Breville Espresso Machine & Baratza Vario Grinder Cleaning Materials?

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#1: Post by SEMIJim »

This might belong in "Buying Advice." If so: Please accept my apologies.

So my Breville the Bambino Plus just this morning demanded a grouphead cleaning cycle. (Never mind that over half the "shots" were pre-shot PF warming and post-shot clearing cycles.) Despite the user manual's insistence, pressing the "steam" button did not suspend the demand. So I ran a cleaning cycle. (Their instructions, btw, are as vague as all get out regarding how the cycle would progress.)

So I guess I better get some more cleaning tablets in stock. Better get some descaling stuff on-hand, too.

Problem is: Both these items seem to be unobtanium. Neither is in stock at Breville or anywhere else, near as I can tell. So, fellow HB'ers: Are there other products I can use... that I can actually acquire?

Thanks in advance!


#2: Post by luvmy40 »

Get Cafiza for the clean cycle. Much cheaper than the tabs. Use about 1/2 tsp. per cycle. ... s9dHJ1ZQ==

As far as the descaling agent goes, I would suggest just using non scaling water and never descaling your machine. ... h0QAvD_BwE

2-2.5 g potassium bicarbonate to 5gal distilled water. That pound of bicarb should last a very long time.

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#3: Post by tennisman03110 »

Just some powder does the trick. Don't get ripped off by "tablets".

I like to add a little to my backflush, once a week. And more for a full cleaning cycle. ... 457&sr=8-6

SEMIJim (original poster)

#4: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

Thanks for the cleaning agent recommendations.

Keeping a separate non-scaling water supply around is impractical. So, lacking that, what would y'all recommend for de-scaling?

We are on well water. There's iron and manganese in it, at least. We do use a water softener. A 20 micron sediment filter is in front of that. I have programmed the softener, myself, using a professional testing kit to test for hardness.
We do have to be careful to keep surfaces wiped-down to prevent mineral stains/spotting.

The water that goes in the espresso machine is passed through a Brita pitcher. By the time it clears that Brita filter, it's tasteless and odorless.


#5: Post by luvmy40 »


#6: Post by SandraF »

I bought a "starter kit" of Urnex Grindz (for grinder), Rinza (for steam wand) & Cafiza (for espresso group head back flush). Still using them. ... f=cleaning

SEMIJim (original poster)

#7: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

SandraF wrote:I bought a "starter kit" of Urnex Grindz (for grinder), ...
Thanks for bringing that up, because I'd been wondering about that, too. (Thread title amended to reflect expanded subject.)

Back when I was last "into" coffee, a lot of people used uncooked white rice to clean their grinders--though ISTR there was some debate about the efficacy of using that? Is Urnex Grindz a better way to go?
SandraF wrote:Rinza (for steam wand) ...
I'll look into that. Thanks!

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#8: Post by SandraF »

Not sure about using white rice, so I'll wait for someone with more knowledge to respond to that. The "Grindz" are tablets & made of something "natural" so they could be rice for all I know. You use 35g of the tablets, set grinder a little coarser than usual & dump them in to grind. Then run some beans through. Then put in more beans, grind, pull your shot & discard it.


#9: Post by luvmy40 »

I've always used Minute rice(parboiled) to clean my grinders between deep cleaning sessions.

SEMIJim (original poster)

#10: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

Thanks for the feedback and pointers, everybody! Went ahead and ordered Urnex Dezcal, Cafiza, and Gindz. Needed another $7 for free shipping, so now I've a silicon tamping mat on the way, too :)