Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Espresso Machines
Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
Rancilio Silvia - How to
Step by step guide for easy brewing and steaming with the Rancilio Silvia
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Disappointed in...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
Author Messages
bweinstein
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jun 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Sun Jun 1, 2014, 10:33pm
Subject: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

Hello Community.  I've been an espresso buff for around 30 years.  First had an Olympia Cremina, then a Syliva, then purchased a Livia 90 from Illy around 10 years ago.  I've had two Rocky grinders.  I've been a fan of Mark's since the Coffeekid startup days.  I drink around 2 to 4 double shot ristrettos a day.  The Livia has never been perfect.  The coffee comes out unevenly and I have to grind almost to the point where the burrs are touching (around zero or minus 1).  This is the case with both of my Rockys.  Also, the pump whines softer and louder as the coffee comes out.  I'm curious whether this is typical of the Livia, or whether I have a bad pump, or whether I'm just a poor barista.  I've had it serviced by a great guy who used to work for Pasquini and he says it's working fine.  My Sylvia, on the other hand, creates a golden brown stream of coffee and is generally richer and cleaner tasting than the Livia.  I'm considering looking for a new machine, and/or another grinder (Mazzer?).  Or, perhaps a new pump would help.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
kize
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Northwest
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 8:13am
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

From what you describe and my personal experience with the equipment you are using- ditch your grinder. My Rocky could not consistently grind fine enough- no matter what I did to it.  At minimum- a Vario or higher up the grinder chain. If your grinder is working correctly you should be able to choke your machine. Make sure your beans are fresh and ground just before using. Have your temp checked on your machine. The Livia 90 does have the ability to pull a good shot. But I found mine to be inconsistent for enjoyable use. Grinders are the most important link to making top notch espresso.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
frcn
Senior Member
frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,411
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

The Livia is a capable espresso machine. The Rocky's capabilities are not a good match for that machine. At beast, for espresso, the Rocky is an entry level grinder, and as the competition has improved over the years, the Rocky has not. It is good for just about any brewing method except espresso.

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,781
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 9:51am
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

I agree with the others, your machine should be fine, but, don't take this the wrong way, your grinder sucks.

As a starter grinder, Rocky leaves something to be desired with the very large steps but for a more advanced machine..... you are wasting the abilities of the machine.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,398
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 11:45am
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

Please bear with me, as a back-and-forth is easier for me to get a handle on your problems . . .

bweinstein Said:

Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions

Posted June 1, 2014 link

And you're just getting around to asking questions now?!?!?  ;^)

bweinstein Said:

First had an Olympia Cremina, then a Syliva, then purchased a Livia 90 from Illy around 10 years ago.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

Your best machine was the Cremina; I'm curious as to why you dumped it for a Siliva.  That said, the Livia was a definite step UP . . .

bweinstein Said:

I've had two Rocky grinders.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

As the others have said, that is your current problem.

bweinstein Said:

The Livia has never been perfect.  The coffee comes out unevenly and I have to grind almost to the point where the burrs are touching (around zero or minus 1).  This is the case with both of my Rockys.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

More proof it's your grinder that's the problem.

bweinstein Said:

I've had it serviced by a great guy who used to work for Pasquini and he says it's working fine.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

More proof it's your grinder!

bweinstein Said:

My Sylvia, on the other hand, creates a golden brown stream of coffee and is generally richer and cleaner tasting than the Livia.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

Because you have a barely adequate grinder and the Silvia is an entry-level machine that can deal with the Rocky's limitations.

bweinstein Said:

I'm considering looking for a new machine, and/or another grinder (Mazzer?).  Or, perhaps a new pump would help.  Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Posted June 1, 2014 link

First:  Get a new grinder!  I wouldn't get a Mazzer, unless you can pick up one used (they're bulletproof: you can get a used one, buy a new set of burrs, and you'll be golden).  OTOH, if you're looking to buy new, I'd look elsewhere.  

