I really enjoy lever espresso makers. When I got tired of my Gaggia Classic on went on a search for a lever that wouldn't break the bank but would also make a great shot. Current iterations of lever machines were just too expensive. Vintage commercial machines were also really expensive and often times required a lot of work. I narrowed my list to the staples of shot pulling lore: the La Peppina and Arrarex Caravel. Both are open boiler machines that are simple to use and had readily available parts for the inevitable rebuild. After a few months of searching and conservative bidding I found a relatively well kept Peppina that I was able to score at a competitive price. It arrived safely and after a complete tear down, boiler descale and complete gasket replacement I was good to go. Compared to the horror stories I had read online my thirty minute rebuild made me very happy. What I really enjoy about the design is the simplicity. Water in the kettle boils and the water is used to extract the espresso by way of the pressure of a spring. Everything heats up very quickly and the temperature difference between the kettle and what comes out the spouts is at most five degrees. Coming from a PID Classic I find myself more into the qualitative side of making shots with the Peppina compared to the obsessive need to be quantitatively exact with the Classic. I do measure the kettle temperature before I pull the shot but from there I just go by feel.
Tonight I got some five day old Destroyer espresso from Ceremony coffee at the local Whole Foods. It took me three shots to get the coffee dialed in and that took a grand total of 10 minutes. I find the kettle temperature to be very stable which lends itself well to sequential shots. The same three shots would have taken much much longer with the old Classic.
Sadly, I think I've got that itch again and may begin the search for a different lever. Here's hoping the next lever lives up to this one.
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