10 Top Tips for Cleaning & Maintaining your Espresso Machine
1. Filter your water
It’s certainly the case that what goes in = what comes out. The importance of a high quality water filter which is changed regularly cannot be overlooked. Hard water causes scale which damages your espresso machine and affects the taste, appearance and aroma of your espresso. Eliminating lime scale is therefore vital for making excellent espresso and reducing machine downtime. Independent taste tests have confirmed that consumers can taste the difference between coffee made with filtered water and coffee made with ordinary tap water.
2. Use a top quality cleaning product
There are many brands to choose from when deciding which espresso machine cleaning products to buy. When cleaning group heads using a product that activates quickly is essential. The cleaning cycle itself only takes a couple of minutes, so if the product you select doesn’t dissolve quickly enough it simply won’t work. Avoid products that carry the hazardous symbol. You’re making coffee – make sure you are certain of food hygiene & safety at all times.
3. Daily Cleaning – group heads & steam wands
Group heads and steam tubes need to be cleaned daily to remove residue from coffee & milk deposits. Group head cleaning/back flushing, ensures that your espresso is free from coffee deposits which can leave drinks with a bitter aftertaste and unpleasant odours. Overtime these deposits build up causing your machine to fail. An effective steam tube cleaner will remove milk deposits and calcium build up inside the tube and improves the micro texture of milk foam, reducing the time taken to foam.
4. Clean the filter basket & filter holder
Deposits from oils & fats in the coffee build up in the filter basket and underneath it. If left, these restrict the flow of coffee through the basket leading to an uneven extraction and a bitter aftertaste. Use a good coffee grounds cleaning brush to sweep the basket out in between shots, remove and clean the filter basket and wipe the inside of your filter holder several times a day. Soak the filter holder in a basin of water with a measure of your group head cleaner every evening.
5. Purge the group head in between shots
Always purge between every shot to remove any excess coffee grinds in the group head.
6. Wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth immediately after frothing
This prevents old milk from crusting up the steam wand & inside the steam nozzle throughout the day.
7. Remove the shower screen
Clean the shower screens on a daily basis. Chemical backwashes do not always dissolve the old grind within the shower screen. If you’ve never done this before you may be in for a shock for the amount
of residue you will find. It’s best to do this daily as you won’t be re-brewing old coffee if you let it build up.
8. Use the right tools
Don’t underestimate the importance of using the correct tools for the job. A good group head cleaning brush, a coffee grounds cleaning brush, a micro fibre cloth, and of course your cleaning chemicals are all you need.
9. Don’t forget the grinder
The road to the perfect espresso starts with the grinder. Coffee deposits in the grinder blades turn rancid when exposed to the heat from the grinding process. Weekly cleaning of these deposits with a specialist cleaner ensures they are removed. Don’t forget to clean deposits from the hopper too. Whenever you're changing coffees, finishing a shift or shutting a grinder down, remember to remove all the coffee from inside the grinding chamber
10. Staff Training
Invest in your staff. Taking the time to train your team to clean & maintain your espresso machine & grinder is just as important as making espresso’s and foaming milk. A clean machine really does produce the best coffee and it won’t break down and let you down.