Backflushing - How far is not far enough?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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CRCasey

#1: Post by CRCasey »

I have a question for you all...

What is your backflush routine?

1. I start with pulling the screen and dispersion screw, giving things a good scrubbing with the brush, getting it all back together.

2. Go at it with the blind basket and a pallo spoon of cleaner.

3. Cycle 2 times and then let it soak for about 5 min.

4. Unlock the PF once and repeat 3.

5. Dump the cleaner and remove the blind basket.

6. Flush several times or until I do not see foam in the backflush.

7. Run a flush to get the group to temp.

8. Pull a shot, and maybe try a sip.

9. Go back to normal.


Is this just over doing things? Do you pull your shower screen and dispersion screw and give the block a scrub before you start your flush?

What is your routine?

-Cecil
Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love-CMdT, LMWDP#244

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

CRCasey wrote:Do you pull your shower screen and dispersion screw and give the block a scrub before you start your flush?
Backflushing serves two purposes: Keeping the pressure release solenoid (or valve) and exit pathway clear, and removing rancid oils adhering to the brew chamber and its components. I am more concerned about getting the dispersion screen/diffusion block free of oily grime than a few smidgens of grounds/oils stuck to the exit pathway/solenoid. So I soak the dispersion screen/diffusion block separately along with the portafilter and baskets.

Other than that detail, my routine is similar to yours except (1) I use stale coffee to pull a seasoning shot, and (2) I probably flush with water more times than necessary.
Dan Kehn

zin1953

#3: Post by zin1953 »

FWIW . . . I always backflush once (Saturdays), and sometimes twice a week (Wednesdays) -- depending upon usage during the week.

I follow the directions on the jar of Joe-Glo.

After backflushing on Saturdays, I soak my portafilters and baskets in a solution of Joe-Glo and water (again, as per directions), along with the dispersion block, shower screen, and the screw that holds them in place. After soaking, I use a brush to clean the screen and block before rinsing them and reassembling the machine. Flush clean water through the group, pull a sink shot, and then I'm good to go!

Hey, it works for me!

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

javabob

#4: Post by javabob »

I backflush first with detergent, then remove the screen/gasket and soak/scrub them. I too just follow the instructions on my jar of JoeGlo. When I think I'm done, I get a teaspoon and taste some of the water coming out of the group head to make sure there's no detergent taste.

mrmekmek

#5: Post by mrmekmek »

I backflush every day with just the hot water in the system, and about once a month with JoeGlo added.
Is backflushing regularly just with hot water in the boiler unusual or bad?

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JmanEspresso

#6: Post by JmanEspresso »

I water backflush, 10sec on/10 sec off, two times, after every shot.

Everytime I backflush, I remove the shower screen and group gasket.

I backflush usually every 7 days, sometimes I push it to 10days If Im lazy.

My routine is pretty similar to yours:
Pallo scoop of Cleaner... Im pretty cautious not to use too much.
Two cycles of pump on 10 seconds, off 10 seconds
Let machine sit for ~20 minutes
2 more cycles, 10 on/10 off
Remove PF, and run pump while rinsing/scrubbing the PF and Shower screen/Gasket. ~15 seconds.
Put PF back in group
10 cycles of just water, 10 on/10 off
Remove PF again, and give a good long rinse and scrub to the screen/gasket
Somewhat cooled from the last step, remove Shower Screen and Gasket
Soak the baskets I used since last flush, all PFs used, Shower Screen, Steam Tip(s), Water Tap Spout in Detergent for ~20 minutes, then scrub, then rinse. Scrub and rinse gasket by hand, I dont soak it for some reason.
Put everything back together
Pull three seasoning/sink shots with old coffee.
Enjoy a nicely cleaned machine.

On backflush day, I also wipe down my entire machine, and use a mild detergent solution and clean all my cups with it, simply by giving them a quick scrub(very quick), and a 5 minute soak in it... Rinse and put back. I wash out my reservoir. I also clean my grinder. Remove doser star, brush clean, remove top burr carrier, and with a brass brush, lightly brush off any coffee from both burrs, without removing them. Give the burr chamber a blast of air, reassemble. I actually remove the burrs every other month, or so.

My detergent of choice is Joe-Glo. Less foam then Cafiza. Ive used and own both, and besides less foam, I dont notice any difference.

. . . I tend to be a bit of a clean freak with my coffee stuff.

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HB
Admin

#7: Post by HB »

JmanEspresso wrote:I water backflush, 10sec on/10 sec off, two times, after every shot.
Why? As i mentioned earlier, I'm more concerned about what ends up in the cup, not the machine's exit pathway, so I do a quick flush to wash grounds off the dispersion screen between shots. I cannot think of a practical benefit of water backflushing after each shot, let alone twice.
Dan Kehn

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#8: Post by cannonfodder »

I use about the same process but I pull a junk shot before I pull a good shot. That will re-season all the brass and make sure all the detergent is out. I backflush once a week or every pound of coffee, whichever comes first. At work I can burn a pound of coffee in 3 days.
Dave Stephens

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CRCasey

#9: Post by CRCasey »

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.

-Cecil
Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as love-CMdT, LMWDP#244

zin1953

#10: Post by zin1953 »

HB wrote: . . . I do a quick flush to wash grounds off the dispersion screen between shots. I cannot think of a practical benefit of water backflushing after each shot, let along twice.
+1
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.