-Pavoni-time-machine

 

I thought it might be worth sharing my little journey from my Sage DTP to my new lever machine. Even if it's only me who ends up reading it!

 

I had a go on the day I brought it home, but with no success. I had no tamper, you see. I tried to make do with the underside of a 54mm basket, but oddly enough it didn't work!

 

So now I have a naked portafilter and a 49mm tamper. I enjoyed a lovely shot of my Costa Rican beans from Gardelli, but then botched the next couple.

 

Then a bit of a break ensued, because my wife very inconveniently threatened to go into labour eight weeks early. But now that she's home again I've had a go with some home roasted Colombian Suarez (with some luck) and some home roasted Brazilian beans (with little success).

 

Struggling at the moment with figuring it all out. Definitely a world away from a simple electronic machine like the Sage DTP. Going to scramble through the Lever sub-forum again for pointers to go with JJ's very helpful starter tips.


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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Oh, without doubt my biggest handicap at the moment is my grinder. Sage Smart Grinder Pro probably isn't the natural bedfellow for a La Pav. Is anybody matching theirs with a Niche?


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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The heat fin for the group is such a good upgrade on this lovely little machines


AKA Toffee chips

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I'm using a Niche with mine. The Sage should be capable of pulling a decent shot.

 

Get some temperature strips off of amazon.

 

The first few weeks I had mine I was looking at getting another machine as I couldn't make a decent shot for love or money but now I absolutely love it.

 

My advice would be stick to one type of bean until you get the hang of it. I also think a mistake people make is overloading the basket.

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getting in a routine is key then adjusting just one thing at a time, after a while it comes together, I agree grinder is quite likely an issue to get the best out of it, pavs are quite sensitive to all sorts of things, I have a theory that 70% of the machines for sale have only been used with pre ground.

 

Your money will go a lot further with a SH grinder, have you seen the price of nappies! Its probably a question of any design passing the significant other test, its often surprising that a large Mazzer will get the ok because it has a hopper attached and is just like the ones in Costa. ;)

 

Cheers Jim


all opinions are my own I have not received any free equipment or favours from suppliers 

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Went from a Profitec 700 to a La Pav milenium (kindly supplied by CoffeeChap) with a 9 month break in between (no, nothing to do with pregnancy mind you ).

 

Initially I had a Feldgrind2, and now I have a Niche. Both are perfectly adequate.

 

In all honesty, I didn’t find it very challenging. The bit I struggled the most was steaming milk with the crazy 3 whole tip. Things got significantly better once I changed it to a single hole tip and, crucially, adjusted the pressure to be around 0.85 bar. That gave the extra steam power for great success. Before the machine was set to 0.6 bar. The milk simply did not spin with the three hole tip. It was fine however once I’ve increased the pressure, but I do prefer the single hole tip. Mind you, I had a 4 hole tip with my pro 700 and that was absolutely fine.

 

For brewing coffee, consistency is key: make sure the group is hot - but not overheated -and that there’s no air in the piston, otherwise you’ll get a “sponge” pull. What I do is, after the machine warms up, I open the steam wand for a few seconds and do a few half-pumps. When I do they I notice the element kicks in for 20 or 30 seconds.

 

Before pulling a shot, a quick flush. Lock the portafilter, not too tight, lift the lever and hear the group filling up. At this point, leave the lever up - it should stay up - for 10 seconds. If there’s no air in the piston, you’ll feel resistance straight away as you start pulling your shot by bringing the lever down.

 

Slowly apply downward force on the lever until the first drips. At this point, you can lift the lever again to refill the group and have more output volume or just carry on with the shot. I’d recommend you, initially, understand what’s going on with the machine and keep the number of steps / variables to a minimum. Thus, initially, just worry about pulling the shot without re-lifting the lever. When you are satisfied you can move up, then try re-lifting the lever and note the results.

 

Congratulations and I wish you the very best success on your new journey!

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Single hole tip in the post Monday


all opinions are my own I have not received any free equipment or favours from suppliers 

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Whoa there she goes

Her sister asked me to say hello to you both (she went to sleep early today...)

 

Congratulations to your new old family member just before the new new family member arrives!

The only bit that I can add to what has been advised previously is:

 

Treat her like a lady, because that's what La Pavs are.

 

 

Apart from that, good luck with both of your journeys! Looking forward to reading about your progress

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Thank you all for your very helpful input.

 

Heat fins and temp strips seem like useful additions. @coffeechap - Any particular recommendation for a heat fin? I've seen a couple.

 

Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I can adjust the pressure on this particular machine? Nor, in fact, gauge the pressure with any accuracy at all? Many thanks to Jim for sorting me out a single-hole tip so quickly. I am quite looking forward to having a go at some milk on a different machine!

