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Date: 08 Nov 2006 12:16:51
From: Danny Joe
Subject: Isomac back to a Europiccola (long)
I recently had the joy of reverting back to a simpler life. I am not
sure that I will stay here, but it was fun to be here for a while.

My Isomac recently decided to fry all its wiring. I understand that
this is not an unusual occurrence. The failure was interesting, being
presaged by my GFI outlets popping. I should have known that something
was wrong.

But I didn't until the whole unit went south. So I was stuck without
an E61, but with a bunch of Costa Rican peaberry roasted and in the
bin.

The first thing I did was go back to my trusty old French Press. It was
fine, if inspiring. The thing about espresso is that there is no
substitute .Sure, you can get some nice flavors from the press, and
yes, the roast worked well, but I was looking for something with a
little more depth. I think that around alt.coffee it is referred to as
going to hell in a hand basket (as in: Here's your hand basket)

So I reluctantly retrieved my old La Pavoni Europiccola that I had
purchased back in 1998 after a trip to France. (long story). There is
nothing wrong with the Pavoni. As a matter of fact, I was saving it to
give to my brother. But he was going to have to drive here from
Milwaukee to pick it up. He has not yet done so.

I got the machine down from its perch above the refrigerator, cleaned
it up, and filled it up. I reviewed the "Chrome Peacock"
(http://www.lightlink.com/kazys/pavoni.html) pages just to make sure I
would remember how to run the machine. (I did). I filled up the boiler
and fired the switch.

The machine worked like a champ. It came up to temperature quickly and
the steam wand sounded like an old locomotive. Good enough, and I shut
it down.

The next morning was the test. Again I fired up the boiler. It sang
like it should and gave me more than enough steam to get the small bit
of milk nice and foamy (macchiato, you know).

I ground the coffee on the Macap stepless to the same grind as I was
using for the Isomac. I charged two filter baskets (these are tiny. The
whole machine is small - each basket only holds about 7 g of coffee)
and was ready to go.

You have to picture the Pavoni. Remember, this is a "springless"
level machine. You provide all the pressure. If you don't have the
grind exactly right the lever is either impossible to pull, or falls of
its own accord. In either case, the liquid produced is not worth
drinking.

I locked in the portafiler and started to pump. You bring the lever
handle up half way six time, and then on the seventh pull to take it
all the way up. You hold up the lever and watch the water drop in the
level glass - when it stops dropping the water is fully charged. That
takes about ten seconds.

Then you pull it down. Perfection! It was a smooth, heavy pull with
nothing but crema coming out the bottom. I quickly pulled off the
portafiler and was rewarded with the Pavoni Sneeze. No three way valve!
What mess. But I cleaned it up and loaded the other filter basket.
Another perfect pull. We were off to the races.

My lovely bride said it was the best coffee she has had in years.

The Pavoni is inconvenient and messy. It is very sensitive to grind and
humidity. It is easy to burn your espresso.

But when you get it right, it is heaven in a cup.

Danny (give me a level long enough...) Joe





 
Date: 08 Nov 2006 18:04:08
From: Heat + Beans
Subject: Re: Isomac back to a Europiccola
Dave,
As a matter if interest, discussion, curiosity: my not-working Iso Tea
has gone to a new home. I would have responded positively to a
servicing offer to "Troubleshoot, rewire, repair, and replace defective
parts for your Isomac product" I could imagine a flat fee of $??,??
plus parts and calculate from there (it's easy enough to get on line
and see the cost of the most expensive parts that are likely to have
failed.) In my case, the machine was cosmetically perfect, so it might
have made sense to go to $4-500 or even ?? to get a refurb'd
"better-than-new" E-61 that I was entirely happy with before it stopped
working.

Any thoughts?
tin




daveb wrote:
> Sounds like a good move for you dj.
>
> Sadly, the Isomac wiring experience is all TOO common!
>
> Too light wire guages, delicate insulation, faulty or NON-existent
> crimps.
>
>
> dave
> www.hitechespresso.com



 
Date: 08 Nov 2006 22:22:51
From: Bertie Doe
Subject: Re: Isomac back to a Europiccola (long)

"Danny Joe" wrote in message

> Then you pull it down. Perfection! It was a smooth, heavy pull with
> nothing but crema coming out the bottom. I quickly pulled off the
> portafiler and was rewarded with the Pavoni Sneeze. No three way valve!
> What mess. But I cleaned it up and loaded the other filter basket.
> Another perfect pull. We were off to the races.
> My lovely bride said it was the best coffee she has had in years.
> The Pavoni is inconvenient and messy. It is very sensitive to grind and
> humidity. It is easy to burn your espresso.
> But when you get it right, it is heaven in a cup.
> Danny (give me a level long enough...) Joe
>
Well done with the Pav, I guess it's the thrill of a steam engine versus a
diesel loco. I gave my Zaffiro the day off yesterday and dusted down the old
Bon Cafe' (S.Giada without inbuilt tamper) and I'd forgotton how quiet the
BC was, smaller pump and more rounded corners on the case, I guess.
I hade to go 3 notches finer than the Zaff (9bar versus 15bar) but I managed
to pull a couple of shots, which were better than I had ever pulled on her
in past. Wierd or what?
Not quite up to Zaff standard (difficult to nail temp on BC) but very
drinkable anyway. I guess over the last 18 months, I've honed the tamping,
dosing and grind a bit.
Coincidently, I nearly gave it my bruv a year ago, similar prob, 300 mile
drive - I'm glad I didn't.
Bertie




 
Date: 08 Nov 2006 13:33:13
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Isomac back to a Europiccola
Sounds like a good move for you dj.

Sadly, the Isomac wiring experience is all TOO common!

Too light wire guages, delicate insulation, faulty or NON-existent
crimps.


dave
www.hitechespresso.com