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Thread: The importance of back flushing.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    The importance of back flushing.

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I'm usually pretty fastidious about espresso machine maintenance, however over the past couple of weeks a few other issues caused me to neglect my usual weekly chemical back flush, was still, as a matter of habit, back flushing with water after each session, obviously not good enough.

    Two days ago I pulled a shot, removed the portafilter, empty! the puck had stuck to the shower screen, PF back in, quick blast of water, job fixed, so I thought, next shot same thing, then the penny dropped, I hadn't used my usual group head cleaner (Cafetto EVO) for a while.

    Removed the shower screen and seal, gave them a good scrub, reinstalled them, then carried out a chemical back flush, fixed! all was well again, have not had a puck hang since.

    For what its worth, don't neglect this part of machine maintenance, keeps this unseen area spotless, reduces the risk of problems and certainly makes life a lot easier and cleaner when the time comes to replace a seal or whatever else you need to do.

    Also, don't forget to regularly soak your portafilter and basket in EVO or similar, they can get pretty filthy if neglected.

    Below is an illustration of the process, lifted from the Cafetto site, pretty well self explanatory.

    As a matter of interest, my machine does not get used heavily, usually only 3 coffee's a day, obviously sufficient to cause problems after only a couple of weeks of neglect.


  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Excellent description mate...

    Over the years I have also tried to push the point (maybe even labour the point), that detergent backflushing at least once per week is essential and has nothing to do with the number of shots pulled per day. It's all to do with the oxidation process of the thin coating of coffee oils that are left behind after each shot. This process results in the inevitable accretion of a resulting varnish-like substance that not only goes rancid and will effect the flavour of each and every subsequent espresso shot but will cause the issue described above by Yelta, and worse...

    One detergent backflush routine per week (in a domestic situation), as described above, will keep all these issues at bay and is a very simple thing to do.

    Mal.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Excellent description mate...

    Over the years I have also tried to push the point (maybe even labour the point), that detergent backflushing at least once per week is essential and has nothing to do with the number of shots pulled per day. It's all to do with the oxidation process of the thin coating of coffee oils that are left behind after each shot. This process results in the inevitable accretion of a resulting varnish-like substance that not only goes rancid and will effect the flavour of each and every subsequent espresso shot but will cause the issue described above by Yelta, and worse...

    One detergent backflush routine per week (in a domestic situation), as described above, will keep all these issues at bay and is a very simple thing to do.

    Mal.
    Thanks Mal, your observations are obviously equally relevant.

    Whats the old saying about cleanliness being next to godliness.
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    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    I am going through the rigours of bringing a em6910 back from the dead. Fitting a group seal spacer showed me the amount of black oily filth that gets up around and behind the seal on a unloved machine.
    After a clean, it's sealing pretty well now, with a lot less portafilter tightening effort required.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jackster View Post
    I am going through the rigours of bringing a em6910 back from the dead. Fitting a group seal spacer showed me the amount of black oily filth that gets up around and behind the seal on a unloved machine.
    After a clean, it's sealing pretty well now, with a lot less portafilter tightening effort required.
    Did you use a silicone seal? even better again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Good reminder Yelta and Mal. Thanks.

    Put some time in tomorrow working from home in the afternoon to give the home machine some Cafetto cleaning love.

    Even with a rinse, brush and back flush after each session you need to break down that gradual build up.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Did you use a silicone seal? even better again.
    Absolutely!
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Public health warning....do not attempt the routine above on a spring lever machine.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Great info here Yelta and others :-). I neglected to do a chemical back flush for nearly 3 months over Christmas etc, not making excuses but I did have a time intensive visitor during that period, anyhow I was getting some strange pulls, like not coming together until the last few secs, weird spurts, intense channeling etc all of which were intermittent. So on the weekend I did the main chemical clean up and during that process removing the group seal and inspection is mandatory for me. Here is what I found:
    E61SiliconSealWear.JPG
    A small indent in the Silicon Group Seal (12months old). I have no idea how it got there. Lucky I ordered a load of spare parts prior to Christmas from Coffeeparts - great to deal with. New seal fitted and all intermittent problems disappeared.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Great info here Yelta and others :-). I neglected to do a chemical back flush for nearly 3 months over Christmas etc, not making excuses but I did have a time intensive visitor during that period, anyhow I was getting some strange pulls, like not coming together until the last few secs, weird spurts, intense channeling etc all of which were intermittent. So on the weekend I did the main chemical clean up and during that process removing the group seal and inspection is mandatory for me. Here is what I found:
    E61SiliconSealWear.JPG
    A small indent in the Silicon Group Seal (12months old). I have no idea how it got there. Lucky I ordered a load of spare parts prior to Christmas from Coffeeparts - great to deal with. New seal fitted and all intermittent problems disappeared.
    Ahhhh yes, the mysticism and weird behavior of espresso machines.

    I wonder how many of these weird events that some of us try to remedy with magical incantations and obsessive distribution techniques are in fact down to lack of preventative maintenance.

    Nutin weird about it.
    Babu.jpg
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