HomeRoast Digest


Topic: New Espresso Machine and Hot Water On Demand... (5 msgs / 162 lines)
1) From: Michael Dhabolt
Claus,
Good thinking!  The stuff usually tastes absolutely horrible.
One, often overlooked, advantage to the hot water (tea water) tap on
most HX machines is that it gives you the ability to easily flush the
brine from the boiler.  Some machines, CMA machines such as Asoria,
Reo etc., have a separate HX for the hot water so it is freshly pumped
from the water mains.  But most draw the hot water from the bottom of
the main boiler.  In a lot of high use commercial applications, the
Barista cleans the PF using the hot water tap after every shot.  This
results in a fairly regular flushing of the boiler.
When water is boiled to produce steam (steam wand) the steam is pretty
much pure water.  The water that is left in the boiler now includes an
increased level of impurities in direct proportion to the amount of
water that has been boiled off.  This is called brine.  The more water
that is boiled off as steam the higher the concentration of impurities
in the brine.  This will result in an increased rate of scale build up
and other detrimental effects.  Regular flushing of the boiler with
good clean water will slow this process and increase the life of the
boiler, heater, steam valves and associated bits and pieces.
Mike (just plain)
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2) From: Ron Feroni
<Snip>
 al effects. Regular flushing of the boiler with> good clean water will slow this process and increase the life of the> boiler, heater, steam valves and associated bits and pieces.
 
    This leads me to a question.  Since I don't use the hot water tap at all should I be sure to flush the boiler every so often?  I was under the impression that it would be better to NOT flush the boiler.  Simply because every time the boiler is flushed you add new water which means new minerals/impurities are also added.  By NOT flushing the water it adds no new impurities/minerals to build up.  Is this way of thinking flawed??
 
I understand using the steam wand a lot(which I don't yet cuz I can't froth milk worth giving away!)would add a bit of water here and there but nothing like using the hot water tap.
 
So, if not really using steam wand too much and not using hot water tap at all how often should one flush the boiler?
 
Better yet, would I be better off using the hot water tap to rinse PF's and stuff to keep fresh water in the boiler?
 
Will constant fresh water in the boiler truly be better for prohibiting scale/brine build up?
 
Hmmm....all these questions are sort of the same, eh?
 
ron
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3) From: Barry Luterman
Using the steam wand decreases the amount of water in the boiler. Thus the
level of water drops from the point where the top of the water and the
boiler interface. This point is a primary point for build up. Plus this
point is very difficult to get at with a descaler (read Citric Acid). By
flushing often (at least once a week) as the new water comes in it will wash
down any crud that built up at the water boiler interface line.
On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 8:40 AM, Ron Feroni  wrote:
<Snip>
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4) From: Michael Dhabolt
Ron,
Yes, you are approaching the same question from several different angles.
The answers will ultimately be yours.  Understanding what is going on
in there will inform that decision.
The amount of water/steam that works its way thru the boiler is the
variable that results in brine concentration / scale buildup.  If
water usage thru the steam side were absolutely static (no steam / hot
water use), theoretically no flushing would be required because
whatever impurities were in the original water would plate out and no
new water (with new impurities) being injected into the system would
stop buildup entirely.  Personally, I doubt that I would buy into
that, but I would flush considerably less.
I have a single group commercial machine with a separate HX for the
hot water tap. I have plumbed the boiler drain valve into a location
that I can get at without body work removal and/or machine movement.
My water supply is from a well with a fairly high mineral content
(tastes great). I use an RO system to supply water to the espresso
machine, refrigerator and a sink water tap.  RO systems for this kind
of use is another somewhat controversial subject (I digress). I make
an average of five or so capps a day, so it's not high steam use but
possibly a bit more than the average home machine.
I flush by turning the machine off, and utilizing the remaining steam
pressure to blow the water out of the drain thru the repositioned
valve. The power switch on my machine is a two position switch, the
first position powers everything except the boiler heaters so I can
re-fill the boiler prior to turning the heaters on.  I drain and
refill the boiler on my machine about once every six weeks.  This is
probably considerably more frequently than necessary but has become
cast in concrete as part of my household preventative maintenance
schedule.
On many pro-sumer and home machines everything turns on at once -
letting the pump run for ten or fifteen seconds, turning the switch
off for a couple of minutes to let the heaters cool and then re-power
the machine to finish re-filling may be a good idea if your particular
machine takes a long time to fill the empty boiler.  This is in the
interest of not letting a dry heater overheat and self destruct.  Most
machines fill fast enough to not make this a requirement but is
something that should be considered.
Barry,
If you lift the autofill probe a half inch or so while accomplishing
your citric acid flush, then push it back down to its original
position afterward, you'll deal with that surface level mineral build
up in a pretty competent fashion.
For others seriously interested in this subject - there are a bunch of
really interesting and enlightening conversations about it in the
forums on Home-Barista.com .  A good understanding of this subject
pre-supposes that you are familiar with the subject matter dealt with
in the often recommended 'Jims Schulmans Insanely Long Water FAQ'.
It can be found athttp://www.big-rick.com/coffee/waterfaq.htmlFor those of you not interested in this subject, I humbly apologize
for the lengthy dissertation.  Can't seem to get enough of the current
blend of Yellow Bourbon, Misty Valley and Blue Batak ... last time I
checked I was shuffling along about a half inch off the floor.
Mike (just plain)
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5) From: Barry Luterman
Thanks I never thought of that one. What i do once a week since it is a
double boiler is shut off the power and draw a cup of water into a bowl with
Cafiza in it. I use this hot water and Cafiza mixture to soak my PF in. I
then turn the machine back on and the pump refills my boiler. I think I will
continue this method but when I do my yearly descaling I will add the Auto
fill sensor moving technique. Can't be safe enough taking care of my
Machine. Don't know what I would do without one.
On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 9:59 AM, Michael Dhabolt 
wrote:
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