Thanks to another coffee lover's desire to upgrade a while back, a La Pavoni PBC Conical Burr Espresso Grinder became available. I had been saving for a Preciso but almost picked up a demo La Pavoni like this one that 1st Line Equipment offered at a discounted price. I waited too long though for that one and someone else picked it up instead. I got a fair deal and was able to compare a conical burr grinder that on paper looks like it compares favorably with the Preciso.
I like the step-less adjustment since my one of my other electric conical burr grinders - the Baratza Virtuoso - does have small but distinct steps. The other feature I like is the threaded outer burr carrier - the ability to grind finely is created only with precise stability when the moving parts are so very close together - this burr carrier can meet this requirement.
The seller mentioned the adjustment sticks when dialing the grind - I determined after a couple uses this was caused by play in the outer burr carrier - Teflon tape to the rescue. Now the adjustment is smooth, the motor isn't working as hard, and the quality of the grind is noticeably improved as well. The machine does not feel as robust as the Virtuoso but does not feel too flimsy for my intended daily use of grinding a couple shots worth of beans. The TreSpade burr set is only a little slower than the Virtuoso but the comparison isn't exact since the La Pavoni is easily grinding finer than my current setting on the Baratza.
The ground retention is a bit better on the Baratza but it isn't too big a problem on the La Pavoni - more important to me is neither machine suffers from static cling with the beans I am using. I was pleasantly surprised by the compactness and the nice overall appearance of this machine. It will do what it is designed for - grinding coffee beans into grounds fine enough for espresso. When it comes down to taste, the LaPavoni PBC scores a win over the Virtuoso by revealing more complexity in the shot while using the same beans and volume.
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