Saturday, September 20, 2008

1960s La Pavoni Professional

LaPavoni, originally uploaded by Jrome.

We now have a vintage 1960s La Pavoni Professional in our kitchen. Complete with a manual toggle switch for steam, labelled "minimo - massimo" in a cool 60s script font. The story as Nicole recalled after paying The Lady $20 at a yard sale in poshposh Noho, is that a friend brought it back from Italy (new), used it for years, then gave up coffee. Hence the machine came to The Lady. The Lady used it for a while on and off. It needs to be cleaned but otherwise the seals are fresh, the boiler heats strongly, in less than 10 minutes, and the aesthetics are fantastic. No cheesey parts anywhere on the thing!

Even if my pulls can't really benefit from yankin' a Fellini (, I'm still charmed. I woke up this morning at 3am, with stress filling my mind and my son's screams filling my ears. I never got more than an hour sleep after that. I was carrying him around the house by 7:30. So when Nicole called and said "I'm staring at a La Pavoni manual machine, looks chrome and industrial, she wants twenty bucks for it, you want it?" I said, "Of course!"

After soccer at 9 (Maddy had one of the most gorgeous assists I've ever seen and her joyful dance is something I should really write about) I didn't get a chance to peek at the machine until 11:30. By then my curiosity was peaked.

I pulled maybe 8 shots total before we headed out the door bound for CT. First one was crap. I didn't let the boiler heat up enough. The rest, each and every one, were nuanced and delightful. Nicole could taste it. I could taste it. The smell could taste it. We did a little dance with each sip. Full whitey crema top. With shitty Starbucks French Roast no less! (Got a huge 3 pound bag for $15 at Costco for emergencies, and well, we're into $$ pinching now and dipping into the giant Harbucks baggy.) Ground the sheit to my usual X-1 fav espresso grind with the Capresso burr grinder. Steamer wand hardy and true. Lovely foam with Mapline 1%.

I'll experiment with other grinds and certainly other beans, including our standard Trader Joe's Shade Grown Organic. I'm placing an order with Blue Bottle tonight, $$ pinching be damned. Dennis in SF, who, works up on Pollard Pl above Cafe Trieste raved about Blue Bottle beans. I'm thinking the Hayes Valley Espresso, cause I like my morning love dark, black and strong. What do you think? I can venture into medium roast light bodied Italienne land in the coming weeks...which I have a feeling purist snobbery will be championing...but for now, I'm sticking with my instincts.

Here's the HVE from