Lifetime and Maintenance Tips for Espresso Machines

Are you ready to invest in your own espresso setup at home? We've collected some general information and maintenance tips so that you have a good idea of what's involved with caring for your machine over time.

Product Lifetime Care & Maintenance Build Quality Repair Trends
DeLonghi - small single boilers (EC155, BAR32, EC270, ECO310BK) Last 2 to 3 years Descale every 3 to 4 months
  • Machines are pretty much disposable, as DeLonghi will replace lower end machines rather than repair them during their warranty
  • Once it begins leaking or dripping, it's not worth fixing them
  • Brew head gasket replacement
  • Steam wand begins to drip
Saeco Aroma, Via Venezia, Starbucks Barista
Last up to 10 to 15 years
  • Descale every 3 to 4 months
  • Thoroughly clean the portafilter regularly
  • Panarello attachment needs to be regularly taken apart and cleaned (but watch those compression fittings!)
  • When steaming, water turns into vapor used to steam milk. The machine does not replace the water when steaming so make sure to refill the boiler with water to prevent burning it out
  • Cases are made with metal materials and are very durable
  • Brew head gasket replacement
  • Portafilter and baskets may clog from oily beans
  • Steam wand begins to drip
  • Seals inside machine may wear from use
Saeco Sirena
Lasts up to 5 to 10 years
  • Descale every 3 to 4 months
  • Thoroughly clean the portafilter regularly, including removing the pressurization inserts
  • Uses a brew boiler and a separate thermoblock system for steam, so steam is a little wetter
  • Can lose its prime
  • Thermoblock heating element isn't high grade so has a shorter lifespan than might be ideal
  • Water reservoir sensor can fail, resulting in machine not sensing it has water and then not heating, etc.
Rancilio Silvia Lasts up to 15 years
  • Descale every 3 to 4 months
  • Backflush regularly (every 1 - 4 weeks, depending on usage)
  • Must ensure you're steaming correctly to mitigate any long term damage to the boiler
  • Highly durable, commercial-grade components
  • If not steaming correctly (i.e. steaming and not refilling the boiler) there's a good chance that it may last 6 months to a year
  • If steaming and using boiler correctly but not descaling or backflushing it will last 3 to 5 years until something goes wrong and it will need parts replacement
  • Brew head gasket and screens will need to be switched out (depending on use)
  • V2 & V3 models feature a chromed plastic cover around the brew head, which can peel over time and require replacement; this repair involves taking apart the machine so can be expensive
  • If not steaming correctly, boiler performance may degrade over time due to heating element damage
Rocket Espresso
Last about 10 to 20 years
  • Descale every 3 to 4 months
  • Backflush regularly (every 1 - 4 weeks depending on usage)
  • Will need seals and gasket changed every 3 to 5 years
  • Considered a 'prosumer' machine due to high end, professional grade components
  • High quality polished stainless steel casing that is very durable
  • Chassis is powder coated steel so there is some theoretical concern that it could degrade/rust over time, however we have yet to see evidence of this
  • Brew head gasket and screen will need to be replaced over use
  • All seals in the E61 brew head, vacuum valve seal, overpressure seal, expansion valve seal (anything that is sealed) will commonly wear down over time and need to be replaced
  • Water sensor probe may fail if there is scale build up and will allow boiler to overfill and over pressurize; this is a fairly easy fix that most owners can perform on their own with some tech assistance over the phone
Delonghi Superautos
Last about 5 years
  • Descale every 3 - 4 months
  • Regularly remove the brew group and clean thoroughly
  • Clean all components regularly
  • Older one-touch models don't get the milk hot enough for some people; newer models perform better -- if milk temp is important to you, choosing a model with a steam wand is your best bet
  • Build quality has improved in the newer generation of machines; older models such as the 3300/3500 and 6600/6700 lack some of the more fine-tuned fit & finish of the newer models
  • Brew group is not removable when the unit is on, limiting mid-cycle removal and related errors
  • Seals are not available as individual parts, so if the seals in the boiler degrade, the entire boiler must be replaced; similarly, if the seals in the steam wand degrade, the entire steam assembly has to be replaced
  • Automatic frothing machine steam outlets for milk container will degrade over time
  • Grinder and brew unit will start to clog when using oily beans
Saeco Superautos
Last about 5 - 7 years
  • Descale every 3 - 4 months
  • Remove brew group and clean thoroughly every 1 - 2 weeks
  • Using cleaning tablets on machines with a bi-pass doser will thoroughly clean the brew group's screen without removal
  • Do not use dark roasted/oily beans
  • Fit and finish of the machines is generally good, but varies depending on the price class (ie. the Vienna's casing materials are not very high grade while the Syntia/Exprelia/Xelsis series are highly durable stainless steel)
  • Saeco's grinders grind more finely than other superautos and their sensors are more sensitive; therefore, these are not ideal machines for those that like dark roasted/oilier beans
  • Seals and hoses will rupture over time because of the heat
  • Grinder and brew unit can clog from coffee bean oils
Jura Superautos
Last about 5 - 7 years
  • Descale when prompted (based on water hardness setting + cup count)
  • Perform brew unit/internal cleaning when prompted (based on cup count)
  • Steam wands on some models require more cleaning/maintenance to work well than some customers would like to do
  • One-touch milk frothing achieves okay milk temperatures, sometimes not hot enough for those that order their lattes in a cafe as 'extra hot'
  • Fit & finish on Jura machines is excellent - durable materials and well though-out design
  • Because brew group is not removable and cleaning is required, we see less maintenance-related issues with these machines
  • Coffee outlet shoots can clog up over time so coffee will begin to overflow inside of the machine instead of through dispensers
  • Since the brew unit cannot be removed, the machine may have to be serviced by Jura's techs every so often
  • Machine is designed for special repair tools, so home repair is not an option
  • Jura does not offer certified repair centers, only their main location in the eastern US, so you must work with them directly for any warranty and non-warranty repair for the life of the machine

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