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La Pavoni PA - Rob Novak's Review
Posted: January 3, 2004, 10:43pm
review rating: 9.0
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
La Pavoni PA Grinder
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Arrow The La Pavoni PA has 25 Reviews
Arrow The La Pavoni PA has been rated 6.14 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow La Pavoni PA reviews have been viewed 83,389 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Rob Novak 9.00
Mike Dahlor 9.00
Chris Chase 8.25
Vincent Sapone 8.00
Brendan Getchel 7.50

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 1.8
Manufacturer: Salton Quality: 1
Average Price: $65.00 Usability: 4
Price Paid: $39.95 Cost vs. Value 1
Where Bought: Kitchen Store Aesthetics 3
Owned for: 4+ years Overall 0
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Utter crap.  La Pavoni should be ashamed to put their name on this thing.
Positive Product Points

Readily available.
Doesn't cause cancer or spontaneously burst into flames (that I know of...)

Negative Product Points

Messy - lots of static.
Difficult to clean.
Very inconsistent grind.
Will be the subject of much mockery among your coffee buddies.

Detailed Commentary

I have no idea why this is such a highly rated grinder, on average, when in its other incarnations (Capresso 551, Salton, Melitta Perfect Touch) it gets dismal marks, and quite rightly. Does the La Pavoni name somehow embue this poor excuse for a coffee appliance with extra quality? This same grinder was sold at Wal*Mart with a "Betty Crocker" brand label, for God's sake. No matter what the name on the box, this is a cheap, nasty, ill-suited unit from Salton and no matter what it's called, it's still the same piece of junk. Manure by any other name smells as rank.

This unit, even with its burrs, may actually be a step down from some of the better blade grinders. The stationary burr is held in a cheap, flimsy plastic mounting. The burr set appears to have six actual cutting edges, with the remaining ridges solely directing the powdery result to the discharge chute. You can actually watch the top burr jump around and wobble in its mounting as grinding commences. Predictably, the grind quality gives "inconsistent" a bad name.

Grinds get all over this unit. They clog the discharge port, permeate the timer knob (causing it to eventually bind), and stick everywhere due to the static generated. You can brush out the grind hopper and discharge opening, but fine powder still cakes in the grinding chamber. Stale grinds are a constant problem. Opening the hopper after grinding results in bits of coffee flying up to a foot in every direction.

Grind adjusts from "Coarse" to "Fine". The coarse grind is boulders-and-pebbles quality. Lots of dust, and the remainder of the grind looks like a mix of press-pot and drip grind. Use of this grind in a French press results in a LOT of sediment and little to no control over brewing consistency. The fine grind isn't fine enough for espresso by a long shot, resulting in thin, bitter shots with no crema.  Even in a pressurized filter basket, you have to tamp this grind heavily to produce anything drinkable.

Oh, the materials are cheap, too. The acrylic grinds hopper is fragile and will develop hairline crazing due to heat-stress if you put it in too-hot water for cleaning. The hopper is also prone to breaking at the corners from something as simple as dropping it on the countertop.

The motor howls like a Pratt & Whitney turbofan at takeoff. My dog runs to another floor of the house when I turn this thing on. The push switch on the front of the unit is easy to depress when removing or replacing the hopper, and starting the beast without the hopper seated sprays high-velocity grinds over a six-foot radius.

Final verdict - Save your money for a better grinder. The $30-40 you save on this could go toward a Starbucks Barista/Solis 166 or a Solis Maestro, either of which is a much better choice for an entry-level coffee grinder.

Buying Experience

As to be expected from a discount retail establishment.

Three Month Followup

Ditched it.  Replaced with the Rancilio Rocky doserless.  I just couldn't stand this thing anymore.

Examining the inner workings (I performed a really messy autopsy with a 5-lb. hand-sledge. That's how much I hated it) was revealing. The burrs, if you want to call them that, have six total contact surfaces, which are blunt blocky teeth cast into the metal. They're not sharp in the least, and likely bash the beans into submission rather than cut/mill them. The drive shaft comes straight off what is, for all intents and purposes, a 3600RPM hand mixer motor. The grind adjustment isn't threaded - it's a wedge-shaped plastic ring that pushes the burrs further apart when rotated, with tons of play in the mechanism. Coffee powder was packed EVERYWHERE inside the upper housing. I'm surprised it never caught fire.

Avoid this grinder at all costs, unless you're desperate and it's really cheap.  If you buy this grinder, buy it without the $30 La Pavoni name stamp.  This is a $25 grinder at best.  It'll be $24.99 at Wal*Mart, but almost $60 in a coffee shop.

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review rating: 9.0
Posted: January 3, 2004, 10:43pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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