I had a look at my agenda this morning and I realised I missed a couple of scheduled topics that were supposed to be released already a couple of weeks ago.
Scrolling down, there was one that I particularly wanted to talk about. So, today, it’s the turn of reviewing La Pavoni Europiccola coffee machine.
As an Italian, perhaps I am biased, but I have always been fascinated by the large presence of Italian coffee machine manufacturer in the country. Actually, I am not telling you why is that much but, what is certain is that in Italy is a big thing.
Maybe most of you already know about La Pavoni Europiccola or any of their iconic coffee lever machine, but I think that some topics like this never get old, especially its history that does need a mention.
A BIT OF HISTORY
La Pavoni company dates back very early: according to their website, the company was established in 1905 in Milan thanks to Desiderio Pavoni. He was widely acclaimed from the very beginning for inventing the first espresso machine for a coffee shop called “Ideale”, by developing a patent of Luigi Bezzera.
He did not know already that in 1961, he would have designed what has brought the company so famous worldwide: La Pavoni Europiccola, the first-ever coffee machine designed for home use.
At that time, coffee machines were pretty much inconsistent and not able to make any decent coffee, resembling of a black slop.
But what makes La Pavoni Europiccola espresso machine so famous?
In shorts, the Europiccola model has inspired La Pavoni for making all the following models which are still influenced by this first one. So, basically, only the components are changed while the simple, clear design has been maintained.
Let’s then have a look at La Pavoni Europiccola.
MAIN FEATURES OF LA PAVONI EUROPICCOLA
- A 0,8-litre boiler capacity: a vertical boiler is built in to make sure you have enough water for a couple of coffee: I’m saying just a few coffees as it’s what this coffee machine has been designed for. After making 2-3 shots of espressos, the brew temperature is close to boiling point and so it does the headgroup and the portafilter. You can manage this just by waiting to get them cooling down but, if you do not want to wait too much, you can bring them to a lower temperature with the help of a cool cloth;
- A lever: by lifting it you are going to act a piston that let the water comes through to the grouphead. By pulling it down you brew your espresso thanks to the amount of pressure you are going to make. Obviously, the more coffee you put the more pressure you need as you are getting more resistant from the puck;
- 49mm basket: basket is not that big, probably because the original idea was to sell this machine on the Italian market. Usually, when you pop into a coffee shop in Italy, you’ll be served with a dose of coffee enough to brew a single shot beverage which is normally around 7g. This happens if you do not specify that you may want a double shot of coffee.
That’s why the baskets of La Pavoni Europiccola performs better with a dose of 14-15 grams of coffee;
- 3-hole steam tip: the steam wand is not excellent but is good enough to make a decent microfoam texture. You can replace the tip in case you want more power.
Here’s a tip: just go down a tiny bit with the lever as you may want to saturate the group before starting the extraction process.
Now, this machine has not been designed for higher volume and, because of the limited amount of space in the chamber, you cannot even make the same preinfusion as you do in a professional machine. However, I find this tip works especially to prevent channelling.
So for who is designed for?
Well, I would not recommend la Pavoni Europiccola to everybody. It’s probably not suitable for any beginners that want to start their coffee journey. So, if you have ever heard about people that are saying that with this machine you cannot make good coffee well, it’s probably because they are not confident in the dial-in and do not know from where to start.
In fact, you can make great coffee with a good crema on top.
But, that said, the Pavoni Europiccola is quite challenging. Making good espresso at home requires a bit of study, research and a lot of passion. It’s not just pushing a button (in this case pulling a lever) and wait for the magic to happen.
It’s also not designed for anyone that wants to improve its latte art technique as this coffee machine is mainly made for brewing espressos at home and not so much in a row.
After filling up the tank, you might make sure to take out some air that it’s might be trapped between the tank and the headgroup: you want to do this because the air would give you inconsistent extraction by overpressing your coffee puck and so ended up with a channelling shot (usually, it ended up with a hole in the centre of the puck). Also, the air would deliver a bubbling texture into your milky beverage.
So, what you just need to do is to bleed out the air by using the steamer for 5-6 seconds.
After that, you will need to wait for a while to bring back your Pavoni Europiccola to the ideal brewing temperature.
This machine does not really work with coffee from the supermarket so I would recommend you to buy a bag of fresh coffee and to grind your dose of coffee just before making it.
As I said before, La Pavoni Europiccola is better than you might think and that’s the reason why it’s not an entry-level machine. Not just because of the price that is sold, but for what it takes to make it successfully work.
But whether you are at the very beginning of your coffee journey or a skilled barista, I wouldn’t suggest you buy a new one.
There are a lot of second-hand models on the market that are waiting for you. And you can make it as good as new with a very small investment by changing the gasket, the steam tip and by descaling the water tank.
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.