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The art of Italian coffee


Authentic Italian portafilter coffee machines are broadening their fan base – and not only in Germany. The La Pavoni brand has near-cult status. Founded in 1905, the company has been part of the Smeg Group since 2019.

The stars of the current range of La Pavoni portafilter coffee machines are, of course, the models featuring a hand lever. When this traditional method of preparing espresso is used, pre-brewing is accomplished by lifting the lever after the optimum brewing temperature has been reached, at which point water flows out of the boiler into the brewing head and moistens the ground coffee. If after a few seconds the lever is pulled down at just the right moment, the water is forced through the grounds under maximum pressure at approximately 92°C, allowing the aromatic compounds of the roast to develop their full flavour. For the ideal, thick crema, either a professional portafilter with metal spouts on either side or the Fascino filter holder is used. With the latter, the espresso flows slowly from the centre of the portafilter directly into the preheated cup.

Whilst the method employed may be traditional, modern convenience is by no means neglected in la Pavoni’s current range of lever models: they offer an automatic cappuccino function, whereby the milk is sucked directly from a container via an attachment and heated, before crowning the aroma-rich, freshly made coffee with creamy foam. If you prefer to froth your milk the traditional way, you can also attach a classic steam pipe with a 3-hole nozzle to create the perfect milk froth.

La Pavoni