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Back flushing after every use?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Back flushing...  
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pilot25
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Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 116
Location: MD

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Jan 24, 2012, 4:31pm
Subject: Back flushing after every use?
 

I have a Rancilio Silvia that I use to make two double espresso's in the morning 4 times a week.  As part of my clean up routine I do a quick clear water back flush.  Good idea, bad idea, or doesn't matter?
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Nickfrogger
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Nickfrogger
Joined: 26 Nov 2010
Posts: 201
Location: Spokane
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia V3 w/PID,...
Grinder: Lelit PL53, Baratza Maestro
Vac Pot: Yama TCA-5 Siphon
Drip: V60 (A red one!)
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Jan 24, 2012, 5:04pm
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

I do that as well, the only problem I can imagine is getting more gunk in the OPV or solenoid valve than normal use would render... Nothing cleaning those parts every once and a while wouldn't take care of. I'd rather back flush and clean/replace those parts occasionally than have grounds sitting in the grouphead/dispersion screen for a while. I'm curious if anyone else has a view?

~Nick

 
There's a big difference between drinking coffee to wake up and waking up to drink coffee.
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Ccup
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Ccup
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
Posts: 166
Location: australia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: rancilio silvia
Grinder: rancilio rocky
Drip: na
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Jan 24, 2012, 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

Gday I have the exact same machine, I also have a rocky grinder :)

I rarely back flush, I just forget most of the time! Its good to tho as it does remove stale grind out of the head. I religiously clean the group head tho! Unscrew the shower screen and take out the inside parts.

So there is a washer, a thick brass plate, shower screen and screw.

Grinds get in that shower screen bad. Ilet it soak in hot water and esspreso cleaning chemical. Also use a good brush to clean that out too.

I clean after I burn through a kilo of coffee, 500 grams is not to bad. Its good to do it once a month.

 
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pilot25
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 116
Location: MD

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Tue Jan 24, 2012, 10:50pm
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

Thanks, I need to unscrew it and clean in there.  Sadly, I clean the machine right after use.  I mean immediately while I drink the espresso.  Sadly?  Because sometimes the espresso gets cold and stale while I clean.  I work so hard to get the proper extraction but nary enjoy it.

I'm trying to come up with a system so this doesn't happen.  The Silvia was a huge purchase for me so keeping it in top notch shape is very important.

My system is as follows:

  1.  Make double espresso and curse my crappy grinder then warm the milk

  2.  Immediately clean the wand with a wet rag and flush the wand

  3.  Fail at making latte art

--sip latte

  1.  Rinse pitcher and thermometer set in the sink

  2.  Dump spent espresso and wash portafilter in the sink

--take another sip

  1.  Reattach portafilter and flush clean water through it.  Do the portafilter wiggle then clean in the sink again.  Set it in the sink.

  2.  Scrub the group head and screen with a brush.  Flush more water through the screen

--at this point I have forgotten the whole purpose of making espresso and continue cleaning

  1.  Attach blind basket and blackflush with clean water.

  2.  Clean portafilter in sink again and dry with rag

  3.  Dump drip tray.  Rinse, clean, and dry

  4. Clean and dry shot glasses, pitcher, baskets, counter

  5.  Replace drip tray and wipe outside of the machine with steel wipes

  6.  Drink cold drink and curse myself for letting my espresso spoil and go cold

  7.  Rinse, clean, and dry the cup

  8.  Dump excess water from tank.  Dry tank and replace back in the machine.

  9.  Remove top burr from grinder and brush it clean.  Set it aside

  10.  Brush inside the grinder and dump excess grinds

  11.  Replace top burr

--Ready to go for the next attempt tomorrow
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,046
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
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Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 12:19am
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

I usually do an empty backflush at the end of the day, and buckflush with detergent at least once a week (or after about 35 shots).

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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diggi
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diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
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Location: Halifax, NS
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Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 3:38am
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

pilot25 Said:

 I work so hard to get the proper extraction but nary enjoy it.

Posted January 24, 2012 link

Wow...that is quite a process.  I was going to say initially "if you backflush and doesn't bother you, keep on doing it".  But after your last post, I think my advice is now the complete opposite.  

