Back flushing is only for Gaggias with 3-way solenoid (e.g. The Classic and some Babys).  Do not attempt to backflush machines that do not have a 3-way valve. Gaggias with a 3-way valve have a drain of some sort into the drip tray.

Why backflush? Because the 3-way valve allows left over coffee to drain "backwards" from the "coffee puck", through the valve and out into the drip tray. This relieves pressure and makes for a drier coffee puck (less dripping), but that fresh espresso dries onto the inside of the screen area and the valve itself and soon becomes old stale espresso. By cleaning on a regular basis you will ensure that your lovely fresh espresso is not tainted by the last shot's (or worse, past years) flavors!

We don't have any idea why some vendors advise against backflushing.  Backflushing creates the same pressure that brewing does (within ~1 bar). The only difference is instead of coffee routed through the 3-way valve, backflushing is pushing a cleaning solution through.  

Start with a warm or hot espresso machine (product works best when warm).
Remove the basket from the portafilter handle.  If you have the stainless steel blind filter basket put that into the portafilter. If you have the rubber backflush insert, place it into the bottom of the double portafilter basket so that  Place 1/2 teaspoon of Joe Glo, Cafiza, ora  similar espresso machine detergent (not a descaler like Citric Acid) in the portafilter.
Insert the portafilter in the machine  and turn the brew switch on for 5 seconds, off for 5 seconds, on for 5 seconds until the discharge is free of coffee residue.

If backflushing has not been performed for a very long time, you may want to repeat the entire operation
again with fresh cleaning solution. You may also wish to remove the screen and soak it separately, since the screen may be partially or fully plugged up, preventing efficient

Now put a bit more cleaning solution in your basket and replace it loosely in the grouphead so that it will leak out around the sides when the pump is turned on. Run the pump while looselywiggling the handle around to clean out the area around the rubber seal. This can be a bit messy, so make sure you have a towel handy. Using the group brush, give a quick scrub around the sealing area and reit into machine. Run pump once more for
10 seconds on. Now turn off. Remove portafilter and run pump for 5 seconds or more into plastic
bowl or cup to rinse out screen and group area. Thoroughly rinse the portafilter under warm
water and rinse the drip tray.
Using some old stale coffee you just happen to have hanging around, make up an espresso
shot and then discard it, to complete the cleaning process and to ensure that no cleaning agent
ends up in a shot meant to be consumed.

We suggest a daily back flush using plain hot water, and recommend a weekly back flushing of
the system with detergent. This will ensure optimum tasting espresso and ensure the efficient
operation of the 3-way valve system.


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