Draining boiler of lever espresso machine while away?

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#1: Post by arced »

Hello all,

I have a quick question. I own the Elektra MCaL and I'm going away for a week. Should I drain it before I go and leave the cap to the boiler off to let it dry out? Anything else beyond unplugging it?

Thanks for any responses.

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#2: Post by HB »

I always drain it. If you want to convince yourself it's worthwhile, try this simple test: Fill the boiler, makes a few espressos, and then let the machine sit unused for a few days. Before making your next espresso, set aside some of the water flushed to preheat the group into a cup. Let the water cool and then taste it. The water temperature was higher than the boiling point at sea level, so there's certainly no risk of bacteria/mold surviving, but I bet the water tastes a bit funky/stale/metallic.

That's one of the advantages of heat exchanger espresso machines -- the boiler is only a heat source, the water you drink is fresh as the original water source. With dedicated brew boilers, the water is only as fresh as the last time the boiler was flushed. See Tasted Your Reservoir Water Lately? for related discussion.
Dan Kehn

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#3: Post by narc »

If needed descale while away. Letting a low concentration solution of citric acid sit for awhile will deal with any light deposits. Being able to pour out the water is one of the nice thing about the Micro Casa a Leva. Another option is to simply siphon the water out.
LMWDP #151

arced (original poster)

#4: Post by arced (original poster) »

Thanks for the suggestions (and also editing the subject line). On draining, is it merely a matter of flipping it over and giving it a vigorous and continuous shake, and then leaving the cap off so no mold develops? It seems like it'll be hard to get all the water out. On that note, when I come back, should I run some water through it to flush out the old drops? Thanks for any advice. Even though I mess up about half the shots (I'm really not that good at being absolutely consistent each time), I'm really growing to love my Microcasa. I didn't know what I was missing (although I guess I'll know soon when I leave for vacation).
LMWDP #161

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#5: Post by HB »

It's unwieldy, but I empty the boiler by inverting the Microcasa over the sink as you suggest. That gets enough water out that I don't worry if there's a few errant drops on the bottom. It's a bit OCD, but I will also rinse the boiler if it's been idle a long time in case there's mold, dust, or bugs.
Dan Kehn