Teflon/Plastics in Espresso Machines

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.

#1: Post by Broeesta »

Hello All,

I'm looking into purchasing my first espresso machine, and was about to purchase the Lelit Bianca until I started reading about potential Teflon insulating the steam wands... I've read that you can take the tubing out, but does that mess up the machine? Are there any other plastics in the machine that I should be aware of?

I may not have the option to direct plumb, but feel better about the Bianca's plastic water tank being outside the machine and the water not being heated up. Are there machines with metal water tanks?

What I would like to know/find is if there are any machines where water never comes into direct contact with teflon/plastics, especially after the heating elements. Does a machine like this exist that isn't a direct plumb?

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#2: Post by Jeff »

There will generally be PTFE gaskets in any contemporary machine, often in the group head and elsewhere. They are considered safer than the now-prohibited composition gaskets.

Edit: Many o-rings and seals are also synthetic, despite having "rubber" in their marketing. Silicone, Viton, and EDPM are examples.

A flexible feed to and from the pump is pretty much required to prevent failures from fatigue, as well as quieting. The s/s hoses are "always" plastic inside with an overbraid for pressure and abrasion resistance.

I can't comment on the Bianca wand in particular, but the sealing approach is generally not designed to have the tubing removed. Replacing the wand entirely may possible.

There's a thread here somewhere discussing concerns, I'll try to find it.

Remember when reading this that Decent Espresso produces a machine that employs plastic tubing extensively and was a direct competitor of the Bianca. Lelit Bianca at the top of my list, but I have questions

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#3: Post by cafeIKE »

Consider the miles of industrial processes before anything gets to the consumer.
A few inches of PTFE tubing in a steam wand pales to infinitesimal insignificance.


#4: Post by jmotzi »

Not sure what the concern is with PTFE. Many years ago (early 1980s) when I was a graduate student, I used PTFE O-rings in my laboratory apparatus because they were inert. I could detect my compound of interest to very very low levels and never found any leachables from the O-rings nor did I lose anything into the O-rings. These experiments lasted several days, which of course is far longer than the time to brew coffee. Your mileage and opinions may vary.

If you are handy with metal then I suppose it is possible to replace all the tubing with stainless steel or copper. I you are really really really handy and want something inert then use 316L SS passivated, but the passivation process will destroy all the solenoids :D


Moderator edited to add: See PFAS in espresso for continued discussion of same topic.
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