Backflush alternative for commercial lever machines

Hey guys,

We have an account which purchased a new commercial La Pavoni Lever machine. As far as I know commercial lever machines cannot be backflushed. what do you recommend for a cleaning regimine? taking apart the portafilters and cleaning things is a no brainer, but is there something else i am missing other than a good scrub and thorough flush?

Recently they called and mention that their water had turned quite cloudy. I sent our delivery driver a message and asked that he pull some water for examination and it was cloudy, and now brown with no strong noticeable smell. any thoughts on what could be going on?

Lever machines are quite simple. There is physically no way for coffee to move upwards into the machine, making back flushing un-necessary.

Some thoughts, some obvious, some not:
-Ensure the water coming in to the machine is clean, filtered and descaled.
-Unclip the and clean the shower screen, as sometimes grounds can get pushed through it. Wipe down the gaskets.
-Check if the water is cloudy out of the hot water spout, or from the groupheads without portafilters attached – verifying that the portafilters are clean.

To me, based on the water transforming from cloudy to brown, it sounds like someone tried to steam milk before the boiler was fully heated, and sucked milk into the boiler while trying. No bueno. Lots of boiler purging.

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thank you for the well worded response. I was aware backflushing was an inconsequential step with lever machines, but had not given too much thought into removing the screens. The account does scrub them a couple times a day and flushes to clear the spent grounds. so I will ask them to add removign and cleaning the screens to the routine. unfortunately, as you suspected, the water from the water tap ont he machine is also putting out a noxious cloudy brown liquid. you suggestion that they sucked milk into the boiler seems pretty spot on.

I will definitely drain, and then flush out the boiler, but what suggestions do you have to prevent future contamination. up until this point I have been dealing with dual boiler, pump driven machines with backflow prevention on the steam wands. So beyond ensuring the pressure guage reads in the range what suggestions/ methods can be employed?

and thanks again!

Glad I could help!!

Watching the pressure gauge sounds good. My only other thought is that if they are turning the machine off overnight, maybe they shouldn’t! Commercial machines are designed for it, and perhaps even last longer when left on consistently, and that way there’s no risk of baristas attempting to steam milk in the mornings before the machine is ready.

All the best!

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The vacuum breaker is designed to prevent vacuum from sucking milk into the boiler. So it is possible that it is either not equipped with one, or the one installed is jammed in the closed position. Sanitizing a contaminated boiler is pretty labour intensive, so I always check vacuum breakers as part of a quarterly maintenance program.