What is your budget for the grinder?

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,276
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 12:02pm
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

If you need to cut to the chase, I'm going to agree with everyone else...

I had two Livias.  One in my home for close to twenty years, and another in my office for around five.  Even in perfect order the Livia 90 is an imperfect machine.  It's largest flaw is that it's a "dragon," and has a tendency to overheat -- sometimes in mid-shot if you've dawdled between the cooling flush and pulling.  It was one of the first, true prosumer machines to hit the market (in the early nineties).  Times have changed, and taken all together, it's not as good as a modern E-61 HX.

That said, it's a much better machine than a Silvia which -- at least without a PID -- cannot be consistently temped to the limits required by most peoples' sensitivity to bitters and sours.  

Also, the pump whines softer and louder as the coffee comes out.  I'm curious whether this is typical of the Livia, or whether I have a bad pump, or whether I'm just a poor barista.

Could be a lot of things, but I'm guessing puck building skills are in there somewhere.

Given everything you've said, I'm going to lay the blame for your problems at the Rocky's feet. If you can afford it you should consider upgrading both the grinder and the espresso machine, with a total new budget of ~$2K or more.  But if you can only afford to deal with one now, get a new grinder.  

Mazzer makes very good grinders, but the range which includes their Mini is currently dominated by the Baratza Vario, and appropriately so.  The Vario will make better espresso, more easily, more neatly, with less retention and altogether less fuss.  It's the least expensive, "good," espresso-only grinder.  You can buy a "refurb," direct from Baratza for $360.  Check the refurb section of Baratza's website every Thursday for fresh listings.

I'm not saying that the Vario is the only choice for you, or even the best choice, but considering the tenor of this conversation it's a fair guess.  

Rich
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
bweinstein
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jun 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 3:13pm
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

Thank you all very much for your help.  To respond to JasonBrandtLewis's questions, I regret having sold my Cremina.  It was beautiful.  But I honestly did not get the shots or steam from that machine that I'm able to get from my Sylvia.  I fully accept that this is the result of my limited skill.  As far as waiting for 10 years to complain about my Livia, I can't explain that.  I'm not even a patient person.  From all of your posts, I'm settling on getting a Vario, and perhaps moving up to a better espresso machine in the next year of two.  Again, thanks.
Barry
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,398
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

Barry, give the Vario time . . . you'll need to dial in the grind, etc., etc., and even if you were making great espresso with the Rocky, switching any equipment changes things and puts you back on the learning curve.  But it's definitely a capable grinder, to go with your capable machine.

Go forth and enjoy!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
bweinstein
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Jun 2014
Posts: 6
Location: Northern California
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Pasquini Livia 90
Grinder: Rocky
Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014, 6:16pm
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

Thanks.  Now to decide where to buy.  Jim at 1st Line (out of stock), Seattle Coffee, Chris Coffee, Espresso parts.  Let me know if you have any thoughts.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
Angman
Senior Member
Angman
Joined: 8 Apr 2012
Posts: 239
Location: Vancouver BC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Strega, MCal, Cimbali M20L
Grinder: K10 Fresh, HG One 83mm,...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Technivorm, Hario Woodneck,...
Roaster: Hottop 8828P
Posted Tue Jun 3, 2014, 2:30am
Subject: Re: Disappointed in my Livia for the past 10 years; looking for suggestions
 

If you have decided on a Vario just buy direct from Baratza. Like others have said check on Thursday's for  refurbished ones if it suits your budget better. Kyle (owner) is a fantastic individual to buy from.  If you have any issues he will take very good care of you.  Best customer service in the grinder industry.  Chris Coffee Service is also excellent in customer service. Any issues, a simple email and you can expect a knowledgeable reply by a tech within a day.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 2 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Disappointed in...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Find the Right Machine...
Package deals on the best machines from Izzo, Quick Mill, Rocket, La Marzocco & more.
www.clivecoffee.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.406976938248)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+