The Europiccola is a particularly solid choice for coffee lovers interested in owning a manual espresso machine.
While this lever machine does require some elbow grease, it's capable of making espresso that even the Italians praise.
Want to know if this is the right choice for your home barista needs? Keep reading my complete La Pavoni Europiccola espresso machine review to learn more.
La Pavoni Europiccola Review – My Ratings & Top Features
Considering all the features and the durable build quality, this machine deserves a respectable 4.5/5.
I docked a few points for the work involved in pulling a shot, but for some people, that aspect would add points!
Here are a few of my favorite features of the La Pavoni Europiccola:
Who Should Buy The La Pavoni Europiccola?
Anyone who values a simple design for traditional espresso extraction can benefit from owning the La Pavoni Europiccola.
Although it uses simplistic methods for pulling a shot of espresso, it has regularly topped the charts for more than two decades.
To be clear, this machine isn't for everyone.
Some coffee lovers prefer quick and easy caffeination in the morning, while others want to get creative with the true art form of brewing. If you're the latter, you'll love the La Pavoni.
Why I Decided To Review The Europiccola Espresso Machine
Like most things Italian, La Pavoni espresso machines have always intrigued me.
La Pavoni has been around since 1905, so if you're looking for a well-established manufacturer in the industry, you've come to the right place.
I spent a few months in Italy last year, and as soon as I caught a glance at the La Pavoni professional machine used by a local cafe in Milan, I knew I had to do more research on the company.
I arrived back home and immediately purchased the La Pavoni Europiccola, which is the brand's ideal choice for residential use.
As I took my first sip of espresso, it transported me back to that small Milanese cafe, and I knew this manual machine deserved a full review.
Here's a bit more info on how I tested the product:
Cups Brewed Per Day
Level Of Experience Needed
Intermediate to Advanced
I’m a coffee lover who has always valued the traditional Italian method pf pulling espresso.
My home kitchen
Money Saved Per Year
I have saved more than $1000 per year since I started brewing espresso with the La Pavoni Europiccolo.
Favorite Drink To Brew
Espresso & Lungo
What's It Like To Own The La Pavoni Europiccola
Espresso has a long history, and La Pavoni has been a big part of that.
As soon as I received my La Pavoni Europiccola, I could tell by the design alone that this company stays true to its longstanding traditions.
What's In The Box?
Considering the small size of this manual espresso machine, I was surprised by its weight as I lifted it out of the box. That goes to show that this lever machine is strong and sturdy.
Along with the machine, here's what I found in the box:
All La Pavoni espresso machines come with a 2-year warranty policy.
According to the company, "warranty covers the free of charge replacement or repair of the defective components due to original manufacturing faults."
Pulling My First Espresso Shot With The Europiccola
Before pulling my shot, I read in the manual that it's important to fill the boiler all the way to the top. If you don't, you won't be able to fill it again until the boiler goes back to room temperature.
After filling the boiler completely, I got to work - literally. First, I ground my coffee using a separate grinder (the Europiccola doesn't come with an integrated grinder).
Then, I weighed my grounds based on the filter basket recommendations (no more than 15 grams).
I quickly realized that effective brewing is all about being meticulous, and there are three important steps to achieving perfect espresso:
- The Pre-Infusion: Pre-infusion of the grounds helps to pull out extra flavor during the brew. Since this isn't an automatic machine, you'll have to raise the lever to allow a small amount of water to run through the coffee beans before the full pull.
- The Pull: Pulling your shot involves slowly "pulling" the lever down so that hot water and steam pressure can extract all the flavor and richness from the grounds. With Europiccola models, you should aim for a 30-second pull.
- The Finish: After the shot has been pulled, it's important to wait several seconds for the bottomless portafilter to finish dripping. This step allows the portafilter to clear itself, which is essential for cleaning.
A Few Tips For Using Europiccola Models
In addition to being meticulous and precise, I highly suggest you use fresh coffee beans when using the Europiccola.
Your espresso will taste so much better with quality beans, and anyone using this machine clearly values good espresso!
Next, you'll want to invest in a quality grinder. Unfortunately, the machine doesn't have a grinder built-in, so it's important to use one that can achieve a finer grind that's necessary for espresso.
I also recommend investing in a better tamper. Although the machine comes with a plastic tamper, there are much better options out there.
Do yourself a favor and spend a bit more on a quality metal tamp; just make sure it fits the filter baskets.
