I’ve lusted over this machine for years….. literally years.  Not only is it a powerhouse when it comes to pulling shots, its also the most aesthetically pleasing machine on the market (I mean look at it, its gorgeous).  So you can imagine my disappointment when this beautiful piece of machinery started leaking all over my counter top.

Lets start at the beginning, I’ve been searching for the perfect espresso/latte for a little over a decade.  I started with a Breville POS and one of those dumpy electric blade grinders and was surprised that my lattes tasted like someone poured water and milk over stale beans then tossed it in the microwave.  I quickly upgraded my machine to a Gaggia Classic then discovered Burr grinders. My first was a Breville Smart Grinder, had some good reviews but not suited for espresso.  I moved onto the Baratza Vario which yielded good results, but needed cleaning too often for consistency.  Finally I landed on the Monoloth Flat by KafaTek, to get the most consistent results I needed a single dose grinder that didnt need daily cleaning.  I was very happy with my setup, especially after I installed the PID controller on the Gaggia, but something was still missing – it wasnt quite there yet.  It was time to upgrade the machine to fulfill my quest of the perfect extraction!

July 2018 

  • I called and tried to convince Slayer to give me the $500 off holiday sale price….I failed.  I ordered the machine anyway
  • I received my machine and quickly had the plumber over to run the lines for the water and drain (its a direct plumb) and drill a hole in my granite counter top (a big hole)
  • Followed all the Slayer vids on their website to set the machine up (brew pressure, calibrate flow, etc)

Getting the machine really dialed in took some work and a call to Slayer.  I was used to dialing in the grind for new beans, but the Slayer is so robust in features it took a little hand-holding in beginning.  I could dive into the process but that really deserves a dedicated post.

So I finally have this thing pulling unbelievable espresso, I am tasting things I never knew were possible in espresso.  Then I go to the backflush the system and water starts leaking out of the bottom and all over my counter…… I’m bummed, I’ve never had a machine leak on me, not even my Breville POS.

I called Slayer customer support…..

This is what they emailed me:

Remove the cup tray

Unscrew the 4 screws holding in the front panel (two on top, two on bottom)

This will give you a good view into the machine

Locate the drain box on the front left of the machine

Is the box full of water? If so, there might be a blockage from the drain box to the drain tray

take off the drain tray cover and, with a thin wire, clean out the nipple and clear the blockage.If the drain box is not full. Backflush the machine and find where the leak is coming from. Follow the black tubing from the grouphead to the drain box.

I followed the steps and discovered the drain tank was in fact, full of water and not properly draining.  I also noticed that the drain nipple was completely crimped.  I put a screwdriver under the nipple and put pressure on it which did allow the tank to drain.  The bad news was it slipped and left some nice scratches on my brand new machine….

I responded to the email with my findings and they came back with this:

I believe what happened was the drip tray shifted back  while in transit, creating a kink in the drain nipple. There are 4 bolts and washers holding the drip tray to the drip tray bracket (see page 73,74). If you unscrew the bolts and move the tray forward, does the drain nipple become unkinked?

The tray was already on the furthest possible setting, so there was no place to move it.  I requested a new drain nipple.  This was their response:

Thanks for trying to reseat the drain tray. Reinstalling a new drain nipple is very tedious. The most effective and quickest solution for fixing this issue is to remove the drain nipple from from the drain box, cut the end of it and reseating it. This will get the kink out of the nipple and allow flow. You can remove the nipple by unscrewing the drain tray mount screws and disconnecting the nipple from the barbed fitting. Once the nipple is remove, cut a small slice from the end and reseat onto the barbed fitting.
It sounds like the drain box shifted during transit and kinked that nipple. The variance is small enough to where, if the drain box or drain tray shift, the nipple will kink. I will bring this up to the engineers.

As much fun as it sounds to take apart my brand new machine again, I just jammed some hand towels under my machine and dealt with the leaking for a few months…

 

December 2018

 

Im off for the holidays and decided it was time to stop swapping soggy towels and fix my really expensive leak machine.  So I went to work and took it apart, after I removed the cover and the bolts holding the drip tray in place, it magically started draining (the crimp was released)  it was kind of gross what my drip tank looked like after being soaked in water for a few months.
I made sure there was no blockage in the tank, I cleared it with a bamboo stick and used my pour over kettle to run a few tanks through to make sure.
I followed the instructions and cut the nipple, then reinstalled the tray….. still blocked.  So I took the tray bolts out and again and cut some more off…. still blocked.  When I completely removed the nipple (before the 2nd cut) you can clearly see the nipple is crimped (also a pic of the first and second trimmings).  BTW, removing and reseating the nipple was probably the easy part of this whole process.
 
So I decided to leave the tray with no bolts in, I found some boxes to hold the tray enough to drain properly from the nipple and the bottom drain in the tray.
 
I am going to reach out to Slayer again and I really hope this time they listen to my initial request and just send me new drain nipple.  Its probably the cheapest part on the entire machine.  I do love the shots this beast pulls, but am disappointed with the customer service and quality control (with the prohibitive price tag I highly doubt this is a mass produced machine)  Maybe the company is still settling in from being acquired by Gruppo Cimbali last year, I dont know.  I do know I want it to stop leaking on my counter.
Also if anyone has any ideas of a better nipple drain solution, I am all ears.