Backflushing - How far is not far enough? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#11: Post by denniskeating »

Hello, I am by myself, and always make one shot or one cappa at a time. I water backflush twice and p/f wiggle rinse after every shot because I don't know if it will be the last brew of the day or not. I figure leaving things dirty to bake on all day until an evening shot is too long.

I drink a pound of coffee every seven to ten days, so I detergent backflush every two weeks.
I don't remove the shower screen and gasket as often, but do use a grouphead brush wrapped with dishrag to keep the gasket channel clean.

I don't believe in seasoning shots, but probably rinse detergent way more than necessary.

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Team HB

#12: Post by cannonfodder »

The seasoning shot is more to ensure the detergent is removed and re-lubricate the cam in an E61 group. Some people claim to be able to taste a metallic flavor if it is not seasoned as well. I almost always have a shot, or half a shot of beans left in the grinder when I go to change blends. That is what I use to season the system.

A water flush will rinse the grounds off the shower screen, that is about it.
Dave Stephens

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#13: Post by shadowfax »

CRCasey wrote:Considering how much brass and copper my water touches just how much can one little bit of clean brass in the portafilter actually mess with a shot? I wonder if this is one of those things we do, well, just because we do it? I don't mind using the coffee, I spill more on the counter than a seasoning shot takes. I just am not sure how useful it really is.
Have you been reading James Hoffman's blog? My 'seasoning' shot is usually somewhat off, but I must admit I've never got what I'd describe as a 'detergent' taste in my coffee. Perhaps it's possible that those who experience that flavor are rinsing inadequately, as James suggests, and the 'seasoning' reputation is more of an off-temperature thing. I have no idea, myself. I admire James for his willingness to question all the 'wisdom' that's come down from 'on high', though. I always feel kinda chided when I read his posts like that one... :lol:

The post-backflush lubrication that Dave mentions is definitely a big deal on the E61s, though that's technically not relevant to shot quality.

As for screen cleaning, and water backflushing, I will say that the water backflush tends to get the coffee from the sides of the dispersion block that get stuck between the block and the sides of the basket. This isn't a big deal during a session, but you'll want to clean that out somehow at the end of a session, either by water/detergent backflush, a portafilter wiggle-flush (probably best), a wipe with a group brush, or using a rag (quite tedious).
Nicholas Lundgaard

Ken Fox

#14: Post by Ken Fox »

Water backflush 3-4 times, 5 seconds each, plus a "PF Wiggle" at the end of each day's espresso production.

Chemical backflush once a week; 2 to 3 flushes with detergent, wait 3-5 minutes (or so) then a lot of water backflushes to clean out the system after the last of the detergent visibly departs.

I don't make any effort to do a "seasoning shot," however my first shot of the morning (which would be the first shot the morning after a chemical backflush, as well) always goes into my one cappa of the day. I may make other milk drinks during the day, but they would be for other people, not me. In any event, I'd defy anyone to taste anything bizarre from a group just backflushed in a cappa. The next shot, drunk straight, will therefore be "seasoned."

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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#15: Post by malachi »

Each Day (after pulling all shots):
1 - rinse group
2 - clean water backflush (once)
3 - cleanser backflush (10x)
4 - rinse group
5 - quick brush of gasket
6 - clean water backflush (10x)
7 - wipe screen
8 - clean water backflush (once)
9 - little portafilter wiggle to rinse gasket
10 - rinse group
(if milk drinks made, soak wand in milk detergent/water mix)

If using standard portafilter:
1 - break down portafilter
2 - use green scrubby on all brass
3 - rinse all brass and wipe clean and dry
4 - wipe basket(s) clean

If using naked portafilter:
1 - rinse and wipe basket(s) clean

Twice a week (or after every heavy session):
All the above plus:
1 - pull screen and dispersion block
2 - pull wand tip
3 - soak screen, block, tip, screens and portafilter in strong cleanser solution
4 - scrub all brass with green scrubby
5 - rinse and reassemble.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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#16: Post by JmanEspresso »

It's quite possible that the reason for my water backflushing after every shot, might not hold water :)

After the shot, some grounds get sucked up into/behind the shower screen, as we all have witnessed. So, two quick water backflushes takes the majority of them out the bottom of the group, and what doesnt, stays in the group until the next detergent backflush. In my mind, that is.

I wondered if it was worth it, so one time after I did a detergent backflush, I performed no water backflushes whatsoever. When it was time for my next detergent flush, when I dropped the screen, there was considerably more coffee crap on the inside of the screen, then if I water backflush between shots.

. . . And it makes me feel better about my machine.

King Seven

#17: Post by King Seven »

My daily breakdown routine:

1. Quick water backflush - to rinse off the majority of the grounds stuck in the group, making cleaning later easier
2. Drop screens and screws. Quick soak and a damn good scrub.
3. Clean gasket thoroughly, make sure no residual grounds hiding up there.
4. Put screens and screws back in. To backflush with them out is very unwise.
5. Chemical clean. (Chemical in, 10s on, 10s off - repeat 5 times. Rinse out. Handle back in. 5s on, 5s off, repeat 5 times)
6. Portafilters out and scrubbed, baskets out and scrubbed. Quick soak to catch the bits I can't reach, though teflon makes this easier.
7. Everything back together and nice and hot.

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#18: Post by shadowfax »

King Seven wrote:4. Put screens and screws back in. To backflush with them out is very unwise.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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#19: Post by Psyd »

HB wrote:I cannot think of a practical benefit of water backflushing after each shot, let alone twice.
I dunno about twice, but my routine is to flush out the group instead of backflushing out the group. I run a bit of hot water to clean the group, and then catch a bit in the blank PF and press the PF into the group, flushing the gasket.
At the end of the day, or if I'm going to be away from the machine for more than, say, eight hours, I do a clean water backflush. It could be because the very first thing I did with this machine was to disassemble, clean, and repair and or replace parts in one of the solenoids and adjacent plumbing. Now, the real issue had been with the braze that some guy had done on a Monday morning or late Friday afternoon, but there was a buncha goo in there, and that's the visual I get if I walk away from the machine for a day or two without a clean water backflush.
I clean the baskets and PF's after each pull, and the group as well, I brush when I think it's ready, and I probably chemical clean once a month. I went too long since the last time, so this time I went a bit hog wild. I went far too long between changing group gaskets, too, so I was pleasantly surprised at what a pliant new gasket can feel like.
I remove the dispersion screen, block and screw, and soak them, and while they soak, I scrub around the group. I scrub the heck out of the dispersion block and screen, and if the screen doesn't come completely clean, hold it over the gas flame til it just start to glow red, and stop smoking. A quick dip, scrub, and it's ready to go again. I re-assemble the group, and then drop a bit of Joe into the blank, or one of the Cafiza Tabs, and follow directions.
I'm also probably and over rinser, and not a seasoning shot puller, unless you consider that I drink the seasoning shot as a cappa...
Anyhoo, 'zat help?
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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#20: Post by malachi »

shadowfax wrote:Why?
Easy way to clog/damage your machine.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin