Troubleshooting

As 80% of the reported issues are mainly due to lack of understanding of how the machine works or user errors.
We had pieced some commonly reported problems here which will help.

 

MACHINE RELATED

 

STARTING UP

Issue: What sort of water should I use?

Answer: Clean, soft water. Not mineral or alkaline water.
Wherever you are from, including Singapore, the water has to be softened to safe level below 15 TDS but not at 0 TDS.

Minerals from hard water can cause damages to the machine over time and need to be descaled according to the water hardness rating. Failure to clear the minerals in the machine can cause massive damages, resulting in the sensors malfunctioning and not safe for usage.
Minor descaling can be done by using the descaling agent. (Warning: Do not activate the pump for more than 60 seconds without half time of rest. Double boilers can’t be descaled by user on their own)
Thorough descaling should be done by professionals and can be very expensive as an overhaul is needed. Thus, it is important for the user to do the preventive measures by softening the water and perform regular descaling.

Issue: Do I need any power adaptors?

Answer: Our machines do not require any adaptors in Singapore. They are with UK plug and run on 220-240V.

The user should plug in direct to mains and should not plug to any power extension or multi adaptors.

Issue: My machine can’t start working on the first use. (On water tank)

Answer: Check if your water tank is full and water is being detected. If it’s not, the machine won’t start pumping as a precautionary feature. When water is detected, the orange light should be on.

 

Issue: My Bezzera Magica/Galatea Domus/Mitica/Strega/BZ16 can’t detect water, can’t heat up or the pump don’t work. Or machine is going on and off.  (On water tank)

Answer: First check if the low water indicator light is on. It’s normally the orange light. You will know that the machine isn’t detecting water if it’s not lit up and if it wasn’t set to bypass in the TOP models. The functions of the heating element and pump will not work if water isn’t detected. This safety feature keeps the boiler from drying out.

For the mentioned models, the machine detects water from electrons. If you had softened the water and the water is too close to 0 TDS (total dissolvable solids), water might not be detected.

Pour in a fresh tank of water or add in a cup of unfiltered clean water may work, also make sure that the tank sits properly. If it’s going on and off too frequently with the orange light flashing, improving the contacts can help by denting in the two metal side plates. Please make sure that the water tank is correctly positioned.

bezzera water can't detect

Issue: How to set to to plumb in mode.

Answer:

For Expobar, please refer to this manual.

 

For Bezzera, please refer to the instruction manual for the specific details.

First of all, do not switch the machine on until your machine had been correctly configured to connect to the water networks.

For Bezzera machines with TOP(Mitica/Strega), the machine comes in Tank mode, with only B connected.

For Plumb in mode:
i) Connect A to the metal end, which bypasses the water tank’s low water sensor.
ii) Screw the plug provided into the water inlet under the water tank.

Reverse the steps to restore back to Tank mode.

TOP

Second, check if your water network has sufficient water pressure. In some places, water comes out at dropping amount. Water is best at 2-4 bars pressure.

Pressure too high will lead to overpressure in brewing.

Issue: Water is not coming out.

Answer: Check if your water network is properly connected or water tank is full and properly detected.

If your machine is on water network mode.

The inlet pressure should force the water through the system. Check if the settings are right according to the manual.

If your machine is on tank mode
First check if water is being detected, if it’s detected the orange light should light up.
If your machine has the option to be in tank or plumb mode, please check if the machine had been set to tank mode.
You may need to prime the pump due to air locked inside, forming pressure and obstructing flow.
This can happen to a new machine, a machine not used for some time, or air sucked in forming a block of air.
Sometimes, water may not feed into the boiler because the water inlet hose was not properly submerged and float to the surface sucking in air instead of water.
Remove any water softener and perform the following checks.

1. Switch off machine.

2. Check water tank is full.

3. Take out the loaded water tank and put it back again to ensure it fits properly.

4. If the machine draws water by a water hose, check is the hose submerged under water inside the reservoir. The inlet hose is usually the longer tube.
Make sure that the hose is not floating up to the surface of the water.

5. Switch on the machine and the pump should start pumping. Allow it to pump for 10 seconds and switch off, check if the water is drawn in from the tank. Do it for a few times.

6. DO NOT allow the pump to pump continuously for too long. For every two minutes of work with the vibration pump, it requires one minute of rest.

