Five La Marzocco maintenance tips that will help keep your machine running smoothly

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La Marzocco espresso machines are amazing pieces of engineering and craftsmanship, built to last. If maintained and treated with the same care they are given during the manufacturing process, your machine will produce exquisite espresso for many years to come. 

Buying commercial-grade equipment also means inheriting a lifestyle. Even though the machine is small and living in your home, many of the same best practices for our cafe machines still apply to our home machines. Our team prides themselves on being accessible to La Marzocco machine owners, to aid in keeping their machines brewing fantastic espresso.

To help you along on your own journey, we’ve compiled five easy Tech Tips that can help you keep your machine healthy.

Tech Tip #1: Turn Off the Machine During Long Periods of Non-use

La Marzoccos are built to accomadate your espresso drinking habits— they can be left on 24-hours-a-day, or they can be shut off between uses. However, If you will not be using the machine for more than one day (36 hours or more), we recommend turning it off and unplugging it from the wall.

This is beneficial for the machine, because even when using the correct water, letting it sit in the machine without cycling it through the system can cause undesirable chemical changes, sometimes resulting in scale build-up. When water sits at high pressure and high temperature, changes in the water’s chemistry can result in the pH changing and encourages scale build up in small areas such as the flow restrictor (gicleur). Turning the machine off during longer periods of idle waiting can help keep mineral build up to a minimum. 

Tech Tip #2: Drain the Steam Boiler

Every month or two, we recommend draining your machine’s steam boiler. This is important, because as steam is pulled out of the boiler (when steaming milk) minerals from that water are left in the boiler and slowly build in concentration over time. Letting the water out of the steam boiler every month or two clears out the concentrated water and fills the boiler with fresh, soft water. 

Additionally, using the hot water tap for routine cleaning tasks and turning the steam wand on for a second after use to purge out any milk pulled into the system will both help lessen the build up of minerals over time and keep that water tasting yummy! 


Draining the Steam Boiler on a Linea Mini

The machine must be hot and steam boiler fully up to pressure to proceed. 

  • Remove metal grate on drain tray or use a 2 liter container to collect draining water. (This will help prevent splashing. Make sure the drain box is empty before you start.)
  • Turn off the machine at the main switch.
  • Open hot water/tea spout and let all the water drain out.
  • Turn off hot water/tea spout.
  • Confirm your reservoir is full, and then turn the machine back on. The machine will automatically refill the boiler with fresh water.


Draining the Steam Boiler on a GS3

If your GS3 is relatively new, there is an option in the “Machine Off” menu to drain the steam boiler. The machine must be hot and steam boiler fully up to pressure to proceed. 

  • While the espresso machine is on, press and hold the continuous flow button and the power sign button, together. This puts the machine into Standby mode. 
  • Hold down the continuous flow button and after approximately 10 seconds a display appears. This is the “Machine Off” programming level. 
  • Scroll through the displayed parameters using the continuous flow button until the display showing “Drains SteamBoil DISABLED/ENABLED” appears.
  • Press the hot water button to change the value from DISABLED to ENABLED and let all the water drain out. 

(Some older machines will require using the plus or minus (+ or -) buttons to change DISABLED to ENABLED)

  • Exit programming and then press the continuous flow button and the power sign button at the same time to exit Standby mode. 
  • Confirm your reservoir is full, and then turn the machine back on. The machine will automatically refill the boiler with fresh water.

Note: If your GS3 does not offer the “Drains SteamBoil DISABLED/ENABLED” it is an older version and draining the steam boiler will need to be done manually. You may need to reach out to our Home Solutions Team or get connected with a professional espresso technician to help drain the boiler manually. 

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Tech Tip #3: Replace the Group Head Gasket

It is recommended to replace the group head gasket on your machine every 6-12 months, or as needed to provide a proper seal. The group head gasket, is a wearable part and is responsible for providing a properly sealed portafilter while brewing espresso. The gasket will harden and become worn over time from heat and use. You will notice the gasket getting old by the handle of the portafilter slowly needing to be pulled over further to keep water from spilling out around the portafilter. 

Currently, La Marzocco has two gasket options, the tough, standard black rubber gasket and the softer orange silicone gasket. The silicone version will last longer than the rubber one, but does have a softer feel. Both gaskets are high quality, but some people prefer one feel over the other, so we recommend trying out both to find your favorite! 

You will need a gasket pick or similar tool for removing the old group gasket and replacing it with a new one. Especially if you have waited too long and the gasket has hardened, a pick tool can save your day!

Tech Tip #4: Replace the Dispersion Screen

Designed to be removed for cleaning, the La Marzocco group head dispersion screen and portafilter baskets are recommended to be replaced every 6 – 12 months. The dispersion screen is responsible for evenly dispersing water while also protecting the brew boiler from excessive coffee buildup. Dispersion screens are held in by a small screw, when this is screwed in it is important not to make it too tight. Tighten the dispersion screw gently to prevent it from getting stuck. We’d prefer it be a bit loose than have it get stuck.

The portafilter baskets sit inside the portafilter head and hold the desired amount of ground coffee for our espresso shot. Both the dispersions screen and portafilter baskets are great to change out because overtime they can get small dents, warped metal, and build up from the coffee oils.

Tech Tip #5: Schedule a Yearly Preventative Maintenance

Don’t feel like doing tech work yourself or want someone to dive into your machine a little deeper? La Marzocco machines do require periodic maintenance, and our Home Solutions Team can recommend a local espresso technician to help you out.

We suggest scheduling preventative maintenance (PM) once a year for your machine. Hiring a professional espresso technician to perform a general PM for you is a machine owner’s best practice. A PM is the regular and routine maintenance of equipment to help keep it running and prevent any costly unplanned downtime from unexpected equipment failure. They often include simple replacements such as the group head gasket and screens, but also other fittings and parts that are hidden from an untrained eye, like leaking fittings or failing solenoid coils. Mention any wear and tear you notice to the technician so they can check it out and replace parts if needed. 

A general PM should take 1-2 hours, but if the technician finds something that needs to be replaced and it is not a regularly stocked part they may need to schedule a return visit. Technicians usually charge by the hour but some have a simple flat rate. Parts and travel cost will also vary per job.  

Congratulations! If you complete these five tips regularly throughout the life of your espresso machine you will be preventing the most common issues that tend to come up. We hope you enjoy your coffee and reach out to us with any questions or concerns about the lifestyle of owning a beautiful La Marzocco espresso machine!

Happy Brewing! 

— La Marzocco Home Team