Every espresso machine uses a variety of fittings and tubing. This can be tubing towards the brewing group, steam valve or going towards the boiler of the coffee machine. there is a huge selection of fitting types available for espresso machines, some are related to the brand but most of them are generic spare parts.
There are a variety of sizes and shapes of fittings for espresso machines. These shapes won’t be found in a DIY centre or a plumbing store. If you can’t find the fitting your looking for, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Nipple and Adapter
With this type of fitting you can connect a variety of thread types together as well as female and male fittings. This is ideal for instance when you have a 3/8” T fitting on your boiler, but you want to install a ¼” Vacuum valve on your boiler. Then you need a female reduction from 3/8” to a other female reduction which has a ¼” fitting.
Or a other feature is when you have a procon pump, which has a 3/8” NPT female in and outlet, and you want to attach a stainless steel braided hose. These are normally for espresso machines made in 3/8” BSP-G threads
A brass plug already describes what it is, a plug to seal something off. For instance a boiler drain plug or a male plug to seal of a compartment on a brewing group, such as with a e61 brewing group. These male and female brass fittings range from a 1/8” all the way up to a ½” male and Female fitting. You can seal the male threads off with a thread locker or PTFE tape and the female ones as well, but you can also use a flat gasket inside the fitting.
Welding caps can be basically found on any espresso machine which uses copper tubing, unless there are flared connections but that is not that common. Welding caps come a variety of sizes, the smallest size is suitable for 4mm copper tubing to all the way to 12mm copper tubing.
T and L fittings
A T and L fitting is a really good description about the type of fitting it is. It is a casting in the shape of a T or a L. With the T fitting you have a on 3 sides, with a L fitting on 2 sides, male or female threads. Or just a combination of both, which is ideal to make additional fittings to a boiler. these types of fittings range from the smallest size, a 1/8” thread. To the biggest size a ½” fitting.
Copper tubing for espresso machines
Almost every espresso machine uses copper tubing, from various diameters, which have at the end brass nuts and welding caps. These welding caps are normally soldered to the copper tubing. These welding caps are made from soft brass, so they will indent when they are installed, which creates a water and air tight seal. In some cases some brands, such as Cimbali, uses flared fittings. This is nowadays less common, in the past you would see this quite often.
Material and plating
The material where the fittings have been made of is primarily brass, this has to do that brass is suitable to use in espresso and coffee machines. Even though brass always contains lead, the reason for this is to make the machining of the parts easier. You also have products which are called “lead-free brass” which is technically not lead free, but just really low concentrations of lead.
You do see that a lot of the fittings are plain brass, which has the disadvantage that it quite easily discolours. In some cases the brass fittings have been covered with a nickel plating, nickel doesn’t discolour that easy.
The most common size is the BSP-G thread. This is the British Standard Pipe – Gas. This is on virtually every espresso machine the standard, except for some brands such as Bezzera which use also metric thread sizes. But that is not common.
Repairing a pin hole in the copper by brazing it could be a option and does work from time to time. But we advice to make a new one. If you are able to braze copper tubing you are also able to make a new tube for your espresso machine.
Yes they are safe to use in espresso machines. The material brass is made of Copper, Zinc and a small percentage of lead. This is in the brass to make the machining process easier.
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