How to Use the La Pavoni Professional

Illy has a set of standards in his famous Book of Coffee for the brewing espresso.  Let’s go through them before discussing how they apply to pulling a shot from a La Pavoni.

6.5 ± 1.5 g for ground coffee portion
90 ± 5 °C (194 ± 9 °F) for water temperature
9 ± 2 bar for inlet water pressure
30 ± 5 s for percolation time

Like I mentioned earlier, I spent almost a week using every moment of free time contemplating my plight. I was surfing the Net, irritating anyone I could find with a Pavoni by bombarding them with questions via e-mail, calibrating an electronic temperature probe, adjusting the boiler temperature, getting a dedicated espresso grinder, trying different beans, etc.

Systematically, I broke down all the components of making an espresso with La Pavoni. One variable was eliminated at a time. It seems that EVERYTHING is important with a La Pavoni, but I’ve found that the most important factors are grind and the tamp! Here are the fruits of my labour…


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jorge Accame November 20, 2010 at 18:29

Your information is great and very detailed but does not say the step by step of how to use the machine (LA PAVONI EUROPICCOLA) I wonder if there is a way to get the factory instruction manual for the basics and then apply your great tips to improve it.


Sean July 6, 2011 at 15:14


Very entertaining. Love my Pavoni Romantica (16). I was a Barista back in college and used a manual machine then. Switching to a semi-auto was blasphemous so I was glad about five years ago to happen on this little gem. I have loved it from day 1 and cannot imagine my coffe life without it. I COMPLETELY, 100% agree. The grind and tamp are paramount in producing good results (with commercial machines as well). If anyone is attempting to use one of these machines without at least a midrange burr grinder, they are likely to fail as often as they succeed. I’d recommend the Baratza line ($149 – $550). I use the Virtuoso Preciso. What’s $150? You already spent between $600 and $1400 in pursuit of the perfect shot…
Thank you, Daniel for an entertaining read and providing people with good information.


Matt Johnson October 13, 2013 at 10:17

I think you mean point nine bar plus or minus point two bar for inlet pressure?

Larry Frahm December 22, 2013 at 14:19

Love my Pavoni my two of my grand kids have asked me to leave it to them when I die.
I have had it for years and like the person above it is leaking from the bottom sometime after I make coffee. I know it is getting worse so I know it needs to be repaired. I hope I can do it at home as I don’t know what I would do without my Pavoni even for a day. Please help.
Larry, my wife, kids and grand kids.

daniel December 29, 2013 at 01:52

Nope, I mean 9 bar.

There are actually standards for this sort of thing, if you can believe it. Check this out:

Necessary portion of ground coffee 7 g ± 0,5
Exit temperature of water from the unit 88°C ± 2°C
Temperature of the drink in the cup 67°C ± 3°C
Entry water pressure 9 bar ± 1
Percolation time 25 seconds ± 5 seconds
Viscosity at 45°C > 1,5 mPa s
Total fat > 2 mg/ml
Caffeine < 100 mg/cup Millilitres in the cup (including froth) 25 ml ± 2,5

Gill May 29, 2016 at 18:36

I have a question! My beautiful Pavoni espresso machine has been sitting on a shelf for 3 decades, unused, and the cap to the water reservoir is immovable! Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I might rectify this? The plastic cap is practically glued on at this point! Help please! THANK YOU!

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