Cleaning routine for low use espresso machine - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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shadowfax

#11: Post by shadowfax »

tekomino wrote:I find no difference between first and second shot on my clean machines. My cleaning is very thorough and flushing of detergent is complete. Even plain water out of the group head after cleaning tastes neutral...
+1/2 to this. That is to say, on the setups I've spent much time on, a machine left dirty (or water-backflushed) overnight produces drastically different first and second shots. On some machines I've used, the difference can continue for several more shots. With a detergent backflush and a thorough rinsing at the end of use, the next session's shots generally yield some difference between shot 1 and 2, but the effect is far more subtle if it is even noticeable.

Also, I meant to include a few links to James Hoffman's on this topic:
  • Reducing machine dirt buildup-great thoughts on the taste and cause of off flavors in an espresso shot from a dirty group.
  • Seasoning a coffee machine-James suggests that whether you try right after backflushing or the next day, the thermal stability of the machine is at its worst on a machine and this likely accounts for the perception that the post-backflush shot tastes off.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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opother
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#12: Post by opother »

No it is not residual deterent or oils in the E61 that causes bad tastes after cleaning it's that bright acrid taste that always occurs when I strip the portafilter and group of baked on coffee oils and other stuff leaving bare metal whichever machine I clean, E61 group or not, soleniod pressure relief valve or not, silvia, pavoni Europiccola, cheap briel with pot metal portafilter (I think you get the picture now,) sama export, whether the surfaces are brass, chrome, or whatever.

Rinsing the surfaces till ones face turns blue with hot or cold water won't cut it either.

I find (and it's not only me) a thin very thin layer of baked on coffee oils on the surfaces of the group and portafilter improve shot quality significantly as long as it is not too much or too old (how much or how old now that alone could be quite a debate.)

In fact I just cleaned my both my Sama Export and Brewtus groups and portafilters with Cafiza today it's the same old tired story. It will be a few shots on each machine before things mellow out.

There is no hidden boogie man here I find spiffy spotlessly clean bare metal and espresso work together to produce some lousy off flavors and they are not complimentary coffee origin flavors revealing themselves.

It's awful drek like flavors yuk !

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shadowfax

#13: Post by shadowfax »

I think at this point my theory is that getting such off flavors after detergent backflushing is the result of too-infrequent cleaning-that is to say, if you notice that your shots taste bad after a detergent backflush and thorough rinsing (and require 'seasoning'), my bet is that the real culprit is that you didn't clean thoroughly enough for how long your clean-up interval is.

I detergent flush after basically every session. My shot the next morning may taste slightly off of the second shot-it depends on the morning. But it's not consistently off, and rarely very far off. There is most certainly *not* a consistent, repeatable presence of 'acrid' off tastes.

So... impasse? Okay, whatever. YMMV, but this is my experience.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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tekomino

#14: Post by tekomino »

shadowfax wrote:I detergent flush after basically every session. My shot the next morning may taste slightly off of the second shot-it depends on the morning. But it's not consistently off, and rarely very far off. There is most certainly *not* a consistent, repeatable presence of 'acrid' off tastes.
+1 but I also drop the screen and clean underneath at the end of each day and before I detergent flush. My second shot might be slightly off more than first.
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

opother
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#15: Post by opother »

I'll give you this if you detergent clean your stuff every day or after every session your shot flavors are going to be pretty consistent.

I will pass though

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shadowfax

#16: Post by shadowfax »

tekomino wrote:+1 but I also drop the screen and clean underneath at the end of each day and before I detergent flush. My second shot might be slightly off more than first.
I didn't mean by my brevity to suggest I don't also do this. I pull my screen and short screw and wipe them and the dispersion block off at the end of the day, then place the screen/screw in the bottom of my blind portafilter basket along with the detergent for the backflush cycle. It seems to me that this process helps clear the screen (it's not a mesh screen, it's one of those EP Precision Screens so it cleans up more thoroughly but can take some effort to clear all the holes now and then), but in any case it's an easy way to auto-wash the screen with minimal effort.

Anyway, on that topic, I suspect that some cleaning routines, especially the ones where a detergent backflush happens weekly or monthly and a screen cleaning also happens relatively rarely, lead to buildup of coffee gunk in the feed lines between the 3-way valve and the grouphead that makes the machines more prone to fouling and perhaps some difficulty rinsing adequately as well. By gunk, I mean the type of stuff that you can't get out by backflushing-the type of heavy, gummy buildup you'll often see on the backside of the portafilter baskets at shops that don't pull their baskets and clean their portafilters regularly. Basically dirt that you can't really see, that you can only get out by scrubbing, in places that you can't scrub without specialized tools. I'm just guessing, but I suspect something like this explains the variance I've seen among machines where some of them seem to require 'seasoning' shot(s) in the morning, and others either don't or require fewer such shots.
Nicholas Lundgaard