Detergent Cleaning - E61 Manual Groupheads

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
User avatar
erics
Supporter ◈

#1: Post by erics »

Here's a tip (?) for detergent cleaning of E61 groupheads. The normal procedure is to put about 1/2 teaspoon of your chosen favorite (Joe-Glo, Cafiza, etc.) into a blind filter basket and run several backflush routines. The exact instructions and recommended frequency are on each container.

One of the drawbacks to this procedure is the removal of coffee oils from the surfaces of the cam and pins which control the brew and preinfusion/exhaust process. You should notice a little squeaky-squeaky noise with movement of the brew lever until the appropriate surfaces get recoated with coffee oils. Excessive detergent cleaning will lead to premature wear of both the cam profile and pin surfaces - about a $50 fix. :(

A way to avoid this is to perform the backflush routine as usual but instead of moving the lever to the exhaust position, simply shut the machine off with the main power switch and with the lever remaining in the brew position. Let the machine rest and parts soak for 15-20 minutes and then turn the main power switch on again for 5-10 seconds and then off again for another soak period. Follow all this with a lengthy flush of the grouphead.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

User avatar
benm5678

#2: Post by benm5678 »

Thanks for tip, I've had that issue, with the lever getting tough to move after cleaning.

Just want to make sure I got it:

- when u shut off machine u wait 15 *minutes*, not seconds?

- how does it travel through the system, isn't the exhaust action what shoots it up the grouphead?

User avatar
erics
Supporter ◈

#3: Post by erics »

15 minutes - yes. The idea is simply to soak the screen and grouphead.
Skål,

Eric S.
http://users.rcn.com/erics/
E-mail: erics at rcn dot com

User avatar
cafeIKE

#4: Post by cafeIKE »

Water passes through the cam chamber on the way to the coffee.
Coffee passes through the cam chamber on the way to the drain.
If you don't clean the cam chamber...

See E61 Group Espresso Machine: Detailed Interior Schematics

User avatar
stefano65
Sponsor

#5: Post by stefano65 »

1/4 of teaspoon is normally what we use and recommended
but we also use and sell pulycaff and supposedly has better cleaning strength
Stefano Cremonesi
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repairs & sales from Oregon.

User avatar
cannonfodder
Team HB

#6: Post by cannonfodder »

I always let the group soak but I do not turn the machine off. I will fill the blind basket with water so the detergent starts to dissolve. Then I lock it in, raise the lever and let it partially pressurise then drop the lever to the mid position to turn off the pump but not open the 3 way to dump the water. Then let it sit for 10-15 min then dump the pressure and take the portafilter off to see how bad it looks. I usually run a short 3 or 4 using the normal pulse, dump then rinse everything.
Dave Stephens

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#7: Post by Compass Coffee »

Damn, why didn't I think of that years ago! Now that it's time the lower replace pin a second time, and didn't replace cam last time so likely will need it this time and possibly upper pin (I think there's an upper pin....)

I'll add that not just excessive detergent cleaning will cause the wear. I changed my regimen after the first time replacing the lower pin to detergent monthly only, water backflushing each session. Still wore out in a couple years. What I should probably do is each gasket replacement make the time to pull the assembly and lube but admittedly don't. And use the power switch for after session water backflush except for final back flush to hit the valve.
erics wrote:Here's a tip (?) for detergent cleaning of E61 groupheads. The normal procedure is to put about 1/2 teaspoon of your chosen favorite (Joe-Glo, Cafiza, etc.) into a blind filter basket and run several backflush routines. The exact instructions and recommended frequency are on each container.

One of the drawbacks to this procedure is the removal of coffee oils from the surfaces of the cam and pins which control the brew and preinfusion/exhaust process. You should notice a little squeaky-squeaky noise with movement of the brew lever until the appropriate surfaces get recoated with coffee oils. Excessive detergent cleaning will lead to premature wear of both the cam profile and pin surfaces - about a $50 fix. :(

A way to avoid this is to perform the backflush routine as usual but instead of moving the lever to the exhaust position, simply shut the machine off with the main power switch and with the lever remaining in the brew position. Let the machine rest and parts soak for 15-20 minutes and then turn the main power switch on again for 5-10 seconds and then off again for another soak period. Follow all this with a lengthy flush of the grouphead.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

MonkeyK

#8: Post by MonkeyK »

What do you see that makes you know you need to replace the pin/cam?

My E61 lever squeaks after every cleaning (every other week or so for the last year), but I have not noticed any performance problems.

User avatar
benm5678

#9: Post by benm5678 »

Probably every time it feels squeaky you're putting more strain on pins than needed. If it recovers for you quick after some shots, it may be ok.

Mine would get squeaky and hard to move, sometimes even after few days of use.

Finally after 2 years of use, I opened it up to maintain and added some lube... it's super smooth now, just like new! I should of done it sooner, as the pins show some wear already (on tips where they touch the cam). However, it's not enough damage to hurt operation, so I think I'm good as long as I keep maintaining it now... which is soooo simple... I love the E61 design!

From trying the method above though, I wasn't able to clean it with a really long flush... so had to end up backflushing anyway. I like the soak period, which I've never done before.

User avatar
Compass Coffee
Sponsor

#10: Post by Compass Coffee »

Much weaker exhaust through the 3-way when backflushing, slight PF sneeze tendancy.
MonkeyK wrote:What do you see that makes you know you need to replace the pin/cam?

My E61 lever squeaks after every cleaning (every other week or so for the last year), but I have not noticed any performance problems.
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com