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europiccola question
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Discussions > Espresso > Lever Espresso > europiccola...  
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madduck
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Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Location: south mtn az
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: la pavoni europiccola
Grinder: rocky
Roaster: purchased: cartel coffee of...
Posted Sun Dec 9, 2012, 12:59pm
Subject: europiccola question
 

in the morning when the wife and i are making coffee i let her go first. first and foremost it keeps/makes her happy. but i also think the espresso is better after a few shots have been pulled through. i'm guessing the heating of the portafilter is making a difference. if it's just me pulling a couple shots i'll generally run hot water through the filter before i load it to pull the shots. it's never quite as good as when she pulls a couple shots but i'm not going to pull shots just to toss 'em, can't handle waste like that.

now, the real questioning: why is it that sometimes when i raise the lever to draw water into the head(i think that's the correct term, if not feel free to educate me) the head will fill completely, i can get 2 full shots of java. but other times if i get i full shot worth of espresso i'm doing good? if you consider moving the lever the full range of motion as 100%, 0 at the bottom, 100 all the way to the top, i may raise the lever 100% then be able to pull it to 50 or 40%(morethan 1/2 the way down) before i feel any resistance, as in that's all the water that's been drawn in.

does the heat that accumulates in the head and portafilter not allow it to allow the head to fill completely?
when i pull the lever down to the point where i have resistance, i then push it back to the top in an attempt to draw more water in. sometimes it seems to works, other times...not so good.
thanks for any ideas.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Mon Dec 10, 2012, 9:11pm
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

Jason, first thing, does tour wife remember to flush the steam wand after the ready light goes out, then let the machine continue to fully heat up?
If not, she's getting a cool shot.
As far as feeling pressure on the way lever down, it's somewhat dependent on the fineness of the grind, the dose amount, and how long you allow the lever to remain at the top.
If your Euro is the 51mm Millennium, I'd recommend holding the lever up for a count of 6, then lowering. If you see more than a couple of drips, you need to tighten your grind, or if your taste prefers, add a bit more coffee. If I remember corruptly, you want about 4-5mm of space between your puck and the group screen.
Also, count on the Pavoni being too hot by the end of the 3rd shot, if being pulled within  the same session. Just cool the PF under COLD water till the PF feels cool, insert into the group. Wait 2-3 minutes. You should then be back to a god operating temperature.

I know you didn't ask for this temp info, but I found it to be CRUCIAL for great shots from the Pavoni.





EDIT...whoa, noticed you didn't have a grinder listed? If this his the case, you're almost assured of having nothing CLOSE to what the La Pavoni can give you.
As you may know, around HERE, the mantra is GRINDER FIRST. For proper espresso time after time, a good espresso grinder is a must.

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


Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Location: south mtn az
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: la pavoni europiccola
Grinder: rocky
Roaster: purchased: cartel coffee of...
Posted Mon Dec 10, 2012, 9:53pm
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

thanks for your input ima.
yeah, i guess i haven't listed what all i have...oops. we have a rocky. i bought a good grinder before we had the pavoni.

my wife and i are pretty particular about how we operate the machine. it's one of the 'newer' ones, with the two lights on the side, one power and one for proper temp.
i've tried numerous techniques to get the water into the head, including varying the time at the top of the throw. one thing you said though that i hadn't thought about is regarding the fineness of the grind. we vary the grind dependent upon the temp and humidity of the season. we live in phoenix so we don't have to worry about humidity much, with the exception of the monsoon seasons. but about the fineness of the grind. i generally like a little more grounds in the pf, and i do vary my tamp experimenting with what works and what doesn't. i didn't think about the fineness and tamp pressure playing a part of the infusing of the pf hence the water draw. iiiiiiinteresting.

another thing i didn't consider was cooling down the pf artificially. i usually would just let it cool by itself figuring that's life with the pavoni. hadn't thought about cooling it under a faucet. duh!

are these machines meant to operate with a cool pf? warm? definitely not hot. so i'm guessing the sneeze one gets after multiple pulls is from the pf temp only? not the head group?

thanks again for your time.

