The Livia 90 is a beautiful espresso machine that produces great espresso.
Positive Product Points
The Livia 90 is a beautiful espresso machine that produces great espresso. The machine is extremely solid and built very well.
Negative Product Points
What could be improved? The drip tray could be larger to accommodate some more water. Although it does not bother me, some have said that they wish the Livia did not require as much time prior to being ready to pull its first shot (approx. 10 minutes). The instruction manual included with the Livia is not worth the paper it's printed on. You will need to do some reading on CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeKid.com, and alt.coffee in order to learn some of the intricacies of the Livia (and it does have some). The cheapo plastic tamper that is included with the machine is in no way suitable for the task of tamping for the Livia (IMHO).
I had never physically seen or tested a Pasquini Livia 90 prior to my purchase in December 2001. It is definitely all that I could have hoped for in an espresso machine for my home. The Livia looks great in my kitchen and is the first thing anyone remarks on upon entering (my kitchen isn't that big). It is built extremely well, weighing in at approximately 42lbs. (that is not to say that it could not be even heavier, but it is a home/semi-commercial machine).
There is a learning curve when familiarizing oneself with the Livia 90. The period required to began pulling excellent shots probably varies depending on the owner's previous espresso machines. If one is not much above the newbie status, such as myself, you should probably begin pulling the shots with some purchased pre-ground Illy coffee, just to take out the extra variable of the coffee grind. I used one can of Illy coffee prior to beginning to dial in my espresso grinder, the Mazzer Mini. After a few adjustments with the grinder, I found that my home roasted beans were producing some great shots. Ok, fantastic shots. That is not to say that I am not still honing my skills on the Livia, but I am consistently producing very good shots. In summary, I am very happy with my purchase. Any reservations that I might have had prior to the purchase are gone and I love getting up, turning on my Livia, and having great espresso while reading the paper in my house.
One last note: Obviously, as you will read over and over here, in order to have truly good espresso, you will need to home roast your beans, and a very good grinder is required as well. I use a HearthWare roaster and the Mazzer Mini for my grinder. They have been an excellent combo!
My buying experience from 1st-Line was rather simple and straight-forward. I knew what I wanted and it arrived about 3 days after my order in perfect shape. Jim at 1st-Line is extremely knowledgeable and will be happy to answer any questions related to your new machine. In cases where a package is ordered (espresso machine & grinder) or some accessories, 1st-Line will probably throw in a few freebies as well! They are a very reputable dealer that I would purchase from again.