Lelit Bianca manual - excessive maintenance requirements

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boren
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#1: Post by boren »

I'm going over the maintenance requirements in the Lelit Bianca V3 instruction manual (PDF) and some of them look quite excessive. Here are some highlights (rephrased for clarity and conciseness):

After each shot:
- Clean the grouphead gasket with a brush.

Weekly:
- Submerge the portafilter and baskets in detergent powder (e.g. Cafiza) and hot water for 15 minutes, then rinse
- Backflush with detergent powder - 10 times, 10 seconds each. Rinse portafilter and blind basket with water from the grouphead, attach again and backflush without detergent - 5 times, 10 seconds each.
- Immerse steam wand with detergent solution, open the steam for 5 seconds then close for 5 seconds. Repeat this 10 times with the detergent solution, then 10 time more using fresh water.

Annually:
- Take the machine to a specialized technician for descaling of its hydraulic circuit, and to check if movable parts such as the the paddle, lever, water and steam wands (etc) require lubrication.

Really?!

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RistrettoCapp
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#2: Post by RistrettoCapp »

Aside from cleaning the grouphead gasket with a brush after each shot, this all looks pretty standard for commercial espresso machines.

Not sure if it would be different for a home or prosumer machine, even though they have less volume run through them, ensuring gaskets and components aren't being 'coated' in building and keeping the hydraulic circuit clean is paramount.

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Jeff
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#3: Post by Jeff »

Rinsing the screen (if you're not using a puck screen) and wiping down and blowing out the steam wand after every use is pretty much standard, no matter where you are. You can get the gasket rinsed by having a second PF handle with a blind basket in it and not locking it in so water flows over the edge of the basket. I would do this daily with an E61 and then run a couple of backflush cycles with water. The brew path and the exhaust path is shared on an E61, so you want that clean.

The weekly Cafiza (or cleaner of your choice) regimen seems reasonable based on my experience with E61 groups, even in home use with a few shots a day. I would also unscrew the steam tip and soak it as well. I'd also expect to remove the shower screen at least monthly, if not weekly, and clean it. A Cafelat group gasket makes this a lot easier on E61 machines as the screen is held in by the gasket on most.

The steam-wand cleaning seems like more than I'd do myself, but I am religious about blowing out the steam wand immediately after every use.

E61 groups in home use typically need a rebuild every couple of years. It's about $50 in parts and about as easy/complicated as changing washers in an old-style faucet.

I'd use "non-scaling" water over descaling. There are some good references in the Water section. Either a handful of "approved" bottled waters (a typical Brita-style filter doesn't effectively remove the chemicals that produce scale) or distilled water and a pinch of some reasonably common chemicals can do the trick, without diving down the rabbit hole.

maximatica
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#4: Post by maximatica »

If you adopt the paper filter above the puck strategy you can dispense with most of the backflushing and group cleaning as the grounds will not get past the paper filter and up into the group.

I wish I had known of the technique 20 years ago as I am (unfortunately) able to taste the Cafiza for far longer than most people and the amount of flushing that I needed to do to get the soap taste out of the group was horrendous. The Cafiza also washes out any lubrication on the mechanical parts in the group and you have to relube.

It was the only real PITA I had with the E61 group.

So, dive into the paper filter and it will be easier to live with it.

HTH.

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another_jim
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#5: Post by another_jim »

These recommendations are demonstrably overzealous. A cafe backflushes and cleans once a day, after several hundred shots per group.

At five shots per day, this translates to a monthly backflush and cleaning. While you are at it, don't forget to blow down your steam boiler with distilled water, especially if you steam but don't use the water tap. Do it more often if your outflow exceeds 150 TDS (this will depend on the water you use; but any mineral content will build up, since it's water in and steam out).
Jim Schulman

JRising
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#6: Post by JRising »

It's a plumbable machine. Plumb it in, change your water softener regularly and instead of descaling annually, check the mushroom and the boiler probe annually for evidence to ensure you don't need to descale, if you want. It's your machine, use it as you want, ignore the manufacturer's overly simplistic instructions in whatever ways (within the law) you see fit.
The manual is written to try to cover many topics in a very simple way so that even the people who would be asking those questions have something to rely on.
Think of a drivers' handbook. No one actually drives like that once they've learned to drive efficiently, but it's written to cover the topics.
(Look at some of questions asked in these forums, the manual has to try).

As for the back-flushing, I agree that back-flushing with detergent more than twice a month is a waste of Cafiza and Haynes lube... Backflushing with water, daily before shutting down should be plenty. If the beans aren't oily, detergent more than once a month may be excessive. You'll be able to tell by the shade of the flushed mixture coming out of the drain.

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SteveRhinehart
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#7: Post by SteveRhinehart »

I think that frequency of detergent backflushing for home is a bit much, but the procedure itself (10 cycles with detergent, 5 without) is standard. The rest looks normal to me. You can check and lubricate many parts yourself. Descaling is better avoided by using good water.
another_jim wrote:A cafe backflushes and cleans once a day, after several hundred shots per group.
I would recommend a detergent backflush at every shift change. It may not strictly be necessary but it keeps everybody working clean from first shot to last. Ideally a shift change comes with a full reset of the work area, clean and stocked for the next. Plus so many commercial machines have auto-backflush cycles it takes only a couple seconds and pays back in continuously tasty shots.

DaveC
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#8: Post by DaveC »

I'd be lubing the paddle system and checking the O rings every 3 months, I would use a cocktail stick and libre the lower balls of the wands 3 monthly and remove the screw to fully lube ever 6 months If I used them a lot.

I would also add extra lube the paddle system from new...unless Lelit are going that now.

PIXIllate
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#9: Post by PIXIllate »

I do two water backflushes to start each session and two more to end each session and a detergent backflush maybe twice a year and at that time take the group apart and relube the cam.

I'll drop the shower screen for a scrubbing every week or two and maybe once every few months drop the screen and baskets into a warm bath with detergent.

Too much chemical backflushing on an e61 results in a need to take the group apart and lube everything as the design relies on some amount of coffee oil for lubrication.

I take my flow control valve apart every 6 months or so to relube it.

Amberale
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#10: Post by Amberale »

Hey Boren, I have had a V2 for over two years.
My routine is as follows.
After every shot, flush screen and wipe with a cloth, rinse basket with water from group.
Once a week : -remove shower screen and soak screen/gasket/portafilter and basket in caffetto.
-backflush with blind basket and plain water(I actually have a 100ml hydraulic cylinder attached to an old PF)
Once every three months : backflush with cafetto, remove mushroom and lubricate the o-rings in the FCD (replaced with Viton o-rings)
Every six months : lubricate the cams in the group.
Every two years : replace all o-rings and gaskets.