I don't think backflushing does anything to improve the longevity of your machine, probably quite the opposite (hard on seals/gaskets/etc). It does remove built up oils....I only do it once every week or two (with cafezia) and soak screen and deep clean once a month or so.
I'd recommend stopping your current cleaning routine and get a little more practical.  

Don't clean your grinder so often.  I'm sure that's hard on the holder mechanism (i know for my burr set it is a bunch of turns from narrow pitch threads....gotta grind away at those and wear them down each time you remove the upper burr).  

You said it right in you post.  This whole process is about enjoying espresso...not just to satisfy our OCD tendencies.  So try to do a little more of the first and a little less of the second :)
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,398
Location: Berkeley, CA
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Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 8:21am
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

diggi Said:

You said it right in you post.  This whole process is about enjoying espresso...not just to satisfy our OCD tendencies.  So try to do a little more of the first and a little less of the second :)

Posted January 25, 2012 link

+1

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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haleymcadams1
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haleymcadams1
Joined: 22 Dec 2011
Posts: 7
Location: Austin
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

pilot25 Said:

I have a Rancilio Silvia that I use to make two double espresso's in the morning 4 times a week.  As part of my clean up routine I do a quick clear water back flush.  Good idea, bad idea, or doesn't matter?

Posted January 24, 2012 link

Hi there,

I found a couple of Youtube videos that uses backflushing in their Rancilio Silvia. www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGk7FfLpEHc and www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzErDDww-fA... Hope it helps.
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pilot25
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jan 2012
Posts: 116
Location: MD

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 3:58pm
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

Thanks everyone.  Yes, I have a little OCD with my machine.  I cut back on the cleaning today and threw almost everything in the sink drank with pleasure then cleaned up.  I did clean the wand and wiggled the portafilter and scrubed the grouphead right away, however.  Only took a minute.

So what's the consensus on backflushing?  Only a good idea once a week?  After Diggi's post, I've decided to do it once a week with cafiza instead of a clear water flush each day.  I have read that you should do a clear flush every day and the what Diggi says, that it can hurt the machine.


Side note: Haley, I was just in Austin and went to Lance's coffee shop "Juan Pelota's."  It wasn't bad but I'm a big Lance fan due to his foundation helping out a friend of mine who had lung cancer.  I recommend giving it a try.  Thanks for the videos. I'm also a fan of Seattlecoffeegear and their youTube videos.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,128
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Jan 25, 2012, 7:35pm
Subject: Re: Back flushing after every use?
 

I read your whole process too, and all I can say is...WOW!  I think you hit the nail on the head when you said you are OCD about your machine.  Don't get me wrong, a little OCD is good.  It'll keep you from neglecting your machine.  However, I am very glad to see that you threw everything in the sink and enjoyed your coffee.

I had a Silvia for about 8 years (now it's sitting in my bedroom waiting for a new loving home).  Yeah BF about once a week w Cafitza is good.  You don't need to do a daily with H2O.  I typically ran water through the screen after every shot (portafilter not necessary for this), scrubbed the screen with a group brush, and then ran water again.   I also wiped it down with a kitchen rag (barista towel).  Once a month, run Cafitza through the entire machine to descale it.  I also used carbon filtered water as my source (fridge dispenser) and ran it through an "in reservoir" ion exchange resin (about $15-20 from places like CCS or WHL - chris' coffee service or whole latte love).  I rinsed my baskets and PF handle in hot water after each session (but AFTER enjoying my drink) and soaked them in Cafitza with the monthly descaling.  My machine has always worked perfectly.

I'm not sure why you're dumping the tank after every session.  Have you stopped that part as well? I hope so.  It seems like extreme overkill to me.  As long as you're using your machine daily, you don't need to dump the water unless you want to wash out the reservoir.

If you decide to clean your steam wand after you enjoy your drink, you can use a solution designed for it, or better, do what I always did.  Stick a moist kitchen rag in a 2 cup Pyrex pitcher, plunge your dirty steam wand into it and open the valve.  When the rag is good and hot, CAREFULLY lift it out of the pitcher and wrap it around the wand to wipe it clean.  Be sure to leave a dry area sticking out of the pitcher when you're steaming it, so you have something to insulate your hand from the hot part.  This is the analog of steam cleaning your engine parts, and it works very well!  However, I must admit it's still easier to simply clean the wand before the milk dries onto it, and cloth towels are far superior to paper towels for this purpose (don't ask).

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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