HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Espresso Machines Pasquini Livia 90 or Expobar (8 msgs / 266 lines)
1) From: GJTreehouse
HI All,
I have been bitten by the espresso bug. I have been considering an espresso
machine and thought about a Silvia PID but pretty much settled in on an HX
machine and have been focused on an Expobar Office Pulsar, they are about
the same price. There have been some pretty positive suggestions and for
about $800, most seem to think it is a good machine.
Yesterday I ran across a used Pasquini Livia 90. They are asking $400. I do
not know much about this unit and would like some feed back from the group.
I am really a newbie at this and would like to compare it to the Expobar. I
am the only one in the house that drinks coffee and I have been roasting for
about 6 years. I really so not think I will be able to justify an upgrade in
a year or so. I am looking at this as a unit that will grow with me.
Thanks in advance.
Gary
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2) From: Edward Bourgeois
Gary  The Livia Semi-auto is a nice machine(same as Bezzera BZ99) but
have heard of a number of control board repairs with used automatic
model. The semi has just 2 switches one on left and one on right the
auto has one on one side and a bank of three on the other.
Ed B.
On Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 6:10 AM, GJTreehouse  wrote:
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-- 
Ed Bourgeois aka farmroast
Amherst MA.http://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list">http://coffee-roasting.blogspot.com/ Co-President- Ma. Agriculture in the Classroomhttp://www.aginclassroom.org/Homeroast mailing list
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3) From: Les
First off what kind of grinder do you have?  You are better off with a
$200.00 Gaggia and a Rocky or Mazzer Mini than a Solis Measto and either one
of the machines you are looking at.  The Livia is good machine.  If it is in
good shape that isn't a bad price.  Nothing is more important in the world
of esprsso than a good grind however.  If it were me, I would look hard and
careful at the Pasquini Livia 90.   They have had problems in the past.  You
are not getting an HX machine, but one with duel thermoblocks.  Since I have
an Expobar, I can only say that it has been a wonderful machine, and once I
learned the HX surf technique, I have been able to pull very good shots
consistantly.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that some machines
have, but it does pull a great shot.
Les
On 4/29/08, GJTreehouse  wrote:
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4) From: Sandy Andina
I used to have a Pasquini Livia 90 Automatic.  It is a fine machine,  
and $400 sounds like an unbeatable price. But before you pull the  
trigger, how "used" is it? You do not have the protection of a  
warranty. You may find that at a bare minimum you will have to replace  
the grouphead gasket, and probably the pressurestat as well. Many long- 
time Livia owners have reported problems that were solved by replacing  
the wiring harness.  Mine, which I bought new for $1100 in May 2005,  
had its pressurestat fail a month in (it was replaced free of charge,  
with the Cafe West/Baratza tech walking me through the procedure over  
the phone);  I replaced one grouphead gasket myself a year and a half  
in (should have done it sooner). But in July 2007, it began leaking  
again and this time having the pump run as soon as the power was  
switched on. The repair shop to which I brought it (now that it was  
out of warranty) tried swapping out the wiring harness, computer  
control box, OPV, pressurestat and cabling to no avail--and they've  
never been able to figure out what caused the most recent and  
apparently fatal malfunction. The shop owner showed me two other Livia  
90As that came in with shorted-out logic boards and melted parts; and  
said that Pasquini had admitted some problems with chrome plating  
flaking off the copper boiler into the water and also shorting out  
components where water got into the electronics (this latter  
allegation has not been corroborated to my knowledge, at least not on  
this list nor on HomeBarista or CoffeeGeek).   Even when working  
correctly, it steamed milk too quickly to be controllable--installing  
a 2-hole tip did help but not completely.
I now own a Quickmill LaCora (rebadged and souped-up Andreja Premium).  
