Metallic particles/flakes in the water...

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Mark Well

#1: Post by Mark Well »

I pulled a water shot in the cup and realized the water is full of tiny flakes/particles of gold metallic color. I have the ECM Giotto Premium 2005 machine. I hope it is not boiler corrosion of scary stuff like this!!!!

After called the technician from Faema in Montreal, i made a descaling with a spoon of baking soda in 1L of water. The water when a little brown and some coffee grains were removed. But I made this 2 weeks ago. I don't know if the particles can be caused by the soda descaling...

One thing strange, there is no particles when I fill a cup from the water wand, it seem to come only from the grouphead.

Anyone have idea about this problem?

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Randy G.

#2: Post by Randy G. »

Descaling with baking soda is not what I would tell anyone to do. There are special descaling products like Urnex Dezcal. Since the particles are only coming from the brewhead, it is probably flaking from inside the E-61 group from chrome flaking off.
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
LMWDP #644

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

Rather than guess, why not check for scale? If you do, please take photos.
Dan Kehn

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mhoy

#4: Post by mhoy »

Mark Well wrote: After called the technician from Faema in Montreal, i made a descaling with a spoon of baking soda in 1L of water.
They recommended baking soda???? I can't see this doing anything. Citric acid is the norm around here....

Anyway, listen to the sage advice of Dan (HB).

Mark

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shadowfax

#5: Post by shadowfax »

baking soda is a base, not an acid. It will not descale your boiler, AFAIK.

If you use RO or distilled water in your espresso machine (not recommended), you can use a pinch of baking soda to every liter of water you fill the boiler with. This will prevent the super-soft water from leaching the boiler, according to the epic Insanely Long Water FAQ, which I would recommend as reading to anyone who is interested in home espresso preparation that hasn't already read it.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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Mark Well

#6: Post by Mark Well »

I was sure baking soda was a bad idea, but I was sure too the technician recommanded from Faema Montreal was reliable too...

It is the second machine i got that "flake" metal parts from inside. The first was a gaggia coffee. I am really thinking about selling that crap and return with a stainless steel stovetop coffeemaker...

Probably most of the people here got this problem too but never realized it. I paid this crappy machine 1300, I could buy a new Rancilio Silvia for cheaper and avoid this kinky kind of problem. damn

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shadowfax

#7: Post by shadowfax »

Baking Soda wasn't necessarily a bad idea. It's 100% food safe, and unlikely to cause any particular harm to your boiler or your person.
John Smith wrote:Probably most of the people here got this problem too but never realized it. I paid this crappy machine 1300, I could buy a new Rancilio Silvia for cheaper and avoid this kinky kind of problem.
:? I take issue with this. You enter a forum of espresso enthusiasts, and you assume that you've discovered a huge, glaring problem with one of the typical machines we own, that we've had all along and never knew. I can't tell if you meant that to be belittling, but can you see how it could be interpreted as such? I understand you're upset, but I think you should calm down a bit and think this through.

If you do a little more research on home-barista.com and coffeegeek.com, you'll find that this is a fairly common problem (chrome/nickel flaking). I would agree with you that it is kind of odd that E61 machines do chrome so many of the internal grouphead parts, and I certainly would avoid doing so myself. On the other hand, these flaking problems typically go hand in hand with excessively hard water feeding the machine and/or the user doing a descale for the first time after much too long a time using hard water. The calcium deposits inside the E61 mushroom seem to cause the chrome to flake.

Now, you could solve this problem by using water whose contents are better controlled (see the Water FAQ I linked you previously), or, you could try descaling your machine and flushing the heat exchanger and the boiler well. When you flush the boiler, be sure to remove the aerator from the water tap, as it may collect chunks of deposits that break off. This will allow you to see when you've flushed them out completely. Dan also graciously sent you a link with instructions for checking for scale. Once you remove the mushroom on your machine, you can clean it off and remove the remaining chrome. This ought to solve your problem more permanently.

Finally, for what it's worth, chrome flaking is not the huge deal you make it out to be. Those particles will most certainly wind up in your puck, rather than your cup.
Nicholas Lundgaard

keepitsimple

#8: Post by keepitsimple »

Metallic flakes after descaling an e61 type machine seem to be common.

I don't know if this is limited to the e61 "clone" groups used by many manufacturers, or to the original equipment ones too. There's no apparent good reason to chromium plate the inside of the group other than the costs saving compared to not doing so, which is probably the reason it's done.

It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with hard water and scale, although they are obviously the main reasons for descaling in the first place.

I had an Isomac Tea (long since disposed of). The brew pressure gauge started to give some problem, and the supplier insisted I did a descale before they would look at it, despite having very soft water.

I did, and got the same results as you. (The gauge problem was something quite unrelated anyway).

It probably isn't too harmful, and as others have said, unlikely to get into the cup anyway. I think it will gradually go away.

It's a shame you don't like the machine having paid out so much, but some people just don't get on with some types of machine I guess.

SylvainMtl

#9: Post by SylvainMtl »

John Smith wrote:I was sure baking soda was a bad idea, but I was sure too the technician recommanded from Faema Montreal was reliable too...
humm... besides Nic from Cafe-creme I wouldn't be trusting many of them... from experience. They're old school and not very inclined to good maintenance practices.

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Mark Well

#10: Post by Mark Well »

thanks all for the replies and sorry for my aggressiveness...

I will look for the mushroom cleaning and follow the instructions. Don't seems complicate and probably can fix the problem.

It is hard to find stores where they sell citric acid or urnex dezcal here in quebec (a redneck city). Everytime you search for a specialized stuff here you don't find it and need order by internet...So I should be able to dezcal my machine soon.

I will use only bottled water to avoid scale accumulation. The only problem is that the woman that sold me the machine probably used tap water for 3 years.