Founded in Milan in 1905, La Pavoni blends high-quality materials with an old-world refinement to bring you a delicious coffee taste. The timeless designs mixed with the functionality of La Pavoni products make them a must-have for the hands-on at-home barista.
Today, we’re reviewing the quintessential brewer from La Pavoni, the Europiccola, to see if it really does measure up to the hype. Let’s take a closer look, starting with their origin story.
About La Pavoni
In the coffee community, it’s widely considered that founder Luigi Bezzera discovered the modern espresso shot in 1902, giving birth to the need for espresso machines: supply and demand, my friend.
Where La Pavoni comes in is designing some of the first machines specializing in espresso and steam milk drinks; La Pavoni features vertical boilers with bar pressure maintained through a gas ring, piston power, and is housed by 1 to 4 side brewing groups.
A Closer Look At the Europiccola
The Europiccola is a piston machine with powerful performance and an elegant design stemming from the ever-classic Italian coffee shop aesthetic.
The strength of the La Pavoni is hard to beat, with its triple-plated chrome, black base, stainless steel heating element, nickel-plated solid brass boilers, and safety valve.
The extended ECP-8 is an 8 and 16-cup brewer operating as a traditional lever machine, where you are fully in control of your espresso experience from the pull of a lever. The steam pressure and piston power deliver high performance and a true-to-bean taste, while the internal thermostats monitor your bar pressure through re-set fuses.
Meanwhile, the included milk frother is automatic, taking some effort out of producing barista-level cafe lattes. For cappuccinos, you can create thick, creamy froth by accessing the included cappuccino spout.
You can make multiple cups and shots of espresso simultaneously with the dual wall, stainless steel filter baskets, and a larger water tank capacity of 20 oz.
|Material||Italian classic design with stainless steel, chrome, nickel plating, and solid brass|
|Dimensions||11″D., 7″ W., 12″ H|
|Brew Speed||Up to 10 minutes|
|Boiler Size||8-cup capacity or 27 oz.|
|Water Tank Capacity||20 oz.|
|Portafilter||One double spout|
Europiccola Features Reviewed
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this machine by explaining its features.
This beautiful manual-lever espresso machine gives you full control of the brewing process, where with the curved lever handle and portafilter, you can choose your coffee’s strength, size, and temperature. You are fully in the driver’s seat.
How It Works
By raising the lever, hot water from the water reservoir enters the brew group, mixing in with the coffee grounds. The pre-infusion begins and after locking the lever up into place, wait just shy of 6 seconds until you see the free-run espresso drops begin falling from the portafilter.
When the lever is lowered with pressure, your coffee begins to dispense from the double spout. The pull should take you about 30 seconds for the best rate, afterward locking it into place at the bottom flush.
Tips & Tricks
Sadly, there is no included temperature or pressure gauge with the Europiccola; we’d recommend investing in a piston pressure gauge kit and/or thermal fuse thermometer for the most accurate results, especially if you’re a newcomer. The gauge only displays boiler pressure and doesn’t relate to the brew head.
The Europiccola includes two 51 mm filter baskets, one for 9 grams and the other for 14. Most Pavoni fans swear by the larger basket, though the 9-gram basket fits ESE pods. The 14-gram basket holds between a 2:1 or 3:1 coffee ratio (30-45 grams). With a steady, slow hand on the lever, you’ll be able to achieve a thorough extraction yielding well over 30 grams of espresso.
Keep in mind that false pressure readings could bring you a bad-tasting cup of coffee. When the Pavoni is heating up, the boiler may have retained trapped air in its body, which will result in the boiler pressure gauge giving you a false reading.
Once your maker has heated, it’s wise to purge the steam wand to release some of the trapped air so it can be replaced by water. Wait several minutes for the machine to come back up to pressure before beginning your brew process again.
The La Pavoni Europiccola is a lever machine with powerful performance and elegant design. Let’s have a closer look to see if it keeps what is promises.
Simply put the end of the flex tube in a milk container, hold your pulled shot cup under the frother, and turn the steam knob. And just like that, a cappuccino made easy and efficient.
We found the milk texture wasn’t necessarily akin to microfoam (i.e., no latte art), but it still gives the coffee aficionado a dolloped structure with great taste. The milk produced by the Europiccola is dense enough to balance a sugar cube on top.
Some Pavoni fans suggest changing the steam tip from a three-hole to a single-hole steam tip, giving you a greater output of steam power. Though it is a bit of an oxymoron—using an auto-frother on a manual machine—if you choose to use the steam wand, it fits directly next to the boiler.
Where the Europiccola really shines is in its stellar build quality. This beautiful machine is not only eye candy for your countertops but is sure to last you years of brewing.
After all, this machine features a triple-plated chrome design with a chrome base, nickel-plated, solid brass boilers, and stainless steel heating element. The Europiccola just screams longevity and outclasses other modern machines or automatic espresso machines leaning on plastic.
