the Barista Express™ Troubleshooting

My Barista Express will not brew.

There can be a number of reasons for your Barista Express™ not brewing and a number of solutions for this.

    Water – Ensure your water tank is not empty. It should be at least half full.
  • Programming – Try resetting the volume for the shots by (while the machine is on) pressing and holding the program button for 4 seconds then releasing.
    1. You may test the water volume by brewing directly into a measuring cup with no portafilter or basket attached.
    2. Your one cup should brew approximately 1.5 oz of water.
    3. Your two cup should brew approximately 2.5 oz of water.
  • Clogged Filter Cups – Your filters may be clogged. This can happen especially with the dual wall filter cups.
    1. To test this, brew a shot with no coffee in the basket. If no water comes out, your filter basket needs to be replaced.
    2. You can purchase replacement dual wall filter cups below:
    3. 54mm Two Cup Dual Wall Filter
      54mm One Cup Dual Wall Filter

  • Coffee – If water comes out when no coffee is in the filter cup, but adding coffee makes no water come out, then your grind may be too fine, creating too much resistance for the water to push through.
    1. Try grinding your coffee coarser by adjusting the dial on the left side of your Barista Express™ to a higher number.
    2. It may take a few tries to find the correct size that works with your batch of beans.
  • Build-Up If water does not come out, even with no portafilter locked in and after resetting your machine, your shower screen might be clogged. Please note that the brew head of your machine needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.
    1. At the brew head or shower head, where you attach the portafilter to make your espresso, you will see a metal grid.
    2. Please turn off the machine and allow it to cool down.
    3. Once cool, carefully remove the screw in the middle of the grid.
    4. Remove the grid and seal ring.
    5. Once these are off rinse them all well under running water.
    6. Dry them well with a paper towel, removing any grinds that may have accumulated behind the grind (this should be repeated every few months.).

I have descaled my machine and the clean light is still on

There are actually two different versions of the cleaning process and they are based on the batch code. Your batch code is a 4-digit number stamped/embossed into the label under your machine. To locate that batch code, remove the water tank and drip tray

Descaling Barista Express -V1 (if batch code is 1751 or higher)
Descaling Barista Express -V2 (if batch code is 1751 or lower)

My Barista Express™ is grinding very little to no coffee.

The grinder of the Barista Express™ can very easily become clogged. The first step in recognizing a clog is to check if your beans are oily enough to be sticking to each other or building up on the walls of the hopper.

  • To remove the clog we recommend the following steps:
    1. Remove the bean hopper and upper burr.
    2. Using a vacuum or the included cleaning brush, clean out any residual beans, pieces and grounds thoroughly. Removing the lower burr is not necessary.
    3. Align and lock the upper burr back into place.
    4. Re-attach the bean hopper and lock into place.
    5. To help resolve the clog, we recommend a handful of unseasoned, uncooked, white rice be placed in the hopper and ground through the system on the coarsest setting.
    6. Following this, clean the hopper again and repeat the process running a handful of beans though the system to clear out the rice.
    7. This should clear out any clog and you can adjust your grinder back to its preferred settings.

Below are a couple of links to supplement the recommendations above.

Grinder Cleaning 1
Grinder Cleaning 2

My Barista Express™ is leaking

There can be a few reasons for your Barista Express™ leaking and it can appear in a few locations. The possible cause can be narrowed down according to where the leak is appearing.

  • Around the Portafilter
    1. Check the gasket around the group head where you lock your portafilter into the machine.
    2. If the gasket looks damaged, torn or just work out, you will need to replace it.
    3. The following link is the replacement gasket you will need:
    4. Barista Express™ Replacement Gasket

