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When I scored my Gaggia Factory G106 manual lever, the FE-AR La Peppina was put in the garage. This was for practical matters like not having enough room on the counter and also wanting to devote my time to learning how to use the manual Gaggia and work on texturing and pouring milk (still need a lot of work there) but it was never intended to be for as long as it’s been. I’d intended to refinish a sideboard to make a home for both machines, but that project keeps getting bumped down on the priority list and it’s been about eight months since I’ve last used the La Peppina.
I took the neglected lever and tore it down to clean and lube the cylinder, gaskets and valves in preparation for a Home-Barista meet-up and now I’ve made room in the kitchen (at least temporarily) for the La Peppina next to the Tin Man. I think they look good together, but their character is completely different. The La Peppina is gentle and controlled (with a PID for very stable temperature) and when I get my technique back I expect shots of fine clarity but without the dominant body of the Factory. The Factory is more bold and fiery and temperamental and needs to be watched all the time to make sure that the temperature is in the right range for a good shot, but the Factory has a good steam wand and manual lever for thick, powerful shots.
I think I’d have a hard time choosing between these two, as I feel that like all good pairs they compliment each other.
If you love lever espresso machines, check out my friend’s Old World Espresso site featuring beautiful Bosco espresso machines.