It has an e61 grouphead, unlike the Livia and Silvia, whose groupheads  
are bolted to the boilers. With an e61 group, you should pull a  
cooling flush before brewing, whereas with a bolt-on group machine you  
need to pull a warming shot.  The former tends to use a bit more  
water, the only downside. The e61 automatically preinfuses, and I can  
tell you that while I got good and occasionally great shots from the  
Livia, the ones I've been getting from the La Cora (all other  
variables being equal--tamp, grind, dose, freshness) have been  
absolutely phenomenal, the equal of what I've been getting from the  
best Third Wave cafes like Intelligentsia and Metropolis (and I've  
been privileged to be allowed to pull shots on machines at these  
cafes).  The steam power on the La Cora, which has a commercial 2-hole  
tip standard, is much easier to control and microfoam easier to  
achieve with even a small 12-oz. pitcher/4 oz. milk.   Not sure if the  
Expobar at which you're looking is an e61 machine (I know the Brewtus  
is). If it is, I would go for it at $800, rather than spend the same  
thing for a PID'd Silvia with smaller tank and boiler and inability to  
keep knocking out shot after shot or brew and steam sequentially/ 
simultaneously the way an HX like a Livia, La Cora or Expobar can.    
IIRC, Expobar (a Spanish company) may have had some more quality  
control issues in recent years than Italian companies like Rancilio or  
Quickmill (the Livia is made for Pasquini by Bezzera, and I would  
check to confirm whether my previous shop-owner's rumors were true).
Given the choice of the three machines--used Livia, new PID Silvia,  
new Expobar Pulser--I'd go with the latter.  In fact, when I bought  
the Livia (from Trishops.com) I had just been sniped twice on eBay for  
Expobar Office Control and Pulser at the same price--and that was  
three years ago.   I think the La Cora beats all three of them, but  
$1395 sounds like more than you want to spend.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
On Apr 29, 2008, at 5:10 AM, GJTreehouse wrote:
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5) From: Sandy Andina
On Apr 29, 2008, at 10:17 AM, Les wrote:
<Snip>
NO!!!  The Livia 90 (auto or semi) IS a true heat exchanger (HX)  
machine.  You are confusing it with the new Livietta (which I think  
may be manufactured for Pasquini by Ascaso, a Spanish company), a dual- 
thermoblock machine.  What it is not is an e61 machine--like many  
prosumer/light-duty commercial single-group HX and/or dual boiler  
machines (e.g., Magister MS-40, NS Oscar, La Spaziale) it has a  
grouphead bolted to the boiler instead of an e61 grouphead. This  
provides temperature stability (allegedly) but requires manual  
preinfusion. However, the Livia QC issues remain.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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6) From: raymanowen
I'm only a pragmatist. The Livia 90 was earnestly suggested as my starter
espresso machine, for $1500.
I was trying to imagine just how the same filter basket and filter handle
could be part of a machine that cost 10X the Livia and still brewed evil (to
me) beverages. I wanted to satisfy myself that espresso is the beverage of
some miscreant with attribution, but not so eager to spend the big bucks.
You should consider why you can acquire a machine costing up to $2000 on
today's market for a mere $400, and why is the current owner abandoning it?
Others on this list have their own experience and opinions.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
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7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Why abandon a perfectly good Prosumer HX machine? Upgraditis! People do it
all the time moving on to dual boiler or simply better HX. Price does seem a
bit low at $400 but Livia isn't going for $2k new either, more like $1579
for semi or $1739 for auto. But then Livia is a rather outdated design by
today's Prosumer standards. Regardless I'd check it out for basic
functionality and assume it'll need a good cleaning, descaling and new group
gasket at the minimum.
Pacific Northwest Gathering VIhttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://home.comcast.net/~mckona/PNWGVI.htmKona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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8) From: GJTreehouse
Thanks Everyone for your comments on the two machines.
I do not know the history on the Livia 90 and given the concerns of many of
you, I will go ahead and pick up the Expobar. The owners of the Expobars
have had very good things to say about them.
Now to the grinder. My bottom line minimum is a Rocky but I will search for
a deal on a Mazzer if I can find one.
Gary


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