  • Instructions for replacing the gasket are as follows:
    1. Turn the espresso machine off and unplug it from the outlet.
    2. Remove both the water tank and drip tray, taking particular care of they have water in them.
    3. Clean the center of the screw area as thoroughly as possible.
    4. Insert the Allen Key into the screw and loosen it, turning counter-clockwise.
    5. Once loosened, remove and retain the screw, and the stainless steel shower screen, making note of the side of the shower screen that is pointed down.
    6. Wash the shower screen with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly.
    7. Remove the silicone current silicone ring carefully with either your fingers or a pair of needle-nose pliers.
    8. Place the new seal ring into the brew head, flat side up, ribbed side down.
    9. Re-insert the shower screen then the screw.
    10. Carefully turn the screw clockwise, tightening until the screw is flushed. Do no over-tighten the screw.
    11. Re-insert the drip tray and water tank.
  • Water Tank
    1. Remove the water tank from the espresso machine.
    2. Place the tank into a sink.
    3. Fill the tank 1/2 with water carefully so as not to spill any into the sink.
    4. Carefully look beneath the tank for any water that may now be in the sink.
    5. If water is found, please click the following link for the replacement water tank. Barista Tank
    6. If water is not found, the leak is most likely internal and you will need to contact our Consumer Support Team for service options. They can be reached via phone ((866) 273-8455, Mon-Fri 6 AM-4 PM PST), via email ( or via our web form ( Web Form ).
  • Purging
    1. Your Barista Express™ will automatically purge water into your drip tray when heating up to temperature, during use, and when cooling down after it’t powered off.
    2. Be sure that the purging is not confused with leaking.
    3. Securely place the drip tray into your machine at all time and ensure it’s pushed all the way back, even after the machine has been powered off.

My power button keeps flashing and my machine will not heat up to temperature

If your power button is flashing and your Barista Express™ won’t reach brewing temperature, turn the espresso machine off, rotate the hot ware/steam dial to hot water then back to steam. Power the machine back on and your unit should be ready to use within a few minutes.

My pressure gauge is showing little to no pressure.

Typically the pressure gauge on an espresso machine does not fail. More commonly this type of experience is the result of stale, low quality or coarsely ground coffee beans. A few questions will need to be asked: What brand of beans are you using? Is there a ‘ROASTED ON’ date on the bag or is there a ‘USE BY’ or ‘BEST BY’ date? How long past the ‘ROASTED ON’ date is it currently?

The following is a test that can be done to ensure that the pressure gauge is operating correctly.

Barista Pressure Gauge Test

  • Under Extraction – Low pressure is most often related to under extraction due to inconsistencies in the variables essential to optimum espresso: coffee bean freshness, grind size, and dose amount. The taste of your espresso will depend on personal preference and on many other factors such as the type and roast of the bean. We recommend experimenting by varying these factors to achieve the espresso taste you prefer.
    • Coffee beans
      1. Coffee beans are considered fresh for only a few weeks from their ‘ROASTED ON’ date printed on the bag.
      2. When only showing a ‘BEST BY’ or ‘USE BY’ date, the beans may, in fact, be months old from the roasting date even at the time of purchase.
      3. Pre-ground beans should be used within 7 days and whole beans should be used within a month.
      4. Beans are best stored in an air-tight container kept in a cool, dark place and should not be frozen or refrigerated.
    • The Dose.
      1. The dose is generally the first factor that you will be able to consistently control.
      2. Not enough coffee will result in low pressure, rapid extraction, a watered-down shot, and very little, if any, pressure showing on the gauge.
      3. A general guide is that once tamped, the coffee grounds should be about 1/8th of an inch below the top edge of the portafilter.
      4. A wet or soupy ‘puck’ may indicate under-dosing.
        1. if the water flow is too slow, the espresso will be very dark and bitter, with mottled and uneven crema on the top.
        2. If the water flow is too fast, the espresso will be under-extracted, the optimal flavor will not have a chance to develop, and the espresso will be watery and lack the thick crema on the top.
      5. The water flow can be adjusted by changing the grind of the coffee, varying the tamping pressure (how firmly the ground coffee is pressed down into the filter), and altering the precise amount of coffee placed in the filter.

My single and double filter size lights are both flashing nonstop.

If your single and double filter size lights are both flashing non-stop, the bean hopper is not secured.

  • Remove your bean hopper from the machine and clean out the top area of the grinder, ensuring there is no residual bean debris.
  • Replace the bean hopper on top of the grinder
  • Turn the dial in the center of the hopper to the locked position
  • The hopper should stay firmly in place and not move if locked correctly.
  • Ensure that the lights are no longer flashing.

My steam wand is not frothing my milk.