7. If you find water is drawn successfully from step 5, the machine should be ready to work by itself. You can allow the machine to draw enough water to keep its boiler full.

 

If you find step 5 isn’t working, and you can hear that the pump is working, there might be too much-pressurised air in the system blocking the flow. It requires a remedy by forcing water through the tube manually. Check the video instructions for vibration pump models.

Remember that for every two minutes of the pump working; it needs one minute of rest.

Issue: My machine suddenly stopped working on the first use after switching on. (On water tank)

Answer: This is common particularly with double boilers. Your water tank had run out of the water after drawing all its water to the boiler for the first time. Refill water and it should start.

 

MAINTAINANCE

Issue: Is water softening necessary?

Answer: Water softening is an essential maintenance process and must be done for any genres of coffee machines, at any capacity of usage. It is usually the chief culprit to any premature failure or technical issues.

What actually happens is limescale will form and block off the censors, choke the valves, hinder the heating elements, etc.

There are a number of water softening solutions available on our website and in the market. If you do consider getting from a 3rd party vendor, it is important to check if the water filtration solution has any water softening capabilities and the due process to maintain the softener. Not all water filtration systems are capable of water softening.

If you have not done sufficient water softening, you may want to perform more regular water descaling. Descalers can be purchased from our website, if you like us to do it, you can order the package from the following link: Maintenance Service (For Semi-Professional Espresso Machines)

 

Issue: Should I do regular descaling?

Answer: Descaling is definitely necessary for any coffee machines. The frequency for descaling depends on the hardness level and the amount of usage. It can be a few years, for a properly cared machine that had done the necessary water softening precautions. Or it can be once or twice a year for one that has not done water softening and under high traffic usage.

Simple descaling instructions can be found here: Puly Caff Descaler.

We will suggest working on keeping your water soft than doing too much descaling. As descaling can be a major and expensive task for severe cases. We do have maintenance package if you like us to do it.

Issue: How can I drain the boiler and why should I do it?

Answer: As one uses the steam wand, the water gets released, while the minerals remain. Thus after some time, the water in the boiler will be highly concentrated with minerals and should be replaced  with as much fresh water

 

The following steps will be good for any heat exchangers. For double boilers, the following steps can only remove water from the steam boiler.

Allow the machine to power up and heat up for around 30 minutes.

Switch off the machine, immediately release water from the water wand. You may want to remove the water wand’s head during the process.

Be careful of scalding yourself during the process.

This should drain out approximately 60-70% of the water.

 

After no more water can be released from the steam wand, release the water trapped in the steam wand and grouphead by activating.

The machine should be off all the time during the release of water.

 

IMPORTANT: If the machine is connected to the water network, the water source should be disconnected before releasing the water.

Issue: How to replace the shower screen or grouphead gasket?

Answer: For BZ series, please refer to the product page here: BZ13

For E61 and spring pistons, refer to the following video:

Issue: My E61 handle on the brew controller seems loose.

Answer: There’s a screw beside, use a minus screw and tighten it.

Issue: The white film on my espresso machine is coming off / The sticker on the Expobar Control’s electronic control is coming off.

Answer: The sticker/film does not serve any purpose except protecting against scratches; it can be taken off.

Issue: Button is feeling sticky or needs to press a couple of times to activate.

Answer: Dust, humidity and dirt had congregated in the button.

The environment is most likely to be too dusty.

For an easy DIY fix, remove casing and locate affected buttons.

Spray contact cleaners at button’s contact.

Please switch off the machine, remove the plug from the power supply before performing any fix.

Issue: My steam or water wand is very loose.

Answer: This is normal for a new machine. The fresh coat of lubricant is doing its job. It will season over time.

Issue: My steam or water wand is very stiff.

Answer: Purchase some lubricant from our store and apply it to the ball joint. Failure to do so can damage the wand’s contact.

Issue: My portafilter is changing its colour.

Answer: It could be the coffee oil. Soak the metallic parts in a water mixture of grouphead detergent. It will restore the condition by stripping the oil.

Avoid having the detergent in contact with the portafilter handles.

Issue: Water is leaking from the grouphead during extraction.

Answer: Most likely your grouphead is dirty. You can use the provided grouphead brush to flush it.

 

Coffee may also have built up and prevent a complete seal. Please be reminded that the shower screen with the grouphead gasket should be taken down to clean periodically.

