How to Descale a La Pavoni

Uncle BobWe've descaled double boilers, heat exchangers, every superautomatic under the sun and even simple thermoblock-driven machines, but in all of our years giving scale the what-for inside espresso machines, we had not descaled a La Pavoni. So when Sam's Uncle Bob asked us to show him the ropes, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to delve into something completely new!

La PavoniThe first part of the process, of course, was to find a willing participant, and Bunny stepped in to do the job. After working in our retail store for years and performing tune-ups for customers, she knows a thing or two about descaling machines, so we tasked her with researching how to perform it on a manual lever style machine like the La Pavoni. What she learned (and what we then filmed) was deceptively simple! It will take some time, patience, a little elbow grease and, of course, some Dezcal, but it was a very effective method for removing scale within the La Pavoni's boiler and on its heating element.

Watch as she guides us through the process. And if you happen to have a La Pavoni or a lever machine that you descale in a different way, we'd love to learn new techniques! Post your process in the comments and we'll share with the class.

SCG How-To Guides: Descaling La Pavoni Manual Espresso Machines

4 thoughts on “How to Descale a La Pavoni”

  • Charles Woolsey

    Greetings Kat and Bunny,

    After watching your video on descaling the La Pavoni lever espresso machine, I thought I would offer my process of descaling, which is almost the same as yours except I use heat. I have been using a La Pavoni lever machine since 1998. I began with the Europiccola and moved up to the Professional model in 2004. My machine is used daily preparing two lattes with two shots each, or more lattes if it is really cold outside.

    I use the Dezcal you featured in your video. I follow the process for preparing the descaler as listed on the package pouring the entire mixture into the boiler unit and secure the tank lid. I then turned on the machine and allowed it to reach full pressure. At this point, I place a bowl under the group head and raise and lower the pump handle a couple of times, being careful of the hot cleaner pouring from the group head. Next, I open the steam wand slightly allowing the cleaner to flow through and remove any scale inside the tube. I then place the porta filter in the group head and again raise and lower the pump handle a few times to remove any scaling deposits in it. Once the openings are clean, the machine is unplugged and allowed to cool. The remaining descaler is then poured out from the boiler as you did in the video and if you watch closely as you pour, you will see the larger scale pieces removed from the boiler wall and heating coil. Inspection of the boiler using a flash light usually reveals a spotlessly clean interior wall and no deposits remaining on the heating coil. The machine is then filled with clean water (the best water for cleaning the machine is distilled water) and the process repeated for a total of three rinses. This process has worked well for me over the years and knowing the machine is clean, makes me a happy latte consumer.

    • Kat

      Thank you for sharing it with us, Charles! Sounds like a great process and I'm sure will be helpful for new LP owners out there :)

      - Kat

  • David

    I would love a how to video for descaling a Rancilio Epoca

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