top of page
Custom La Graziella, Europiccola Killer!?

Being in San Francisco, we seem to get more than our share of the MARCFI La Pavoni clones that were imported by Thomas Cara, Ltd.  from the late 60's into the 70's.  That's partly because we're here, and partly because we really like them.  


There were two models (or three, sorta, since there was a variation of the larger model) made by MARCFI, which essentially correlate to the Pavoni Europiccola and Professional.  The Piccola, and the big boiler La Graziella.   Although the La Graziella actually came out BEFORE the Professional, and didn't include the manometer and pressurestat temp control that Pavoni would add to their larger boiler machine, it incorported features Pavoni never did. 


In fact, the argument that these Spanish machines are actually built better than their Italian brothers is not that hard to make.  The chrome plating is thicker.  The individual parts, like the lever fork and boiler cap are better machined and generally more engineered.  The La Graziella even boasts "improvements," like the boiler surround chrome plated "can" that provides an air gap between the brass boiler and your hands, preventing the kind of third degree burns Pavonis are notorious for. 


The group is basically exactly the same as the first generation Pavonis, with the same brass insert (yup, all the same seals used, and tool required to remove them) EXCEPT they modified the group casting to include a bolt on flange.  So while Pavoni still had the "screw on" style groups that were nigh impossible to remove, group seal changes on the MARCFIs are much easier.


No, it would be hard for the average person to find body parts for these, or the heating elements, but you should never NEED a new body part for a La Graziella, and the "upside down" elements they used are practically bullitproof.  We've never seen one "melted down" or otherwise fail.  (The smaller Picola elements are another thing...  You have to watch those.)


The only real knock on these has been the basically homely bases.  (Especially annoying since the rest of the machine is so well made, and probably the only reason these haven't become more collectible.)  They were either coated with a weird gray "plasticky" coating, or on some of the later models, a too thin chrome plating almost always found rusty now.  


We've always pondered doing something about that "flaw," so we finally did, customizing this base with a "Pavoni orange" powder coat.  A LOT of prep time went into this project, mulitple coats, and multiple trips the to oven, so not rec'ing trying this at home!  


We also modified a custom chrome cup grid.  The originals were soft aluminum, and by this point in their lives, well scratched and pitted, if the machines have one at all. 


The other long time dream was to add a pressure gauge to a Graziella, but after a lot of engineering on paper, and long whiney discussions with my German "machinst friend," decided to abandon the idea for now.  (It involed modifying the original top bolt on the sight glass with no guarantee it would hold up to real world use.)


So, as with the early Europiccolas, you have to rely on your instincts (and the amount of steam blowing from the cap) to judge the boiler temp, and appropriate time to pull your shot.


The dual heating elements are controlled by separate switches, which is pretty unusual for a home machine, so you can turn on either the "maximo" or "minimo" elements, or both of them at the same time.  This things heat up fast as hell with both on.   Part of "heat management" on these may end up being turning the switch off manually and "coasting" for a while, before turning it back on, as a "human thermostat."


The sputtering and steaming that comes from the valve on the side of a Europiccola boiler, sprays from the center of these machines!  Because the relief valve is built into the cap!  It gets your attention!  When these are really hot, you can see "the sign of the cross" in steam as it shoots out in four directions. 


Obviously, MARCFIs are kind of rare in general, but you'll definitely not see another like this. 


No, you didn't "miss" it listed here.  It actually sold almost immediately after our IG post.  Hopefully there will be more!

Custom La Graziella, Europiccola Killer!?

    bottom of page