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Bezzera BZ99: why is my steam so weak?

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  • Bezzera BZ99: why is my steam so weak?

    So i'm caught in a dilemma - either i have my pressurestat set such that the water is flashing from the group, i need to run a 5-10sec cooling flush, i get heat affected shots and my steam is good (but not great) OR i have it set so i have a lower boiler pressure, a shorter cooling flush, better shots but painfully weak steam. like anemic steam that really struggles to texture 200mL of milk.

    when i adjust the pressurestat i feel like i'm treating the symptom and not the problem because i feel like the BZ99 should have as much steam as my BFC junior at a sensible pressure which it certainly does not. can someone confirm that these machines do in fact push big volumes of steam like their similar HX counterparts?

    next, my thoughts turn to blockages - i have descaled the boiler (including the steam path) but it made no difference. the tip is clear, the machine is otherwise very clean and in excellent working order.

    lastly, i wonder if there are any tweaks that can be made to get the most from the boiler - can i adjust the level probes and get better steam pressure at a lower boiler temperature by varying the water:steam ratio?

    1) does the BZ99 have a notably lower steaming ability when compared to other similar HX machines?
    2) is a blockage/restriction in the steam line likely despite descaling the boiler already? if so, where should i look? (boiler pickup, valve, downstream of the valve, etc).
    3) are there any tweaks i can try to up the steam pressure while conserving the quality of my shots? (like tweaking level probes, etc).


  • #2
    Sounds like most HX m/c's... IE they need a cooling flush !
    What boiler pressure setting are you using ?
    Are you trying to find a setting that avoids a need for the flush ? ( the holy grail of HX set ups !)


    • #3
      hey blend,

      I'm ok with cooling flushes, but at the point at which the steam is acceptable the shot quality is poorer compared to a lower pressurestat setting. with a long cooling flush i can get the water down to what i think is an acceptable temperature and start to pull the shot, but the element is on for the entire shot and the shot itself is a little hot and lacks thick crema and mouthfeel when compared to a slightly cooler shot.

      i don't want to be micromanaging to the degree of timing flushes and pulls with the operation of the element :\

      unfortunately i'm flying blind - my BZ99 is gaugeless. i will eventually get a hold of a some fittings to allow a gauge to be attached in place of the steam tip for boiler pressure measurement, but that's not likely to happen any time soon :\

      i just feel like the bz99 should be quite capable of delivering bucketloads of steam without the need to run the boiler so hot - my BFC doesn't get any flashing at 1.1bar and the steam is more than sufficient (they run the same 2-hole tip) and my pv lusso at 1.4bar blows harder than i probably need it to...


      • #4
        Bezzera BZ99: why is my steam so weak?

        Agree, should be able to deliver plenty of steam.

        Can you describe how long the reheat cycles are running for whe you steam? Do you find it spends ages reheating even after a minimal amount of steam production, or potentially the opposite?

        Additionally how much hot water can you pull before it starts to waver?

        I'm wondering if your boiler water level is too high (sensor problem?) I've read reports of bezzeras over filling their boiler which would reduce the amount of volume being used for steam which would result in a low volume but quick recovery.


        • #5
          I have just acquired a BZ99 in what appears good nick.
          Steam as expected -like a Rheem ! comes on hot and strong each and every time.
          Very noticeable to me - however I am coming up from a EM6910!

          Other than that opinion I'm in baby step stage with this HX as I have no prev experience.
          But all I have read assures me what I have experienced - BZ99 has plentiful steam capability.
          I agree with you I am planning for an upgrade mod of Group Temp Gauge / Pressure Gauge.

          Note I have access to an Elect Engineer - so am careful of danger with 240V.

          Any advice on suitability of suggested mods / catches to be wary of much appreciated over at my recent post
          in grinder thread



          • #6
            Very difficult to advise without seeing the machine, and a BZ99 operating well may have a ton of steam compared to an EM6910, but a very soft steam compared to some other HX machine....they are not all the same, and what you are seeing could be normal, or it might not. Certainly when clients have come in woth older BZ99's with a view to upgrading to a new BFC / Diadema Junior, we have seen that the BZ's had a soft steamer by comparison. But that could be due to a number of tuning factors in machines that are older could be normal. Cant tell without investigating.

            You could ask Renzo of DiBartoli as he is very experienced with BZ's and also sells quite a few other machines and would be a good source of helpful information (especially in terms of a comparison of the steam performance between the various different machines) in this instance.

            Playing around with internal settings of our machine when you do not have the expertise, probably wont be helpful to you and you could end up with a machine that works less well than it does now, and rather than mucking around blindly to see what happens overe time, if you are really concerned I would favour you taking the machine to a Bezzera service agent for an opinion / diagnosis. That way you can cut straight to the chase.

            Some of the parameters mentioned above wont be any good to you unless you have some idea of what the same parameters might be like on a machine that is operating as it should, and even experienced service techs do not measure some of the parameters mentioned. In fact, it hasnt been established that your machine isnt operating as it should.........which is why your advice should be coming from an experienced service tech who is actually looking at the machine on the bench in front of him.

            Hope that helps.