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La Pavoni Napolitana - Tgoob Erbutt's Review
Posted: January 12, 2011, 11:39pm
review rating: 8.5
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
La Pavoni Napolitana Espresso Machine
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Arrow The La Pavoni Napolitana has 9 Reviews
Arrow The La Pavoni Napolitana has been rated 7.40 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since June 29, 2007.
Arrow La Pavoni Napolitana reviews have been viewed 66,001 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Tgoob Erbutt 8.50
Britt Juliff 7.00
Nick Robins 6.75
Mike Heslop 6.33
Paul Petzschmann 4.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.0
Manufacturer: La Pavoni Quality: 9
Average Price: $799.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $569.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: JL Hufford Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: Just starting Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Great value, great shots, looks snazzy. Easy to repair by yourself!!!
Positive Product Points

Looks Nice, Nice form factor. It's nice and narrow - doesn't take up too much counter space, doesn't stick out far from the wall.
The power cord is also long (over 3 feet).
Brass boiler, brew group, portafilter, etc - everything stays nice and hot.
Huge water tank - 100oz, easily removable, don't have to refill constantly.
Built in stepless grinder.
Quiet pump.

Negative Product Points

Grinder is LOUD!
Built in tamper (push upward on machine to tamp) is useless - have to open machine body to remove/unscrew it.
The ready light is lit when it's not ready, and unlit when it's ready - very counterintuitive.
Cup warmer could be hotter (Now I'm just being picky)

Detailed Commentary

I was looking for a combi machine with solid parts. And yes - like other reviewers, this is the same thing as the LeLit PL042E that's available in Australia. I think the features change slightly from year to year (steam wand, drain hole shape, wording/markings), and the version I got has push buttons (not switches), and round grills holes for the drainage.

The wand does pivot from from 12'oclock to 6'oclock in a counter-clockwise motion. But does not swing from 12'oclock directly to 6'oclock in a from to back motion. Either way, there's enough clearance for me to get a 20oz frothing pitcher in there and foam with no problem. Oh, and the weird frothing aid on mine is removable - there were previous lelit/del opera/napolitanas where the froth aid was permanent.

I love this thing - The insides look simple enough for me to try and fix 5-10 years down the line (no mystery black box like with the Nespresso I use to own). the 57mm portafilter is a slightly let prevalent size, so tamper and extras can't really be bought conveniently unless you go online.

The espresso is great so far, crema on the first shot! Foam with the frothing aid is not too bad - though I still have to try it without.

Buying Experience

Either JL Hufford or the factory had already pre-tuned the grinder for me, so there was no issue with getting a good grind setting on the machine. The folks are JL Hufford communicated well and were very nice. The packaging was solid, but it did show up with a dent where the froth aid hit the metal casing... no big deal though. They also added an extra year to the Pavoni warranty, so I'm not too worried about its durability.

Three Month Followup

Actually, it's been almost 2yrs now, and the little machine still looks brand new, still working like new too :)  It's still giving me solid performance, with no kinks. I went on an extended vacation for about 2 weeks, and when I came back I had to re-prime the water system ( I guess air bubbles got into the hose)? And that's about the biggest drama that I've had from this machine. I've descaled twice with no issues.  It's currently making about a latte a day...

Still gives a wet puck if you don't run the steam after the initial shot pull, but no biggy on that. It's handled a variety of beans well, though I've gotten into the habit of tapping the output chute to knock loose grinds from oilier beans...they'll plug up the output chute if you don't look out for that - I learned that when a house guest kept grinding away and no grounds were coming out.

PS - the drain grate makes a wonderful spatzel sieve if you're going to make spatzel!

One Year Followup

mmm.... I think it's been four years now. And my machine had performed (wait) wonderfully. The only day-to-day issue was there was a light drip from the steam wand during the warm-up and brewing process, but that was easily fixed by taking out the steam valve knob and lightly sanding down the tip and re-'greasing' the gasket. Leak fixed. The machine was humming along just great when a literal insane person broken into my house and tried to make himself an espresso when I was away on vacation (sounds like a joke but it's not). The police took him away, but not before he had burned out the heating coil and pump on the machine and tripped the circuit breaker in my kitchen.

Here's where I am so happy I got the Napolitana. www.coffeeco.com.au has an online guide up on how to fix LeLit Combi PL042s - essentially the same machine as the Napolitana. And if you google around, you can find a wiring diagram for the machine too. I don't have an engineering degree, and the last science class I took was in high school, but I was able to replace the heating coil and the pump. (I even bought a copy of electric circuits for dummies, but i really didn't need it). 1st line had all the parts for the repair at a good price, and the ULKA pump was easily findable on both eBay and 1st line. I spent just over $100 on parts ($50ish for the pump, $45ish for the heating element, then extra boiler gasket, screws, silicone grease, and two new thermostats just in case). A small screwdriver, socket wrench set and wrench set were all the tools I needed. The inside of the machine is extremely accessible and convenient. Looking at the inside of the machine, believe with a little stubbornness and the right tools, anyone can figure out how to fix this machine. Parts should be very easy to get as the pump is used universally in the Rancillio and LeLits, and LeLit has pretty much been manufacturing the PL042 consistently.

I do have to make a correction though - I had thought the Napolitana has a solinoid valve, but it does not. The PL042 does, and it shows up on their wiring diagram, but it simply isn't on the Napolitana.  After the self-repairs, my machine is humming along again.

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review rating: 8.5
Posted: January 12, 2011, 11:39pm
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