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How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
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geertdevries
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Mar 2007
Posts: 27
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Mar 6, 2007, 4:10am
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

Cleaning the grouphead is indeed important. But I like to minimize the work. In my experience (for a home machine) this works well:
- don't leave your used portafilter in the machine when you're finished making coffee
- clean the portafilter with water right away after a pull
- let some water run through the grouphead after pulling a shot
- backflush the grouphead with a professional cleaner every 3 months

When you do this all the time, you don't have to screw the whole machine apart!
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ThatCoffeeGuy
Senior Member
ThatCoffeeGuy
Joined: 16 Jun 2006
Posts: 880
Location: Kalamazoo, MI
Expertise: Pro Barista

Espresso: NS at shop, nothing at home
Grinder: NS MDX, NS MCF (home), Bunn...
Vac Pot: Yama Tabletop
Drip: Chemex
Roaster: Behmor 1600, FR-8, Popper,...
Posted Tue Mar 6, 2007, 12:28pm
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

geertdevries Said:

Cleaning the grouphead is indeed important. But I like to minimize the work. In my experience (for a home machine) this works well:
- don't leave your used portafilter in the machine when you're finished making coffee
- clean the portafilter with water right away after a pull
- let some water run through the grouphead after pulling a shot
- backflush the grouphead with a professional cleaner every 3 months

When you do this all the time, you don't have to screw the whole machine apart!

Posted March 6, 2007 link

I would tend to disagree with you on this.

Granted we are doing the volume in a day that you are probably doing in a year, but, at the shop I work at, we try to run a Cafiza backflush twice a day, with multiple plain water backflushes throughout the day, and we run a cooling flush before every shot, so that helps get some of the oils gathered by the 3-way out as well.  Even with all of this, at the end of the day after I have sent the groups through 20 cycles with espresso machine cleaner, and 10 cycles with plain water, there is still a lot of oils trapped between the dispersion plate and the screen and the dispersion plate and the main part of the group.

If you have never taken your machine apart this way I think you will be in for a shock when/if you do.  If you have taken your machine apart before and you didn't find any oils then perhaps your maintenance schedule is enough that you don't really need to, but I would definitely throw caution to what you said being true in every case, or even most cases.

As a side note, I would just like to say that the best thing I have found for removing oils from P/F's, screens, and dispersion plates is actually nothing more than Dawn Power Dissolver.  It has a strong chemical odor so you really have to make sure that you allow sufficient amounts of water to run over the parts before you brew any shots, otherwise you will get that taste in your shots, but seriously, it works so great that it is worth a little extra soaking time to get the chemical odor out.  Give it a shot, it works great!

HTH
-Bry

 
Bryan Wray

"I just hope that people realize that coffee is not just a caffeine delivery service, it can be a culinary art." -Christopher Owens
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geertdevries
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Mar 2007
Posts: 27
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Mar 8, 2007, 4:04am
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

Ok, thanks for your opinion and experience. I'll check my machine if it's very dirty! So I've to unscew it...
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Noonievut
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Sep 2006
Posts: 472
Location: Toronto. Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Rocky DL
Vac Pot: Other - Aeropress, Clever,...
Posted Mon Apr 30, 2007, 9:21am
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

lol...

I was cleaning a used machine I had just picked up on the weekend, so I remove the screw and dispersion screen, start soaking it, run some water and a plate? falls off into my glass.  I panick at wondering what just happened, but it ended up that this part was so dirty that it was stuck the part above it (which doesn't come off).  Took a long time to clean these, but now they're nice an shiny!
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LambrettaMan
Senior Member
LambrettaMan
Joined: 5 Aug 2007
Posts: 9
Location: Tucson, AZ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Livia 90 / Europiccola
Grinder: Macap
Posted Sun Aug 5, 2007, 2:14pm
Subject: Re: A Screen Cleaning Shortcut
 

Wow!

Awesome shortcut. I bought my Livia 90 used and the screen simply would not come clean. I was thinking about getting a new one ... However, this tip and 5 minutes and it is clean as new.

Thanks.
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Nightfall
Senior Member
Nightfall
Joined: 2 Feb 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Seattle(mostly)
Expertise: Pro Barista

Posted Fri Feb 29, 2008, 9:52pm
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

Thank you.  I've had problems with employers that didn't seem to realize keeping the machine clean is very very important.
I'm going to us this as a way to help people realize that it's ok to clean and remove the group heads.
I've never thought of oxi clean to get the corners clean, and I've spent may hours trying to get the last of the three year old gunk out of screens they would not replace.
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bellagilla
Senior Member


Joined: 19 Aug 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Tue Sep 1, 2009, 11:43pm
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

How thrilled I was to see the simple instructions on cleaning this important piece on the machine. I can't wait to get stuck into it and see what a difference it will make to the taste. Have been looking for instructions for ages as the instruction book was far too vague on the details. Coffee geek is the best site and forum we have ever come across in all the years we have had different espresso machines. Thank you all.
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hburgcafe
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 6
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Wed Sep 30, 2009, 11:40am
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

I also like to cut up one of those green scrubby pads into little rectangles to get inside the rim of the group.  They seem to mould well to small areas without being to abrasive.  (Of course never use on shiny metalic surfaces!)
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ktpezz
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Feb 2010
Posts: 1
Location: Birmingham, AL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Feb 1, 2010, 9:00pm
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

How about if your grouphead is harder to remove?

This may not be the place for this question but, I am undertaking the rebuild of a 1978 La Pavoni Europiccola. The switch was broken in my last move and then sat for several years. I'm almost certain that it has never been cleaned. I ordered a switch, O-rings and gaskets, and lubricant. I was planning on stripping the whole thing down, maybe painting the base, and replacing more parts as need be. However, under years of gunk, baked on who-knows-what, dirty lubricant, and perhaps, metled seals, I cannot for the life of me get the group head off.

I removed the lever and pins holding it in place, and the two bolts holding it to the boiler. I can see the boiler surface under the bores. I soaked the grouphead (still on the machine) in 'barkeepers friend' (oxalic acid) and ran it under hot water, to no avail. I can't wedge it apart. I'm afraid to hurt it. Someone suggested using wart remover or canned air to chill the gasket to the point that the rubber shatters.

Anyone had this experience and a suggestion short of a rubber mallet?

thx
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sidthecat
Senior Member
sidthecat
Joined: 27 May 2010
Posts: 65
Location: L.A.
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Francis! Francis! X5
Grinder: Ask again Later
Posted Wed Jun 2, 2010, 8:46pm
Subject: Re: How to Clean a Dirty Grouphead
 

I recently acquired a Francis!Francis! X5, and I thought I'd tidy it up a bit. It was already pretty clean - a bit of discoloration in one of the filters and holders which cleaned up easily, but whoever had it last had never heard of a grouphead, let alone cleaned one. It wasn't as complex as the Livia, but the screen was absolutely black.
My happy thought was to take my electric toothbrush to it. I recommend the method as very efficient, especially if your pieces are small.
BTW - the manual makes no mention of the existence of such a thing as a grouphead.
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