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Thread: Saeco Via Venezia Group Head Gasket

  1. #1
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    Saeco Via Venezia Group Head Gasket

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I just bought a second hand Saeco VV for $45 to accompany my Gaggia Classic. Does anyone know how to remove and clean the group head seal? I've just spent hours scouring youtube but there is not one video or one set of instructions anywhere showing how to remove and replace this seal and clean the group head. Please advise.

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    I just bought a second hand Saeco VV for $45 to accompany my Gaggia Classic. Does anyone know how to remove and clean the group head seal? I've just spent hours scouring youtube but there is not one video or one set of instructions anywhere showing how to remove and replace this seal and clean the group head. Please advise.
    Hello Cavarna, Here is a guide to using a "tune-up kit" fron Seattle Coffee Gear. http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/ass...tuneup-kit.pdf

    It covers a few other thing too, but it includes replacing the seal. They make it sound like a very simple job, but like many similar machines, the hard part may be getting the old gasket out without damaging it.

    If you are going to replace it, and don't care about damage to the old one, screw a couple of small pointy wood screws into the old gasket then use pliers to grip the screws and yank it out. You must be careful not to drive the screws too deep, so that they go right through, as this could damage the group head.

    Cheers, Deegee.

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    Thanks Deegee for the response. I thought pulling the portafilter apart and cleaning it would be an easy task as well but alas it turned into a nightmare before I eventually discovered a thread about putting it back together again. It turns out the white centre mechanism has to be 'snapped' into the hole of the rubber insert and not just positioned in the correct position. Not an easy job without breaking something. I'll try the non pressurized portafilter later. I couldn't get the philips screw off the the group head initially even after using WD40 however, the torque wrench with the perfect fitting philips driver was a Godsend, a little bit of pressure and it came off easily. Looks like I may have to get a new gasket/seal, I'm pretty sure the old one will tear trying to remove it. I guess you only need to replace the valve spring and ball valve if it leaks. The machine I bought is the older SIN006 model with the square buttons. Do you know if the Breville 800ES Steam Arm fits this model? Any idea on where I can get a cheap tamper for this model? Thanks for your assistance.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    I'll try the non pressurized portafilter later.
    I'd suggest you go the non pressurised portafilter right away. The original pressurised portafilter was designed to foam up stale supermarket coffee. Use fresh roasted beans and grind just before brewing with the non pressurised filter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    Looks like I may have to get a new gasket/seal, I'm pretty sure the old one will tear trying to remove it. I guess you only need to replace the valve spring and ball valve if it leaks.
    This video shows the seal replacement for a different machine but similar process Changing a Gasket - YouTube

    The Saeco Via Venezia is sold in the USA rebadged as the Starbucks Barista also. This guide is quite handy - Starbucks Barista Repair Manual - iFixit

    This shows the parts diagrams as a reference - Saeco Espresso Machines, Parts for Saeco and Starbucks espresso machine - Espresso Care Repair and Parts


    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    Do you know if the Breville 800ES Steam Arm fits this model?
    A large American parts supply only lists one type of Steam Arm for the Via Venezia / Starbucks Barista. No mention of different ones for older / newer machines and from what I can see in the tear-down of the older machine in the link above, all looks the same as my later machine with the round silver buttons. You may have seen a thread I started a while ago (link below), if not, there's a photo of both the Starbucks barista and the Breville 800ES steam wands. I preferred the Breville. For me seemed to produce a better velvety micro foam.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...team-wand.html


    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    Any idea on where I can get a cheap tamper for this model?
    The cheapest decent Tamper I ever saw was from a Commercial Kitchen Supplier which also sold retail. The 53mm size is a bit of an odd ball so may not be as common as other sizes.


    Just wanted to mention that learning to Temperture Surf with the Via Venezia is pretty much essential. The small Stainless Steel Boiler has the benefit of heating very quickly but also cools quicker than a brass boiler.
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 13th February 2013 at 12:02 PM.

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    I'd suggest you go the non pressurised portafilter right away. The original pressurised portafilter was designed to foam up stale supermarket coffee. Use fresh roasted beans and grind just before brewing with the non pressurised filter.
    I thought I'd get this machine for myself (when I run out of fresh roasted coffee beans) and my other 2 housemates to keep them away from my Gaggia Classic while I learn the ins and outs. Having the Classic set up with the non pressured portafilter and the VV set up with the pressurized portafilter may be beneficial for me in the long term.

    This video shows the seal replacement for a different machine but similar process Changing a Gasket - YouTube
    I tried that but I think I'll leave it for the time being until I decide to replace it. The repair manual may come in handy. I've already pulled the top off and had a peek inside. Looks nice and clean.

    You may have seen a thread I started a while ago (link below), if not, there's a photo of both the Starbucks barista and the Breville 800ES steam wands. I preferred the Breville. For me seemed to produce a better velvety micro foam.
    Yes that's the thread I saw a while back. I presume the Breville 800ES steam arm will fit my older model.

