Make Coffee You Love!

  • Tech Tip: Backflush Flashback


    If you have a semi-automatic espresso machine with a 3-way pressure release, or solenoid, valve, you need to backflush it on a regular basis to keep the machine in fine working order. Backflushing will clean up behind the screen and into the brewing system, cleaning out coffee or grounds residue and reducing the potential for clogs.You can watch Dane as he cleans a Rocket Giotto, or follow these steps:

    1. Replace brew basket with a blind basket in the portafilter (or you can use this universal insert in your existing basket)
    2. Place 1/2 teaspoon of a backflush detergent such as Cafiza or Joe Glo (Important: make sure it indicates backflushing as its primary use on the label -- do not use Dezcal or any other standard detergent here!)
    3. Insert the portafilter into the brew group and initiate a shot
    4. Allow the pump to run about 4 - 5 seconds maximum
    5. Turn the pump off and allow the water and suds to release through the valve
    6. Repeat this process until the water coming out of the valve is clear and suds-free
    7. Remove the portafilter, rinse it in cool water to cool it down and then switch out the baskets again
    8. Before you pull your first shot, run a blank shot through the system to make sure there is no residue leftover
  • Health Watch: Aluminum Boilers & Alzheimers

    One of the more controversial topics within the discussion of Alzheimer's is whether or not aluminum has a causal relationship to the development of the disease. Since the first study in the 1960's that found higher concentrations of aluminum in the brains of people with Alzheimer's than in the brains of people without the disease, scientist have been exploring the influences and attempting to correlate the two, with contradictory results. To this day, there is not conclusive evidence one way or the other, and the medical community is still very uncertain about whether or not the aluminum found at the center of the plaques which they believe to be the cause of the disease are the cause of the plaques or simply a harmless secondary association.

    What does a discussion of neuroscience and disease have to do with coffee? Well, many people are concerned about the uncertain and contradictory information on this topic -- one that might be close to home to any of you with an espresso machine or stovetop espresso brewer with an aluminum boiler. Since aluminum is part of the earth's crust and used in tons of products, from toothpastes to antacids to cookware, it's difficult to avoid it altogether. But the amount of aluminum that might leach into your espresso during the brewing process is relatively minimal, if any, than you would intake normally, so it's likely not much of a concern.

    While the jury is still out on whether or not aluminum is a contributing factor to developing Alzheimer's, or just coincidentally happens to be along for the ride, you're probably pretty safe to continue enjoying your delicious espresso -- aluminum boiler or not.

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