Milk frothing is a technique developed over time and highly dependent not only on positioning and temperature but the type of milk being used as well. Milk with a higher fat content will be more suitable for creamy consistencies. Please visit our Breville® YouTube channel for videos on this and other Breville products:

Breville® YouTube

  1. Start with fresh cold milk; filling the jug to just below the “V” that makes the jug spout.
  2. Position the steam wand tip above the drip tray and activate briefly to purge any milk or cold water that may be present.
  3. Insert the steam wand tip slightly below the surface of the milk, close to the right-hand side of the jug.
  4. Activate the steam function, keeping the tip of the wand just under the surface of the milk.
  5. Continue to adjust and reposition until you can see the milk spinning clockwise, producing a vortex/whirlpool effect.
  6. With the milk spinning, slowly lower the jug, bringing the steam wand tip higher towards the surface of the milk, introducing air and gently breaking the surface of the spinning milk.
  7. Maintain the vortex and avoid fully removing the steam wand tip from the milk as this will cause splatter and larger air bubbles.
  8. Continue to texture until sufficient volume and consistency have been achieved; lifting the jug to submerge the steam want a little more, evenly heating all milk in the jug.
  9. Milk should be frothed to a temperature between 140 – 150°F; the jug will be hot to the touch.
  10. Adjust the steam dial to a stand by position to stop the flow of steam before removing the steam wand from the milk
  11. Tap the jug against the counter firmly to reduce bubbles and swirl the milk in the jug to integrate the consistencies of the top and bottom.
  12. Pour the frothed milk directly into the espresso.

My steam wand will not produce steam.

If your steam wand is not producing steam, it is most likely clogged

  1. Power off the Barista Express™
  2. Unscrew the steam wand tip by using the cleaning tool that accompanied your unit when purchased.
  3. Fill your frothing jug with 8 oz of hot water and a few drops of dish soap and mix.
  4. Place the wand tip and the steam wand into the jug and allow them to soak for 20 minutes.
  5. After soaking, brush the inside of the tip with dish soap and water.
  6. Use your cleaning tool with the needle to poke through the hole at the end of the steam wand tip.
  7. Re-assemble the steam wand and wipe down with a clean damp towel.
  8. Turn the machine on and allow it to reach brewing temperature.
  9. Test the steam wand by adding cold water into your frothing jug and activate the steam wand.
  • This might be a good time to descale your machine.

- Descaling Barista Express -Version1 (if batch code is 1751 or higher)
- Descaling Barista Express -Version2 (if batch code is 1751 or lower)

Poor Results due to Temperature Factors

  • The Portafilter and Filter – When the espresso is brewed, the temperature of the liquid coming out of the machine, before it hits the coffee, is around 200°F (generally between 195°F and 205°F). While some heat loss is expected and even desired to get the espresso to a comfortable drinking temperature, too much can alter the flavor of the coffee. If the espresso is cooled too much during brewing, the flavor can be sharper or a bit bitter. To help in preventing this, we recommend that the portafilter, with the metal filter inserted, be locked into the brew head with no coffee in it and a single shot be run through it. This will heat up the metal to a temperature much closer to the water brewing temperature and prevent that sour flavor. Once the water is through, remove the portafilter, dry it thoroughly, and add in the coffee to begin the shot.
  • The Cup – Once the water leaves the portafilter, it is falling down and into the cup. If the cup is cold it can greatly reduce the temperature of the espresso prior to drinking. Between 160°F and 180°F is considered a comfortable drinking temperature. However, the hot espresso entering a cup that is significantly lower in temperature then the water brewing temperature of around 200°F can cause the liquid to drop below that comfortable level. This can cause the espresso to taste off and not be at all appetizing. We recommend that when the portafilter is being pre-heated with a single shot with no coffee, the water falls into the cup to be used for the drink. Let the water stay in the cup, heating it, until immediately before extracting the shot.
  • Other Temperatures – If the cup has been warmed as well as the portafilter and filter, please note that it is also vitally important to descale the espresso machine. Mineral deposits can build up along the thermocoil heater and prevent the full transfer of heat to the water. We recommend that, with regular once a day use, the espresso machine be descaled every 2 to 3 months. If hard water is being used or the espresso machine is being used more often, the time can be lessened to every 1 to 2 months between descalings.

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