Why Is Your Espresso Machine Leaking?

Posted on: 9 September 2018

When coffee dispenses from your espresso machine, you want it to end up in the cup, not splashed and splattered across the machine and your counters. If you have a leak—whether it's a small dribble or a large spurt—here are three possible causes and how to deal with them.

The Group Head Needs Cleaning

One of the most common reasons why espresso machines leak is inadequate cleaning—particularly of the group head. If you notice coffee dripping, running or squirting from the group head itself or the filter holder, a build-up of coffee is the culprit of your leak.

These leaks are common because many baristas don't realise just how often this build-up needs to be cleaned away. If your coffee shop is busy, you'll need to clean the group head every day to prevent leaks.

Thankfully, group heads are easy to clean. All you need to do is remove the filter basket and replace it with a blind filter. Then dispense water (or cleaning fluid once or twice a week) for a few seconds as you usually would when pulling a shot. Since the water can't get through the blind filter, it will flush back through the group head and clear out the residue, fixing your leak. A clean group head will also stop your coffee from tasting bitter and stale, killing two birds with one stone.

The Waste Pipe Needs Unblocking

Alongside the group head, another part of your espresso machine that can become blocked is the waste pipe (or the waste box). This causes leaking from the front of the machine, underneath the drip tray.

Again, waste pipe cleaning is something you may need to do every day if you run a busy café, but it's not a difficult task. Start by lifting the drip tray off your espresso machine, then use a damp cloth to clear out any liquids, grounds or other residue in the waste box. Once that's done, run hot water through the machine to clear out the waste pipe. You'll know it's residue-free when the water runs clear.

A Part Needs Replacing

While lack of cleaning is often the cause of a leak in your coffee machine, sometimes the problem is a little more serious. If regular cleaning doesn't fix your leak, you could have a damaged part that needs replacing.

The two parts that are most likely to be broken you have a leak are the group head and the filter basket. Common signs of damage include the portafilter coming loose when you pull a shot and the silicone gasket appearing thin or worn. If you think you might have a broken part, you should have it replaced as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Call out an espresso machine repairs company at your earliest convenience; they'll be able to repair your group head or filter basket as well as give you help and advice to maintain your machine and prevent further problems. 

For more information on buying coffee grinders or other coffee accessories, contact your local retailer.