How To Fix Breville Espresso Machine Frother Not Working – Troubleshooting Guide

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Any coffee lover’s kitchen will not be complete without an espresso machine. An espresso machine allows the coffee connoisseur to enjoy the strength and efficiency of espresso, not to mention the bold flavor and rich aroma that comes with it.  But like any appliance, Breville espresso machines aren’t immune to breaking down.

The most common reason for a Breville Espresso Machine frother to stop working is a faulty or dirty steam wand. The wand adds pressurized steam to the milk, causing it to foam. A clogged pipe will not produce the jet of steam needed and must be cleaned to get the machine working correctly again.  

This article will cover the various reasons your Breville Espresso machine frother may not function as it should.  Read on to learn how to identify and fix issues that keep you from enjoying a frothy espresso.  

1. The Steam Wand Is Clogged

If your Breville espresso machine stops texturing milk, or you’re not getting the same amount of foam you used to, the steam wand is the first component you should check.  

The steam wand provides a path for steam to move from the espresso machine’s boiler and out its nozzle. By forcing steam into your milk and adding air pressure, the steam wand gives the milk a foamy texture.

Milk has many tiny fat particles. Over time, these can get stuck in the small holes of the steamer tip. Eventually, the nozzle of your steam wand will become blocked with hardened milk proteins due to constant contact with milk, preventing it from functioning correctly.

Read: Why Breville Espresso Machine Not Grinding – Troubleshooting Guide

How To Fix?

You can prevent a build-up of dirt or milk residue by purging the steam wand after each use.  Simply wipe the steam tip with a damp cloth, then point the steam tip towards the drip tray before letting steam out for a few seconds.  

You can watch this video for a full demonstration:

If your steam wand has become blocked, you will need a more thorough approach to clean it.  

Below are the instructions for cleaning the steam wand of your Breville Espresso Machine:

  1. Start by using the pin tool to poke through and unblock the steam tip holes.
  2. You can purge the steam wand before proceeding with the following steps to remove any remaining dirt or milk residue.
  3. Fill the steam container with hot water and mix it with milk cleaner (refer to the milk cleaner’s instructions for the correct solution).
  4. Place the steam wand into the steam container with the milk cleaner and let it soak for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the steam wand from the container and activate the steam cycle for at least 10 seconds.
  6. Purge the steam wand several times before drying it off with a clean, dry cloth.
  7. Discard the cleaning solution and clean the steam container.

Breville makes their milk cleaners, but alternatively, you can use a product like the Asachimici Milk Frother Cleaner (available on amazon.com).  This milk cleaner has scale inhibitors specifically designed to clean milk and coffee residues.  

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Read: Why Breville Espresso Machine Not Heating Up – Troubleshooting Guide

2. You’re Using the Wrong Technique 

If you’ve always had a problem getting milk to foam with your espresso machine, chances are there’s nothing wrong with the machine, and you may just need to revisit the technique you’re using.  

There’s no shame in struggling to use an espresso machine, as getting your desired foam does require skill and practice. Espresso machines are quite challenging to operate, and even the slightest mistake can keep you from achieving your desired results.

Not dipping the steam tip deep enough can cause the bubbles to become too big, moving the steam container too much can ruin the consistency of the foam, and simply not using enough milk can cause the steam to hit the bottom of the container creating violent bubbles.

Read: Why Breville Espresso Machine Not Pumping Water? – Troubleshooting Guide

How To Fix?

Steam wands can give the milk a foamy texture, but getting the milk to foam to the desired extent requires more precision. The correct technique is crucial to successfully achieving the desired amount of foam. 

Here are some tips to help you produce the foam you deserve with your favorite coffee.

  1. Point the steam wand towards the drip tray.
  2. Turn the dial on the side towards the steam position and allow condensed water to be expelled.
  3. The steam light will start flashing as the machine prepares the steam wand.
  4. When the light stops flashing, the steam wand is ready for use.
  5. Turn the dial to the standby position.
  6. Place the tip of the steam wand in the center of the steam container.
  7. Submerge the steam tip up to the line marked on the side of the steam container.
  8. Tilt the container towards the 9 or 3 o’clock position so that the wand tip is between the center and the wall of the container.
  9. Turn the dial back to the steam position and wait for the air to push the milk.
  10. Gradually lower the container to start aeration.
  11. Keep the container steady (you should start hearing a paper tearing sound).
  12. Allow the milk to rise 25% if you’re making a latte.
  13. Let the milk rise 50% if you’re making a cappuccino.
  14. Gently lift the container or pull the steam wand down to stop aerating.
  15. You can stop as soon as the container becomes too hot to touch.
  16. Don’t forget to purge the steam wand after use.

Watch the video below for a thorough demonstration:

3. There Is an Issue With the Solenoid Valve

The solenoid valve in your espresso machine controls the discharge of the steam that is released by the steam wand.  If the solenoid valve is clogged or faulty, the steam wand will not emit the steam needed to make milk foam.  

Evidence of a defective solenoid valve includes persistent buzzing and failure to build pressure.  If your espresso machine fails to dispense water, even when the portafilter is removed, chances are the solenoid valve is clogged.  

Read: 4 Common Ninja Coffee Maker Problems

How To Fix?

If the solenoid valve on your espresso machine is clogged, you can try descaling it to address the issue. Descaling may not be enough to free up a stubborn clog, but there’s no harm in trying. Besides, descaling should be done periodically to prevent hard water minerals like calcium and magnesium from building up.

Failure to descale can compromise the flavor of your coffee and cause clogs in your espresso machine, leading to pricey repair bills in the future. Some espresso machines will have a flashing light that indicates when it’s time for descaling. 

Here’s how to descale your Breville espresso machine.  

  1. Empty the drip tray and water tank.
  2. Remove the water filter.
  3. Dissolve 1 packet of Breville descaler in 34 ounces (1 liter) of warm water.
  4. Pour the solution into the water tank.
  5. Reinsert the water tank into the machine.
  6. Turn the machine off.
  7. Press the 2 CUP and POWER BUTTON simultaneously to activate the heating process.
  8. The power button should start flashing to indicate the heating process has commenced.
  9. Place a 68-ounce (2 liters) container under the steam wand and group head.
  10. The machine will indicate it is ready for descaling when the POWER and 1 CUP buttons, together with the DESCALING and HOT WATER STEAM indicators, light up.  
  11. Press the 1 CUP button to start descaling the coffee component of the machine  (this will take approximately 25 seconds with the 1 CUP button flashing).
  12. Turn the steam dial left to start descaling the steam component (this should take 13 seconds).
  13. After the steam wand stops purging, turn the steam dial to the right to start descaling the hot water component.
  14. Turn the dial back to standby after the steam wand stops dispensing water.
  15. Repeat these steps until there’s no solution left in the water tank.
  16. Remove the water tank and rinse it.
  17. Fill the water tank with water, reinsert it, and repeat the descaling process to rinse the machine.
  18. Turn the machine off by pressing the POWER button.

If you still encounter issues with your solenoid valve after descaling, you may have to unclog the valve manually or replace it. You can contact Breville Customer Support for further assistance.

The video below shows how to access the solenoid valve if you want to attempt to repair it yourself.

Read: Cuisinart Coffee Maker Troubleshooting

Summary

If your Breville espresso machine fails to foam your milk, try cleaning the steam wand and descaling before taking further steps. Clogs are usually the culprits behind a faulty espresso machine, so it’s best to clean it before purchasing new parts or seeking professional assistance.

However, if you’ve had trouble making foamy milk from the start, check if you’re using the proper technique. Proper use and maintenance should give you countless shots of your favorite coffee before encountering any issues.

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