Cheating Miss Silvia
Posted March 16, 2002 6:50pm
Update:Ding ding ding ding! Hey, I don't have them often, so when I do, I'll say it. Just had a God Shot (dunno what that is? Read this article at CoffeeGeek). And I had it from that blend of yirg and Papua New Guinea, mentioned below. mmmmm chocolatey goodness! God shots rock. (posted evening, March 16)
Sheesh. How could I ever imagine taking down the Rancilio pages :)
Okay. Due to overwhelming demand, the Cheating Miss Silvia pages are back. Enjoy!
Today was a roasting day for me. Did up 227gram batches of Yirg, Jacmel (Haitian bean), Papua New Guinea, and that good old standby, Java. I did two blends: the Yirg and Papua went into the Mazzer Mini grinder; about half of the Jacmel went straight into the Maestro grinder (for drip, press and vacpots), and the rest of the Jacmel and the Java went into an Innova grinder, which is currently doing duty with a La Pavoni Professional machine I'm currently evaluating.
Which brings me to my topic today. La Pavoni lever machines. I've never owned one or had such detailed looks at one before, but in all honesty, I didn't know what to expect from it, and I was a bit frightened of them, to be frank. After all, I read all the stories about how it takes weeks to even see crema on your shots, and it takes months to get decent production out of one, no matter how much you practice. I should have realised that I say that same thing (well, sort of) about semi auto machines. Not that it takes weeks to get crema, but it does take a month or longer to get a machine (and yourself) fully dialed in.
In fact, "dialed in" is a concept I want to explore more and probably will, but I'll save that for another rant, or possibly a page under the Espresso section.
In the meantime, back to La Pavoni, I have to say I'm enthralled by the machine. It's a stunner to look at, and there's just some kinda je ne sais quoi about using it - without sounding all buddist here, you're one with the machine, you are the machine. It's true. There's a certain artistry and feeling from using a lever machine that is pretty darned cool - and if you are into espresso as much for the culture, artistry, history and mystique as you are for the taste, all the better.
I've had a few weeks with the Pav now, and I have to say I'm very thrilled by the machine and seriously impressed. One thing I didn't know about these machines - they are, in actual fact, steam on demand machines. This means you can froth your milk immediately after pulling a shot. Normally heat exchanger machines costing $1000 or more are where you have to go to get this kind of service. Pretty sweet.