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Help me spend £1500!


ShepTor
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Thanks for that. Not worried about the noise at all. Will definitely take a look at the groups as an already modified machine sounds great. I actually messaged you coffeechap as someone had suggested you might have machines for sale. 

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10 hours ago, ShepTor said:

Hi, we'd decided to spend so.e money trying a lever machine and after reading think we'll get the La Pavoni pl and a grinder, maybe the Eureka Mignon. Have done some reading, but frankly overwhelmed by the choice and detailed advice. We understand the complexities of the lever machines and are willing to give it a go. Had opted for Pl model due to the size of the boiler and number of cups made. Prepared to spend up to about £1500 for machine plus grinder. Open to advice on machine and grinder. Doubt we could upgrade on the machine for this money, but maybe a different grinder? Any thoughts welcome. Hoping to order them tomorrow!!

I don't think that anybody has asked you, what is it that interests you about lever machines? Is it the looks, is it the profiling aspect? If it's the latter only and you couldn't care less about the looks (or even, you might not have the space for them), then there's plenty of Lelit (MaraX, Bianca), ECM and ACS machines that either come stock or can be upgraded with flow paddles. It's more of a pseudo-lever, since you are working on flow to obtain a certain pressure, rather than directly working on pressure.

Any of these machines would sort of fall within the budget (aside from the Bianca, and for the ECM you'd need to "settle" for a single boiler Classika), and would offer plenty of a learning challenge with far less of the annoying bits that a La Pavoni can come with. That said, of course the La Pav is far simpler when it comes to repairs etc.

Another aspect to consider is your routine. Do you like to walk to the machine and have it ready to brew? With the La Pavoni you might have to go through a longer ritual, which can be meditative when you have the time, but not ideal if you just want a coffee, and fast. The other machines can be used with a smart plug to cater around your routines and be warm when you need them.

Edited by Baffo
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2 minutes ago, Baffo said:

I don't think that anybody has asked you, what is it that interests you about lever machines? Is it the looks, is it the profiling aspect? If it's the latter only and you couldn't care less about the looks (or even, you might not have the space for them), then there's plenty of Lelit (MaraX, Bianca), ECM and ACS machines that either come stock or can be upgraded with flow paddles. It's more of a pseudo-lever, since you are working on flow to obtain a certain pressure.

Any of these machines would sort of fall within the budget (aside from the Bianca, and for the ECM you'd need to "settle" for a single boiler Classika), and would offer plenty of a learning challenge with far less of the annoying bits that a La Pavoni can come with. That said, of course the La Pav is far simpler when it comes to repairs etc.

Another aspect to consider is your routine. Do you like to walk to the machine and have it ready to brew? With the La Pavoni you might have to undergo a longer ritual, which can be meditative, but not ideal if you just want a coffee. The other machines can be used with a smart plug to cater around your routines and be warm when you need them.

Thanks for the questions. Think I like the idea of the simplicity of the La Pavoni as far as repairs etc. However we have just been looking at several of the machines you mentioned! There is too much choice and as you say so many variables to account for. My partner is actually the coffee person and is keen to try tge La Pav, he'll enjoy the meditative aspect and the fiddly working out how to get the best coffee bit. I won't be as keen on the faff but I'm also happy to make a stovepipe coffee or French press so happy to try the La Pav. Think we both realise it may not be for us but willing to try. About to buy the Eureka Mignon XL 65, assuming it's better than the specialita 16cr and will be OK for any of the machines you mention plus the La Pavoni. 

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3 minutes ago, ShepTor said:

Thanks for the questions. Think I like the idea of the simplicity of the La Pavoni as far as repairs etc. However we have just been looking at several of the machines you mentioned! There is too much choice and as you say so many variables to account for. My partner is actually the coffee person and is keen to try tge La Pav, he'll enjoy the meditative aspect and the fiddly working out how to get the best coffee bit. I won't be as keen on the faff but I'm also happy to make a stovepipe coffee or French press so happy to try the La Pav. Think we both realise it may not be for us but willing to try. About to buy the Eureka Mignon XL 65, assuming it's better than the specialita 16cr and will be OK for any of the machines you mention plus the La Pavoni. 

 

The grinder will surely be OK when it comes to grind quality, and so will be other less expensive options. However, different grinders have different features, and their workflows may be more or less tailored to what you want to do with them (eg the Niche is tailored for single dosing, the Mignon is not). It's a bit of a minefield, but both Eureka and Niche tend to make products that are widely loved on this board. I'm not sure the XL 65 is worth the price increase from a regular Mignon (until I get to understand what their new "extra low retention" system is..). Then again, none of these grinders will hold you back in your espresso journey. 

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@coffeechap  apologies I might have worded it differently, I did not mean that the La Pav (depending on model) cannot heat with a smart plug, rather that you still have to go through a few more steps (ie the ritual), you would still need to flush some water through it to get the grouphead to temperature, or am I wrong? 

Edited by Baffo
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The group will naturally heat on the Pavoni as it is bolted straight to the boiler, if a heat sink is used on the group it will stabilise the temp in the group once hot.

as with most levers the group acts as a heat sink in its self, the  la pav being a small group is not a very effective heat sink as it gets too hot over time.

uou can speed up the heating process by flushing a small amount of water through the group, but this then Leads to the other limiting factor with a closed system ( unable to refill boiler when hot) hence why the professional is a better option as it holds twice the amount of water

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I was terrified of leaving the La Pav on and allowing it to boil dry. I don't know if there are any safety cut-offs involved (mine was from 1973), but I think I would have had kittens on a daily basis if I'd put it on a smart plug. 

