Lelit Anna releasing puff from grouphead after steaming?

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by groundsfortermination »

Hi there! First post here.

I have a Lelit Anna w/ PID that I've had for about a month. This is my first machine, so I've been diligent about reading up and watching videos and trying to do things right.

In the past week or so, I've started getting a puff/pop from the grouphead after steaming milk. At this point, the machine is still set on steam but the valve is closed. The first couple of times it seemed like a soft puff. Once it was loud enough that it started me. And this morning, it did a small pop as I removed the portafilter where steam was released.

My workflow is to pull the shot and then steam milk. When I am done and the steam valve is closed, I switch to water and then switch on the pump and open the valve until water runs out, and then flip off the pump, close the valve and set it back on coffee for the next shot.

I have never descaled or run cleaner through the machine, but I just bought some Urnex Biocaf. I rinse and wipe the grouphead daily and backflush every few days. I make 1-3 shots per day.

I emailed the vendor, who said the supplier suggested descaling. From what I've read, descaling seems a bit controversial and I don't want to jump to it. I am in San Francisco and the water is not hard. I've also recently switched to Crystal Geyser bottled water and stopped using tap altogether. That being said, this is what the vendor told me: "Full tank White vinegar through grouphead and steam wand and let sit overnight. Rinse in morning. Test with blind. Limescale can happen in as little as two weeks."

Any ideas on why I'm getting the steam puff? Could it really be scale already? I started looking up portafilter sneeze and it feels more gentle than that, but I'm not sure.


#2: Post by SutterMill »

Hi Tina, Sorry I cannot be of help with your specific issue but it did trigger my memory of an article in the SF Chronicle that I read some years ago. SF water may be harder than you realize.

I can't remember where I set my keys 5 minutes ago, but I can recall an obscure article about water from several years ago. Best of luck and hope its a quick fix.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/food/articl ... 957526.php

Team HB

#3: Post by JRising »

If you're saying that you leave the portafilter in place with the wet grounds in it after brewing, then switch the boiler to steam temperature, keep it at steam temperature while steaming, then everything in the heat exchange pipe and distributor disk area of the group is also being raised to well above boiling. If your three-way valve's drain port is blocked, or the hose is kinked, it could be trapping that small amount of pressure above the damp coffee grounds and you hear the very slight portafilter sneeze when you take the portafilter away from the group gasket.

I'd check and clean the three-way valve and its drain hose before descaling, but I'm not Lelit Customer Service, I'm making a wild guess based on the fact that the pressure seems trapped above your coffee until the portafilter is removed.

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#4: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

Thank you for your thorough response. Yes, I do leave the portafilter in place with wet grounds and then switch to steam. I imagine I can find some videos on how to do what you've described and check on the valve and hose.

Alternatively, would a short-term solution be me making a point to remove the portafilter before I steam?

Are there any larger implications around safety or maintenance w/ potential valve or hose issues that I should be concerned about?

Team HB

#5: Post by JRising »

Does the machine backflush properly? When you do a backflush cleaning, does the portafilter sneezing get any better? How often are you backflushing it? It just seems odd that a noticeable "poof" of pressure could be trapped in there.

Before dismantling the machine, see what difference a backflushing does, or if the machine is weird when backflushing.

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#6: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

I removed the portafilter prior to steaming today, and the grouphead or something behind it still poofed after steaming. It doesn't happen every time. Maybe 1 of 5? Hard to say since it's fairly inconsistent and I haven't tallied it all.

Backflushing seems fine to me. I let the pressure get to 9 bar, count to 3, turn off the pump and then hear the whoosh and drain immediately. I think I could probably let the pump run longer when I back flush or let the pressure go higher? But I didn't know whether or not there were benefits to that.

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#7: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

I also meant to add, I don't *think* backflushing makes a difference, but the poof is inconsistent enough that I'm not sure that I could attribute a the lack-of-poofing to the backflush. Whether or not I've never gotten the poof immediately after a backflush I am uncertain of, but I can make a point to keep an eye for.

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#8: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

Well, I did a cleaning with Biocaf and the 10 backflushes, so I will report back on what happens next!

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#9: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

Well, it's still doing it, though maybe a little differently now? I thought I had the steam valve completely shut in this video (pretty sure, you can see how I reach back over to confirm in the video) yet it sounds and looks like steam was leaking out and then the machine poofed at me.

Video link below:

At the end my kid says "it tooted" which is what he says when he farts lol.

groundsfortermination (original poster)

#10: Post by groundsfortermination (original poster) »

Another new development or observation is a ticking or soft clicking after I steam.

I've been indirectly going back and forth with Lelit's customer service and their responses have been around properly refilling the boiler, the order of operations around opening the valve while turning on the pump for water, etc., which is good to know and confirm, but still doesn't really seem to explain or help troubleshoot the poof or clicking.

I'm still able to make espresso and milk drinks, but I'm a bit frustrated by the service and a new machine that is exhibiting flaky behavior.