Backflushing purocaff without replacing shower screen = Death?

So this has been bugging me for a while. Once upon a time I even almost lost my job over making this purportedly fatal mistake. After asking the opinions of multiple other baristas, most agree that its a major faux pas but can't seem to explain why. So will doing this flip the death switch for a machine? If so, why?

Views: 257

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

This discussion occurred a few months ago with lots of input... a quick search should help you find it (I'm feeling lazy or I would have :).

The bottom line is that if everything is clean it isn't going to kill your machine. HOWEVER you do have the possibility of getting espresso grounds and/or undissolved cleaner up in the solenoid valve which would be a problem. Especially if you happen to step away from the machine and another barista decides to pull a shot on that group...

Another thing is that if you purocaff with the screen in place you'll be cleaning everything at once... so it makes things a little quicker.

Hope that helps...

b
Brady.... Maybe I'm missing something here..... and I'm trusting your experience, but confused with your comment that a chemical-flush can be done with the screens in-place? When I remove the screens, (La Spaciale S1 - 2 screens and one brass disbursement piece) there are two metalurgically different surfaces that need to be cleaned. I've got the plated surface of the thin screens, which visably clean up when the cleaner deoxidizes. (but that's not a total removal of solids that are still clinging to the metal). But then I've got the brass. It has the dark tar substance that can only be removed with abrasive action. I use a 3M scotchbrite. Given that, are you talking about an occassional cleaning with the screen elements in place, or what?

Brady said:
This discussion occurred a few months ago with lots of input... a quick search should help you find it (I'm feeling lazy or I would have :).

The bottom line is that if everything is clean it isn't going to kill your machine. HOWEVER you do have the possibility of getting espresso grounds and/or undissolved cleaner up in the solenoid valve which would be a problem. Especially if you happen to step away from the machine and another barista decides to pull a shot on that group...

Another thing is that if you purocaff with the screen in place you'll be cleaning everything at once... so it makes things a little quicker.

Hope that helps...

b
I agree with Brady on this one. The screen acts as a filter for large particles that could cause problems if they go up in the group. Solenoid, banjo tube etc can get gunked up with cleaner and i've heard from techs about how the solenoid can stick when the cleaner infused water steams off as the machine sets overnight. Kind of like scale. A lot of this also depends on the quality of cleaner used I think as higher quality cleaners seem to dissolve more thoroughly.
Simply put, I backflush with the screen in place to keep particles out.

Al, What I do is this:
First I use a group head brush to get the coffee grinds out of the group.
Then I remove the screens and clean them by hand to get the large particles off.
Then I clean the group with a scotchbrite to get the oils/particles off that.
Then I clean the group again with a clean towel just to get all the remaining oils off.
Then I replace the screen and backflush.
Al Sterling said:
Brady.... Maybe I'm missing something here..... and I'm trusting your experience, but confused with your comment that a chemical-flush can be done with the screens in-place? When I remove the screens, (La Spaciale S1 - 2 screens and one brass disbursement piece) there are two metalurgically different surfaces that need to be cleaned. I've got the plated surface of the thin screens, which visably clean up when the cleaner deoxidizes. (but that's not a total removal of solids that are still clinging to the metal). But then I've got the brass. It has the dark tar substance that can only be removed with abrasive action. I use a 3M scotchbrite. Given that, are you talking about an occassional cleaning with the screen elements in place, or what?

Brady said:
This discussion occurred a few months ago with lots of input... a quick search should help you find it (I'm feeling lazy or I would have :).

The bottom line is that if everything is clean it isn't going to kill your machine. HOWEVER you do have the possibility of getting espresso grounds and/or undissolved cleaner up in the solenoid valve which would be a problem. Especially if you happen to step away from the machine and another barista decides to pull a shot on that group...

Another thing is that if you purocaff with the screen in place you'll be cleaning everything at once... so it makes things a little quicker.

Hope that helps...

b

Oh yeah... thanks for catching that omission Al. That's what I get for responding in a hurry?

That won't take the place of dropping the screens and cleaning them and the stuff that's up there separately, but at least it loosens things a bit to make cleaning easier. I do find that a chemical backflush does a great job of cleaning the back of the screens on our Astoria and the brass plate, leaving only a bit of cleaning around the edges once they've dropped.

Again, thanks for catching that Al. Hope that clears things up.
Brandon..... Up until now, I never really thought about the cleaner granuals remaining as a "solid" after it meets the super-heated brew water. My assumption was that it immediately dissolved into solution. Of course, it got me to thinking, so to prove that to myself, I just went back to the espresso bar and put a small amount of Cafiza by Urnex, my cleaner of choice, into a glass cup. I hit the brew boiler button, and as the water passed through the PF and into the glass cup, I could see it all going into solution. Of course, I can only speak to the Urnex brand cleaner. Being "Mr. Nit-Picky", I'm surprised I didn't come up with the "screen-in-place" protocal myself? (smile) But now that you got me out'a my office to test it, I'm still OK doing the backflush and rinse with the screens out. (God forbid the frickin' machine sucks up a clump of chemical and clogs up the solenoid..... I'll never forgive myself!!!) (bigger smile)

BTW..... Gabriel, this really didn't address putting the machine back into service without the screens. Without a repair background, I'd be thinking you definitely would have coffee grounds roaming backwards and into the valving. I'd say that, like pulling the handle on a slot machine (which I may do this weekend at Coffee Fest!) eventually, the odds are something cruddy will clog up the inards and there'll be heck to pay.
Well lets assume the worst here and imagine a super saturated solution beyond the solenoid left to sit until it evaporates leaving behind it's deposit. The possibility exists that the sediment could lock the solenoid closed, in which case a rinse wouldn't be able to reach it. I think the key is to rinse thoroughly after backflush and not to use to much(or poor quality) cleaner in the first place. Like I said, it's just what i've heard, and hasn't happened to me. All the same, I think it makes sense to keep everything in place for backflush and maintain another(albeit minor) degree of protection for the internals.

Al: Next time you backflush, take a look at whats in the blind after the first cycle. I often find particles using Joe Glo and I usually stir them into solution with the screwdriver.

january vawter said:
Wouldn't this be a moot point with adequate rinsing?
awesome guys, thanks for the prompt responses!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2019   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service