Other side of the coin: a smart plug might've resolved my anxiety. YMMV. 

The Black Country Coffee Roastery
www.coffeebythecasuals.com - Discount Code: CFUK21
Instagram: @casuals_coffee

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19 minutes ago, coffeechap said:

All machines can be used with a smart plug, there are some really odd myths being circulated around pavonis. There really are pretty simple to use when modified, otherwise I agree they can be a little hit and miss. 

An eastern european opened cafe near me several years ago. Most punters drank tea and not much call for coffee so he had a La Pav. Early one with standby and in pristine condition. ;) Just goes to show if looked after they can last. He kept it on standby so drinks didn't appear quickly and it produced some of the best coffee I have tasted from sources like that - and better places. At the time I thought the coffee was a bit cool. Since brewing at home I know why now - appreciating taste. He even got that right.

I wonder how long it took him to learn how to  go through the motions to achieve this?  A casual user might never reach the level he did and not even be aware of it.

Must admit I have been tempted but why - mostly looks and what has to be done to produce a coffee. Then come the problems - bits needing replacing and etc.

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23 minutes ago, Coffee by the Casuals said:

I was terrified of leaving the La Pav on and allowing it to boil dry. I don't know if there are any safety cut-offs involved (mine was from 1973), but I think I would have had kittens on a daily basis if I'd put it on a smart plug. 

Other side of the coin: a smart plug might've resolved my anxiety. YMMV. 

The key is making sure they are full and then only setting it to come on just before you need it. Heat up time is fairly quicj

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The reason i didnt mention the multiple machines is the op asked about levers, 

If you want a lever then looking at other machines just complicates thing. 

There are used la pavs knocking about at 350 new there around £500, so id go new unless you can get a nicely modded one. 

The mignon xl65 is very new to the market, has 65mm burrs which are a very good size, when i had the Eureka atom 65 there was a noticeable difference in the cup above the 55mm specilita, actual was quite shocked. I didnt think id note 10mm. 

Some feel that 64mm is the sweet spot for flat burrs. 

Coffee wise flats tend to fsvour chocolate nutty beans while conicals favour the more fruity. Thats not to say either wont grind those types its just one may be driven by the taste theu prefer. 

 

Way too early for this sh...

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And OH MY GOD THE NOISE when it's heating up. I used to like it because of the analogue feel (?) of a boiler with a lever attached, but when I replaced the La Pav I loved the return of the peace and quiet. 

Pretty sure we’ve had this conversation before but what on earth are you on about. A Pavoni is the quietest machine on the market
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Sounds like a kettle haha 

I love the romance of the la pav, with that budget it wouldn't be my machine of choice. 

But the op only needs to have a nose around, theres usually one thread a week asking about machine recommendation. 

Peoples opinions will vary, id say do like i did and speak to members who have actually used the machines your looking at,  be it on the open forum or by private pm 

People are quick to give advice which may sway you, when they have no hands on experience.

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Way too early for this sh...

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1 hour ago, KTD said:


Pretty sure we’ve had this conversation before but what on earth are you on about. A Pavoni is the quietest machine on the market

When it comes up to temperature it whistles like a tuneless banshee. But if you base it on when it’s pulling the shot only, then yes, it is silent.

 

edit: Let me rephrase. My 1973 whistles like a tuneless banshee. Maybe the technology in your newer one has made that a non-feature? If so, brilliant. If you doubt I’m telling the truth then I’m not sure what to tell you.

The Black Country Coffee Roastery
www.coffeebythecasuals.com - Discount Code: CFUK21
Instagram: @casuals_coffee

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Have to confess when I changed from the old Evolution, it was 50/50 between the Europiccola and the Classic, the tinkerer in me liked the mechanical simplicity and as @Cuprajakesaid “Romance” of it, half my family roots were Valleys Welsh Methodist, with that anti alcohol thing going on, the Italian coffee shops - some with lever machines prospered as social centres in lieu of pubs, hence my intro to coffee as my Dads family were coffee only. There’s a resonance with lever machines for me that pumped machines don’t reach, this time round the convenience of a pump and ability to mod sent me to the Gaggia, but next time I’m not so sure....

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1 hour ago, Cuprajake said:

Peoples opinions will vary, id say do like i did and speak to members who have actually used the machines your looking at,  be it on the open forum or by private pm 

People are quick to give advice which may sway you, when they have no hands on experience.

Assuming that you were referring to me in the last paragraph, I understand it's not ideal and perhaps I shouldn't give my opinion at all in these threads.

However, asking via private message to people who currently have a certain machine isn't the be all end all of getting things right - people who own machine X will tell you to get machine X, people who have machine Y will tell you to get Y, and if you message them in private you will get swayed anyway according to the users you end up speaking with. Mind you, I've done it myself, I've been speaking with at least 6-7 users before deciding on my machine, but I always had to take opinions with a pinch of salt as everybody loves their machine and pushes that one.

Edited by Baffo
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Id say the only thing that could be classed as a down side, well two is, that they cant pull manu shots back to back and they can get a tad hot. 

Im shocked at how much both the gaggia and pavoni are demanding used atm..

Way too early for this sh...

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