jason
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hankbates
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hankbates
Joined: 2 Feb 2012
Posts: 46
Location: Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni Professional...
Grinder: LaPavoni Jolly
Roaster: Hottop
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 10:51am
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

The sneeze comes from the flashing to steam of superheated water (above its atmospheric boiling point) within the puck.  Since most recommendations for proper brewing temperature are 90-95 degrees C, it means you are brewing way too hot.  When I get a sneeze I never like the taste of what I just pulled...
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madduck
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Location: south mtn az
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: la pavoni europiccola
Grinder: rocky
Roaster: purchased: cartel coffee of...
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 11:57am
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

so i guess the proper thing to do is cool the pf off after the second round of pulls. she's first, then i, sometimes i like to make a double round of shots but when i take the pf off after my pulls is when it starts sneezing.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,689
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, Preciso/Esatto, KyM...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

A good rule is to wait 20 seconds, then slowly loosen ...very slowly to relieve the pressure.

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


Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Posts: 24
Location: south mtn az
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: la pavoni europiccola
Grinder: rocky
Roaster: purchased: cartel coffee of...
Posted Sun Dec 16, 2012, 9:19am
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

thanks ima,
i'll usually wait, but i never tried to slowly loosen the pf, i usually just undo it and PFFFT! mess.

i'll try it slower, thx.

j-
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SStones
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SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 452
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Sat Dec 22, 2012, 5:42pm
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

I'm sorry.  I'm not trying to pick on you or tease, I am just thinking from your wording that you might be assuming something incorrect about the piston in your Pavoni.

now, the real questioning: why is it that sometimes when i raise the lever to draw water into the head(i think that's the correct term, if not feel free to educate me) the head will fill completely,

When you raise the handle you're pulling the piston up but the partial vacuum this creates is not drawing water in from the boiler, it is only drawing air in through your coffee grounds.  It is when the piston is at the upper limit of its travel that it has cleared the inlet and the water is forced in by the boiler pressure. If the lever isn't held up long enough for the boiler-pressurized-water to flow into and fill the cylinder, then bringing the lever back down is forcing that half-cylinder of water into the coffeegrounds and forcing the halfcylinder of air through the damp grounds (Spongy feel).  With the lever all the way up, listen to the water flowing into the brewhead (Cylinder) as the coffeegrounds dampen, the cylinder is fairly full and you'll hear the change in sound. Play with your timing with the lever up.  Listen to it and see if you can eliminate the spongy feel you're getting.

For those who will want to argue with me and point out that you can actually use the lever like a reciprocating pump even without boiler pressure...  You can, but the piston is still not "Drawing up water", the upstroke is slightly pressurizing the boiler through the upper port.

And on another note.  If the "Sneeze" is referring to pressure trapped above the coffeegrounds causing a spraying when you take out the PF, you could always raise the lever to horizontal (About one third of its travel) to greatly increase the volume of the space and therefore lessen, eliminate or negate the pressure between the grounds and the piston.  So long as you don't raise the piston high enough to let water from the boiler in, you're fine.

Lastly, it is possible that the low-flow problem when trying to dispense a shot is that your valve is not opening fully when the grouphead is hot.  You can test this by watching the flow through your PF with no grounds in it (Don't burn yourself) with the lever held up.  It should absolutely gush out if the valve is opening fully. If it barely trickles, try it with the PF removed to determine whether the PF is just clogged.  If the valve isn't opening fully, you'll want to tighten the piston up the rod in your brew-head.  Of course, if it's just that your lever is loose in its axis and rod pinions, that could mean it just isn't pulling the piston up high enough.
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troposcuba
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Nov 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Tucson
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Jan 6, 2013, 9:50pm
Subject: Re: europiccola question
 

I have found that with my Pavoni, a small bowl of ice water (lots of ice in it) works wonders at keeping the grouphead temps where I want them.  after 3 or 4 shots, a quick dunk in the icewater cools the portafilter way down (it looks frosty on the outside when it comes out of the water).  I just lock it in for a bit while I am grinding the next shot and tamping etc.  I get pretty good consistency this way.  The portafilter will be hot again quickly, but the amount of heat it drew out of the grouphead brings things just about back to where you want them.  With some experience with your machine, you will get a pretty good feel for the temps going on.
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