Thread subject: Homeroasters.org :: La Pavoli Europicola pre-Millenium Lever machine
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/12/2012 17:41
I hope this is a good place to ask this.
I just got a La Pavoli Europicola pre-Millenium Lever machine.
I have spent the last 2 days reading, getting both confused then understanding.
It has 2 switches -- one for power on/off and one to set for hi/low heat (I & II). The power light is on all the time it is powered up.
I took the group head off and checked the seals. they are still soft. I cleaned it and reassembled it.
I took off the steam valve and checked it. Took off the wand, and reassembled it.
I descaled it, it looked like the last owner had hard water. it had a white powder all over the inside of the tank.
After that I kept heating it up and blowing out the lines, removing the vinegar..
As I did that I was checking the temp of the water in a cup below the group head. It stayed around 180 F and never any hotter.
I kept getting more confident with the pressure.
I read about heat issues caused by the scaling, and that the ball may be scaled. At this time I took the safety valve off. The ball and spring were very clean. Maybe because of the descaling, I didn't look at it before.
Anyway, I get steam from the safety valve all the time.
That may be normal, since by this time, I am not turning it off, or turning the power down to 1 (one) when it gets hot.
So, what do I need to check/do to get the temp up?
Is the spring too weak on the safety valve?
And, what tamper do I use? 49 or 49 1/2?
The basket measures 1.965 (49.9 mm)
After this I am sure I will have more questions.
Should I post on a forum that is less roaster forum, so i don't take away from this wonderful forum?
Thank so much,
Yes, I know, this is a big step up from my Saeco Aroma. That's why I got it.
Posted by Lylabrown on 08/12/2012 19:45
Hey there Ken,
I was is the same boat as you 6 months ago. There are a few things to check from here. Its a very simple machine to troubleshoot on the electrical / mechanical side of things. Extracting consistent shots is another story....but well worth the effort.
First up - When the switch is set to "II" do you get any more steam exiting from the relief valve than the "I" setting? It should be substantially more. Letting off a whistling sound with lots of steam. If you don't, I suspect the higher wattage coil is not running. As you may know, these machines have two heating elements: low (200w), and (600 or 800w). The 800w coil is used for warm up and steaming. The 200w coil is used to maintain brew temperature.
The first thing I'd check is the wire connections under the machine. Look for any loose connections on the switches and the element terminals. If that isn't it, Then its either a faulty switch, or element. Here are a couple of informative links for testing the machine:
If you know your way around a voltmeter - testing the switches for power, and the element for continuity / leaks to ground should be simple. I'd be happy to guide you through the process if you need help.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/13/2012 03:16
Thanks, I will do that today.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/13/2012 05:06
I put the Kill-A-Watt on the plug
247 watts & 990 watts when the switch is on I & II.
More later, got a dentist appt today.
I have to go to the big city, Asheville, for that.
I am excited to get this fine machine purring.
Posted by JimH on 08/13/2012 14:11
Try performing a simple test... when the machine is up to temperature, take off the portafilter and raise the lever. Listen carefully to check if you can hear the water flash-boiling as it enters the cylinder. If it does, your boiler is getting hot enough, and in fact might be too hot to pull a good shot (it depends on the temperature balance between very hot water and a cooler metal grouphead.)
A temperature of 180F in a cup below the grouphead isn't all that surprising, that is the normal serving temperature of an espresso shot. A better test would be to use a small gauge bare bead thermocouple threaded between the portafilter and the portafilter gasket into the center of the basket. That would give the best comparison to the temperature of the water as it hits the puck. (Don't tighten it too hard, the wire could break or the gasket could be damaged.)
I'm afraid I can't help much on your other questions, I've never played with a Pavoni. All my experience is on bigger commercial levers.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/13/2012 16:27
I have a brand new probe from Sweet Marias I haven't used yet.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/14/2012 07:19
This is what I read this morning.
Turned on, set to II.
1021 watts power draw.
Steam blows from safety valve.
204 F inside group head.
Set to I.
287 watts power draw.
Steam escapes from safety valve.
204 F inside group head.
OK, I think there is a problem with the safety valve spring/ball assembly. Else it wouldn't leak steam all the time.
I am going to take it off again and look closer.
I may take a look at the pressurestat. It may be adjustable.
Posted by Lylabrown on 08/14/2012 09:40
Hey Ken, Hope the dentist appointment went well.
Sorry about my earlier post, I was under the impression that you weren't getting full power.
It sounds like everything is fine with the electrics. The constant steam coming out of the valve is perfectly normal. It acts as a mechanical thermostat regulating the pressure in the boiler at around 1bar, which also keeps water temperature in the ideal range. It's an elegant way to control both metrics at the same time. I wouldn't play with the pressurestat at this point, I don't think it's a problem. The numbers you posted are actually ideal for this machine. 205f in the grouphead is perfect. Try pulling a pew shots.
Here are some notes from brew routine on my machine:
I just ran her through a warm-up, 2 shot pull, with flushes between shots.
From cold, the boiler was heated on high (800w) till the steam started to purge, and first few drops came out of the pressure relief tube. Then set to low (200w).