First Time Frothing Milk
Most high-end espresso machines these days come with an integrated steam wand to froth and steam milk, and the La Pavoni is no exception.
I was pleased to find that this model doesn't just come with a steam wand; it also includes an auto frother attachment.
After putting the wand to the test, I'd give it a solid B+, mostly because it only has one hole for drawing in milk and expelling steam.
I was extremely impressed with the auto frother, though. It easily attaches to the boiler fitting and froths milk in as little as 10 seconds.
Don't expect microfoam or latte art from the auto frother, but do expect a nice frothy latte or cappuccino.
It's rare for a manual machine to offer an auto function to steam milk, so I consider this a major perk. I prefer to do it barista-style with the steam wand.
When I'm feeling lazy, though, it's nice to have the option to use the auto frother.
Control & Ease Of Use
If you've paid attention at all so far, you already know that the La Pavoni isn't the easiest machine to use. Still... it's not supposed to be!
This machine is meant to incorporate all of the tasks and techniques that come along with the traditional espresso.
Anyone who values ease of use above all else should look into another espresso maker, like a Breville model or even the Gaggia Classic.
However, if you want to feel like a real barista and experiment, the Europiccola makes that possible.
Compared to other machines of this nature, this one is actually very easy to operate. You can fully expect some challenges along the way, but once you get the hang of it, you'll be pulling like a pro.
In my opinion, the hardest step to master is the pre-infusion. This involves raising the lever just slightly until it catches with the group head.
From there, all you have to do is wait a few seconds, and once you see the espresso start to trickle out, you can continue pulling your shot.
Lastly, I'm not a huge fan of the lack of pressure gauge.
Understanding brew group and boiler pressure is an essential aspect of extraction, so I recommend buying a separate pressure gauge for your Europiccola.
Look, Feel & Size Of The Machine
Aesthetically, the Europiccola combines Art Deco with industrial, even giving off a Steampunk vibe.
No matter what you call the design, La Pavoni created a stunning machine, and the company clearly values quality craftsmanship.
In terms of the design, I've noticed that the Europiccola is top-heavy.
For that reason, you should be careful when using the lever - no sudden movements! The extraction process should be slow and gentle.
Compared to other espresso machines with a large boiler, the Europiccola has a small 8-cup water tank capacity, which you can view using the sight glass.
There is a plus, though; the small boiler means faster heating, but keep in mind that there's also a greater risk of overheating.
With dimensions of 11" deep by 7" wide, you'll have no trouble finding a place on your counter for the Europiccola.
Don't expect to move it around the house, though - it weighs 14 pounds, which is shocking considering its small footprint.
Cleaning & Maintenance
Compared to other manual machines, the La Pavoni Europiccola is relatively easy to clean. It may not be the most modern in terms of functionality.
Still, it has a lot of updated features for cleaning, like a reminder light for descaling, as well as safety features like an internal temperature gauge.
Regular cleaning involves flushing the group head, purging the steam wand, and wiping down the machine's exterior.
Because it's made from stainless steel and chrome, a microfiber towel should do the trick.
It's also important to remove the drip tray and empty any liquid that's been collected. Behind the drip tray, you'll be able to access the used coffee puck, which should be discarded after each brew.
Lastly, rinse the portafilter and basket, and you're all set.
Descaling should be done every once in a while - I descale my machine once every three months.
For this, simply add a descaling solution (or even white vinegar) to the water tank, heat the machine, and then turn it off.
Leave the solution in the tank for 30 minutes to an hour before emptying and rinsing.
Servicing the machine shouldn't be a problem, either.
Most of the parts are readily available, like the plastic piston and the gaskets, but if you have any trouble, you can always get in touch with La Pavoni.
My Favorite Features Of The La Pavoni Europiccola
There's no denying that this high-end machine is built with durability in mind. While you may think that the steel and chrome design is purely aesthetic, it's not!
This machine is built to last, and the removable gaskets and seals allow for easy maintenance over the years.
Even though it's built like a tank, this manual espresso machine is much smaller than most.
It has a compact size of 12" high by 7" wide by 11" deep, so I keep it neatly tucked away on my kitchen counter.
I personally use my machine primarily for single and double espressos, but I've still put the steam wand to the test.
Whenever I'm craving a cappuccino or latte, I've never been disappointed with the Europiccola's impeccable milk frothing performance.
