Steam And Water Coming Out Of Group Head (Breville Barista)

It can be very annoying when steam is coming from the group head when you’re using the milk frother. Or when water is leaking from the group head when you’re pulling an espresso shot.

In this article, I will tell you exactly how to solve these problems.

What To Do When Steam And Water Is Leaking From The Group Head?

The things that can cause steam or water to leak from the group head are: The valve is blocked by limescale, the steam wand tip is clogged or there is too much room between the group head and portafilter. The solution to these problems is descaling and cleaning your Breville and replacing the group head gasket.

steam and water leaking from group head

Table of Contents

Steam Coming Out of The Group Head

The Valve Is Blocked

When you’ve been using your Breville Espresso machine for a while, limescale will start to build up inside.

Sometimes, the scale comes loose and blocks the valve that controls whether water goes to the group head, hot water, or steam wand outlet.

To remove the limescale that clogs the valve, you must descale your espresso machine.

Descaling a Breville Barista Express

Before you start the descaling process it’s important to know that you cannot use white vinegar to descale your Breville espresso machine, this will damage the machine.

What you need to use is a descaling solution. Make sure to not use the branded Breville solution. They are way more expensive than a non-branded descaling solution. I always use this descaling solution for my machine.

Once you have the descaling solution, you want to follow the instructions on the bottle to dissolve it in the water tank. I usually use a one-to-one ratio of solution to water.

Then you need to turn your machine off, hold the two-cup button and the power button for 5 seconds. Then some lights will start flashing and you’re in descaling mode.

Now that you’re in descaling mode you first need to hold the one-cup button for 25 seconds so the water can run through the portafilter.

Then turn the hot water on for 10 seconds and finally turn the steamer on for 15 seconds. Repeat the cycle until the water tank is empty. Once the tank is empty, you can turn it off.

If you also want to clean the rest of your Breville espresso machine, make sure to check this article out where I explain how to clean the Breville Barista Express.

Now the steam wand should be completely clean and working again!

The Steam Wand Tip Is Clogged

The steam wand tip can get clogged with old milk residue. This clogging can cause too much pressure to build up in the steam wand, pushing the steam out through the portafilter.

Even though you have completely descaled your Breville espresso machine, there may still be old milk residue in the tip of the steam wand that is obstructing the flow of water.

To unclog the steam wand. First, take the small tool with a pin on it and a hole in the center of the tool. The tool came with your machine when you first bought it.

Take the pin and insert it into the hole of the steam wand. Wiggle it a little to get all the dried milk loose. When that’s done, use the hole of the small tool to unscrew the end tip of the steam wand.

Get some hot water with Cafiza in it (the same stuff you use to descale your machine). Soak the steam wand tip in it for about 10 minutes. This will remove all the old dried milk, then rinse it with tap water and it should all be cleaned out.

Alternatively, you can use the water/ descaling solution that is left over after you descaled your espresso machine.

Now when you go to test if the steam wand is working, you should stand back and put the steam wand in a cup or tray, as it may sputter a lot of hot water when first using it again.

steam wand frothing milk

Water Leaking From The Group Head

If water is leaking from the group head, it is usually due to too much space between the group head and the portafilter or a cut in the group head gasket. So if your espresso machine is leaking from the group head, here is what you should do:

Replace The Group Head Gasket

There is a plastic ring in the group head (the group head gasket) that prevents leaking when pulling an espresso shot. If you have been using your Breville for a while, this plastic ring wears out, shrinks a bit, and can have small cuts in it where water can leak through.

To fix the leaking problem you need to replace the group head gasket.

Leakage aside, another sign that the gasket needs to be replaced is when you can lock the portafilter slightly further than when your espresso machine was new.

Here is a video explaining how to replace the group head gasket on a Breville espresso machine:

Lock The Portafilter In More Firmly

If the group head is still leaking water after you replace the group head gasket, the problem may be that you are not fully locking the portafilter into the group head. Make sure the portafilter is securely locked in place.


It can be very annoying when steam is coming from the group head when you’re using the milk frother. Or when water is leaking from the group head when you’re pulling an espresso shot.

To solve these problems, you need to do one of these three things:

  • Descale your Breville espresso machine
  • Clean the tip of the steam wand
  • Replace the group head gasket

I hope this article has helped you solve the steam and water leakage problem.

Thanks for reading!