Preferably at least once every half a year. You should also do grouphead flushing with water after your last cup of the day, and with grouphead detergent at least once every two weeks.

Frequency will depend on among of usage.

Please refer to the following video on how to remove and put it back. At the same time remember to give the group head internal a good brush and wipe if you haven’t been doing.

You can purchase additional gaskets and shower screen from us.

Issue: How should I clean the machine?

Answer: Please follow the user manual instructions or email us on the model you purchased for more information.

Issue: Should I send for maintenance?

Answer: Unless it’s a high traffic or commercial environment. Maintenance can be requested as needed. As for when and how frequent, it depends on the hardness of water and frequency of use. Generally, machines that have the most problem, or have issues prematurely are machines that do not adopt any water softening systems or perform regularly descaling.

It’s a misconception that the water, even in Singapore, is soft and do not require softening or descaling. Due to the complexity and the 24hours curing timing of the sealant, turnaround time is usually a week. Please plan ahead before making request. We do have loan machines, but courier fees will be as charged and accompanied with a fee.

Here’s the link to our maintenance service: Maintenance Service (For Semi-Professional Espresso Machines)

 

 

 

USAGE

Issue: Water is dripping around the grouphead while it’s brewing.

Answer: There are a few possible reasons.

  1. The grouphead gasket or the rim of the portafilter basket maybe dirty with coffee grounds and is unable to provide a proper seal.
  2. The portafilter was not tightened enough.
  3. It’s possible that the grouphead gasket had worn and torn.

For 1, use a brush and clean the suspected areas.

For 2, tighten it further.

For 3, replace a new gasket. Gasket can be purchased from our website. It is also part of the maintenance service: Maintenance Service (For Semi-Professional Espresso Machines)

Issue: Why is my brew gauge showing pressure when it’s idling?

Answer: It’s normal. The connecting valve to the brew gauge is full of water. As the machine heats up, water expands, and it will show a false reading. You can safely ignore this.

Issue: Why is my brew pressure no longer as much as before.

Answer: Check your grinder setting and your coffee condition. The condition of your beans or grinder may have changed leading to flowing faster. Hence, it is unable to hold pressure. If your machine is the BZ or E61 series, you can check the condition of your pump by pressurising the grouphead with a blind filter. If the needle is able to hit the max and hold it steadily, it’s working alright.

Issue: Water is dripping around the steam wand.

Answer: Please refer to the following photo and note which part is dripping.

Part A: This is the most common part for leakage. The most usual reason is due to too much usage, or a humid dusty environment has caused the lubrication on part B to lose its effectiveness. This makes the turning of the steam wand very stiff and loosened part A in the process.

To solve this, the ball joint around part B should be lubricated with food grade grease and the nut should be tightened. If it’s still leaking after it’s tightened, the gasket is broken and it needs a replacement. You can lubricate the ball joint by applying around the joint without removal.

Part B: The gasket is broken, needs servicing or replacement.

Part C: The gasket is broken, needs servicing or replacement.

Part D: Unless it’s continuously releasing steam, it’s not considered a leak. There should be some residual water inside the steam wand from your last use and it’s absolutely normal to have some drip out.

Do note that the servicing of steam wand is part of the maintenance service which can be ordered from our website.

Issue: There’s a frequent flickering sound, water indicator is off, idling heat is unstable.

Answer: The machine is unable to detect water. Your water is too soft.  Pour a fresh tank of water in or add in a cup of unfiltered clean water may work, also make sure that the tank sits properly. If it’s going on and off too frequently with orange light flashing, improving the contacts can help by denting in the two metal side plates. Please make sure that the water tank is correctly positioned.

 

bezzera water can't detect

Issue: I think my brew pressure isn’t right.

Answer: Check with a blind filter. It should show the maximum amount of pressure.

During an actual extraction, it will show lesser. It’s simply due to the flow of water passing.

Readings from not using a blind filter are not significant.

ALWAYS test brew pressure with a blind filter.

Issue: The power trip when it’s on.

Please plug in direct to the mains, do not use any adaptors. Try with another socket to isolate the issue if it comes from the machine.

Issue: The portafilter silicon gasket in my machine came out.

