Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

    ok im sure a few of you were aghast to read that, first up yes i will keep cleaning it

    having a few dramas though, i put the blind filter in and backflush after every use and do the once a week backflush with cleaning powder but for some reason my extractions blow out to double the volume after cleaning with the powder which i did for the second time yesterday
    oh i flush with plenty of water after the powder

    the first time being very inexperienced, after throwing the seasoning shot followed by 2 doubles down the sink i adjusted the grind which settled things down but a day later i was back at my original grind point and all was well
    well pretty well much the same thing again yesterday, cleaned the machine, had a gusher seasoning shot and then had to chase my tail and still havent arrived back at a consistent shot but then again im pretty well hung over from coffee yesterday, just about nipped up actually

    only thing i can put this down to is a pressure related issue, i notice after cleaning the water tends to throw out the portafilter spouts rather than the usually dribble into the drip tray

    anyone else experience anything similar ?

    Darren

  • #2
    Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

    Firstly - I dont have a Levetta, so apologies if I send you down the wrong path, but based on my cleaning regimine for the Expobar, I think it sounds like you need to clean (or at least do a water only backflush) more frequently.

    The water pressure appearing higher after the clean, to me indicates that the brew path is clean.
    The fact that it gradually slows up and becomes restrictive seems to indicate a buildup again.
    I would think that the faster flow is normal and that you need a finer grind immediately after cleaning to cater for this during extraction.

    How many shots do you reckon are going through the machine between cleans?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

      hi Fatboy

      i backflush with the blind after every use, not at the end of the day but whenever i use the machine
      im only new at this so its a bit hard for me to keep track of exact shots especially with the occasional sink shots thrown in but maybe 4 doubles a day through the week and weekends well 6-8 a day, ive gone through 1.5kg of WOW in just over a week i think, its all a bit of a blur at the moment ;D

      Darren

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

        I might be wrong... but I think much of the e61 backwashing advice is tailored towards owners that use their machines A LOT (i.e. throughout the day, every day). I typically brew 2 doubles each week day and 4 doubles on a Saturday or Sunday. I have scaled my backwashing down to one set (3 x 5 sec) every 2 or 3 days, another set (10 x 3 sec) once a week and a final one using detergent every couple of months. I do a portafilter "wiggle" or whatever its called  ;D after these flushes. Appears to be working very well. A shower screen brush is used to clean on the days I dont backwash. If this is wrong I would also like to know....

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

          I clean my shower screen after every pour. Combine it with  a cooling flush (or did you mean removing the shower screen Buschy?)

          I do a plain water backflush once or twice a week pretty much the 3 x 5 sec flushes you emntioned. . I have only done one backflush with detergent in the month or so Ive owned my machine.

          I read somewhere that you should only do a detergent backflush every 4 - 6 weeks for low demand use. Apparently, you are removing some lubrication from the E61 group head valve when doing a detergent backflush so the brew lever action will become stiffer. Not sure about that though. If oil is used to lubricate the mechanisms and using detergent removes it, wouldnt you also lose some during normal use and plain water backflushing. And how would it be lubricated if it becomes necessary?

          De-scaling: the general advice is that if you are using filtered or soft water you shouldnt need to do it. If you do, then get it done by a espresso machine technician

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

            flynnaus wrote:
            I read somewhere that you should only do a detergent backflush every 4 - 6 weeks for low demand use. Apparently, you are removing some lubrication from the E61 group head valve when doing a detergent backflush so the brew lever action will become stiffer
            this definitely happens on my machine, i get to about the 3rd action and the lever is very "dry" so obviously the detergent is washing away whatever is in there being used as a lube

            Darren

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

              Flynnaus,

              That is quite correct about the descaling, unless you live in areas with very hard water, (as in Adelaide, where I live). ECA suggest that even then, it is best left to be done by a technician during the annual service. Apparently unless one is careful, it can be easy to leave undissolved crystals which play havoc with some of the internals, especially valves.

              I clean my Levetta with Cafetto not more than fortnightly, but will regularly use the blind filter or remove the shower screen for proper cleaning.

              Trevorbeans

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                I think I’m going to modify my routine to the following until someone tells me otherwise (which will probably be before the end of the day... : ). Seems like a good compromise for low volume usage.

                - 3x5 sec. back flush twice a week + blind basket loose portafilter wiggle  
                - Quickly brush outside of the shower screen with short flush after each pour (or brush screen at least after final pour).
                - Detergent back flush once every 6 weeks

                I find the portafilter wiggle does a great job of cleaning all the crud around the group gasket/seal on the low shower screened DOMOBAR. Dirty water always flows out from around the perimeter of the portafilter and into the drip tray below.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                  I tell you what Buschy,

                  You stick to that routine you have just outlined and then after your first 6-weekly detergent backflush, remove the shower-screen and have a close look up into the Group Head and the back of the shower-screen itself. Im almost certain that you will observe the existence of a thick tarry substance sticking stubbornly to various recesses of the Group and low-flow sections of the shower-screen.

