Welcome to Goyathlay's Vintage Pavoni Restoration

 

I bought my first espresso machine in 1975, well before the birth of the coffee culture that we take for granted today. Back then, espresso was a European phenomenon known less to Americans as a stronger, more concentrated version of coffee and more as a funny word (too often mispronounced and inevitably misspelled). In the nearly four decades since, while mastering my trades as a welder, fabricator, and mechanic, builder, and restorer of high end European cars and motorcycles,

Current family of NOS and restored Pavoni machines.
Click image to enlarge.
I've obsessed over what the masses refer too simply as a "cup of coffee": the bean, the roast, the grind, the temperature, the pull, the crema. Transcending obsession, espresso to this artisan has become an experience of zen.

 
(RIGHT: My current family of New Old Stock (NOS) and restored Pavoni machines and works-in-progress.)

 

Today, in the midst of a coffee revolution where espresso exists as a household beverage, home machines have become both commonplace and automated. Unfortunately, as the "commonplace" too often leads to inferior products built with little more than an eye toward economies of scale, the experience of espresso exquisitely rendered eludes the majority of coffee drinkers. It is my intention to change that, at least for a conscious few.


Since that first machine (a Pavoni Europiccola), I've owned some 45+ home espresso units of various manufacture and design. Of these, at least 30 were La Pavoni Europiccola/Professionals. My opinion of the "Pavoni" is a high one, where their machines are, in general, a cut above their peers in both durability and practicality. Specifically, I believe their best in class to be from the year range 1963-1979, where an evolution of design improvements overlapped with a quality of build that would later, unfortunately, go into decline. As a restorer of the best machines ever made by Pavoni, I would further describe my focus as the "first and second generation" La Pavoni Europiccola/Professionals from that period.
 

What Went Wrong?

What I refer to as the first generation (1961-1974) and second generation (1975 -1979) Europiccola/Professional machines were manufactured to a much higher standard of quality in both workmanship and materials than subsequent generations. What I refer to as the third generation was introduced in 1979, when Pavoni, while attempting to maintain an unchanged appearance, radically re-engineered these machines to reduce the significant material and labor costs required to produce them. Unfortunately, as often happens, less begets less and this became quite apparent in the end product: The quality of the shot extracted.


There are two absolutes in preparing a flawless espresso beverage from a home machine: 1.) Water at a low boil (perfectly produced by a 200-watt element), of a temperature not so extreme as to scald the oils of the roasted bean throughout the press, and 2.) Ferociously boiling water (as generated by 1000 watts), hot enough to generate a sufficient volume of steam to rapidly froth milk. Clearly, a single heat element of 1000 watts cannot satisfy both requirements. However, I'm willing to bet that a single 1000 watt heat element is much less expensive to manufacture than a dual wattage heat element. The implementation of this particular cost cutting effort, in conjunction with numerous other engineered compromises in construction process and materials, truly diminished the flawless function and structural integrity of the once-stalwart Europiccola/Professional line.
 

Why Restoration Matters

 

First, let's define:

 

 

 
(RIGHT: The very First Generation of the Pavoni Europiccola, second year (1962).)

 

The very First Generation of the Pavoni Europiccola.
Click image to enlarge.
There are a lot of these older Pavonis around. I know - I buy most of the machines I restore on the open market, through the typical internet channels. Upon their arrival, very few of those I've purchased have satisfied the expectations suggested by their listing descriptions. Invariably it requires three machines purchased to restore two machines, and sometimes it takes two to make one. While I have often seen it stated in an ad for a used Pavoni that there are hundreds of vendors around the country that provide parts for the La Pavoni Eurropiccola/Professional (and it is true, there are), what is left unsaid is that most of those sources can only provide parts for the third generation (post 1979) machines to current, as many of the parts essential to the first and second generation (1961-1979) Europiccola/Professional machines are no longer available from Pavoni. While you may (after hours, days, or weeks of searching for an obsolete part) find what you need, it most likely will be expensive or you may end up buying an entire machine just for a single part. Quite frankly, this is exactly how I got into this hobby of restoring Pavonis. At the end of the day, I stand behind this: A properly restored first or second generation Europiccola/Professional, lovingly used (with gusto, make no mistake!) and well cared for (maintained in a clean condition with periodic replacement of certain soft seals, for instance), will provide unmatched and faithful service for thirty, forty, fifty years... or more.
 

Essential Accessory Kit (Included with All Restored Machines)

Included with the purchase of every restored or NOS Pavoniis an Essential Accessory Kit comprised of:

 

 

Each component of the Essential Accessory Kit is constructed of two exotic hardwoods, cut and assembled by hand to match in wood grain and color. No two sets are alike, and all are sustainably made from recycled wood. These kits are artisan-built in Taos, New Mexico, USA.

 

 

What You Get for Your Buck


Restored Pavoni Europiccola/Professional Machines

All of the restored machines that I offer will have been disassembled, all parts cleaned and inspected for damage or extreme wear, any unserviceable parts repaired or replaced, cracked or damaged plastic knobs and handles replaced, rusty parts (prevalent mostly on lever handles and the steel bases second generation machines with steel bases) media-blasted and recoated or replaced, electrical components tested and if found faulty, replaced. Once all parts pass scrutiny, the unit is re-assembled using new seals and o-rings. First generation machines (of which none had an on/off switch) will have a NOS (new old stock) vintage inline switch installed on an original type power cord. Second generation machines (those with the really crappy white three-position stock rocker switch) will have a new, more durable, three-position black rocker switch installed in the original switch escutcheon. The unit will be tested for correct function. Needless to say, all restored machines have been built from used machines. Some of the machines, though well cared for, will have been heavily used and may show some brassing in high wear areas. I personally do not view this as unsightly, but more an expression of the machine's character and years of faithful duty.
 

Refurbished Spong Coffee Grinders

All refurbished Spong coffee grinders will have been disassembled, all parts cleaned and inspected for damage, and any damaged parts replaced. While I do not consider an exterior finish, diminished in it's luster from age, to detract from a grinder's appearance, any finish that is truly compromised will be media-blasted and re-coated.
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New Wood Accessory Sets

Living in Taos, New Mexico affords me a plethora of wood working artisans in my vicinity. I have courted many of these craftsmen for exotic wood scraps and cut-offs from furniture, door, and gate projects, allowing me to compile a select collection of semi-common and often not-so-common woods. In collaboration with one of these fellows are born these unique, individually matched sets of barista accessories, a gourmet requirement for the true coffee aficionado that is aspiring to the fulfillment of a zen level of espresso.