How to Use a La Pavoni Manual Lever Espresso Machine

shinypavoniOk, so you have a La Pavoni espresso machine. You’ve read the espresso FAQ’s and know everything about espresso…but you still can’t pull a shot worth a darn? This “how-to” is dedicated to you.

When compared with almost any other home espresso production method, La Pavoni Manual Lever-Piston machines are spartan, expensive, labour intensive, and requires an enormous investment in training. Most “normal” people wonder why anyone would bother with a lever machine at all (Infidels!)

Well, my answer is this…you may not believe it right now, but what you have in your possession is nothing shot of pure magic! The skilled operator of a lever machine can attain a level of control over their shot of espresso that no other home machine user can possibly hope to reproduce. However, there IS a problem. Although the result of a perfectly pulled shot is pure heaven–a badly pulled shot is undrinkable drek!

Despite carefully going through the plethora of material currently available on the Web, and my espresso books, I just couldn’t make drinkable espresso with my La Pavoni. Being a geek, once something like this gets a hold of you, you just can’t think about anything else let alone giving up!

Embarrassingly, it took me almost a solid week of spare time thinking about espresso, making a mess in the kitchen (my wife was VERY happy about this…), making people crazy with my incessant e-mail questions, buying a new espresso grinder, and about 5 pounds of various beans to work out how to make good espresso with my La Pavoni. This site is the distillation of my efforts. You will have to practice, but hopefully this will make your learning curve less formidable.

This is an updated version of the guide I first wrote in 1998. The response to this simple guide has been overwhelming. I’ve had emails with questions from all over the world and have formed many friendships that have started with La Pavoni. In this version, I’m updating the look of the site, and plan on adding more images and videos as time allows.

If you find this helpful, feel free to send me beans worthy of the magic machine or any other coffee paraphernalia to support my caffeine habit. For those of you feeling even more generous, you may wish to donate to my retirement fund. With all the time wasted on playing with the machine and working up this site, I have a LOT of income to make up…people have always suspected it, but now they have proof that I’ve finally lost it!

Anyway, here is my story…

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