Raised the lever to flush excess steam/pre-heat the group. 184f in cup.
Grind, tamp, locked in machine. Lifted lever to top, held 10 seconds, then cranked down slowly. Around 20# of force required, 15 seconds till bottomed out. Came out thin. Tasted sour. 154f in cup.
Flushed again. 193f in cup. Same as first. Extracted....Better, thin crema (light), slightly bitter, liquidy. 165f in cup.
Flushed again - 204f in cup.
Those numbers are right in the same range as yours.
Also, I use a 49.5mm tamper. This one to be exact: http://www.orphan..._1824.html
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/14/2012 14:58
I wouldn't play with the pressurestat at this point, I don't think it's a problem.
I ####### up, I did tighten (stretch) the release valve spring, now it turns off and resets.
Lessons learned. I will buy a new spring.
I am getting shots, still gotta get the grind right, and the tamper I have is small, cheap and plastic. Grinder @ 4 - 5 - 6 - & - 8 is too fine.
Do you use the La Pavoni with a courser grind than other machines?
Posted by JimH on 08/14/2012 16:50
As a general rule, levers prefer a finer grind and a lower dose. They also are largely immune to the force of your tamp. As long as you have an even distribution and a level tamp, you can usually use anything from 2 to 30 pounds and end up with the same extraction. (It's all about the preinfusion.)
I'm assuming your Saeco had a pressurized portafilter, so the size of the grind wouldn't have made any difference in the speed of the extraction. The size and quality of the grind are much more important on your Pavoni. You didn't say which grinder you were using, but I'm assuming it is the Baratza Virtuoso. It's a very good coffee grinder, but for espresso it is unfortunately marginal, so it will give you some consistency problems.
You might want to read up on some of the methods people use for controlling water temperature. 204F is a little too high for some coffees, so lowering the grouphead temperature can reduce the water temperature to a more useful level (the wet towel method, or using a cold portafilter to pull heat out of the group.) You might want to get one of the temperature strips that Orphan Espresso sells to put on the grouphead, it can give you a good idea when to pull a shot.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/14/2012 17:20
SAECO ... First thing i did was remove the useless pressurizer..
I have an email out to Orphan. This machine is worth the extra effort to restore it. So, it may have to wait till I get the right parts.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/14/2012 17:34
Oh ..... I have a Zassenhaus Turkish Mill!!!
Hmmmmmm the gears are turning again.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/16/2012 15:20
Low dose .. How many grams is a low dose?
Thanks, I do have it working, and am now 'dialing it in'.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/17/2012 14:55
I played some more.
I found that the Zassenhaus Turkish mill isn't the one to use.
So, I tried my Zassenhaus Knee grinder.
I think I am onto something there.
I am starting to get a flow. The mill seemed to back it up (clog).
I hate wasting coffee when there is already good info out there.
The videos I watch are too varied.
One idea is to fill the portafilter, then tamp down, but that packs ground on the showerhead, so I am back to weighing and filling.
Low dose fine grind ....
Is 10 grams too little?
Posted by opus on 08/17/2012 21:42
Supposed to be 14g but that is too much. The showehead gets packed. Go with the 10g. I generally take 2 scoops of beans, grind it, load the filter and then throw about a teaspoonful away or so. Like I have said before, I aint makin love to it, I am just drinking it, so I dont weigh hardly at all.
I didnt read all the above but when you fire the thing up. The first shot wont be the best. The 2nd and 3rd will be. After that, its too hot to do anything, so shut it off and go mow the lawn or something. Dont go too fine on the grind, something like sugar granules should be about right. You will also find that if the coffee is a couple days roasted or a week +, the grind will have to be altered. The older the coffee, the finer you will have to go.
Just random thoughts, hope they help. Any specific questions, fire away. Readers Digest version though, I get bored after a paragraph. ;)
And...I just looked in the mirror. I dont have a question mark on my head, like that
Edited by opus on 12/31/1969 17:00
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/18/2012 05:26
Week + ????? Nothing stays here that long.
Posted by opus on 08/18/2012 07:26
Week + ????? Nothing stays here that long.
Thats about the same here. Some stuff I do let sit for close to a week before I will even touch it. It never settles well until its rested for about 5 days. Now if I could only remember what origin beans it was......
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/18/2012 16:09
Yemen ... 4 days rest.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/20/2012 07:59
I think I've got it.
Tanzanian Peaberry Lunji Estate.
Zassenhaus knee mill 3/8 of a turn from bottom.
11 grams in a double basket.
Spooned, tamped, spooned more, to ensure even distribution.
Tamped lightly, spun.
Machine turned on to II, then when steam blows from top ... turn to I.
6 second wait at top, then steady pull down.
First of two was actually the better.
But, the second was still very tasty, but it didn't flow as well..
Maybe the group head getting too warm iIS the key.
Thermometer pad coming with other parts from Orphan Espresso.
Ken in NC
I can still taste it .... yummy.
Posted by snwcmpr on 08/22/2012 09:27
Thanks for the tips.
I got it working very well.