Saeco Via Venezia reduced pressure
I have a two year old Saeco Via Venezia that I use with a bottomless portafilter. The machine has recently started to struggle pulling shots to the point where I have had to adjust the grind size up. I should point out that I use a Baratza Encore. Thinking it might be a faulty ball valve, I changed it (as well as the spring and gasket). No change. I have also descaled and cleaned with Puro. The reason I suspect the problem is a lack of pressure is that when I start the shot the pump noise is regular for a few seconds and then it changes to almost the sound it makes if it chokes on too fine a grind; at that point if I open the steam valve for a fraction of a second it seems to give the pump a little more power (upon closing the steam valve). Sometimes one or two short burst like that seem to do it and the flow returns.
Other important elements:
- I have used this grinder since getting the VV
- I use the same coffee 80% of the time. The issue is the same with my alternate coffee
- I recently adjusted the steam wand grub screw as recommended by Scooter in these forums (fora?)
Thank you for taking the time to read about my issue.
You could try cleaning the shower screen. How about tamping pressure? Could it have been creeping up?
thank you for the reply kbilleter. The screen is sparkling clean (none of the holes are obstructed). The tamp was a good idea, alas I just tried with a light tamp with the same result. I also spoke to a technician at Seattle Coffee Gear where I had purchased the VV. They don't think it's possible for the machine to loose some pressure. It would either be all on or off completely. I find that doubtful. The research continues!
Has the pump been primed before you pull the shot? I mean is it possible that there is no water, or only a little, in the boiler when you start the shot?
well, this is embarrassing. Turns out I hadn't cleaned the grinder in a long time. I had run a packet of Grindz through once, but I had never taken it apart and really cleaned out the burrs. I don't use oily beans, but still! In any case the VV is back in business and I am satisfactorily caffeinated.
At least the embarrassment was cheap.