                  All this "tar" is congealed, rancid coffee oils built up in successive layers over time. Plain water back-flushing does NOT get rid of this stuff and its existence will cause detrimental contamination of the water into every espresso shot that you pull. Once you have seen this stuff, tasted it, sniffed it; you will never go back to a maintenance regime that allows its build-up. Talking from personal experience....

                  Mal.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                    Nah...Mal, thats just "seasoning the group", beneficial, sort of like seasoning a wok...... :

                    OK, I concede defeat, perhaps my new and improved regime is a bit on the slack side. So...the questions is, how often to use detergent with fairly low volume use? Once a month or once a fortnight? Youre going to suggest every week arent you...  

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                      Originally posted by Buschy link=1223337113/0#9 date=1223371029
                      Youre going to suggest every week arent you...
                      Yep ;D

                      In busy cafes for instance, they will backflush with Cafetto Coffee Clean or similar, several times a day and a lot of these will be using machines fitted with E-61 style Groups. I guess if keeping your machine clean means that you will have to re-lube the Lever Shaft on a regular basis, it would pay to have some of this on hand to do it yourself. All the bases are covered then...

                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                        I spoke to Chris from Talk Coffee about this a couple months back. ie how often to backflsuh as my Levetta was getting stiff with a weekly detergent backflush.

                        He suggested it depends on volume of use. So now, 2 double coffess everyweek day and several on the weekends mean a weekly detergent backflush. Any less coffees than this and I detergent backflush every 10 days or so. O still get the stiff lever after the detergent backflush but it goes back to normal after the water backflusgh now.

                        So my routine is...
                        - clean group head with brush after every extraction/session
                        - water backflush daily 3 x 5 secs
                        - 7 or 10 day detergent backflush followed by 3x5 sec water backflush
                        - 6 monthly descale using Cafetto ( I use filtered water)

                        I am managing to keep this up even with our recently arrived twins...man am I tired!

                        Everything is humming along just fine. Might be time for a showerscreen and group seal replacement though - anyone done one of these on the Levetta yet?

                        Javabeen.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                          Originally posted by Mal link=1223337113/0#10 date=1223371525
                          In busy cafes for instance, they will backflush with Cafetto Coffee Clean or similar, several times a day and a lot of these will be using machines fitted with E-61 style Groups. I guess if keeping your machine clean means that you will have to re-lube the Lever Shaft on a regular basis, it would pay to have some of this on hand to do it yourself. All the bases are covered then... Mal.
                          Well its always good to get another opinion.

                          The big question is how do you lube the lever shaft and what with?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                            Originally posted by flynnaus link=1223337113/0#12 date=1223380692
                            [The big question is how do you lube the lever shaft and what with?
                            Chris has mentioned it several times over the years and as recently as a couple of months ago I think. Maybe do a search or just wait til Chris spots this discussion...

                            Mal.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: VBM Levetta - to clean or not to clean ?

                              I think that a decision not to clean is very unwise.

                              I see quite a few machines and some of the stuff that arrives for service is unbelievable   and very saddening. The worst so far a Giotto, 2 years old, NEVER cleaned and covered in about 2mm of congealed fat inside and out- the product of being located beside the stove in a stir fry loving household. Spend well over $2k on a machine and then wreck it  :.

                              We are here for quality, no :-??

                              My recommendation is still to water backflush every day. This means that the p/f is locked and perhaps 3 x 3-5 sec pulses. A p/f jiggle prior to the backflush is a good way of removing debris as well.

                              As for chemical, unless the machine is not being used, once a week, but with small quantities of a good powder (e.g. 1/4-1/3 teaspoon)- Bombora Clean Machine or Cafetto. I run about 10 x 3 sec pulses- sometimes leaving the lever at the mid position for a short soak. If no brown is released from the 3 way valve, the group is clean and I ditch the chemical. and then follow with a water backflush- most if not all squeak will go. FWIW, my machine averages 4-6 shots on a typical day.

                              I also drop the shower screen and group seal every month or two and clean the dispersion screen/block.

                              Levers do need to be lubricated every so often- as do valves- especially in the Giotto for example. Its not hard to do (10 min job?) and Im sure Pedro would stock food grade lube or can source it. You need only to loosen top and bottom of the group- large nut and the lower section, crack the seal between the 2 side bolts and then everything is pretty straight forward- I do it whenever I get a squeaky handle as part of our service.

                              For mine, Id much rather have a squeaky handle than drink coffee which is the product of a group liberally coated in rancid coffee oils.

                              Chris

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X