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La Pavoni PPG-16 Professional 16-Cup Espresso Machine, Brass
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- Lever-model espresso machine makes up to 16 2-ounce cups of espresso
- 38-ounce solid-brass boiler delivers fast heat-up times; internal thermostat
- Steam-pressure piston; dual frothing systems for cappuccinos and lattes
- Rosewood handles; ETL listed; made in Italy; instructional DVD included
- Measures 16-1/4 by 4-1/2 by 12 inches; 1-year warranty
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The La Pavoni Professional sixteen cup in brass features a 38 oz. boiler, and internal thermostat. This lever model is steam piston operated, has solid brass boilers, and a separate cappuccino spout. Includes a 1-year warranty and demo DVD.
Top Customer Reviews
That said, I thought a potential buyer might want to read about some of these idiosyncracies. First, no matter what you do, the first shot you pull will taste bad. Preheat, pull hot water for the first shot--nothing will change the fact that the first shot doesn't taste good. I resigned myself to wasting that first shot.
Second, if you want to pull shots soon after each other, you'll find out that this unit does not have a pressure release mechanism. So when you unseat the filter holder soon after pulling the shot, there's still pressure against the grounds, which will now *poof* blow back outward onto your fingers and the machine. You'll get used to knowing when it's been "long enough", and in a pinch you can *carefully* ease the holder out, slowly letting the pressure to escape.
With a pump espresso maker, you can pull "lungo" or "ristretto" shots, which have (respectively) larger or smaller shot sizes. Since the amount of grounds stays the same, this means more watery or stronger. But with this unit you have to live with the pull size implicit in the amount of water moved by that piston for a pull. They give you two holders, which gives you two sizes. The smaller one is the only one I ever used, which was a ristretto--a good choice, if you have to take a single choice!
Unlike most espresso machines for the home market, you have steam available all the time on that side steam wand--you don't need to switch it into "steam mode". The steam wand is a little dated in design, but I got very good results out of it. They supply you with some gimmicky steam/frothing attachments which you should ignore.
For a party, you'll run out of water sooner than you expect. The reservoir is heated up to steam and is thus under pressure. You do NOT open it until it has cooled down enough to release all the steam. So unlike those pump units, this one is really not for making a lot of shots in a row.
Let me finish by saying that although most of what I've said about this machine are its misfeatures, it is a really, really likable unit! The previous reviewer was SO right in comparing it to making a martini. I'd add that it's even more like fiddling with your stereo and speakers until you finally get it sounding *right*. With the manual pull lever you'll get a feel for what the correct grind feels like. You'll know what the right pull speed is--your muscles will start to remember it. And out will come that lovely espresso with its golden crema--what a way to start the morning!
PS - Writing reviews has become an accidental hobby for me, and it always makes my day to know that people find my reviews helpful (and if not, why.) Also, if you have any questions, clarifications, or comments please feel free to leave a comment below. I usually respond pretty quickly and almost always within 24 hours.
I purchased the 16 cups La Pavoni professional (brass model) and have been extremely happy with it's quality in pulling espresso shots, foaming milk, and overall quality in craftsmanship. It is definitely a purchase for the next 20+ years.
HOWEVER, when I first received it I went through a lot of frustration (probably 50+ cups wasted) to finally understand what it took to make perfection in a cup.
Before considering this machine, understand that you will require a grinder that has the ability to adjust the fineness/coarseness of coffee bean grinds. Purchasing coffee grinds from cafes will not work. I figured they would have commercial grade grinders so what's the difference? Well, the difference is that this La Pavoni needs an EXACT grind level, and I mean exact! If the grinds are too coarse, water will pass through the grinds quickly and you will not achieve the sought after crema (plus the espresso will taste like burnt toast). If the grinds are too 'fine', you will not be able to pull the La Pavoni lever down to release the pressure build up (i.e. the coffee will not pour/drip) and you'll be forced to remove the filter prematurely....and poof! scalding grinds exploding everywhere. I chose to pair my La Pavoni machine with a Mazzer Mini grinder ($750) which is also a well made machine made in italy. There might be a cheaper solution, but after so much frustration I experienced with pre-ground coffee from cafes I would have done almost anything to get it right. Just to give you an idea on the amount of frustration, at one point I even contemplated scraping this whole 'manual' art form and getting an automated machine. Those were some painful days let me tell you..
So know I have a top of the line espresso machine and top of the line espresso grinder, this should automatically bring perfection right? Wrong. You will also require a tamper (which presses the fresh grinds down into the filter). A plastic tamper is provided with the La Pavoni which can be useless unless you're accustomed to knowing your own strength. It is said that the appropriate amount of weight to apply when tamping down the grinds is 30lbs. And again, if this step is not done properly it will affect the outcome of the shot: press too hard, the grinds will become paste; too light, you'll end up making coffee instead of espresso. A 51mm tamper that has a 'click' mechanism to indicate 30lbs has been applied costs around $90 (the brand I purchased was espro).
La Pavoni Professional = $1400
Burr Grinder = $750
30lbs Tamper = $90
Total Investment = $2240+tax
.....perfection isn't anywhere close yet by the way, but the tools are all there. There's lots of research to be done on your part, but this La Pavoni machine can produce some of the finest grade espresso drinks I've had the pleasure of critiquing. Like I mentioned earlier, at the time I hated the experience of spending so much money and time and still failing on an epic scale. It takes practice upon practice, and 3 months later I'm still learning. I can, without a doubt, pull a great espresso shot with excellent crema full of flavour. Now-a-days I have to resist the urge to make one and am constantly annoying my wife with offers of another cup.
Prior to the La Pavoni, I had a decent Breville machine that was automatic. One button, it made a consistent shot and I raved about it. Now, I can't even enjoy a cup from the Breville because the difference in flavour is so obvious.
My advice to those who want something effortless that doesn't take 10mins from your morning routine, I'm sure you can purchase a quality automatic machine for <$1000. But for anyone looking to truly understand the art form mastered by baristas, this investment is priceless!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cons: first shot tends to go to the sink, poor placement for the steam wand.