For replacement parts, La Pavoni gaskets and seals are easy to track down. At the same time, you can also opt for wooden accents and/or wooden handles to add to the already stylish craftsmanship of the Europiccola.
The Europiccola also has improved electrical features, including a reset safety thermostat and thermal systems.
Speaking of craftsmanship, consider that each brewer is made by hand and the Europiccola Professional, the older sibling from the La Pavoni family, is currently on display at the MoMA in New York. People know master handiwork when they see it, and it’s to be expected that the Europiccola holds up to the La Pavoni standard.
Aside from the Europiccola’s build quality, what sets this brewer apart from other manual, modern espresso machines is its high-class steam and piston power source. This age-old, traditional brewing method does require a little elbow grease, but the satisfaction and versatility of your coffee experience are virtually endless.
Steam-powered brewing offers a better-tasting coffee through a more thorough, consistent infusion than you’d expect from modern pump pressure brewing or even larger machines.
Back to its actual design, the Europiccola is a lightweight, suitably compact size for travel and coffee drinkers on the go.
Ease Of Use
While the brew process allows you more freedom in your at-home coffee journey, the trade-off here is an especially steep learning curve. Be prepared to get it wrong at first; you will not be tasting shop coffee-level drinks right from the get-go.
That said, the Europiccola does have a more gentle pre-infusion process that ramps up over time, allowing it to be more forgiving than other manual machines.
Ease Of Cleaning
The all-stainless frame with chrome plating is dishwasher safe, so the effort you’ll be putting into earning your coffee is traded off with an easy cleaning process. That said, like most manual machines, there is no auto-cleaning or alert feature.
If you prefer to do it by hand, we suggest a microfiber cloth. But again, the stainless steel, sleek design means you really just have to give your machine a light wipe to remove any coffee or milk splatter.
For descaling, use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, fill the single boiler with the solution, and begin the brew process as if you’re about to enjoy a normal cup of coffee. Afterward, run a generous amount of additional water through the boiler to rinse out the solution, and just like that, good as new.
Are there cheaper manual machines out there in the coffee world? Yes. Are they comparable to the Europiccola? Not even close.
Alternative machines that offer manual brewing (i.e., the Flair 2.0 or other single-pull lever machines) tend to lean heavily into a plastic design and other lower-quality materials while offering you less control and consistency.
The lack of pressure consistency in most manual machines usually results in a sub-par cup of coffee that can verge on being too bitter and watery while missing most of the flavor notes coffee farmers take pride in.
With the Europiccola, you’re getting a precise, true-to-bean taste thanks to steam pressure and a beautiful design that sources materials that won’t impart or corrupt your coffee flavor.
While the almost $900 price tag may have some coffee lovers understandably looking for a more affordable option, you’re ultimately getting a high-quality espresso experience you can depend on for years. In the end, you get what you pay for, and you certainly won’t regret doling out the extra cash for the Europiccola.
How Long Does It Take To Heat Up The Europiccola?
It takes the Europiccola approximately 10 minutes to heat up the 27 oz. boiler. The included water temperature light indicates the ideal drinking temperature, and after 10 minutes, you’ll be able to begin cranking the lever. For single-button, super automatics fans, 10 minutes may feel like an eternity. But overall, this is generally the standard time among La Pavoni products and most manual machines.
Where Are La Pavoni Machines Made?
The first machine designed for what is now La Pavoni was first registered at the Milan State Office in 1903. The little workshop located in Via Parini was the genesis of the modern Pavoni name. Today, they’re still located in Milan, where master craftsmen build each Europiccola and other La Pavoni brewers by hand.
How Do I Use A Manual Espresso Machine?
To use a manual espresso machine, start by turning your machine on, grinding your coffee beans, weighing your ground coffee, and then tamping the grounds into the portafilter, so they’re flat to the bed of the basket. From there, pull your shot or crank your hand lever in the Europiccola’s case until you’ve reached your desired cup size. Steam your milk using a milk frothing wand, and enjoy!
How Long Does The La Pavoni Europiccola Last?
The La Pavoni Europiccola lasts well over a decade, with some La Pavoni converts claiming it’s actually decades: plural. The sturdy and reliable stainless steel frame with chrome plating and solid brass boiler system puts plastic to shame and is sure to hold up against high temperatures and/or the given wear-and-tear of brew cycles and many cups of espresso to come.
With our final score of 4.3 out of 5, the La Pavoni Europiccola is a solid choice for lovers of manual espresso makers.
The Europiccola can compete with commercial machines or the coffee flavor achieved through automatic machines. With its powerful steam pressure and piston brewing, timeless chrome/ stainless steel design, you have complete control over your coffee’s taste and texture.
You’ll be banking on this brewer for years and many brew cycles to come for a versatile and completely tailored coffee experience.