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Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
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apoloolopa
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 2
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Sep 24, 2013, 11:54am
Subject: Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
 

Hello everyone!

I just bought a 76' La Pavoni off of eBay.  The seller stated that the machine worked perfectly fine, however, my experience has been the contrary...

Basically, when my pressure is high and I am ready to pull a shot, I raise the lever and when I reach the top, water literally gusges out of the machine. This happens whether I have a portafilter loaded or not. Instead of pre-infusing, the water simply escapes.

Also, the frother does not seem to be letting out enough pressure to foam milk..

Lastly, the safety valve sputters water and releases a ton of steam. None of thesr things look like any video I've seen of people pulling shots on this machine. I guess I was sold a lemon.. but I'd love to fix this thing up. Please, if anyone has any idea what the heck is happening, let me know!
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Tue Sep 24, 2013, 12:20pm
Subject: Re: Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
 

Hi and welcome!

First off, congratulations on acquiring an awesome machine.  I have an earlier version.  These things are virtually bullet proof when properly cared for.  Your machine should have a low and high element and a 3 position switch (off, low element, high element). The high element is used to produce higher pressures for steaming.  The low element is used for brewing espresso.  Now, when raising the lever (with a machine up at pressure), water will be allowed to enter the brew chamber so it's normal to have water gush out when the portafilter is not in place. If water is gushing out with the portafilter locked in place and loaded with coffee, then you are not grinding fine enough and/or the coffee is stale.  You absolutely need an espresso capable grinder and FRESH coffee (that's less than 2 weeks old post roast!)
Confirm that both the low and high elements are working by checking that the machine heats up in both switch positions. Regarding the safety valve, it's there for safety and is supposed to open when a certain pressure (~1BAR) is reached, so it will get quite noisy and you should see quite a bit of steam when the high element is on.

P.S You can forget about using grocery store pre-ground coffee.  It will NOT do!
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apoloolopa
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Sep 2013
Posts: 2
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Sep 24, 2013, 12:42pm
Subject: Re: Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
 

Thanks for the awesome reply.  I know that once I figure this thing out, I'm gonna love the machine.  I love solid things and this definitely fits the bill.  I am using store ground coffee.  I used the finest setting on their machine. I have a burr grinder coming, but I thought getting some store ground would be sufficient for learning how to use the machine.  

I am now noticing a separate issue.  The water that is being expelled, even at the II level, is not very hot at all.  I can comfortably dip my finger into it.  The water in the water level indicator also does not appear to be boiling (not sure if its supposed to).  Despite this seemingly low temperature, that safety valve still steams away like it was a thermonuclear reactor!  I know that espresso is supposed to be prepared well above boiling temperature.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,844
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 Tue Sep 24, 2013, 12:50pm
Subject: Re: Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
 

apoloolopa Said:

Hello everyone!

I just bought a 76' La Pavoni off of eBay.  The seller stated that the machine worked perfectly fine, however, my experience has been the contrary...

Basically, when my pressure is high and I am ready to pull a shot, I raise the lever and when I reach the top, water literally gusges out of the machine. This happens whether I have a portafilter loaded or not. Instead of pre-infusing, the water simply escapes.

Also, the frother does not seem to be letting out enough pressure to foam milk..

Lastly, the safety valve sputters water and releases a ton of steam. None of thesr things look like any video I've seen of people pulling shots on this machine. I guess I was sold a lemon.. but I'd love to fix this thing up. Please, if anyone has any idea what the heck is happening, let me know!

Posted September 24, 2013 link

There could be other issues. Generally, when folks purchase a used machine, especially off ebay, it's recommended that you install new gaskets about everywhere. These are relatively inexpensive, and the entire job can be done in an hour or 2 tops. That should last for maybe 2 years, if your not abusing your machine.
You also need to open the steam valve when the brew light goes off, to relieve the "false pressure." (I'm not sure if this is necessary on these vintage pre Millennium Pavonis?)

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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crazy4espresso
Senior Member
crazy4espresso
Joined: 19 Jan 2008
Posts: 147
Location: Toronto
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, La Pavoni...
Grinder: Pharos
Posted Tue Sep 24, 2013, 12:55pm
Subject: Re: Recently Acquired 70's La Pavoni is Useless...I Need Help!
 

Thermal management is very important on these machines and the group head must be at temperature, otherwise the water might come out quite cool, or too HOT! Your machine is different than mine as the group is steam heated. You must read the following thread which will explain a lot about your machine:

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

Basically, raising and lowering the lever when the machine is up to temp will expel air trapped in the group and steam will rush in.  You will feel the group go from cool to hot. This is quite different than my machine.
Espresso is not brewed above boiling.  It is brewed just below boiling, anywhere from 90-98 degrees Celsius, depending on the roast. The water sufficiently cools when travelling through the group and portafilter (at least it's supposed to), that's why thermal management by the user is very important.
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