Why isn’t water coming through my espresso machine?
The machine is probably vapor-locked. This often happens if an attempt to prime the machine was made after the machine has been heated. It’s possible that super-heated air in the boiler is creating pressure on the pump, hence the lock. Solving this issue could take up to six minutes.
- Let the machine completely cool.
- Fill the water tank reservoir with cool, fresh and filtered water. Make sure the brew head screen is clean, waffle side up, smooth side down, and that the water hose is not crimped.
- Put cups under the brew head and the steam wand. Turn on the power switch and immediately open the steam wand knob. Let it run for 2 minutes.
- At the 2-minute mark, turn on the brew button and let it run for an additional 2 minutes.
- At the 4-minute mark, turn the brew button off and keep the steam wand open for another 2 minutes. Then turn off the machine.
- Normally, after 2-4 minutes, water will begin flowing through the machine. After one cup of water has flown through the brew head and the steam wand, the vapor lock will be fixed. If this doesn’t happen, and no water is flowing after 6 minutes, turn off the machine and wait until the brew head is cool to the touch. Then repeat the process.
Why should I follow the Prime-Steam-Prime-Brew steps with my espresso machine?
Priming helps to clear the steam wand and brew head of any leftover steam or water and fills the machine’s system with fresh water from the tank. In addition, it ensures that your machine’s boiler reaches the proper temperatures for steaming and brewing. The Prime-Steam-Prime-Brew process can help prevent your machine from becoming vapor-locked by making sure that no air is trapped in the internal hoses and it will extend the life of your machine.
How do I follow the Prime-Steam-Prime-Brew process with my espresso machine?
Make sure that the portafilter is not connected to the machine during priming and steaming. Using the following list of steps, you should prime your machine each time it is turned on for optimum performance.
- Press the power button to turn the machine on. Do not wait for the ready light to illuminate.
- Turn the steam knob open – do not wait for the ready light to illuminate – and dispense four ounces of water from the steam wand into a cup. Close the steam knob.
- Press the brew button and dispense four ounces of water from the brew head into a cup. Press the brew button again to turn water off.
- Once the ready light is illuminated, press the steam button. This will cause the ready light to turn off.
- When the ready light comes on again, turn the steam knob open to release any remaining water from the wand into a cup. Close the steam knob.
- Fill a chilled pitcher with milk. Submerge the tip of the steam wand in the milk. Turn the steam knob open to steam the milk. Close the steam knob to stop steaming. (Note: The ready light may turn off during steaming. This is normal.)
- Wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth immediately after steaming to remove milk residue.
- Press the steam button to turn the steam function off.
- Turn the steam knob open to release any remaining steam from the wand into a cup. The steam will turn into a stream of water. Dispense four ounces of water from the steam wand into a cup. Close the steam wand.
- Press the brew button and dispense four ounces of water from the brew head into a cup. Press the brew button again to turn the water off.
- While waiting for the ready light to illuminate again, fill the portafilter basket with coffee. Do not tamp your coffee. Attach the portafilter to the machine, pull it tightly to the right so that the handle is just past center, then allow it to spring back slightly to the left.
- Place shot glasses under the pour spouts of the portafilter.
- When the ready light is illuminated, press the brew button to brew and dispense espresso shots. When you’ve finished brewing shots, press the brew button again to stop the flow of coffee.
Preventive Maintenance for Home Espresso Machines
1. After brewing espresso and steaming milk, immerse steam wand into a cup of clear water and open the steam valve. Steam the water for fifteen seconds, then close the steam valve and remove the cup of water. Wipe the end of the steam wand with a damp cloth or sponge.
2. Remove the coffee brew basket assembly. Switch the machine to the espresso brewing mode. Turn on the pump switch so that the water runs through the showerhead and all of the steam is released. Switch off the pump. Your machine is now set for brewing espresso again.
3. The showerhead screen can be removed and cleaned weekly. This prevents a build-up of fine coffee grounds that may create a burnt tasting espresso. Remove the screw in the center of the screen with a stubby screwdriver. Clean the screen with a wire brush or scrub pad, rinse and replace.
4. Important! Do not leave machine turned on unused for more than one half hour at a time. Overheating causes damage to the electrical parts which will result in more repairs down the road.
***If you have any further questions or concerns or would like more maintenance tips, please email us!