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Iceman

La Pavoni steamer.

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Looking at getting a La Pavoni lever, will mainly be used for Flat whites, is the Pavoni a good choice for making micro foam and if so would I need to go for the professional model, for the bigger boiler or would the standard model be good enough with the steam wand tip upgrade?

thanks. 

also...

If I were to go used, is there a model/year I should aim to get that would be more suited to steaming that others. 

Edited by Iceman

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Standard pavoni is fine for milk-based drinks. I'd suggest getting a 1-hole steam tip though. Not sure if there's any model thats inherently better at steaming milk. From a perspective of which model is the best in general due to upgrades (or downgrades as some may see), is a different debate. Largely due to the piston assembly and grouphead. I think most would say anything around 1974 to 1995 would be best to avoid the plastic piston sleeve. I'd advise doing research on the net to have a proper thorough look into it.

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Standard pavoni is fine for milk-based drinks. I'd suggest getting a 1-hole steam tip though. Not sure if there's any model thats inherently better at steaming milk. From a perspective of which model is the best in general due to upgrades (or downgrades as some may see), is a different debate. Largely due to the piston assembly and grouphead. I think most would say anything around 1974 to 1995 would be best to avoid the plastic piston sleeve. I'd advise doing research on the net to have a proper thorough look into it.

What’s the issue with the plastic piston sleeve?
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1 minute ago, MediumRoastSteam said:


What’s the issue with the plastic piston sleeve?

Aren't they known for cracking/dimensional stability issues causing it to ride up the piston chamber?

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Aren't they known for cracking/dimensional stability issues causing it to ride up the piston chamber?

Mine is a 2012 model. Brass Piston and sleeve going strong. The sleeve is made of a very hard polymer. Granted at some point it will crack, but then you just change it, like any other serviceable parts. I would be more worried about if the piston was made of plastic. The one has issues, not the sleeve.

I prefer the newer models due to the bigger group and better temperature stability. It’s also easier to find accessories for, like bottomless portafilters, shower screens and baskets.
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2 minutes ago, MediumRoastSteam said:


Mine is a 2012 model. Brass Piston and sleeve going strong. The sleeve is made of a very hard polymer. Granted at some point it will crack, but then you just change it, like any other serviceable parts. I would be more worried about if the piston was made of plastic. The one has issues, not the sleeve.

I prefer the newer models due to the bigger group and better temperature stability. It’s also easier to find accessories for, like bottomless portafilters, shower screens and baskets.

I think as has been stated many times that irrespective of the year you will eventually get a decent shot/routine with the Pav. Serviceability of the very early machines is hard due to heating elements/availability of parts etc. Personally I prefer my 2-switch boiler (hi-low), however I know it has a tendency to overheat and/or boil dry, so I have to be very aware. I think that @jimbojohn55 may also be one of the more qualified people to answer this question tbh, however I get very sufficient steam with my 2-switch pav.

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Back to the OP: I had a Professional and an Europiccola version. Both side by side.

The professional with the bigger boiler is an ace at steaming. 5e small boiler Europiccola is also fine, but not as easy as the Pro. On both cases, I found the 1 hole steam tip essential in order to get decent results. I never got on with the 3 hole stock version, and never managed to get anything decent. I think the angle and the size of the holes on the stock tip are too big and at crazy angles if you ask me! Mind you, my previous machine was a Profitec 700, with a 4 hole steam tip. I had no issues with that.

Don’t get too hang up on the year of the machine. Research and find what appeals most for you (bigger group, pressure stat, bayonet style steam wand, one or two switches, boiler size, etc). But do worry about the condition of the machine you buy. Don’t go blind, ask for photos inside the drip tray, under the base, inside the boiler.... the least thing you want is a machine with a rusty base or which has been neglected, where you will end up having to spend more money than you originally anticipated.

Good luck.

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1 hour ago, Cooffe said:

I think as has been stated many times that irrespective of the year you will eventually get a decent shot/routine with the Pav. Serviceability of the very early machines is hard due to heating elements/availability of parts etc. Personally I prefer my 2-switch boiler (hi-low), however I know it has a tendency to overheat and/or boil dry, so I have to be very aware. I think that @jimbojohn55 may also be one of the more qualified people to answer this question tbh, however I get very sufficient steam with my 2-switch pav.

All of them can do the business, the post millennium 51mm groups are fine , just treat the plastic group liner as a serviceable item, they do wear and warp occasionally, the design was part of an attempt to reduce over heating issues with the plastic piston  which worked but they found that it occasionally worked loose so they switched back to brass. I have a plastic piston (original in a 97 Euro) that came loose  and I put it back carefully with a bit of ptfe tape and its still going strong.

The pre 74 pavs with a brass liner and brass piston and dual element are supposed to be the most thermally stable because of the extra brass and you can switch to 300w element, interestingly someone has started making new brass liners which may fit post millennium machines, I've got both machines in the workshop so will find out in a few weeks.

Edited by jimbojohn55
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all opinions are my own I have not received any free equipment or favours from suppliers 

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Cheers for all those replies, very helpful. 
 

So I guess I can go for any model that is in good condition, swaying more towards the professional if I want to give myself an easier time steaming, and defo doing the tip upgrade.

I was a barista in a past life, so if the machine is capable of good micro foam, I’ll be able to get it out of it. 
 

Can’t wait to get a hold of one now, just need to get saving. 
 

 

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