Preparing an espresso machine for storage

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Eldor

#1: Post by Eldor »

Hi Everyone,

I have been lurking here for awhile but just now joined. I love coffee but I'm a beginner with a serious machine even though I used a Pavoni lever-machine for many happy years.

I posted this question on another board (link) but after several days there hasn't been any response, so I hope it's alright that I repeat my question here...

What do I need to do to store a machine?

The machine in question is a LaScalla Butterfly E-61 machine that I just got at the beginning of June. After lots and lots of practice I've finally gotten to the point where I can consistently pull a better shot than I can buy at the local cafe so I'm really happy. Of course I've still got lots to learn (struggling with single shots now and the WDT technique). Anyway, the only problem with the machine is that it's too tall to fit on my kitchen counter under the cupboards. So I'm going to bring it to my office where I and my staff can enjoy it. Only problem is that we're packing up for a move (after 55 years in the same location) and our new place will only be ready for us at the beginning of September. So the storage will only be until then.

What am I going to do for coffee until then? Well, my new Giotto Premium is arriving on Tuesday and it will fit on my counters. I'll have that machine for home and the Butterfly for work. Best of both worlds. (And I've got a Rocky dosing grinder for the office and a doserless for home.)

Thanks for any help...

Eldor

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

Eldor wrote:Only problem is that we're packing up for a move (after 55 years in the same location) and our new place will only be ready for us at the beginning of September. So the storage will only be until then.
Being that it's summertime and hence no risk of freezing, storage for a couple months should be no more complicated than preparing it for shipment. That is, clean it per your normal weekly maintenance and then drain the boiler as best you can via the hot water tap (i.e., bring the machine up to temperature, turn it off, then blow out as much boiler water through the water tap as possible via steam pressure). When you bring it back out of storage, do a quick descale just in case to clear it of stagnant water / mold.
Dan Kehn

Eldor

#3: Post by Eldor »

Thanks very much, Dan. (For some reason I hadn't thought there was a reply to this yet... other than the private email you sent me.)

I'm not quite sure I follow your suggestion about "blowing out" the boiler water though. My machine shuts off automatically if there isn't enough water in the tank so I'm really not sure how to empty the boiler.

To avoid this issue, I might just wait to open and test my new Giotto Premium until early September when I can bring my current LaScalla Butterfly to my office. In the meantime I'll just use that one at home and once I move it, I can start playing with the Giotto.

Cheers!

Eldor

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

Eldor wrote:I'm not quite sure I follow your suggestion about "blowing out" the boiler water though. My machine shuts off automatically if there isn't enough water in the tank so I'm really not sure how to empty the boiler.
Without a drain plug, there isn't an easy way to drain all the water out of the boiler. But the water tap draws from the steam boiler and the machine doesn't need to be on for the steam pressure to force water out until pressure runs out. Usually you can drain the boiler about half way, which is enough to avoid water sloshing out of the vacuum breaker while moving it into storage for the summer.
Dan Kehn

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jesawdy

#5: Post by jesawdy »

By far, the simplest way to drain a boiler for storage or otherwise is to remove the vacuum breaker or a similar fitting on top and siphon the water out with some flexible tubing. Of course, you have to open the machine up to do this, but it gets the job done with a small amount of fuss and little to no mess. This can actually be faster than using a dedicated drain on a boiler so equipped, as it may become stopped with scale, etc.

On a single boiler machine, you can try to lay it down on its side and open the steam wand to drain it, but I have found that I have to break a fitting loose somewhere in the circuit to introduce air to the system.
Jeff Sawdy

Eldor

#6: Post by Eldor »

Thanks again Dan for your help.

I must say though that my head is still spinning from reading about that "quick" descale technique. Nothing quick/easy about it for a novice with a new machine. If that's quick, I'd hate to hear about what takes long! :)

I guess how long before a machine needs to be descaled depends on the water quality, but roughly how long would that be?

The quick descale kinda scared me off and I'm really thinking that in the interest of making my life easy, I should just keep on using the Butterfly at home until I can bring it to the office in September. That way it wouldn't be in storage at all, and once I do bring it to the office, I can then switch to using my new Giotto Premium (just arrived today!).

Cheers!

Eldor

Eldor

#7: Post by Eldor »

Thanks for the tips about draining the boiler, Jeff. I haven't (yet) had the machine open and I'm sure I will, but not just yet.

Wouldn't it be possible (never having tried it myself) to introduce air into the boiler through the steam tube? By laying the machine down with the steam wand up and open? I'd imagine that it might need several back and forth changes before all the water is removed.

In any case, I've just about decided not to put the Butterfly into storage right now. Too much trouble. But I am anxious to plug in and try my new Giotto Premium (just arrived). It'll be early in September before I can bring the Butterfly to my office.

Cheers!

Eldor