Breville coffee machine

Breville Pressure Gauge Not Working? Here’s What to Do

Is your Breville espresso machine’s pressure gauge not working? This common issue can lead to improperly extracted espresso shots and watery coffee. 

Luckily, there are a few easy fixes. A clogged water line, broken seal, or defective gauge could be to blame. Cleaning the machine, inspecting seals, and replacing faulty parts can get your Breville back to optimal pressure. 

With a few simple troubleshooting steps, you can restore your machine and enjoy delicious espresso once again.

5 Common Reasons Your Breville Pressure Gauge Isn’t Working

Below, I’ll cover both causes and fixes to each problem. This way you’ll get to that perfect cup of Joe a lot quicker.

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine BES450BSS, Brushed…
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use
  • Low pressure pre infusion: Low pressure pre infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a balanced tasting cup

So, let’s take a look at what makes a Breville pressure gauge stop working without warning. 

1. Unfresh Coffee Beans

Here’s the thing, coffee lovers: Using stale, old coffee beans can wreak havoc on your Breville espresso machine and its pressure gauge reading. 

As coffee beans start to go bad, they release less gas and oil during the brewing process. This lack of degassing makes it difficult for water to properly pass through the puck.

Without fresh beans releasing coffee oils and gasses, you end up with more resistance in the group head, resulting in fluctuations in pressure. 

The Solution

For accurate gauge readings, make sure to use fresh beans within 3-4 weeks after roasting. Old, stale beans lead to resistance and false pressure outputs. Regularly replacing beans helps avoid this issue.

2. Improper Coffee Dose

Putting too much or too little ground coffee in the portafilter can lead to inaccurate pressure readings.

Overdosing with excessive ground coffee creates densely packed grounds that impede water flow. This causes resistance and back-pressure to build up, artificially inflating the pressure gauge reading.

Conversely, underdosing with minimal coffee allows water to flow too freely. With not enough resistance from the grounds, pressure readings will be lower than the true pressure. 

The Solution

It’s simple. Dose properly with 18-22 grams of fine espresso grind per shot. Tamp evenly to create just enough resistance without overpacking. 

Dosing correctly allows water to extract optimally through the grounds, leading to precise pressure readings. So be sure to use a precise dose and even tamping for truthful gauge outputs.

3. Incorrect Grind Consistency

Inconsistent grind sizes can greatly affect your espresso machine’s pressure gauge – and I speak from experience. 

Ground Coffee on a metal spoon

Using a mix of fine and coarse grinds makes it difficult for water to extract evenly. The finer particles create more resistance, building back-pressure. 

Meanwhile, the coarser grinds allow water to pass through rapidly. This uneven flow confuses the gauge, displaying fluctuations in pressure. 

The Solution

For accurate readings, keep your grinds consistent. Use a uniform fine grind, like sand. This allows water to extract optimally through the grounds, without channeling issues that distort pressure.

With consistent grinding, you ensure stable resistance and extraction for precise gauge outputs. So be diligent about grind settings for truthful pressure readings.

4. Gear Teeth Damage

As a rule of thumb: Damage to the gear teeth that connect the group head to the pressure gauge can cause inaccurate readings. The teeth regulate the movement that translates brewing pressure into the gauge display. 

With damaged gears, pressure translation becomes erratic. This leads to fluctuating readings on the gauge rather than a steady measurement. 

After all, the delicate gears are susceptible to wear over time. Hard water deposits can also cause buildup on the gears, affecting their function.

The Solution

Getting damaged gears repaired or replaced restores smooth rotations and accurate pressure outputs. Be diligent about checking for gear damage if your gauge acts erratically to ensure proper functioning.

5. Potential Blockage in the Bourdon/Capillary Tube

This may sound ridiculously technical, so let’s simplify it: Blockages in the delicate bourdon tube can obstruct the pressure gauge’s readings. This coiled tube connects to the brewing unit and expands/contracts to measure pressure changes. 

Young man repairing coffee machine

If scale, debris, or coffee oils clog the tube, it cannot adjust properly to translate the pressure. This leads to incorrect gauge outputs. Even minor buildup in the tube or capillary inlet can hinder pressure transference! 

The Solution

Regular backflushing clears out any potential obstructions. Gently cleaning the tube with a pipe cleaner also dislodges blockages. 

There’s a golden rule here: Taking steps to prevent and remove bourdon tube blockages maintains the gauge’s accuracy in detecting pressure fluctuations for a perfectly pulled shot.

How to Maintain Your Breville’s Pressure Gauge

Preventative maintenance can keep your Breville’s pressure gauge running accurately for years. Here’s a checklist that I keep handy to ensure that my Breville is working dandy:

  1. Regular deep cleanings to remove oil and scale buildup (Use this brush to help you reach the hard parts). 
  2. Descale monthly to combat mineral deposits in water lines. 
  3. Adjust the grind size and dose periodically to maintain optimal pressure levels. 
  4. Calibrate the gauge annually to correct any deviations. 
  5. Watch for leaks and fix immediately before moisture damages the gauge. 
  6. Replace seals and fittings at the first sign of wear. 
  7. Follow all manufacturer maintenance guidelines. 

With diligent care and routine upkeep, your gauge will continue providing reliable pressure readings for perfectly pulled shots.

RELATED: Keurig not working? How to Troubleshoot Your Coffee Maker

The Final Scoop

A malfunctioning pressure gauge can lead to frustration, but fixing your Breville espresso machine’s gauge is straightforward. 

Start by inspecting for common issues like stale beans, incorrect grind size, blockages, or damaged parts. 

Simply replacing old beans, dialing in your grind, descaling, and cleaning will resolve many gauge problems. And for continued accuracy, stay diligent about preventative maintenance.

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