An easy to use home Espresso machine created by Saeco and rebranded for Starbucks. This machine is excellent for every day espresso drinkers and has an excellent build and product life.

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Groupdhead, where my portafilter fits leaks badly when brewing.

First of all...I did read a post from someone having a similiar problem. But what happened to me is a partial piece of black plastic came out of the Grouphead area some years ago...since then I have continued to brew...but have leakage. Sometimes minimal and sometimes a lot. But I tend to still get a shot. (albeit messy). I found your great site but I wonder if I have to go thru the top of the Barista to fix this (looks daunting) or can I go into the grouphead area and fix from there? I have the SIN006 but it is an older model...serial number is 122643. Thanks for any help u can afford me. Kind regards. Vince

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Does anybody have a picture of these "black plastic ramps"? I think I see them but they're not very pronounced. Also, I end up with the portafilter swung all the way right and still not very solid in terms of sealing. I just put a new gasket in and that did not help. This is my dads machine I'm fixing for him, he said it didn't have this problem before I worked on it. :-(I took apart the boiler and cleaned it and installed a new pump)

Thanks in advance for any replies!

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Izzy, I added a photo to my answer below. They aren't easily viewable from the underside of the brew head.

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Hi Vincent. That black plastic piece is one of the ramps that sits inside of the brew head. They catch the collars of the portafilter as you turn it and raise it to seal against the brew head gasket. Missing one of these ramps would create leakage on that side of the portafilter. If the plastic piece is mostly intact you may be able to glue it back in place; if you flip the machine upside down and look in the brew head it should be obvious where it goes (opposite from the other ramp). You'll want to clean the area of any coffee grounds first and use a heat-tolerant glue.

If the piece is too damaged or it won't stay in you'll unfortunately need to replace the entire brew head collar, the ramps are not available for purchase separately. This does require opening the machine up and removing the entire boiler assembly as the collar is bolted to it.

Edit: Here's what the ramps look like from the top of the collar, ie. from inside the machine:

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I have been looking all over for the reason behind the the leak. The two plastic ramps are completely gone. Can you replace the collar without buying a new boiler assembly?

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You sure can, it's part #220290300. You will need to remove and disassemble the boiler to replace it though as there is one set of bolts holding all 3 pieces together (collar/lower boiler half/upper boiler half). Make sure you orient the collar correctly before putting everything back together or your portafilter won't go in at the right angle and, once in, will hit the case before tightening properly.

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I installed the new part today but it is still leaking for some reason. The gasket looks like it is in ok condition. Any other ideas for why it would still be leaking out of the top of the portafilter? Should I replace another part or quit while im still ahead you know.

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If your portafilter is faulty or your coffee basket is clogged, the pressure will look for another outlet and the brew head gasket is the next weakest link. Are you sure the leak isn't from above and is just running down the sides of the portafilter? This can happen if the boiler is leaking inside the machine.

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Might that 'partial piece of black plastic' have been a piece of hard rubber? If so:

Google: Starbucks Barista Group Head Gasket

(Don't worry if the name "Saeco" shows up when you search parts and repair guides: The Starbucks Barista is made by Saeco and relabeled with the Starbucks name...)

The Group head gasket is a fat custom o-ring that your portafilter rim contacts when you insert and twist your portafilter properly around the group head. This is a common area of leakage/spurts when that o-ring inevitably wears down, and an old one may have become brittle and a piece of it may have fallen out.

ALSO, double-check >>:

The Starbucks Barista uses a pressurized portafilter, with plastic pieces and springs, etc. So take a look at ifixit's guide to Repairing the Starbucks Barista Portafilter, in case that broken/partial piece of black plastic came from your portafilter assembly...

Sometimes these parts have to be ordered from 3rd party vendors, not usually carried by local vendors, but inevitably you can find all the parts with a careful web search

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I have had the same issue with too much water pouring out when brewing. I ordered a new Filterhold Seal but I cant find any instructions as to how to install it. Do you have any instructions you can give me? Thanks

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Installation is pretty easy, but you first have to remove all traces of the old seal, which can be more difficult. It helps to turn the machine upside-down (make sure you remove the water tank first!), you can then see into the grouphead and you should see the old seal. If your old seal is still soft enough you should be able to pry under it with a small screwdriver and lift it enough that you can then grab and pull it out. If it's hard and brittle then you will probably have to pull it out in pieces, and it helps if you have something pointy that can stab into it. Once you have all the big chunks out, scrape out as much of the remainder as possible as your new gasket needs a nice clean surface. Press the new gasket in as evenly as possible then attach your portafilter and push it over as far as you can to finish seating the gasket.

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Same fault: after removing the boiler and the aluminum collar - this requires some unwiring, removing the steam knob lock clip to unscrew, and removing the steam pipe - I find the inlaid plastic ramps are totally shot. There's also weeping from the boiler heaters, so it's close to end-of-life anyway after about 10,000 brews. However, I am going to make a pair of brass ramps that inlay into the collar and use it until total failure! By the way, the rubber gasket is in perfect condition: if the ramps are worn, you won't stop leakage by replacing a good gasket.

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Vincent Bahr will be eternally grateful.
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