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Thread: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

  1. #1
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all.

    I posted a question to the Javaphile and he answered it below in his usual helpful way about what maintenance regime he had for his commercial machine:

    "When I acquired this machine I did a complete tear down, descaling, and rebuild of the entire system. I replaced every gasket, seal, and spring in the machine. Total cost for all the parts was about $75. Heres why I did it: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1103091005/1#1

    The machine is now supplied with water that is first softened and then put through a .5 micron filter. The machine is used 8-9 months out of the year (its turned off during the hot months and powered up monthly to run the pump to prevent its freezing) and is on 24/7 for those 8 months. Roughly a dozen pulls are done a day on it and enough hot water is drawn from it to turn over the boiler water at least once and usually twice a day.

    I have never replaced the shower screens and at this point see no need too. After every shot I do the portafilter wiggle, clean off the shower screen and gasket with a brush, and back-flush. Once a week, or more often as needed, I do a complete chemical back-flush and portafilter soak. I check the screens with a flashlight to make sure theyre nice and clean and have no problems.

    Annually (when I fire it up in the fall) I replace the grouphead/portafilter gaskets/seals, the gasket and o-ring in the anti-vac valve, and the o-rings and washers in the steam and hot water valves. Total parts cost is about $10. When I pull the old grouphead gaskets off Ill also pull the screen and diffuser just to make sure everything is ok with them and up inside the grouphead. Ill then drain and fill the boiler twice and its all set for another year of use. :)"


    I thought I would start this thread to get some feedback and discussion about keeping our beasts in good working order at home.

    I have never done a complete strip down and de-scale. I regularly flush the boiler using the hot water wand and each day pull 5-8 doubles on average. The machine is on 27/7. I have twice since getting it (about a year ago from memory) drained the boiler using the drain plug and flushed new water through while the bung is off.

    I have replaced the group seals and shower screen when I got it...however leaving the old shower screens in Caffetto cleaned them up like new...so they are now spares.

    I will have to soon replace the seals on one of the steam wands. I wonder though whether the replacement of all the seals that Javaphile talks of is merely to stop leaks before they start...or do they prevent some other form of ill.

    As for the anit-vacume valve, is that the small on on top of the boiler (I have three boiler bits - overpressure, another little thing, and a valve with a plunger - the last is the anti-vacume I assume - but it is brass on brass...am I right about that and if so how do you service it?

    I too flush fresh water through immediately after pulling a shot. Then use the blind and backflush with water 2-3 times and then once every 2 months use Caffetto to chem backflush and I soak all the baskets and PFs and they come up like bought ones. I then pull two shots with old coffee that I save for that purpose to re-season the machine.

    I always run a good softener water filter.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Re: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    Where do you get the extra 3 hours per day from??

  3. #3
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    theres always one..:)

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    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    ...I need the extra for chatting on Coffeesnobs

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    Re: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    I change the showers in my unit on average every month - though i do regularly backflush. Always soak them in caustic as it speeds up the clean process - flush thoroughly though ;)

    Group gaskets and tap washers get changed when they show signs of leakage.

    Im not aware of any damage to valves if you wait until the valve leaks. Even if you have no washer in there, most seats will not touch the valves/housings.

    Constant turnover of water from the boiler is important when you are running a 2group machine at home. I just use the hot water tap when making gravy, cups of tea, and the odd instant coffee for the wife.

    The vac valve o-ring only gets done when it is beyond giving it a poke to reseat it. This gets changed over once a year+.

    As for that valve Oz, yeah that one with the "plunger" is your anti-vac valve. Remove the complete peice, seperate the two brass fittings, and youll pretty much find a pin with an o-ring on the base. I wouldnt recommend removing that o-ring though unless you have a replacement. Oh, and youll require a specific material such as a viton o-ring.








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    Re: Maintenance of Commercial Espresso Machines

    With my Futurmat, I run the following regime:-

    *Boiler water is drained off through the hot water tap (about a litre every 2nd day). This is to keep the boiler water from becoming lifeless.

    *The twin under-counter filter cartridges (.5 micron) are changed every 3 months. They also filter the drinking water in the kitchen.

    *A water sample is drawn each month:-
    1) from the boiler
    2) from a group and analysed for water hardness with a "Total Hardness" test kit. I have found that the resin in the commercial water softening unit that softens the water that has already been filtered only needs regenerating with salt each 6-8 months at my current usage. The water is softened to less than 10ppm CaCo3.

    *The portafilter wiggle is done before each pour.

    *At days end I reverse flush.

    *Each fortnight I chemically reverse flush. I use Caffetto Evo from Pedro at Coffeeparts.

    I replace anything the moment it leaks, stops working or shows signs of wear. The group seals have been replaced twice in three years.

    The time factor involved in this regime is minimal and a worthwhile investment in the reliable running of the machine.



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