Home coffee machines are very cool. Home espresso machines are even better as they’re the closest you can get to a coffee shop brew, in my opinion. Due to heat, water and coffee mixing up on a regular basis, they need ownership with care for long life.
Top tips for longer coffee machine life:
- Use filtered water, especially if you live in a hard water area
- Clean the tank regularly
- Keep all rubber seals, especially those around the main coffee making area, clean with a damp cloth
Someone got in touch with a machine that was a few years old, but had once made a lovely cup of coffee. The owner had used it daily but recently it had begun to leak and not perform at its best. The machine had also been to a UK repair specialist, but sadly, they couldn’t solve the problems. I always test appliances when they arrive to confirm the fault and as expected, water came out of places it wasn’t supposed to.
I’ve worked on a few of these machines, so I know the drill. Remove the lid, make a note of the wiring connectors, the pipes and remove the bolts holding the main boiler in place. I also ordered a service kit (new seals) for a reasonable £7.99.
The main boiler separates into two halves which reveals the main boiler chamber and exit for hot water.
This boiler was in poor condition and years of corrosion and scale had built up and was probably blocking the main group head, the bit where you attach the group handle/ filter bit to make coffee.
Time for more dismantling. The group head is held in position with a couple of screws, but years of corrosion had taken their toll and this head was going nowhere. Great care was needed as the soft metal is easily damaged.
Thinking about this a bit more, I decided to cut a screw thread into one of the water holes in the head and use a bolt to lever the group head apart. It worked. Once off the head revealed loads of debris and scale.
The next job was to give all parts a thorough clean, re-faced with wet and dry paper as needed and use new seals as part of the reassembly.
Once back together, the boiler was reinstalled and reconnected. After a few blasts of fresh water through the machine, it was ready to make its first proper brew.
Cost of replacement: £100-300. Cost of repair: £7.99, my time, one tin of elbow grease, one cup of coffee and a ginger nut.