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Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 5:57am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

Well, I have to reverse my previous good reports. My Brazen started short-potting a few days ago. I previously reported this:

"After all the talk about scale build up and tap water, I feel extremely grateful for the water in my area. In my corner of western KY, the tap water tastes great and the hardness is 7 ppm. As a practical example, I boil water in the same electric kettle every day for several years -- and there isn't even a hint of scale. This isn't to brag, just to note that you don't always have to use filtered water. It's just better to err on the side of caution if you don't know your water hardness."

Nothing has changed about the softness of the water, here. It's effectively zero.

I don't have a lot of money to spend on coffee gear, so this is a big $200 of disappointment. This coffee maker is a brilliant idea with a poor execution.

I may try some of the many fixes and workarounds posted here, but honestly, the joy is gone from using a tool when you know it to be unreliable. I hate waking up in the morning and making a pot of coffee without knowing if it'll actually work or not. I'll probably just switch back to my vacuum pot. Not wiping up coffee stains after most pours will be refreshing, as well.

I was a true believer in the Brazen, but can no longer recommend it.
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imsnowbear
Senior Member
imsnowbear
Joined: 31 Dec 2001
Posts: 29
Location: Iron Mountain, Michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Several, including Sunbeam...
Drip: Technivorm, Melitta Clarity,...
Roaster: SC/GG/Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 6:29am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

The Brazen is definitely high maintenance. After bragging that drilling a hole in the lid eliminated my water flow issues, my Brazen short potted me again; ironically just after a citric acid maintenance cleaning. I unplugged the rascal and held it over the sink while spraying the inlet hole with the sink sprayer. Then I carefully probed into the opening with a toothpick. To my dismay some detrius was pulled out. It looked like cat fur, which is not surprising in our 3 feline household. (I can only imagine what my lungs look like.) This is the second time this happened but the first time was after only a month and the junk may have been there from the factory.

The Brazen is now back to normal, delivering its usual wonderful coffee.

Don't give up on the machine until you've tried the above. Follow the directions for descaling with citric acid or Dezcal, and then flush it out. If you still have the problem, try leaving the lid ajar since my problem was caused by vapor lock in the heating chamber. drilling a small hole in the lid helped me.

I sympathize with your frustration, but the Brazen is a precision instrument with the consequent idiosyncrasies. It's like the Little Girl With the Curl, when it's good, it's very, very good. When it's bad, its horrid. ;)

Good luck. Report back if you are able resolve your issues.
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 6:43am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

My sink doesn't have a spraying attachment, and I can't think of another way to direct a sufficient stream of water into the upside-down valve. Hm. Maybe with one of those blue ear-cleaning bulbs? I think I have one of those around somewhere.

What's weird is that the machine went from draining fully every time to leaving an inch of water in the reservoir, with no gradual transition. Also, I always check the reservoir for detritus when adding water, but I suppose it's possible I missed something.

Anyway, I will be using my vacuum pot this weekend. I don't want to frustrate an otherwise-relaxing weekend with coffee troubleshooting.
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imsnowbear
Senior Member
imsnowbear
Joined: 31 Dec 2001
Posts: 29
Location: Iron Mountain, Michigan
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso
Vac Pot: Several, including Sunbeam...
Drip: Technivorm, Melitta Clarity,...
Roaster: SC/GG/Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 6:57am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

I really do think your problem may be an obstructed inlet, but don't forget leaving the lid ajar. Maybe you could try compressed air, as in one of those cans  of air they sell for cleaning computer keyboards, etc. I'd put a little water in there and then blast away. Also try probing with a toothpick etc. to pull out any debris before and after flushing.

Vac pot coffee is wonderful, but I had worse luck with that method than the Brazen. Also, too labor intensive. The cats would never wait long enough for their morning feeding for the coffee to brew.
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 7:38am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

All right, well I couldn't get this off my mind, so I did a bunch of stuff. I thoroughly sprayed out the valve inlet and probed it with a small tool. That produced nothing, and when I shone a bright flashlight in I was able to see all the way to the screen. It's perfectly clean and clear.

I went on to descaling it, although, again, scale is not an issue in my area. We have extraordinarily soft water. I monitor it regularly, because I am a home brewer of hard cider and keep a sensitive fresh water aquarium. The water here is has a hardness of 7 ppm, no joke. However, I descaled it anyway. I decided to release the water/acid solution manually, to see if I could figure out anything else.

And yeah. The solenoid buzzes loudly and refuses to open or release any water about 50% of the time. If I close it and try again, it might buzz and stick again, or it might actually open fully and release water as usual. This is all with the top open, so a possible vacuum issue is ruled out. It's definitely a problem with the solenoid getting stuck closed, somehow.
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

Now the solenoid won't open at all! Wow, that progressed quickly.
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jran
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Apr 2013
Posts: 6
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

Sounds like my experience with it.
My opinion based on my experiences with 3 Brazens is that there is a material defect in the solenoid diaphragm that will manifest over time regardless of factors other than regular use.

"Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)"
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

Yeah, I saw your posts and also suspect we're experiencing the same issue. I may even void my warranty by opening it up and taking photos. I hate dealing with incredulous support people and returns, and if this is a common issue, it needs to be documented.
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cafedj
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Oct 2003
Posts: 654
Location: NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bialetti, Aeropress
Grinder: Rocky doserless
Vac Pot: Bodum
Drip: Behmor Brazen
Roaster: Counter Culture
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

gilrain Said:

Yeah, I saw your posts and also suspect we're experiencing the same issue. I may even void my warranty by opening it up and taking photos. I hate dealing with incredulous support people and returns, and if this is a common issue, it needs to be documented.

Posted August 16, 2013 link

Unless you've definitely decided to abandon the Brazen I'd advise not voiding your warranty before contacting Behmor support.  My experience is they will quickly help you get a replacement machine if yours is not working properly, which is what you've described.

I also have soft water, had slow flow, tried descaling which made no difference, then flushed out the drain hole with a water sprayer and that fixed it completely.  There was no visible obstruction, but obviously something got cleaned out, and I'm happily back to great coffee.   Obviously if the valve isn't operating that's an entirely different problem and would be covered under the warranty.
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gilrain
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Aug 2008
Posts: 18
Location: Murray, KY
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Baratza Encore
Vac Pot: Yama Stovetop
Drip: Broken Brazen
Roaster: Whirly-Pop
Posted Fri Aug 16, 2013, 8:45am
Subject: Re: Now we know what GORT is (Behmor BraZen Brewer)
 

I appreciate the advice cafedj, but yeah, this has killed my enthusiasm for owning a Brazen. Also, I have a natural curiosity about this sort of thing.

After a lot of trouble and rather more breakage than I usually need for taking apart appliances, I finally isolated the solenoid. However, this nut is too tight for me to loosen with my meager home tools. Was there any trick to it, jran?

This is where I'm at, now.
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