A thermoblock or thermocoil takes water from the reservoir in an espresso machine and heats it on the fly, versus heating up a full boiler of water. This technology is commonly seen on home espresso machines, where it manages either the brew function, steam function or both. The benefit of a thermoblock is that it doesn’t take as long for your machine to heat up for either brew or steam; however, the drawback can be that your temperature for brew or steam is not quite as consistent as you might like.
Gail introduces us to a few different varieties of thermoblocks/thermocoils and shows how they compare to a standard boiler (specifically, the internals of the Breville Dual Boiler).
Special thanks to Breville for providing the sample internals for this video!
We’ll admit that we have a little bit of a soft spot for Crossland Coffee’s CC1. While it may not be the sexiest machine on the block, it’s hard to beat all the excellent features for the price!
Setting it up for the first time does involve a bit of care and feeding to ensure the boiler is filled properly and will then recover/heat consistently afterward. So we asked Gail to show us how to set this little baby up right out of the box — and, thankfully, she agreed.
Watch the setup process as well as tips Gail has around troubleshooting the ‘HH’ error that appears if your boiler is not filled properly and, therefore, overheats.
Since this is one of the most common questions we get around superautomatic espresso machine maintenance, we asked Gail to break it down for us. Find out if these lovely wheat-based pellets can be used to clean the grinder in your superauto.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade the stock plastic panarello on your Saeco Via Venezia or Aroma with the stainless steel version or you just need to replace a well-loved panarello on your Sirena, the most important thing to keep in mind is: Do not lose those compression fittings! These aren’t sold separately, so if you lose one, you’ve gotta pick up a whole new assembly.
Watch Gail as she walks us through how to install a panarello on the Via Venezia.
While we’ve carried the GS/3 for awhile now, we’ve decided to expand our La Marzocco selection to include their commercial-class equipment. Our first round of testing and reviews covers one of their most popular machines, the Linea, which comes with choice of 1 – 4 group heads and is available in manual paddle, semi-automatic and automatic configurations.
Gail gives us a brief overview of the machine’s internals, walks us through its features and makes us a latte on what is fondly referred to as A Northwest Workhorse.
Filtering your water is essential if you plan on plumbing in your espresso machine to a direct water line in your location. Without this, you run the risk of scale build-up that can only be removed by a professional taking apart the machine and physically removing the scale. How quickly this occurs will depend on your location — we did have a cafe attempt to go without filtration for just a couple of months and their equipment completely seized up as a result. Clearly, they were working with very hard water, but it’s not a risk we recommend you take, at all.
For commercial locations, there are tons of filtration options that will address a wide variety of water source needs. If you’re looking at that kind of a setup, then you’ll need to install something a bit more sophisticated and robust that will be able to address the multiple appliances that will require water (such as drip coffee makers, ice machines, water fountains and your espresso machine) in a way that’s easy to manage. But for just straight espresso machine filtration, the Mavea Purity C filters are simple, easy to install and do an excellent job of filtering out what you don’t want in your espresso machine’s boiler.
Watch Gail as she walks us through an overview of how she installed a Mavea filter on our La Marzocco Linea.
When is it time to say when? We’re often asked where the portafilter should be in respect to the machine — at a 90 degree angle? 45 degree? A little over to the right? Every machine will be a little bit different and the key is to make sure that it feels snug. Additionally, you’ll find that you’ll move it further as the gasket ages.
Watch as Gail demonstrates the position on several of our demo machines of varying style and age.