How do you backflush your E61 espresso machine?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Maskedman

#1: Post by Maskedman »

How do you backflush your Andreja - or other E61 machines.

When I backflush I let the pump run for 20 seconds 2 times after each shot-pulling session.

Then I read on the back of the Joe Glo cleaner to back flush 5 x 15 seconds in succession.

What is the best and most gentle way of backflushing my machine so that the pump doesn't get damaged?

Thomas
- Ride it like you stole it!

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Compass Coffee
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#2: Post by Compass Coffee »

Can't, or rather I wouldn't and don't, go strictly by time because it varies with machine type. Listen to the pump. You can tell by sound when it's up to full pressue, turn it off maybe a second later.

BTW, are you saying you detergent backflush after each shot session? I'm anal about keeping my espresso equipment clean and even I believe that would be excessive! Group flush after each shot, group flush, PF blank wiggle then water only backflush each session yes but not detergent backflush daily home use. (Unless 3 or 4 dozen shots pulled entertaining then break from my weekly detergent backflush schedule.)
Mike McGinness, Head Bean (Owner/Roast Master)
http://www.CompassCoffeeRoasting.com

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

Maskedman wrote:How do you backflush your Andreja - or other E61 machines.
Just like any other machine that has a 3-way valve.
When I backflush I let the pump run for 20 seconds 2 times after each shot-pulling session.
I don't think that it needs to done that often unless you always overdose and make a real mess on the shower screen. Additionally, the pump need not run that long. You only need to run it until pressure builds to around brew pressure- around 6 to 9 bars is fine. if you don't have a gauge then just run it until you hear the pump labor.
Then I read on the back of the Joe Glo cleaner to back flush 5 x 15 seconds in succession.
I would put the proper cleaner in the blind filter and run the backflush twice, or until some of the cleaner is seen in the drip tray. Then wait about 3 to 5 minutes and repeat. The idea is that you are trying to get the cleaning agent through the group and out the 3-way, then let is soak to remove the coffee residue. Once the cleaner is coming through clean do a few clear backflushes to remove all the cleaner. The number of times for any step is as many as it takes.

You can read the long and detailed treatise here of why backflushing is important and its effect on the machine on my website. It is virtually 100% applicable to all machines with a 3-way. It includes a detailed explanation of why it is not damaging to the machine as well. it has been reviewed and "approved" by two experts in espresso machine repair as well.
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
LMWDP #644

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

Maskedman wrote:Then I read on the back of the Joe Glo cleaner to back flush 5 x 15 seconds in succession.
I agree with Joe. Dave et al document the nitty gritty details in Espresso Machine Cleaning - Why, How, and When. Terry even made a video:

How to Backflush an Espresso Machine [video by TerryZ]
«missing video»

My daily espresso session ends with a brief "wiggle rinse" to knock off the grounds, followed by a water only backflush lasting just a moment (enough time for the group to pressurize + a couple seconds). Chemical backflushes are every week, though occasionally I'll lapse for a bit longer.
Dan Kehn

Maskedman

#5: Post by Maskedman »

Thanks for the replies guys, helped me understand what really happens inside the E61.

No, I don't backflush with detergent after each session, I do 2 water-backflushes at the end of each day - I use detergent once every two weeks and I pull about 3-4 shots a night.

Thanks for clearing this matter up for me!

Kind regards,

Thomas
- Ride it like you stole it!

Pino

#6: Post by Pino »

Hi,

I recently back flushed with Cafiza on my Alexia and right away when I rotated the lever it was tight and squeaky. It has not changed much in the past week. This does not seem normal. Has anyone had this 'problem'? Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Arthur

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KimH

#7: Post by KimH »

Pino wrote:Hi,

I recently back flushed with Cafiza on my Alexia and right away when I rotated the lever it was tight and squeaky. It has not changed much in the past week. This does not seem normal. Has anyone had this 'problem'? Any suggestions?
My Andreja Premium does the same thing after the weekly chemical back flush. It is back to normal again after a few shots.

I don't know if some kind of lubrication can avoid this or maybe make it even smoother than normal..... Any experiences out there :?:

/Kim

Richard

#8: Post by Richard »

KimH wrote:My Andreja Premium does the same thing after the weekly chemical back flush. It is back to normal again after a few shots. I don't know if some kind of lubrication can avoid [the squeaky lever] or maybe make it even smoother than normal.....
In my experience of owning an Andreja for a couple of years, coffee oils from the "few shots" are the lubrication. The design of the E61 is such that both coffee oils and detergents wash the cam on the end of the lever and also impact the seals around the lever shaft. Even if the cam is lubricated with a food-grade lubricant, it will be mostly washed away at the first detergent backflush. That's why Chris' Coffee recommends in this FAQ that "if you are a home user making between two and six shots per day, [they] only recommend you backflush with detergent not more than once every four to six weeks."
Richard J. Wyble

Pino

#9: Post by Pino »

Richard wrote: That's why Chris' Coffee recommends in this FAQ that "if you are a home user making between two and six shots per day, [they] only recommend you backflush with detergent not more than once every four to six weeks."
Thanks Richard / KimH , I fall into that category, that is 2 to 6 shots per day and only cleaned after about 4 months. I thought I should have done it earlier, but it looks like it turned out OK.

Arthur

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#10: Post by cannonfodder »

Unless you only make one shot a day, you should backflush weekly. Regardless of how few shots you make, every time you make one you deposit oils and residue in the shower screen, dispersion block 3-way solenoid (if you have an electronic group) and the inner workings of the E-61 group. Those deposits build up, gum up and spoil over time leaving you with a bad case of stinky grouphead. The only thing worse than skunky beer is skunky espresso.

The squeaky lever is normal after a chemical backflush and will go away after a couple of shots. The coffee oils provide plenty of lubricant for the cam and seals. You can over flush a machine, you would not want to do a chemical flush every other day with that low of usage. However a weekly chemical flush with a water backflush every couple of days is a good idea.

I have been backflushing every Saturday for three or four years and none of my machines have exploded or needed any group seals replaced. If you want to read my two cents, you may want to read through Espresso Machine Cleaning Why, How, and When
Dave Stephens