FRCN Espresso "HOW TO" Pages
by Randy Glass - Copyright 2008 All rights reserved
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Remove an E-61 Shower Screen and Brewhead Gasket
NOTE: This process will vary from machine to machine depending on the design of the shower screen. If you are not sure whether the following procedure applies to your machine, be sure to contact your supplier for more detailed information.
All espresso machines need to be maintained on a regular basis for best performance and long life. Backflushing, descaling, and hot-water washing of the reservoir (if so equipped) are some of the most often mentioned cleaning chores that should be performed on nearly all home espresso machines. Neglected machines will eventually fail, and will often produce sub-par espresso.
Many consumer espresso machine have the shower screen and dispersion device held in place with a center screw. These are usually very easy to remove and when I backflushed Silvia I would always remove these parts and along with the portafilter and baskets, I would soak these parts in a cleaning solution. It was easy because once the screw in the middle of the screen is removed, the other parts fall right off into my hand. Cleaning then becomes an easy chore.
The problem with the brewhead design of machines like Silvia is that the brewhead gasket is pressed into the brewhead and there is virtually no way to remove it without damaging the gasket. Because of that most home baristas will never remove the gasket until it begins to leak. At that point the gasket is usually a few years old and has become very hard. Removing it will entail using a screw or even a chisel to get the old gasket to budge.
To remove the screen it is necessary to pry it out of the brewhead. Depending on how long it has been in there will determine just how difficult that may be to accomplish. I recommend that you have a spare screen and gasket on hand before attempting this... just in case. Refer to this photo for the following steps:
Here is an animation of the removal process:
Once the screen and gasket are removed you can separate them. I find that wiping of the brewhead with a damp towel is usually sufficient to clean it becasue I backflush regularly. Be sure to clean out the gasket's mounting area as well. The cleaner it is, the easier it will be to remove the assembly the next time. Clean the shower screen assembly and gasket as necessary. If it has been a while or if you have forgotten to regularly backflush with a cleaning detergent, you may need to soak the parts in a cleaner such as Urnex Cafiza. The same should be done to the gasket.
To replace the screen, assembly the gasket on the screen and press it up into the brewhead as evenly and far as reasonably possible. Then simply lock a portafilter into place a couple of times. The locking will press the gasket and screen into place in the brewhead.