Answer: Normally new users may report this, and it can happen easily if the user releases the portafilter when the brew chamber is still pressurised. Especially in models like Bezzera Strega or B2013AL which has no release valve.

Please refer to the following video on how to put it back. At the same time remember to give the group head internal a good brush and wipe if you haven’t been doing.

Issue: Water coming out from the boiler is cloudy

Answer: The steam wand only removes water but keeps all the minerals in. Over time, there may be a high concentration of minerals left in the water.

Empty the boiler and refill a new one.

To empty the boiler, simply switch on for around 30 minutes for the machine to heat up and pressurise.

Turn off the machine and release all water from the water wand. You may want to remove the wand’s head during this process.

Issue: Steam is not coming out from the steam wand

Answer: First check if your water wand is operating properly, water is flowing on activation.

If it does, it means that your steam wand is stuck.

The most likely reason is there’s milk retained in the steam wand, resulted from improper cleaning. Milk solidified and choked the steam wand.

It is more liable to happen to a single tip steam wand.

1. Switch off the machine and allow to cool.

2. Remove steam wand’s tip.

3. Check and remove any blockages.

4. Turn on the machine and allow to heat up.

5. Purge steam wand without the tip installed.

6. Reattach back tip.

 

Issue: Water is dripping from the spigot behind the brew group during heat up.

Answer: This normally occurs during starting up, it’s residual water coming off from the last use. Together with water released from expansion during heat up.

Issue: There are steam and a little water, suddenly the machine isn’t working.

Answer: Check your water tank or water connection. Most likely, water had run out. Check your water tank has sufficient water and properly placed.

Issue: The machine is getting noisier.

Answer: Normally there’s nothing wrong with the machine. The pumps are on holding stands that reduce vibrations. Your area may be too enclosed, and the echo amplifies the noise. Drip tray can cause rattling sound if they are not properly placed. Likewise for cups that may knock to each other or the top trays.

Issue: There’s a pool of water under the machine.

Answer: Normally it’s from overflooded drip trays. Clear them regularly.

Or it could be your water tap not closed tightly.(Expobar)

A few drips are normal, sometimes appearing from the pressure relief valve during the heat up.

 

If your machine is plumbed in, the inlet pressure might be too much.

If there’s a sizzling sound as if pressure is escaping from the boiler and it doesn’t stop. Call for service.

Issue: There’s a pool of water under the water/steam wand(Expobar).

Answer: The steam.water valves weren’t closed tight enough.

Issue: My machine is too hot.

Answer: Flush a little before brewing. Especially if it’s been idling for some time.

Issue: My machine isn’t hot enough, or the steam is too weak.

Answer: Make sure the machine had heat long enough.

If it is unable to heat adequately, scales may have form and descaling will be necessary.

Issue: There’s a clunking sound inside when I pull the lever down. (Bezzera Strega)

Answer: This is more likely to happen to the TOP version due to the bigger pressurestat. It’s also the sound of hot water passing through the wider heat exchanger rod. This should be safely ignored.

Issue: The water flow doesn’t look steady. (Bezzera Strega)

Answer: The flow of water won’t be smooth initially as the water pipelines around the grouphead are not properly filled, particularly after a long idling time.

It won’t be critically important as the coffee relies on the pressure of the spring than the pump for extraction.

Issue: The lever flicks back. (Bezzera Strega)

Answer: The Bezzera Strega should always be handled with extreme care. It will flick back if there’s no water in the brew chamber to cushion the springs when they are released. Thus, it will not flick back only if you load a portafilter filled with coffee that is fine enough to disallow water from seeping through easily.

During extraction, if the grind of the coffee is not fine enough or if the coffee is not fresh enough.
Water will pass through easily and may not remain in the brew chamber to fill it up.
Since the chamber isn’t filled up, there’s no cushion of water holding once the lever releases, resulting in the lever to flick up with great force.
The user must be prudent during usage to avoid injuries.

Issue: The boiler’s pressure or temperature can’t build up. There’s a continuous sizzling sound of pressure escaping that don’t stop.

Answer:  Check if you had accidentally left the steam wand on. If not, email us, you will need to send for service. Or you can order the maintenance package that comes with solving this particular issues. Here’s the link to our maintenance service: Maintenance Service (For Semi-Professional Espresso Machines)

 

 

 

 

 

GRINDER RELATED 

 

Issue: Nothing is coming out from my grinder.

