Reason for cooling down boiler?

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Ahhjenibean

#1: Post by Ahhjenibean »

Hi all! Does anybody know the REASON for cooling down your boiler after steaming milk? I watched videos where multiple people said that it's good practice to cool down the boiler after you're done.. and I don't know why. I thought it was so it doesn't damage the machine in some way... but I also read other posts saying that it was to fill the boiler with more water. Would it hurt my machine if I didn't cool it down after using it?

Just wondering because I want to take good care of my machine but I don't want to do anything that's unnecessary either.

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JohnB.
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#2: Post by JohnB. »

Based on the description of your machine here: https://www.wholelattelove.com/products ... lassic-pro they are recommending a quick flush after steaming to bring the boiler back down to brew temperature. If you are steaming first & then pulling the shot you want to drop the boiler temp back down to the ideal temp for your shot.
LMWDP 267
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Jeff
Team HB

#3: Post by Jeff »

With any machine, not letting the hot wand sit in the milk and immediately blowing it out and wiping it clean on the outside is a good practice. As the boiler cools, the pressure drops and it can suck milk up the tube. Stale, burnt-on milk isn't my favorite flavor. Milk in the steam valve or boiler can cause problems.

Ahhjenibean

#4: Post by Ahhjenibean »

But what if I don't want to brew any more espresso after that? What would happen if I just left the machine alone after that and shut it off? Would that cause damage to the machine?

Also, I usually purge the steam wand after using it. Isn't that enough to get rid of the build up?

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JohnB.
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#5: Post by JohnB. »

Ahhjenibean wrote:But what if I don't want to brew any more espresso after that? What would happen if I just left the machine alone after that and shut it off? Would that cause damage to the machine?
I don't see how turning the machine off after steaming could damage anything as the boiler temp will drop rapidly as the machine cools down.
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HB
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#6: Post by HB »

Ahhjenibean wrote:Does anybody know the REASON for cooling down your boiler after steaming milk? ... Would it hurt my machine if I didn't cool it down after using it?
When I had a single boiler espresso machine, I brewed first and then steamed milk under the assumption it'd be a lot easier to hit the right brew temperature than the opposite order (steam then brew). As for refilling the boiler, it really doesn't matter when you do it, especially if you're done for the day.

That said, it's probably not a bad idea to refill the boiler after steaming so you don't forget. Imagine this scenario: You brew, steam, and then just shut off the machine. The next morning, you power it up thinking it will be ready to brew, forgetting that the boiler is actually half full. When you try to brew: Sputter, sputter, sputter... and no espresso until you refill the boiler. There's also the very remote chance that you steamed away enough water that the heating element could be exposed. All the more reason it's prudent to refill the boiler after steaming, just in case you have a forgetful moment.

Of course, none of this applies to double boilers or heat exchangers with auto-fill steam boilers.
Dan Kehn

Ahhjenibean

#7: Post by Ahhjenibean »

Ahhh I must be missing something about the idea of "refilling the boiler". If I just turn on the machine, does the machine not automatically refill the boiler as it's preheating?

Btw, my process is to make the espresso and then steam milk after...

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HB
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#8: Post by HB »

Ahhjenibean wrote:If I just turn on the machine, does the machine not automatically refill the boiler as it's preheating?
No, for single boilers like the Gaggia Classic, you have to manually refill using the brew button after steaming.
Dan Kehn

Ahhjenibean

#9: Post by Ahhjenibean »

But what if instead I just press the brew button instead of purging water from the steam wand? I noticed a bunch of steam comes out from the group head if I do that. Will that cause damage to the machine if I cool it down that way?

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HB
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#10: Post by HB »

Honestly, it doesn't matter. Purging water through the steam wand wouldn't be a bad idea since it will assure there's no milk residue.

It's worth mentioning that hanging out on a site like this, you'll find plenty of over-the-top concern about minor details. But espresso machines, especially single boilers, are not complicated. Other than running the boiler dry by steaming until there's no water, there's not much you can do "damage" an espresso machine. As I often say, in the end, an espresso machine is basically a tea kettle on steroids. :lol:
Dan Kehn