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Maintenance Laziness
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JDHarding
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 12:37pm
Subject: Maintenance Laziness
 

I'm probably not the only one here that's guilty of doing it, but I just can't keep up with doing backflushing every week.

Can it be once a month instead? ;P

I just now backflushed my machine after not doing it for probably 3 months. Yeah I know, I'm bad. But for some reason I just find it a pain in the butt to backflush the machine.

I also don't recall the last time I descaled my machine either. I think I did it two or three months ago, but I can't recall. I only use filtered water, so I can get away with not descaling for 6 months at a time.

I also don't wait 30 minutes to an hour for my machine to heat up. I usually do 10 to 20 minutes to heat up. I'm too lazy to wait. LOL

And if I pull a bad shot, I usually don't pull a second one. Even if it takes the shot a minute to pull, I don't care. Once I get milk into it it usually doesn't matter anymore. :D

And I'm so lazy I don't even spend time heating the milk. I pour it in straight from the fridge, no heat, no frothing. I'm so lazy. ;D

Anyone else experience this laziness?

 
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

yeah, for sure, I have had my "moments" of laziness.  I changed the gasket on my Silvia v1 one time in like, 8 years (it wasn't fun).  I descaled it about 2 or three times a year.  I rationalized the laziness on descaling by saying it was less prne since I used filtered and then softened water religiously.  I backflushed it about as often as I descaled it.  I rationalized that by flushing the group until "clean" immediately after every use.  My espresso was still awesome, and every visitor I ever had, even all those Venezuelans that came to the house, craved my espresso drinks throughout their visit.

I'm a bit more dilignt with my Duetto.  I do water backflusehes about once a week or so, and go until "clean".  I've had it since mid-December and have only used cafitza in the backflushes a couple/few times.

 
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JDHarding
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JDHarding
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

It's been a year since I bought my Ascaso, and I haven't replaced the gasket on it since. But it's not showing any signs of wear yet, so it can probably go another year without replacement. The portafilter doesn't even lock in the T position yet unless I really yank on it hard.

I just realized all this laziness after working so much on my new machine, the Ellimatic. I replaced the gaskets, cleaned everything up, and have been backflushing it for days now getting every last little bit of coffee gunk out of the threeway, and realized while doing this that.. Hey.. I haven't done any of this to my daily machine in months.

 
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AndyPanda
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

I have a hard time understanding what's so difficult that you'd rather taste rancid coffee oils than take a few seconds to backflush.

There are probably many interpretations of "backflush" though.  

I keep a second portafilter around with the blind basket in it all the time.  If I pull a shot or two in the morning, it takes about 5 seconds to lock in the second PF with blind basket and backflush (no detergent - just hot water to rinse out the group and shower screen really well) I dump the blind basket a couple of times and the third flush there aren't any grinds showing up in the blind basket.

Now I rarely backflush with detergent - I probably only do that every month or so - I'm more likely to take screen and dispersion plate off and manually scrub with a toothbrush and detergent and get everything really clean.

If you are going three months without backflushing -- I would think that if you just filled an empty cup with plain water from your group it would taste like old coffee oil and probably be a little brown.  At least I can certainly taste coffee residue in a plain water flush into a clean cup if I don't clean the group regularly.
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 1:26pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

you are correct.  it's not difficult at all.  it's a matter of laziness...

I do water backflushes, as I said above, about once a week.  it's probably more like twice a week.  The reason I'm lazy about it, isn't the act of backflushing.  it's dumping and cleaning the drip tray (try carrying a full drip tray 20 feet without spilling).  Until I get it plumbed in, it'll be a deterrent for me.  Of course, when my father-in-law returns the drip tray will become a non-issue, as he dumps and cleans it almost everyday (since he doesn't have to go to work).  Then I'll probably return to daily water backflushes and weekly detergent.  I just have to hold out a couple/few more weeks.  Oh, he also dumps and cleans out my knockbox for me (yay!).

 
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Joel_B
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 1:37pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

Funny, I bet if you backflushed everyday you wouldn't think of it as bothersome because it's just part of a routine.  But weekly makes it seem more "chore" like.

I think we've all forgotten from time to time, but it's best to keep up on maintenance regardless of what it is (car, espresso machine, etc)

Just for perspective I clean water backflush after every espresso session whether it's one shot or ten.  I do a detergent backflush weekly (ok sometimes it's every other week ;-) ) along with removing screen and dispersion block.  Soaking screen, block, PF, and baskets at this interval too.  It's good practice, but I understand the "forgetting" from time to time too.
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JDHarding
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JDHarding
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Location: WA, USA
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Espresso: Ascaso Steel Pro, CBTL...
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Roaster: Behmor, Fresh Roast
Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

When I say backflush, I mean backflush with detergent, not just a water backflush. Though I don't do water backflushes either, heh. ;P

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2012, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

JDHarding Said:

I'm probably not the only one here that's guilty of doing it, but I just can't keep up with doing backflushing every week.  Can it be once a month instead? ;P I just now backflushed my machine after not doing it for probably 3 months. Yeah I know, I'm bad. But for some reason I just find it a pain in the butt to backflush the machine.

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Only if you want to backflush a bunch of brown water over and over again, every time you do it . . .

JDHarding Said:

When I say backflush, I mean backflush with detergent, not just a water backflush. Though I don't do water backflushes either, heh. ;P

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Yeah, so what difference does it make what sort of back flush you mean???

JDHarding Said:

I also don't recall the last time I descaled my machine either. I think I did it two or three months ago, but I can't recall. I only use filtered water, so I can get away with not descaling for 6 months at a time.

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Maybe . . .

JDHarding Said:

I also don't wait 30 minutes to an hour for my machine to heat up. I usually do 10 to 20 minutes to heat up. I'm too lazy to wait. LOL

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Bad espresso will always be the result.  buy a time for $20 and have the machine switch on one hour before you wake up.

JDHarding Said:

And if I pull a bad shot, I usually don't pull a second one. Even if it takes the shot a minute to pull, I don't care. Once I get milk into it it usually doesn't matter anymore. :D

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Well, never mind.  Disregard the advice about the timer.  Clearly you don't need one.

JDHarding Said:

And I'm so lazy I don't even spend time heating the milk. I pour it in straight from the fridge, no heat, no frothing. I'm so lazy. ;D

Posted April 5, 2012 link

Perhaps you've been using decaf by mistake?

JDHarding Said:

Anyone else experience this laziness?

Posted April 5, 2012 link

No.

 
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Frost
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Frost
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Posted Fri Apr 6, 2012, 9:11am
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

If you are truly lazy, there are much easier ways to make coffee than squeezing it out of a dirty espresso machine.
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Stuart
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Posted Fri Apr 6, 2012, 9:47am
Subject: Re: Maintenance Laziness
 

I read a post on here by someone* who noted that he does a backflush (with detergent?) after every coffeemaking session. That is, not once a month, or once a day, but after every series of shots.

And while I thought that seemed excessive, it got me thinking.

If you buy into the concept of the "rule of 15s," which suggests that ground coffee is stale 15 minutes after grinding; how quickly do coffee oils on one's drip screen go stale at ~190F? I think the 3x-a-day detergent backflush might be the right thing to do for the coffee. The reason for doing it every day is so the oils don't go rancid overnight; but my machine goes 5-6 hours between shots from morning to evening. Is it reasonable to think that the oils don't "turn" in that time? Especially if one leaves the machine on and hot?

I'm not going to start detergent-backflushing 3x a day. But  I'm going to ask myself "why" every time I skip it in the evening.


*CG trivia time: name the forum participant!
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