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some levers are up, some are down--is there a lever FAQ?
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dagoat
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 321
Location: santa barbara, ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola, BDB...
Grinder: baratza vario
Vac Pot: aeropress
Drip: manual
Roaster: cafe rosto
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 1:54am
Subject: some levers are up, some are down--is there a lever FAQ?
 

I'm finally getting around to dabbling in levers.  But there is a LOT I need to learn, and it would be nice if there was a FAQ or "newbie's guide to levers", out there somewhere.

Two of the entry level levers I've been eying, (probably the same ones everyone else does too), are the La Pavonis, where the lever is down, at rest, and the Elektra Microcasa, where the lever is up at rest.  I have been able to get as far as:  the Elektra has a spring-drive piston, where the Pavoni has a direct-driven piston.  And I'm not even 100% sure of that.  Anyhow, so what?  Is one method of piston movement better than the other?  Seems on the surface, like direct control would be better for the practiced hand to modulate pressure.  BUT, the Elektra seems to cost a good deal more than the Pavoni, so there must be something about it that's "better" than the Pavoni.  What gives?  Also, Cremina's seem have the handle down at rest too, unless I am missing something.  And Creminas seem to have the best reputation of all.

Anyhow, if there is no FAQ or newbie guide, can someone give me a pro vs. con rundown on direct levers versus spring levers?

-Peter
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johnboddie
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Joined: 28 Nov 2008
Posts: 210
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: MCAL, Brasilia Mini Classic,...
Grinder: Rossi RR45a,Rocky,...
Drip: Cuisinart (non-grinding)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 10:22am
Subject: Re: some levers are up, some are down--is there a lever FAQ?
 

With the "lever down" machines, you should expect to provide force to the piston by manually pulling down on it as you draw your shot.

With the "lever up" machines, you start by pulling down to load the spring, which provides force to the piston as it elongates.

Both systems can make an excellent cup. The Elektra (and other spring-loaded machines) provide more consistency but this is only a problem when beginning to use a "lever down" machine like the Pavoni.

The Elektra is larger and more stable on the counter. I've owned both and prefer the Elektra. Each brand has its own devotees. I've read that the spring loaded machines produce a better cup because the pressure of the spring diminishes as it elongates. There may be something to this, but it could certainly be duplicated with a manual lever.

You should plan on purchasing a really good grinder if you don't have one already.
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dagoat
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 321
Location: santa barbara, ca
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Europiccola, BDB...
Grinder: baratza vario
Vac Pot: aeropress
Drip: manual
Roaster: cafe rosto
Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 4:05pm
Subject: Re: some levers are up, some are down--is there a lever FAQ?
 

johnboddie Said:

You should plan on purchasing a really good grinder if you don't have one already.

Posted November 26, 2012 link

I've got a Vario.  I reckon that ought to do.  My next step up from the Vario, if ever, will be a Robur.

Thanks for the rundown on spring-vs-direct action pistons.  It confirmed what i had been guessing.

-peter
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,890
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Nov 29, 2012, 9:35pm
Subject: Re: some levers are up, some are down--is there a lever FAQ?
 

johnboddie Said:

I've read that the spring loaded machines produce a better cup because the pressure of the spring diminishes as it elongates. There may be something to this, but it could certainly be duplicated with a manual lever.

Posted November 26, 2012 link

Yes, that is correct. When dosed properly, it is easy...Zen like...to allow the pressure to lighten. You learn this in your arm.
That said, there are some coffees that LIKE a firmer pressure towards the finish...meaning avoiding over extraction by speeding things up.





Edit for spelling error on "extraction."

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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