Making Espresso with a Pavoni Europpicola


1. Fill the machine up
As with any coffee machine, if you live in a hard water area, only use water from a filter. Lime will ruin a machine in the long term. Its also good practice to tip any remaining water out of the boiler before refilling it. This will also reduce the build up of lime or any other contaminants.

2. Switch the machine on
The machine needs a minimum of 10 minutes warm up time. Meanwhile fit the drip tray, and porta filter. Get everything your going to need ready i.e. milk, jug, thermometer, stop watch, chocolate, tamper, filter baskets, damp cloth. Boil a kettle and heat your cups if your making espresso.

3. Release the false pressure
When the machine has reached working temperature turn on the steam tap for about 15 to 20sec. The reason for this is that as the boiler heats up air is sitting on top of the water. This needs to be released in order that all the space above the water is filled with steam. This is excepted theory. I thought it was rubbish, but if you don’t do it you will find that you can move the lever halfway down without any coffee coming out.

4. Flush the group head
This means place a cup under the group; lift the lever and let some water flow out. This cleans the dispersal screen, and the portal filter. If the machine has only been on for 10 minutes or less, let about 6 fl oz flow. This will raise the temperature of the whole group head to around the correct temperature.

5. Grind the coffee
Its no use using pre ground beans in a Pavoni, it’s just a waste of time. Likewise a blade grinder is just not good enough. You cannot duplicate or adjust a grind with a blade grinder. You need a good quality burr grinder. Pavoni, Gaggia, and Rancillo all make decent grinders. The beans you use are a personal choice, but should be as fresh as possible i.e. they should have been roasted within the last 14 days. I use a Rancilio Rocky grinder. When using fresh unknown beans I start on a setting of +12 (this is relative to the zero point, not necessarily 12 on the scale) I adjust the grind to give a total pull time of 23 –28 seconds. I have never used a setting of greater than +12 or less than +7.


6. Fill the filter basket
I never use the single shot basket supplied with the machine. It’s too small and always stalls the machine. Use the double baskets, fill these to the top and level off with a knife. I tamp with a downward force of approximately 20 pounds. The coffee should be compressed below the top edge of the basket by about 5mm.

7. Lock and load

8. Start the stop watch I find that it is essential to use a stopwatch in order to gauge whether I’ve got the grinder correctly set.

9. Raise the lever – slowly
I raise the lever slowly so as not to disturb the tamped coffee. I aim to reach the top of its travel in 10 seconds.

10. Hold the lever at the top
When the lever is at the top of its travel pressure from the boiler forces water through the group head into the coffee. On a professional machine this is called pre infusion. I normally allow 5 – 6 seconds for this.

11. Bring the lever down
I aim to bring the lever down by the time the stopwatch is showing between 33 and 38 seconds. i.e. 23 – 28 seconds actual shot time, timed from the point at which water first hit the coffee. This can only be achieved by adjustment of the grinder and the tamping pressure. Different beans need different grind setting. As the bean age the grind will need to be made finer. You can tell how things are going before the lever hits the bottom. If everything is OK dark brown to black liquid will emerge from the spouts almost as soon as you move the lever. It will be slightly thick and bubbly and should remain as dark as possible throughout the pull.

12. Result
In my opinion you should be aiming for a perfect balance of sour and bitter. It should have a thick layer of crema – (tiny bubbles). A non-espresso drinker should be able to drink it without wincing.
It’s very difficult, not to say impossible to produce great espresso consistently on a Pavoni, however the machine is capable of pulling amazing shots equal to anything at any price. The trouble is that great shots are few and far between.