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Backflushing explained

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  • Backflushing explained

    This may be helpful for Silvia owners undecided about whether to perform the mysterious ritual of backflushing. Rancilio does not recommend backflushing. But the following is why we tend to ignore that advice and do it regardless.

    Whether the Rancilio company likes it or not, their machines "backflush" everytime a shot is pulled. As do all coffee machines with 3-way valves.

    The electrically-operatede three-way valve opens to release pressure from the sealed basket through the valve. Othertwise, when the portaflter is unscrewed, there would be a messy explosion of the hot puck all over the kitchen (and barista)

    Of course, along with the pressure, are flushed coffee grounds and oils from the puck. Witness the murky dark brown scum in the drip tray.

    The valve is a piston-plunger arrangement operated by a solenoid. It closes or opens to direct water.

    You can imagine that these get very hot, and after time will consolidate all the gunk inside into a mess which may intefere with the free movement of the piston.

    Backflushing with clean water will remove most of the solids. While the less frequent backflush with chemical cleaner will remove oil remnants.

    Backflushing with a blind filter will place pressure on the vibe pump. For up to 5 seconds at a time. But only at 9 bars, and the pump is built to take 15 bars.

    During those 1-5 seconds, water is returned NOT to the boiler, but back into the water tank. When the brew switch is hit again to stop the pump, the 3-way valve releases water from the group down the valve and into the tray.

    When backflushing, I think its worthwhile to first to the wiggle to remove grouds from the sides and sealing surface.

    Then do one backflush, remove the sportafilter and empty the blind basket which may well be full of grounds. Then continue so only clean water is forced down the valve.

    --Robusto


  • #2
    Re: Backflushing explained

    Robusto,

    Very good info post.... and I fully support what you have said.

    For those in doubt, if you saw the yuk which builds up in the 3 way assembly (and finds its way into your espresso) you would have no doubt about the necessity of backflushing.

    Whilst Rancilio may not recommend the procedure, the assault on my tastebuds would persuade me to backflush!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Backflushing explained

      If youve never backflushed your machine before youll be amazed at the difference in taste after doing it!


      Java "Backflushes religiously" phile
      Toys! I must have new toys!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Backflushing explained

        Heres a link to a well known site of a much experienced Silvia owner who also has a talent for explaining all sorts of things to do with espresso making apparatus....

        Mal.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Backflushing explained

          I have always backflushed with water and what came out was generally clean... used the chemicals the first time today and got black soap bubbles coming out into the drip tray... and to think I always thought my machine was clean with what I was doing :P

          Useless info basically but shows how much of a difference using the proper cleaner makes.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Backflushing explained

            Have you looked in the PF (under the basket)?
            That will show you how much coffee oil builds up in only a short while.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Backflushing explained

              Yep a nice brown-gold coating on the metal and spouts after a days use.
              I remember the first time I realized the plastic thing came out of my 6900s PF after maybe 6 months use it almost looked like vegemite underneath...

              Its strange when your used to a certain taste in your coffee and then all of a sudden after 6 months its gone

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Backflushing explained

                Ok - I backflush with water only every now and then, but living SW sydney (just) has made it difficult to find a backflush detergent. Any tips on alternatives to the commercial stuff

                eg

                Dishwashing liquid ?
                Dishwasher liquid ?

                Thanks,
                Stelz

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Backflushing explained

                  Originally posted by stelz link=1183797909/0#7 date=1184360153
                  Dishwashing liquid ?
                  Dishwasher liquid ?
                  In one word NO!


                  Java "Stick too a product intended as a backflush agent." phile
                  Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Backflushing explained

                    You can order from Coffee Parts (see sponsor list) and probably have it the next working day.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Backflushing explained

                      Originally posted by Javaphile link=1183797909/0#8 date=1184367810
                      Originally posted by stelz link=1183797909/0#7 date=1184360153
                      Dishwashing liquid ?
                      Dishwasher liquid ?
                      In one word NO!

                      Java "Stick too a product intended as a backflush agent." phile
                      Hi Stelz- Fifteen bucks will get you 500g of the real stuff which will keep you in business for quite some time...http://www.coffeeparts.com/accessories/cleaner.html...

                      NEVER backflush with stuff not designed to do the job

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Backflushing explained

                        I reckon my cleaner will last for years at the rate of a small scoop or so every fortnight.


                        -Robusto

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Backflushing explained

                          geez, these smilies are getting a bit itchy & scratchy like,
                          robusto, did you get yours from Quentin Tarantino?????

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Backflushing explained

                            Originally posted by reubster link=1183797909/0#12 date=1184374848
                            geez, these smilies are getting a bit itchy & scratchy like,
                            robusto, did you get yours from Quentin Tarantino?????
                            Thats hilarious Reubster!

                            But youre right.

                            --Robusto

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Backflushing explained

                              Robusto,

                              me no like the new avatar.

                              Comment

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