Bunn Trifecta Coffee Brewer

Keeping the Bunn Trifecta coffee brewer in shape takes fidgeting, but it’s worth it!

Can I see a show of hands for all those peeps out there with the Bunn Trifecta in the house? (Sound of crickets chirping and paint peeling).

Ok, maybe it’s just me but this coffee brewer is truly one of a kind, very roughly speaking, a home version of the Clover commercial brewer (yes, the one Starbucks absorbed into their fold and then tenderly smothered out of existence. Supposedly they are relaunching it soon as the Vertica).

Sweet Maria's original marketing photos when we sold the Bunn Trifecta
Sweet Maria’s original marketing photos when we sold the Bunn Trifecta

The main issue with the Bunn Trifecta coffee brewer is the little spring-loaded one-way valves. Your Trifecta might start dribbling when it shouldn’t , not dribbling when it should … you know, humiliated by the aging process in a way that needs to further elucidation.

If you have the Trifecta special tool, you know that sometimes a single grain of coffee can get into the valve in the bottom of the brew chamber, and it will cause the brewer to constantly leak in the brewing process.

If valves start to leak, you can swap them out for a while, in particular the valve that aerates can be swapped with a leaky drain valve, but eventually you will just have a bunch of bad ones and need to revive them. Supposedly they are available but they seem to cost crazy prices… I bet they are used in some other technology or application. I doubt Bunn designed and manufactured these just for the Trifecta. But I have not been able to find them.

There are actual 4 valves in use at all times. Two are in the water dispensing head of the machine, over the removable brew chamber. And 2 are in the brew chamber. One is for the forced air agitation coming in, and the other is for water drainage when the brew is done.

Taking apart the valves is a bit of a trick and for this, the nearest thing i found that worked was a small brad nail to apply pressure and pop the valve apart. Take care! When doing this, parts can fly across the room and will be hard to locate. You do NOT want to lose the plastic parts here!

The Trifecta valve, separated
The valve, separated, showing inner o-ring and outer o-ring

The best o-ring I found for the outer is the #5 size which is pretty easy to find at a big box hardware store.

The interior o-ring is probably the most important to replace. And the smaller rings were a bit harder to find. I went to a better hardware store and was able to find the #60 and #61 o-rings. Of these I preferred the #60, which is thick in profile but when stretched fits well.

But sometimes you need to “rebuild” the valve and for this you need to get some very tiny o-ring washers before proceeding. If you have some tiny tweezers and a micro flathead screwdriver that will come in handy.

If you have any tips or tricks you use to keep your Trifecta working, let us know in the comments here.

12 Responses

  1. Will wonders never cease? My dusty Trifecta was inching inexorably closer to the trash bin when I found this write-up. Thanks for an injection of new hope. I remember fiddling with the O-rings a lot, sometimes successfully, some not. I seem to remember that it would end the brew cycle early, leading me to suspect a solenoid valve that I was “sure” I would never be able to source, so under the bottom shelf of the pantry it went.
    (side note) Among other treasures I still have one of the ten CCR (computer controlled roasters) that Jeffery Pawlan created. It’s not operational either, but only for lack of setup after our move from Milpitas to Spring, Texas. Who knows, this might push me into motion!
    Thanks for all that you SweetMaria’s folks do for the love of Coffee!

    1. I’m glad you found the post. I still enjoy the Trifecta a lot and with new o rings it works well. I guess I’m lucky I have not had a solenoid issue but there is a good chance it can be replaced. Good luck!

  2. Thank you for this article Thompson ! ( *Printing, laminating, storing for all posterity*).

    I actually purchased my Bunn Trifecta from Sweet Maria’s warehouse in Oakland back in the day.
    I realized only a few years ago Bunn had discontinued this model, and I cannot find anyone that still sells these brew chambers.
    I only ever used 1 of the 2 that originally came with the unit, and I am hoarding that 2nd unit for dear life!

    Any and every idea to keep this machine running for as long as possible is appreciated !

  3. The check valves are actually available for sale, although I’ve had trouble finding them in small quantities. If you look closely at some of your pictures, you will see the manufacturer (neoperl) and model/series (DW10). I think the red/black may be different models. I will take proper measurements when I have time.

    I have seen quite a few available on eBay… some small quantities (10) and others large quantities (several hundred).

    1. Thank you for highlighting the availability of the valves. Hopefully having the specific manufacturer and model will help everyone source replacement parts as they need them.

  4. If anyone has had luck finding brew chamber replacement, please let me know [email protected]. I love my Trifecta Brewer but both of my brewchambers died in the same month (Nov ’23). Other brewers are not the same! If anyone is not using thier brewer and open to selling their chamber – let’s talk! Thanks (not properly caffinated Will)

    1. Yeah this is tough now but I know the machines are out there. We will let you know of we hear of any.

  5. Thanks for this write-up. My favorite brewer of all time, unfortunately after it started malfunctioning, I was forced by my SO to get rid of mine. Maybe this write-up would have saved its life. I hope it saves a few others. So disappointed Bunn discontinued this great brewer.

  6. Hey all – I love my Trifecta and it has been great but I am missing the little black round cone part that prevents the coffee from spitting as its being discharged from the chamber. The piece is seen in the second row of pics above on the right. Does anyone know if this part can be purchased? Can someone take some better pics of theirs as well as some measurements for me?

  7. I was thinking that obsolete valves etc for trifecta are a good candidate for 3d printing. If someone has that skill, and has a trifecta, they could be a real hero by sharing 3d print files for ket parts

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