Lastly, it's worth mentioning brand reputation. The company has been around since 1905, and even though it's an Italian-made product, people all over the world know the name La Pavoni.
Heck, the La Pavoni Professional machine is even on display at the Museum of Modern Art!
My Least Favorite Features Of The La Pavoni Europiccola
My biggest complaint regarding the La Pavoni espresso machine is that it's not considered a beginner-friendly machine.
There's definitely some technique involved in espresso extraction, so it can be an overwhelming choice for beginners who want to get their foot in the door.
Another thing I've noticed is that the machine tends to get hot, especially when I brew two espresso back-to-back.
This is actually quite normal for manual espresso machines, especially ones with solid brass boilers (like the La Pavoni).
The easy solution to prevent overheating is to turn the machine off as soon as you're finished brewing.
You can also soak the group head in a bowl of cold water for a minute or two, but I haven't found this necessary.
La Pavoni Europiccola Vs Similar Coffee Machines
La Pavoni Europiccola Vs La Pavoni Professional
The Europiccola and Professional machines have a lot of similarities, especially in the way they produce espresso.
Both are capable of delivering great coffee, and both feature a stunning, classic design that La Pavoni is known for (although the Professional features wooden accents that I'm a fan of).
However, there is one main difference.
The La Pavoni Professional has a much larger boiler with 16-cup capacity, making it a better choice for larger households, or even as a commercial espresso machine for small businesses.
The boiler capacity is twice as large as the Europiccola, which can hold 8 cups.
Because it's a much smaller machine, the Europiccola is the cheaper option, and it's the one I recommend for smaller households.
La Pavoni Europiccola Vs Flair 58
The Flair 58 is a fully manual lever espresso press that is all about keeping true to the traditional espresso-making process. It operates using a lever handle - and that's about it!
I can't say that I've personally used the Flair 58, but based on the opinions of most users, the La Pavoni is more capable of delivering good espresso.
Since the Europiccola doesn't cost much more than the Flair, I recommend the Italian Classic La Pavoni.
La Pavoni Europiccola Vs Gaggia Classic
Even though Gaggia was founded a good 30 years after La Pavoni, both are well-respected Italian brands.
The main difference between the Europiccola and Gaggia's classic machine is the functionality.
The Classic is a semi-automatic espresso maker, so there's not as much work involved in pulling shots.
This makes it a better choice for beginners or anyone who wants to avoid fully manual machines.
La Pavoni Europiccola Vs Rancilio Silvia
The Rancilio Silvia is another popular espresso machine that originated in Italy.
Similar to the Gaggia, it's semi-automatic, so there's not nearly as much work involved compared to the La Pavoni manual machine.
Just like the Europiccola, the Silvia can brew high-quality espresso shots as well as milk-based drinks thanks to its professional steam wand.
While it's a popular choice, it doesn't allow for as much creativity as a manual lever espresso machine like the La Pavoni.
Yes, the La Pavoni Europiccola is worth every penny. You may think the price tag is a little steep for manual operation, but the machine is built like a tank, so you can expect to use it for years.
The La Pavoni takes about 10 minutes to heat up. As soon as you turn the machine on, the heating element will kick into gear. Some modern machines can heat up in as little as 3 seconds, but La Pavoni believes in keeping true to traditional brewing. You may have to be patient, but it's entirely worth it if you want outstanding espresso.
The Europiccola works best with fresh coffee that's rich in flavor. Lightly roasted beans are a good choice, but you should choose your coffee based on your personal taste preferences. In terms of correct grind size, espresso needs a fine grind for maximum flavor.
A lever espresso machine is often expensive because it requires a lot of moving parts to operate. Remember, it's not just the lever you're paying for; it's also the pressure gauge, temperature regulation system, steaming power, and, in many cases, a professional milk frother.
Conclusion - Is The Europiccola Worth Your Money?
If you don't want to work for your morning brew, the La Pavoni Europiccola isn't the right choice for you.
However, if you're the type of person who gets excited by the idea of weighing, tamping, pulling, and frothing, then this is the perfect choice.
All in all, the Europiccola makes dynamite espresso using only the best Italian parts. It's not the cheapest of lever machines, although it is one of the best.
It's important to note that the Europiccola isn't designed for beginner baristas.
If you're new to this, consider a super-automatic or semi-automatic machine instead, like the Nespresso Creatista Plus or the Rancilio Silvia.