Answer: First listen to the motor if it’s working. If it’s working, there shouldn’t be any technical issue.

Grind setting too fine

The burrs are too close together to allow any beans to pass.
Release the grind setting to be much coarser.

Nozzle stuck

As coffee is naturally oily and sticky, particularly dark roast or coffee from certain origins.

They may stick to the wall of the nozzle. Over time, it can potentially accumulate, harden and obstruct the vent from dispensing coffee.
Another possible reason is massive grind settings had been made, and beans are stuck between the sides of the burr, jamming the grinder.

To solve it:
1. Unplug and ensure that the grinder is off.
2. Empty and remove bean hopper (Unscrew if necessary)
3. Vacuum the remaining beans out from the inlet.

4. Turn to a very coarse grind.
5. Plug and switch grinder back on.
6. Grind for a short duration and see coffee is out.

7. Slowly make your grind finer and press the grind button if you think beans may still be in there.
8. Go on making your grind finer until it reaches your estimated grind level.
9. Replace hopper and refill with you coffee beans.
10. Adjust the grind and cup to make sure your coffee is tasting perfect.

If it doesn’t work, it could be jammed at the outlet with too much accumulated coffee.
Use the grinder brush and clean it. (Off the grinder while you do it)

To prevent this from happening.

It is recommended:
1. to use the grinder cleaner or clean the grinder regularly.
2. clean the outlet with a grinder’s brush regularly.
3. do not make big grind adjustments unnecessarily.

WARNING: NEVER PUT YOUR FINGER INTO THE GRINDER WHILE IT IS ON.

Issue: How to clean the grinder?.

Answer: The easiest and most recommended way is to use the Pulygrind grinder cleaner.

Issue: I turned a few rounds on the Bezzera BB005 Grinder and things don’t change much.

Answer: It is a stepless grinder, turning one big round only moves a little.

Refer to the grinder’s product page for more information. Bezzera BB005 Grinder

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXTRACTION RELATED

Issue: The extraction isn’t ideal. I think there’s a problem with the pressure.

Answer: All espresso machines are tested to work at its best performance before leaving the factory.

As different manufacturers have a different way to how water travel within the machine, it is not advisable to take the settings of other brands as the assumed preferred configuration.

Pressure adjustment should be the last resort.

Issue: The extraction isn’t ideal, what should I do?

Answer: Most common reason for a bad extraction is coming from the grinder. The grind setting isn’t right. Either a problem with the particle size, the dose amount or both. That does not suggest that a bigger or more expensive grinder does the job better. It’s the amount of coffee, or its grind size is not able to hold up the water appropriate enough to allow coffee to pass at the right speed.

Issue: My extraction is coming out too fast;  the crema is very thin

Answer: If coffee isn’t the issue, it’s usually a problem with the grind setting.

Increase the fineness from your grinder’s setting.
Your coffee, maybe not fresh enough.
Increase your tamping pressure.
Increase the amount of powder.
Different origin of coffee has a different level of oiliness that directly affects the amount of crema. Some coffee is naturally less oily.

 

Issue: My extraction is coming out too slow

Answer: If coffee isn’t the issue, it’s usually a problem with the grind setting.

The first remedy – tamp lighter.
Decrease the amount of coffee powder.
Increase the coarseness from your grinder’s setting.

Issue: My extraction is still bad, my grinder isn’t the problem. What should I do?

Answer: Your coffee may be not fresh enough. Or the coffee that you have has lesser oil, either due to the nature of the bean, a bad grade, or inadequate processing.

Pure Arabica blends are typically more challenging to extract. Coffee with a little mix of Robusta has a richer amount of stabilised crema.

Issue: My coffee is very sour.

Answer. It’s normally due to the nature of the beans, or the roasting is too light. Try with a darker roast and with coffee grown closer to the equator band.

If your machine has a PID, you can try to tune the temperature higher.

If it’s a heat exchanger, you can flush lesser.

Issue: My coffee is very bitter.

Answer: Pick a lighter roast blend or with a lesser composition of Robusta beans.

If your machine has a PID, you can try to tune the temperature lower.

If it’s a heat exchanger, you can flush more.

Issue: I want to find out my brew pressure.

Answer: Check with a blind filter. It should show the maximum amount of pressure. Actual extraction should reduce a little.

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