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Project Portofino. (Rebuild project with pics)

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  • Project Portofino. (Rebuild project with pics)

    I was able to rescue an old Brasilia Portofino 2 Group machine from going to the scrap metal joint during an upgrade of a restaurant my company was doing.

    It was filthy and i was told it didn't work at all. Being friends with the client's representative I was able to take the machine home for my own enjoyment.

    Upon taking it home it dismantled the machine and checked to see if it could be rebuilt.

    I tested the pump and capacitor and they were fine. I checked the wiring and the PCB, apart from corroded fuse caps, she looked like she would come to life with some TLC.

    So the tear down begins.

    As you can see from the initial images, she was unloved, not cleaned and very filthy, but not clearly mechanically damaged in anyway obvious at this point. So lets get into it.

    Removing the outside shell to reveal the insides. EW! The filth. The owners should not be proud.

    Next step, removing the copper pipes and getting the machine apart so i can remove the wiring harness to pressure wash the machine.

    Pressure washing the unit cleaned it up ALOT.

    Now clean all the copper and brass parts in CLR solution. CLR can be bought from any retail or hardware outlet. Its amazing at removing Calcium, Lime and Rust from metals. After dipping the brass with copper, the brass takes on a salmon pink colour. This is from the CLR removing a micron layer of copper and it then bonds the brass. Using a fine steel wool, this scrubs of easily and leaves the copper and brass very clean.

    The boiler was full of scale, the valves covered in calcium and oxidized build up. After a fair amount of elbow grease the boiler came good and the valves cleaned up like new.

    All the parts where completely stripped apart and thoroughly cleaned and checked for correct operation. All the valves removed and cleaned and then polished up. Any rings, seals or parts requiring replacement were replaced.
    The main inlet control valve came up like new. I was pretty happy at that.

    The reassembly begins. The boiler and pipe work reassembled onto the frame. Each connection being sealed with a high temperature food grade thread sealant.

    The group heads were filthy internally built up with copious amounts of calcium and lime. A result of Brisbane's notorious hard water and personally I think a severe lack of filter changing.

    The group heads were completely disassembled and thoroughly cleaned and restored as best as humanly possible. I think I did a good job.

    The solenoid on group one was faulty. The coil tested down to earth meaning that if operated, would trip the circuit. Not ideal. A new solenoid was sourced from Koffeetek.

    The element was fried as well. I sourced a new one from Koffeetek also.

    The face plate was scratched, chipped and generally bad condition. I dismantled all the controls, cleaned the buttons and PCBs, removed the steam and HW valves and lightly sanded and re-sprayed the front panel with black paint to just clean it up and remove the surface rust.

    I dismantled and cleaned the valves and then re-assembled them and re-attached them and the controllers to the face plate.

    I then re-assembled the machine with the face plate and valves in place. Sealed all connection with the thread sealant and allowed it to set for 24 hrs.

    The machine is now fully reassembled to operational state. The testing begins.

    Pouring a shot. I am not a barista by the way. I am very new to coffee but this tasted good.

    The full album with 140 or so pictures is available at

  • #2
    I love this sort of thread. It's amazing seeing gunky looking equipment restored to as new appearance. Great job.


    • #3
      Originally posted by kwantfm View Post
      I love this sort of thread. It's amazing seeing gunky looking equipment restored to as new appearance. Great job.
      Thanks mate. I knew nothing about HX machines before this. Now I am confident in understanding their operation and how to adjust them for different brews. (well this one anyway)

      It took me about 5 days in total to do it all. Just on weekends leisurely working at it.


      • #4
        Looks like it would be a fun hobby... I wish I had some skills!


        • #5
          Excellent job and story Jason...

          May many God Shots come your way...



          • #6
            Is that a flow restrictor in the top of the HX or just build-up?

            Nice results.
            Last edited by Plestor; 17 June 2014, 05:23 PM.


            • #7
              Just read this after spotting this machine in the market place. Amazing job, thanks for sharing. I hope someone snaps it up as it looks to be a really good deal.