Category Archives: Tips – Tech

Ask the Experts: Do I Need to Backflush if I Descale?

If you have an espresso machine with a three-way brew pressure release valve, you have an additional maintenance regimen on your hand: The backflush. We are sometimes asked if backflushing is necessary if descaling is performed regularly, and so we posed your question to Gail. In this video, she’ll describe the different procedures and talk about which espresso machine systems they target.

Under Pressure

Espresso machines often list 15 – 17 BAR pumps in their technical specifications, but the general rule of thumb for most espresso extraction is for 9 BARs of pressure. In this video, Gail talks to us about this pressure differential, what you’re looking for and talks a bit about the new world of pressure profiling in commercial/professional espresso.

The Grind: September 2009

The September issue of Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter has hit the bricks! In this month’s issue, we have a delicious Buttercream Cappuccino recipe, a directory of our most recent videos, some tips on using oily beans in your superautomatic and a few new product features. Plus, a coupon code for 10% off $99 or more during the month of September. Check it out!

Ask the Experts: Why Won’t my Superautomatic Make Espresso?

We often get calls from customers who have pushed the button for their espresso in the morning, but nothing comes out. They can hear the grinder working, they can hear it clicking and acting like it’s going to make espresso, but no go. Watch Gail as she gives some tips how to troubleshoot this issue before you call someone to repair your machine.

How to Clean the Burrs in a Baratza Grinder

Keeping the burrs of your grinder clean will extend the grinder’s life and keep it performing exceptionally well for years to come. In this video, Gail shows us how to disassemble and clean the burrs in a Baratza grinder, then shows us how to put it back together again.

A little bit leery of taking apart your grinder? You can also use the awesome burr cleaning product Grindz instead — it’s excellent and works well.

The Grind – July 2009

Seattle Coffee Gear’s monthly newsletter, The Grind, hit the ‘press’ today! July’s edition features a Tropical Mango Tea recipe, a directory of our latest YouTube offerings, info on a few featured products — such as the Espresso Gear tools and the new Nespresso machines — and a Grind Special of 10% off Espresso Gear!

Want to learn more? Check it out or sign up here.

Ask the Experts: How Can I Make My Baratza Grind Finer?

Occasionally, a customer will call us because their Baratza grinder isn’t grinding finely enough for them to pull a great shot with their espresso machine. For the Encore or Virtuoso, there is a minor adjustment that can be made inside the machine which will reset the grinder to the finest possible setting.

To assist folks in recalibrating their Baratza grinder, we filmed Gail going through the process outlined on Baratza’s website.

However, please keep in mind that the Baratza Maestro and Maestro Plus don’t grind fine enough for most espresso machines (unless you’re using a pressurized portafilter), so no matter how much you adjust it, you’re not going to be able to effectively use these grinders with your Rancilio Silvia or Rocket Cellini. These grinders are great options for folks that are interested in making superb french press or drip coffee, however, because while they don’t go fine enough for espresso, they are incredibly consistent — the particle size of your grounds will be uniform and result in improved flavor extraction.

Ask The Experts: How Much Electricity Does My Espresso Machine Use?

Sure, our espresso machines give us energy, but how much are they taking from the planet? We ran a test on a few of our favorites to show examples of the electricity draw and cost involved with running these machines each year. Our cost estimates are based on a national US average of $.11/kWh — you can find more accurate data for your specific area here.

Machine Name & Type kWh Used Estimated Annual Cost

Jura Ena 3 & 4





Jura Impressa Z7

Superautomatic w/One-Touch




Rancilio Silvia V3

Semi-Automatic w/Single Boiler




Rocket Espresso Cellini Premium Plus

Semi-Automatic w/Heat Exchange




Incidentally, we measured how much kWh it took to make a one-touch cappuccino on the Jura Z7 and found that it was .02kWh — at $.11/kWh, that means you’d need to make about 5 cappuccinos to rack up 1 cent in energy costs!

Tech Tip: Superautomatics and Oily Beans

We have written before about the no love lost between superautomatic espresso machines and oily, dark roasted coffee beans, but when we got a machine in the repair center last week that was caked to the gills with coffee cement, we just had to film it and show you what we’re talking about.

Watch Gail take apart the grinder of a Saeco Vienna superautomatic espresso machine and show what happens over time to the internal grinders on these machines if someone is using super-dark and oily beans. We definitely recommend sticking with a lighter, drier roast for the long term health of your machine — and now you’ll see why!