Pulling shots with the La Pavoni Lever
I have been blogging in the past about using the La Pavoni Lever espresso machine to prepare espresso as well as milk drinks. However, I never really make a video or describe my approach to using this machine. Despite it being a manual espresso machine, it is capable of making excellent espresso; with the combination of skill, attention and the right coffee, it makes coffee that can put to shame even machines that are ten times more expensive (in my limitted experience with pump machines such as the La Marzocco Linea).
In the youtube video above, I have filled the boiler up (perhaps with a bit too much water as you can see a lot of water come out when i purge the steam wand) and turn on the machine. About 5 minutes later, the machine is warmed up with the pressure indicator at appoximately one bar of pressure. However, at this stage, the Pavoni is in a state of "false Pressure" and the boiler must be purged of air so that the entire space is filled with water vapor. As you can see, once I open the steam wand, the pressure drastically drop to less than 0.5 bar which indicate that I'm purging all of the false pressure.
After purging the false pressure, the Pavoni take less than one minute to reach it true pressure (a little less than 1 bar) at which point I have already prepare the basket with coffee and tamp it properly. In the video, I omitted to film the part where I flush a certain amount of water through the group head to warm it and also to warm the demitase (about two ounces) but in actuallity, I did it. Then I take out the portafilter, wipe it with a rag and drop in the basket. The video unfortunately does not show my lever technique but what I'm doing is a "felini" moveto preinfuse the coffee bed and to make sure I get the desired espresso volume. I'm a proponent of not excerting too much pressure on the lever. I believe it would cause more damage to the lever yoke and might distort the base of the Pavoni. The pressure on the lever should be firm; but more importantly, I watch the stream of the espresso that comes out of the portafilter very closely, making sure that it is even, not too fast or too slow. If it is too slow, I adjust the grinder for the next shot so that i'm grinding courser; if it is too fast, I apply less pressure on the lever to slow down the shot but I will also for the next shot grind a bit finer.
After the espresso go blond, I pull the cup away; enjoy the coffee and clean up the basket as well as the machine!
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