Descaling

stump

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May 2, 2024
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In selecting my next espresso machine I’m getting bogged down in descaling issues.

My 5 year old Breville dual boiler has been regularly descaled here at home, but it is showing its age. My impression is that Brevilles are good on tech but not built for the long haul. So next up I am looking at more expensive traditional type machines, like Seattle Coffee’s Bello+. But, the manual says to never descale it. And even if you buy an extended warranty, scaling problems won’t be covered.

So, while I’m willing to give up some of the techy Breville bells and whistles, and pay extra for a more traditional and presumably more durable machine, it concerns me that the owner can’t descale the Bello+ and scale problems are excluded from their warranty.
Seattle Coffee says use Crystal Geyser bottled water (ok) and skip in-tank filters as ineffective (if you say so), but is this going to be the 10 year machine that I’m hoping for?

Shipping a machine cross-state for frequent professional descaling is not attractive.

Any thoughts?
 
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Obviously the best thing to do it take a proactive approach as in using balanced water to begin with. Personally don't buy into making your own water like some go on and on about and I have a background in water treatment, never have had any issues with scale buildup in any machine using various water sources, municipality and private well. If the taste is fine, pH is in a good range and now too hard then don't overthink it.

Personally also find what some sellers warn against to be hilarious as most of them can't really work on what they sell that effectively. Sure some machines are a bit involved with descaling, but not THAT involved. Most of their idiotic claims/warnings are more for warranty/liability on their end.
 
Just so it is said, DO NOT use RO or distilled water in any machine! If water does not contain minerals it will acquire minerals from it's surroundings - like the inside of your machine's boiler and pipes which pretty much will slowly over time dissolve the machine from the inside out.

I have a 6+ year old Rocket Cellini and have used local municipality water (from my refrigerator's water filter) for years and finally decided to descale the machine. Yes it had some scale. The descaling process removed it, and in another 6+ years I'll do it again. No big deal.
 
The only way to know if scale/water quality will be an issue is to test your water. My municipality's water is considered very good; most people only run carbon filters to clean out some nasties. For my home use, I run through a Brita-type filter - I ran a Silvia for 14 years and have been running a Boxer Apartmento for 7 years... not once have I bothered to descale. Maybe I'm prematurely killing my machines but I have never had issues. In a commercial environment, it's different - the equipment and volume are complete game changers. If your really worried about it consider getting RO water and add 3rd wave water mineral packs.
 
Just curious, what's your Breville doing that's causing it to "show its age"? Is the pump going out or something else? (Would it be economical to just repair it vs. buying new)?
 

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