    The cheapest decent Tamper I ever saw was from a Commercial Kitchen Supplier which also sold retail. The 53mm size is a bit of an odd ball so may not be as common as other sizes.
    Just wanted to mention that learning to Temperture Surf with the Via Venezia is pretty much essential. The small Stainless Steel Boiler has the benefit of heating very quickly but also cools quicker than a brass boiler.
    I'll look out for a cheap 53mm tamper until I decide to switch to a non pressurized portafilter. I'll probably sell one of the machines at some point but the VV is a bit of a surprise, it makes pretty good coffee. I've been checking out some information on Temperature Surfing, very interesting. Had a Nescafe Blend 43 the other day when I was in a hurry and had to spit it out and throw the rest away. How disgusting. I just descaled the machine and the water that came out was pretty clean. I presume that's a good sign.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    I thought I'd get this machine for myself (when I run out of fresh roasted coffee beans) and my other 2 housemates to keep them away from my Gaggia Classic while I learn the ins and outs. Having the Classic set up with the non pressured portafilter and the VV set up with the pressurized portafilter may be beneficial for me in the long term.
    Just be sure to hammer into them the importance of priming/filling the boiler when they first switch on the machine. Really easy to do on the Via Venezia just by opening the steam knob to let water out until there is a steady stream of water for about 1/2 cup or so.


    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    I presume the Breville 800ES steam arm will fit my older model.
    I think it should fit. Check your PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    I just descaled the machine and the water that came out was pretty clean. I presume that's a good sign.
    If the Brew, Hot water & Steam function all work OK then it sounds like all is well. Make sure to use something like "Triple Action" descaler when you do descale. If your water quality is good, don't descale too often as it can do more harm than good.

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    Just be sure to hammer into them the importance of priming/filling the boiler when they first switch on the machine. Really easy to do on the Via Venezia just by opening the steam knob to let water out until there is a steady stream of water for about 1/2 cup or so.
    I discovered that when I first plugged it in then later removed the water tank to clean it. No water came out of the group head. Initially I thought it was a dud machine.

    I think it should fit. Check your PM.
    Thanks for that, hopefully the pic of my steam arm on photobucket (just joined) has the correct link for viewing.

    It's a little difficult to use the stock steam arm especially without the outer plastic sheaf. Perhaps I need to work on my technique as the froth tends to be a little thin.

    A lady from DiBartoli (Bondi J) told me it's sometimes best not to use a tamper with a pressurized portafilter. I've noticed some people turn their existing VV portafilter into a non pressurized one by just removing the inner mechanism. I saw a video where one fellow made 2 coffees, one with pressurized portafilter and one without and used the same grinding setting and the extraction for both was around 20-25 seconds for 60 mil.

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    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    It's a little difficult to use the stock steam arm especially without the outer plastic sheaf. Perhaps I need to work on my technique as the froth tends to be a little thin.
    The Via Venezia with the Breville 800ES steam wand works well and its a good length. A little practice should see you make some pretty good micro-foam.
    I was able to get much thicker and more velvety microfoam with that same set-up than I can currently with the Silvia. It took longer on the Via Venezia but the microfoam was really fine. I think the current Silvia has a steam tip with slightly too large a hole in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavarna View Post
    A lady from DiBartoli (Bondi J) told me it's sometimes best not to use a tamper with a pressurized portafilter.
    Actually she is spot on. I checked the manual and you don't tamp if using the pressurised portafilter as it came. You dose, level and make sure there are no pockets in the grinds, then insert into the group head until its tight and let it spring back. The grinds are actually tamped by the shower screen and the spring back allows a little clearance afterwards. I never used my as it came as I de-pressurised it straight away. Forgot all about that.

    If you don't have a User Manual PM me your email and I'll send you a PDF copy.
    Found a link for a manual - http://download.p4c.philips.com/file...00_dfu_aen.pdf
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 15th February 2013 at 04:20 PM.

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    vv with the breville steam wand and also the breville sp4 group holder.

    A
    Quote Originally Posted by CafeLotta View Post
    The Via Venezia with the Breville 800ES steam wand works well and its a good length. A little practice should see you make some pretty good micro-foam.
    I was able to get much thicker and more velvety microfoam with that same set-up than I can currently with the Silvia. It took longer on the Via Venezia but the microfoam was really fine. I think the current Silvia has a steam tip with slightly too large a hole in my opinion.



    Actually she is spot on. I checked the manual and you don't tamp if using the pressurised portafilter as it came. You dose, level and make sure there are no pockets in the grinds, then insert into the group head until its tight and let it spring back. The grinds are actually tamped by the shower screen and the spring back allows a little clearance afterwards. I never used my as it came as I de-pressurised it straight away. Forgot all about that.

    If you don't have a User Manual PM me your email and I'll send you a PDF copy.
    Found a link for a manual - http://download.p4c.philips.com/file...00_dfu_aen.pdf

    Just wondering if anyone has tried the group holder from the little breville sp4 I think it's called? Bought a secondhand vv only a year old from ebay and the chap sent it without the grouphead so ended up using the little one from my old breville, works a treat and its non pressurised.
    Last edited by Stoffy; 29th October 2014 at 09:13 AM.



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