After continuous usage of the the La Pavoni Profesional espresso machine, I'm continue to be impressed. It is by far one of the most reliable machine I have ever use. And if anything were to go wrong with it, it is extremly easy to service. I would not be hesitate to say that I could probably pass on this machine to my grand children with ease.
One very important aspect about the La Pavoni direct lever in particular and possibly other direct lever such as the Olympia Cremina or the Elektra Microcasa is the warm up speed. It is indeed impressive compare to other types of consumer espresso machines. The warm up speed refer to how long it take for the machine to be fully up to temperature that would allow it to pull excellent shot of espresso. In machines such as a Heat-exchanger or a double boilers, one would need to wait at least 30 minutes for the machine to be fully warmed up so that the boilers, all the piping and the group head to reach a temperature that would produce a consistent excellent espresso. There are some way a barista can speed up this process such as by flushing the group head with a large quantity of water, this work to a limitted degree but it waste a lot of water. For this reason, many home barista chose to leave their machines on all the time or install a timer to turn their machine on and off at a certain predetermined time.
With the La Pavoni which I have a lot of experience with, the machine will reach operating temperature in less than 10 minutes sometime significantly less depend on the level of water in the boiler. This is especially important in the morning when one would need to rush to get out of the house. Usually I have my machine filled up with water the night before and when I wake up in the morning, all I have to do is hit the on button. I would go and brush my teeth, then after that go bleed off the false pressure on the Pavoni. Then change my cloth to get ready for school and by then, the Pavoni is fully warmed up, all less than 10 minutes. In this way, the Pavoni is extremely efficient, saving a lot of electricity which is important for those of us who are worried about our impacts of our espresso enjoyment on the environment.
The reason that the Pavoni warm up so quickly is because the group head is bolted directly to the hot boiler and there are no extensive or exposed piping. This characteristic is also responsible for the Pavoni's biggest weakness, that is it can overheat rather easily and once it does, there is really nothing you can do about it but to wait for it to cool down.