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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006

    La Pavoni Stradivari - bitter and undrinkable coffee.

    Hello all,

    Having lurked for some time, I bought a La Pavoni Stradivari. It arrived early last month and for two or three weeks produced good espresso. I do not yet have a grinder so have been using Illy (both black and red label), and a selection of ready ground coffee (espresso grind) bought over the web. Of late, the coffee produced is sour, bitter and undrinkable. I have tried varying quantities, tamping technique and pressure, infusion time, time taken to move the lever, but to no avail.

    Is it possible there may be a hardware fault? Or is it me?

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    Regards, Peter.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Try this for your Pavoni

    I quit using coffee grounds years ago once I discovered Pods. The Italians make some outstanding pod coffee some of which are available on line at places like Espresso Tiamo. They sell many blends from Italy one of my favorites is Z caffe which comes in a pod. You can also try many other blends and brands until you get it right but give up the grounds and go with the pods. Its cleaner and easier on your machine and on your patience. I find on my Pavoni which I've owned for about 20 years, if I raise the lever slowly it gives a better crema. I used to wet the pod slightly before clamping it down but the results were inconsistent.
    I personnaly dont like Illy brand so dont give up just yet. Try them all then decide.

    Good Luck

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    The technique of the Lever Pull is the key to making a nice espresso. It took several shots to learn how to get one to just come out with a little crema. Experiment with slower opening, durations of time open, and the force in which you close the piston valve. It might cost you a few bucks in espresso, but you'll learn how to do it. It most likely is not the machine, but just learning how to Pull a Shot.

    Good Luck

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    It sounds like over extraction to me. Its very easy to do with the La Pavoni.

    It took me weeks to get decent pulls. I started with terrible pissy tasting coffee, and ended up with nutty creamy espresso. You will have to keep in practice.

    Here is exactly how I pull mine:

    I make sure all the components that touch the grind are clean of old grounds and are scale free. We use a descaler every few weeks to keep things clean and clear.

    Start with the pump lever down and the coffee maker heated completely up.

    I fill the bigger of the two cups with espresso grind, I like Illy too. On my burr grinder I use #2 if I am not using Illy.

    Tamp the grounds with about the same pressure it takes to slightly over effectively use a rubber stamp.

    I fill the cup with enough tamped espresso so it fits snugly on the head, but not tight.

    Place the cup under the head. Tip: use the same cup every time so you can get used to how much fits in it before it gets bitter.

    Lift the handle.

    Allow the water to fill the head, and start to dribble into the cup.

    On my peticular cup I let the dribble just cover the bottom.

    The moment the bottom is covered, I pull the handle down slowly (8 seconds or so)

    *Here is the key*
    I found the last bits of foamy espresso draining from the head tastes over extracted, very burnt and acidic.

    When the pump handle hits bottom, I let about half a second of espresso drop in the cup, then I Pull the cup out before the rest falls in.


    This should yield a very nutty flavor.



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