 

I think the best advice might be that I should stick to one bean for a bit in order to calibrate myself. That had occurred to me, though it doesn't help that I have about four different bags of beans lying around at the moment. Might have to stick some in the Brazen and get a kilo of something nice for the festive period!


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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Somebody will correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I can adjust the pressure on this particular machine? Nor, in fact, gauge the pressure with any accuracy at all?

 

I do t know how one adjust the pressure on s machine like yours. Other people here may chime in.

 

However, for less than £10, I bought a pressure gauge and a silicone tube (4mm i.d), delivered.

 

Attach to the steam wand (without the tip of course) and measure the pressure.

 

There’s a thread here “La Pav” where I documented that.

 

Good luck with the machine and get to know it first before making changes. Also, one change at a time so you know exactly and why something changed.

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I've settled for a kilo of Guji Highland from Method Roastery. I've had many an excellent flat white from Waylands Yard this year, and most of them were that bean. I bought a bag but could never get my machine/grinder combo to replicate anything near to the taste. Here's hoping!


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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[deleted]

 

Hi -the basket is 49.9 at the top then closes to 49.6 half way down it -so with a 14-16g puck you should be ok with 49.6 if in doubt go 49.5

 

Ive been using a 49.0 with it without any major problems so a 49.5 should be ok and usable with other baskets - if you go 49.6 I can adjust it down if there is a problem


all opinions are my own I have not received any free equipment or favours from suppliers 

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Ive not measured the pressure on these early machines - it would be interesting to know - as the steam valve on top regulates the pressure it should in theory be possible to adjust the pressure by either turning the nut anti clockwise - this will in effect lengthen the spring slightly and its pressure on the ball bearing lowering the pressure in the machine. However I have a little concern that if loosened the hole nut may work its way off and you would have a sudden discharge of steam, an alternative would be to shorten the spring or stretch it a little but doing these kind of adjustments could lead to seals being affected if the pressure build up etc, so would be tempted to leave as standard.

 

Just a thought on cooling fins - the diameter of the group head is different to the later machines 74-99 as it has a brass liner, it would probably be difficult to find a heat sink to fit, although your pav with that group is more thermaly stable than the later 74-99 group heads anyway.

 

cheers Jim


all opinions are my own I have not received any free equipment or favours from suppliers 

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I gave it a go - fail! Couldn't get the positioning right. Think I'll get a couple of litres of milk and give it a go over the next couple of days.


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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I gave it a go - fail! Couldn't get the positioning right. Think I'll get a couple of litres of milk and give it a go over the next couple of days.

 

Tip at 9 o clock, pitcher tilted towards the machine.

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Tip at 9 o clock, pitcher tilted towards the machine.

 

Thanks! That was my position but I need to work on keeping the tip steady in position so that I’m not just jacuzzing.


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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I gave it a go - fail! Couldn't get the positioning right. Think I'll get a couple of litres of milk and give it a go over the next couple of days.
Try a drop of washing up liquid in water instead of milk to practice with. It's alot less wasteful & cheaper too.

Laissez les bons temps rouler

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Try a drop of washing up liquid in water instead of milk to practice with. It's alot less wasteful & cheaper too.

 

Thanks ashcroc. I’ve seen that method before and never bothered. But, I just did 5 attempts with washing up liquid and I saw the benefits and it was a big improvement.

 

Sadly I then tried with milk, and whilst it worked well for the first 10 secs or so I then got back to jacuzzing and couldn’t recover. I can’t tell whether I just steamed it too much or whether it was just wand position. Further investigation needed!


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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Ok, which one is milk, and which is washing up liquid? Neither is usable...674fe3382daac81a119e87bb9419ea18.jpg674fe3382daac81a119e87bb9419ea18.jpg

 

I think my mistake has been not angling the jug sufficiently towards the machine. Too much heat and not enough spin that way.


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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I think my mistake has been not angling the jug sufficiently towards the machine. Too much heat and not enough spin that way.

 

 

Did it this morning with my son holding the phone. Not the best attempt ever (I wish it was by choice! ) but gives you an idea.

 

You need to find the position where:

- the milk spins;

- you can start and stop injecting air, but keep the milk spinning.

 

Why the yellow cloth? Tiny bits of milk fly out during steaming and get stuck on the group. So I use the cloth to protect the group and keep the machine pristine.

 

Hope that helps.

 

End result was this:

 

6056b57b5429778e97edaa230116c020.jpg

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Good vid, thanks MRS!

 

I just got home from the Christmas food shop and decided to make myself a well-deserved flat white. I was clever and poured the milk back into the bottle and I practised a few times before a proper go. I managed to steam it pretty well, and ended up with a good texture for a first attempt. No picture, because I poured the shot uncharacteristically badly and so ended up with a tasty but messy drink. Cheers!


1973 La Pavoni ++ Niche Zero ++ Aeropress ++ V60

Coffee by the Casuals

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