Troubleshooting & Cleaning

Trouble shooting your Coffee Machine and Cleaning

No Coffee coming out or dripping slowly or from one side only !!

Grind too fine
Tamp too hard
Basket blocked

Coffee too weak no crema !!
Could one of two things:
Change grind setting to finer setting
Tamp harder ( if you use ready ground coffee )
Change the blend ( too high Arabica content )
The machine has not been warmed up suffiently, its not enough to start making coffee once the boiler light goes out to indicate that the boiler has reached the correct temprature. If you make coffee at that point all the hot water from the boiler loses much of its temparature as it comes into contact with the cold parts such as the portafilter and brew head, you must let the machine warm up until all parts are hot that the water will come in contact with, thats at least 20 – 30 minutes.
Here is a link to demonstrate how to get your machine hot in the shortest possible time

Coffee too strong or acidic !!

Change grind setting to a coarser setting
Tamp softer
Machine very noisy !!

Pump is running dry – prime pump and boiler asap.
Check hose not inserted in the tank correctly

When removing porta filter grounds are sprayed out !!

Cheaper units do not have solenoid valve to relief pressure when the pump is switched off, do not remove porta filter immediately leave it on till the next time.

I cannot seem to get the correct volume from my lever machine !!

A single stroke from a lever unit equals one espresso, therefore if you are making two at a time , you need to use a double basket and perform the operation twice to get two espresso’s

I cannot get a good coffee from my lever machine !!

The tamp on a lever unit should be fairly soft as when you tamp too hard the water is unable to infuse the puck when the lever is raised.

Only commence the down stroke once coffee has begun to drip from the portafilter whilst holding the arm in the topmost position ( La Pavoni ) on Elektra you hold the lever in the down posiition and release once the coffee starts to come through.

I cannot froth the milk properly !!

Open the steam valve only a quarter turn, opening it further does not produce more steam. Initially start the process by inserting the frothing arm in the milk the once a proper flow of steam comes out bring the tip to the surface and maintain that position until you have got both froth and enough heat in the milk. If there is enough froth and the milk isn’t quiete hot enough, lower the steam arm into the milk at the end to heat the milk further.

On machine such as Gaggia there is a Cappuccinatore frother on these machines all that needs doing is that you insert the beginning of the nozzle in the milk and this will correctly froth the milk for you. If it’s not frothing then the nozzle is probably blocked with old dried milk, remove the sleeve and clean this properly.

Rocket Espresso – Milk Texturing from Rocket Espresso Milano on Vimeo.

Frothing nozzle keeps coming off !!

You have not attached the nozzle correctly, it’s a 3 piece construction and needs to be disassembled and then attached to the arm making sure you haven’t lost the rubber grommet that secures the part to the arm. Do not attempt to push it on whilst assembled as this will bend a bracket inside the machine. You will end up with a loose steam arm ( This relates to Gaggia Machines).


When frothing most machines do not activate the pump, this means no fresh water is delivered to the boiler, in a very short period of time the boiler will run dry and your boiler element will then overheat and burn out. This is particularly important in single boiler units ( like Rancilio Silvia and Gaggia), machines like Elektra have a sight glas installed to check water levels, others such as Rocket units are protected by auto stop and auto fill functions ( this fills the boiler for you, this also applies to the larger machines from Isomac) We recommend you run your pump for a short time after frothing milk to top up the boiler.


Please, please clean your machine, especially the frothing arm. 99% of all problems with Coffee Machines not working correctly are usually related to cleaning.

If you have a machine that has a solenoid valve, you must back flush the machine every 6 months at least. Else your valve will end up being gummed up and fail.




Descaling is only required once a year unless you do have a hard water problem. We recommend the use of a tool like a Britta Jug to remove the impurities in the water before filling the tank






Rocket Espresso – Care and Maintenance from Rocket Espresso Milano on Vimeo.




How to establish what the water quality is, watch the video below please.

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