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KitchenAid Espresso Machine

(Also known as Expresso Coffee Machine, KES100, 5KES100)

Introduction

The KitchenAid espresso machine (often pronounced expresso) has been around since 2006.  The machine has two boilers, one for coffee and the other for steam.  The design centres around two "pods" which are similar in style to the iconic KitchenAid mixers.  The machine makes reasonable coffee, however most spend the majority of their time adorning kitchen counter tops and are often described as "Kitchen Candy".

The espresso machine has a model number of KES100 in the USA and 5KES100 in the UK, Europe and Australia.  After the model number a single letter denotes the plug type (B for British, E for European, A for Australian and S for Swiss).  Next follows the colour code and production number (i.e. ER = Empire Red, AC = Almond Cream, OB = Onyx Black).

The most common issue - complete failure

The 5KES100 coffee machine is constructed from cast aluminium sections which are powder coated.  These parts conceal the inner workings which include the two boilers.  Each boiler is almost identical, however the steam boiler runs at a much higher temperature. The most common issue starts with the steam boiler which often goes undetected for a long time.

The inital problem usually starts at the manifold on the steam boiler.  Steam will gradually force out under pressure into the upper chamber.  The steam will condense in the chamber and runs down the inner walls where it accumulates.  Some water will usually seep between the aluminium and the powder coating.  This causes the powder coating to peel and the casting to corrode.

More water accumulates in the bottom casting where it corrodes the bottom casting from the inside out.  As time goes on, the moist environment inside the machine causes corrosion all over the components inside the machine until eventually it starts to become unreliable.  Often the gauges will mist up and more coating starts to blister or peel.  Soon the switches will stop working and sometimes the steam boiler will not heat at all.

The usual first step to resolving the issue is to use a descaling solution.  The intention is to remove any limescale build up and hopefully improve the machine's performance.  Often an improvement in performance will be noticed; however if there is a leak then the treatment will have made the situation worse.  Any steam which leaked out with descaling solution will increase the rate of corrosion and subsequent damage.

A look inside the machine will soon determine the amout of damage.  Make sure the machine is disconnected from the mains.  The top lid is easily removed once the rear screw is removed and the 3 bolts covered by the cup holder are undone.  If the inside is wet or covered with a white powder then the coffee machine has been subject to a lot of steam.  

I have decided to try and fix the problem - what advice do you have?

We are often asked by people what can be done to fix the machine.  Below is advice we have given.  We will try to add more information when we can.

Find out how bad the damage is.

We recommend you take the top housing off and remove the tray that holds the boilers, pump and other components.  Look at the underside of the tray and check the well in the bottom casing.  Any water will need to be removed and everything dried.  If the bolts are rusted be ready for them to shear and need drilling out.

Strip the steam boiler.

We recommend that the steam boiler is completely stripped.  This will allow an internal inpection.  Make sure it is properly cleaned (you may need to soak in a descaler such as viacal).  Carefully clean all the recesses where gaskets are installed.

Carefully remove all the bolts and replace threads.

If you cannot remove all the bolts you may need to drill them out.  Be careful, the aluminium is very soft.  If you do damage the threads, there are repair kits available such as "recoil".

Replace ALL of the gaskets.

Never reuse a gasket.  The old gaskets will have been heated and have formed to the shape of the groove they are on.  These grooves are now shaped differently as they will have been properly cleaned so the old gaskets will not form a proper seal.

Check all electrical contacts.

It is worth taking off every electrical connection and cleaning it.  Switches can also be carefully taken apart and cleaned.

Ensure the solenoids and valves are working.

 


  
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