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Help with La Pavoni needed

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I bought a used La Pavoni (old 2 switch model) a few months ago but am struggling. Some espressos/ristrettos come out beautifully but others are not good. And I just can't make microfoam for lattes. I've read hundreds of articles here and watched lots of YouTube videos but I'm still struggling. Is there anyone in this group who lives near me (I'm in Bromley, SE London/NW Kent) who'd be happy to spend half an hour showing me how to do it? - I'm retired so could visit anytime with my machine. Thanks, Andy.

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I can’t be much help with the milk as I don’t drink it but by all accounts you should change the steaming tip to a one hole one.


With the shot, if you are making good shots occasionally and bad shots the rest of the time than one or more of your variables is changing. You need to try and keep everything as consistent as possible. I would buy a kilo of beans and get the hang of it before changing. Do you have temperature strips and are you using a good grinder? Weighing in and out is also essential.


Im not currently in London to come help and if no one else is it may be worth taking a video of your routine so Pavoni owners on here can give you some feedback.

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I had a lever machine a couple of years ago and i've recently returned to using one again, and enjoying the learning curve.


Echoing the above comment - definitely get a single hole steam tip, this will dramatically improve steaming of your milk into something that you can actually control! The stock 3/4 hole tip literally would heat my milk in about 30 seconds with little allowance for any kind of technique such as creating a whirlpool and plunging the wand to create texture.


Again, echoing the above reply - Weighing in/out - invest in a pair of scales - eBay £5 jobbies will do, and weigh in and out. I've been experimenting with 14-17g of coffee recently (double basket) and still learning.


Temperature - the Pavoni is a relatively sensitive beast, i've popped a stick-on thermometer onto my grouphead and get it up to around 95 degrees, then removing portafilter and preparing the shot. Extraction is at around 95 degrees.


This is all still a learning curve, however these 3 elements help me to know what is going on with the machine and keeping an eye on repeatability/consistency.

1995 'Coffee Gaggia' with full Gaggia Classic conversion, DIY PID Controller, OPV set to 9bar, Silvia steam wand, Botomless PF, VST 15g Basket, Motta 58mm Tamper and Ascaso I-Mini grinder

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Thanks for the responses. I've ordered a strip thermometer for the grouphead and will report back the results. Yes I must weigh the beans! One (self imposed) problem I have is that I roast three types of bean every approx 10 days and then randomly blend them for each espresso so that no two coffees are exactly the same - this worked on my old machine (which I gather had a pressurised portafilter). I do this to avoid what I call "the lobster problem" - in Victorian times lobsters were so cheap that servants would have written into their contracts that they were NOT to be given lobster more than 3 times a week - in other words, even the most delicious foods in the world can become boring if we have them too often, thus "quality" must be defined as including variability or novelty (I know, I'm probably completely mad - "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" had a big impact on me as an impressionable student many moons ago).

I have now purchased 3 acorn nuts and drilled 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6mm holes in them and the 1.5mm single hole nut certainly gets me great foam that floats on the top but is too foamy for my morning latte art. I'll persevere with my micro-foaming technique and if necessary do as suggested and video it so that someone wiser than me can spot the error of my ways!

Thanks for the suggestions. I'm really enjoying this machine - occasionally (ie, by pure luck) one of my afternoon ristrettos comes out brilliantly, and that makes it all worthwhile!

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