http://www.home-barista.com/forums/userpix/3413oe_3rd_shot_2_1.jpg" width="477" height="400" />
I have blogged in the past about the La Pavoni Lever espresso machine and my user experience with it. http://www.roaste.com/CoffeeBlogs/sontondaman/Revisiting-Pavoni-Manual-Lever Having own two of these machines ( one Euripicola and one larger capacity Profesional), my experience tell me that these lever machine has limitted use because the group head can overheat very quickly. One obvious solution is of course to wait for the machine to cool down sufficiently; this method is what I often use the most and is the most reliable. It ensure that my subsequent shot will be excellent; It also leave time for me to think what I can do to make subsequent shot better (i.e adjust grind, dose or both). However, in situation where waiting is not an option such as when you have company over, I used to use a towel that is wetted in cool water to cool the group head down or sometime, I would use a large cup filled with cold water and dunk the whole group head into it. These manuevers works but only to a limitted degree.
While browsing the Orphan Espresso's website the other day to look for parts for my Ponte Vecchio Lusso, I stumbled upon their new product, named the "3rd shot". This is a product that can be used with most direct lever machines such as the La Pavoni, Olympia Cremina, and Electra Microcasa. Basically it is a block of aluminum milled so that it can be engaged into the group head of these machines. The large mass of metal is able to wick away the heat from the overheated group head and make it possible for these espresso machines to pull another shot without burning the coffee. The device is aptly named "3rd shot" because on most direct lever machines, only the first two shots are drinkable while the third one will almost always be too hot.
I think that this is a really great idea and in some way similar to the method where one would cool the hot portafilter by running it under cool water and then engage it into the grouphead again to cool it. It probably work better than that method because the OE's 3rd shot has more thermal mass so it will be able to cool the group head down better. I would love to have an oportunity to try this device and see if it is a valuable tool for home barista who own these lever machines.