Recently, I have experienced a slow down in the draw time from 20-25 seconds to even a minute. The brew head is as clean as the day I bought it. The back flush runs clear. I have not changed dosage, tamp, or coffee bean.
Although you have used the same roaster for a few years, it is quite
common that the roaster changed their bean varieties or perhaps even
their roast level necessitating a change in grind levels.
( generally, a darker roaster requires a finer grind, a lighter roast
requires a coarser grind)
If you are sure it is not the coffee, what is your water debit? i.e; how much
water is your pump producing in say 30 seconds?
measure it and google for other user's measurements
If not much water is coming out, there could be a blockage somewhere
What type of water are you using, have you tested it? Are you
Actually I in frustration sent the machine to Coffee Gear in Seattle, and the problem turned out to be mechanical--the pump was not operating to specs. They replaced the defective part.
I had tried everything I could think of, such as descaling, maxi cleaning with Caofiza, and back flushing. The problem was too big to be related to the roaster, as I had been using Starbucks espresso roast for three years. I pretty much had the grind and tamp down to a standard procedure.
In all, I am disappointed that I did not get longer than 3 years out of the Rancilio, but I will continue to use it since I paid for its repair. However, when it dies I will entertain another option.
I had been using Starbucks espresso roast for three years, and the problem was much too big for a change in roast, which was unlikely.
The problem turned out to be a mechanical failure, as diagnosed by Coffee gear in Seattle. Bad pump. I will continue using Rancilio, but when this repair job peters out I will entertain getting a different machine. Any suggestions?
We are glad that espresso is flowing once again!
Before you take Rancilio out behind the barn, the pump is not a Rancilio part. The pump used is a universal part used for just about all the espresso machines in your class and a lot of the e-61 machines too. The pump is generally considered "bullet-proof" and it is highly unusual it would go bad on a newer machine like yours.
Unless you get "upgrade-itis" and have a desperate urge to move up to a rotary pump, plumbed-in e-61 machine, I would recommend you stick with the Rancilio (it is still considered just about top of class in its category) and concentrate on the coffee part of the equation. It is probably time to explore other coffee bean options other than Starbucks. Unless you are prepared to roast your own beans, you should seriously consider having your beans shipped in fresh. Others may disagree, but unless your bag of beans has a roasted-on date or you know when it was roasted, I'm not interested.
What type of grinder do you have? If you don't have something decent now, you should upgrade your grinder before doing anything else.