The La Pavoni Europiccola is a classic. The quality of espresso that you can achieve is remarkable for a machine at this price point, and the manual interaction in pulling a shot on a lever machine is unrivaled. The biggest challenge on the La Pavoni, however, is temperature management.
The La Pavoni is great at pulling a single shot. In normal operation, the steam pressure in the boiler pushes boiling hot water (at 212 degrees F) into the grouphead. The grouphead acts like a heat sink, and it works cools the water to the proper brew temperature around 200 degrees F while the shot is being pulled. However, after pulling the first shot you’ve significantly increased the brewhead temperature and corresponding water temperature. This can lead to overextracted (bitter) espresso.
So how do you manage to pull multiple shots in a row? There’s a few steps that I take:
- Immediately after the shot, turn off the machine’s heating element.
- Open the steam wand to bleed off all of the pressure (an added bonus is that you can now remove the portafilter without having grounds expode on your counter!)
- Wrap a damp towel around the grouphead for a few seconds until you no longer hear a “hissing” noise. Careful to not touch the grouphead directly!
This should bring the temperature of the whole system back to an acceptable range. Once you follow the above steps, close the steam wand and turn the boiler on. It should take less than a minute for the machine to get back to proper brew pressure since the water in the boiler is already hot.
Now you can proceed to pull your shot like normal. Let me know your experience with this method!