By: Alicia Walters     Revised by: Mark Cambell    Last updated: Jan 13, 2024

This classic lever-pumped machine has been a staple in coffee shops worldwide since 1955. Its solid brass boiler and minimalist design ensure reliability while retaining the vintage flair. At only 20 pounds, it’s extremely portable for a commercial machine. Setup is simple, requiring just a waterline.

Where the La Pavoni truly shines is in the hands of an experienced operator. By adjusting every variable like dose, yield, pre-infusion time and water pressure yourself, you can achieve nuanced extractions that maximize flavors batch after batch. The 9-bar pressure gives a dense crema and luxurious mouthfeel.

Of course, its manual operation requires practice. Steam power also takes skill to texture milk perfectly. But for a barista seeking to assert their talents through supreme equipment, the La Pavoni rewards patience tenfold in transcendent drinks. Its builds that develop over pressure also have an artistic quality.

While not ideal for high-volume settings, in a specialty shop where customer connection and impeccable shots take priority, few machines can match the La Pavoni’s nostalgia, versatility and results. For passionate professionals, it represents the absolute pinnacle of espresso extraction control. Simply put, it’s what I strive for behind the bar every day.


• High capacity: Can produce up to 16 espresso shots consecutively before refilling the boiler.

• Commercial build: Stainless steel construction and components for durability in high-volume use.  

• Precise espresso control: Ability to micro-adjust pressure, temperature and volume for optimized shots.   

• True lever machine: Maintains the ritual, artistry and yield advantages of La Pavoni's manual lever design.

• Iconic La Pavoni style: Classic and stylish brass accents complement the commercial aesthetic.


• Large footprint: Takes up significant counter space due to its commercial size.  

• Difficult to master: Producing consistent shots at high volume is challenging for inexperienced baristas.

• Requires commercial maintenance: Descaling, back flushing and group head repairs are more intense.  

• High price point: Significantly more expensive than home lever machines due to commercial build.

• Limited temperature control: Requires hand heating and cooling of portafilters between shots.