This is a sponsored guest post.
Even the best espresso machine is going to clog up and have problems from scale, build-p, and just general use even if you treat it with the reverence it deserves. That means you’ll need to learn how to clean it sooner or later.
Of course, they’re also complex machines so not everyone can just dig right in and start on the process. The following are some great ways to get started on making sure that your machine is working well into the future.
1. Do Your Dailies
Espresso machines require some level of daily maintenance, or you’ll end up in trouble in a hurry.
The first thing to do is to make sure that the metallic portafilter is cleaned out. You can usually do this simply by turning it upside down and running hot water through both the basket and the handled filter.
This basic step makes a big difference but if you’re using your machine daily then you’re going to need to step things up a bit more.
You’ll also want to make sure that the gasket is cleared. Most machines come with a nylon brush for this purpose, but you can find one easily if it didn’t. Brush all of the debris from the gasket and you’re on the right track.
You can then run the machine to put water through and clean out the rest of the debris, which will be loosened from the brushing.
Lastly, you’ll want to loosen the group screen and clean off both sides of it.
Once all of this is done you can backwash the machine to make sure that all of the debris is cleaned out. Check your manual to make sure that it’s recommended, but most machines include a “screen” that’s actually solid and will allow water to pass back through the machine.
After that, you just need to wipe down any visible stains and you’ll be good to go for the next morning.
2. Weekly Deep Cleaning
You’ll want to go through a deep cleaning once a week, or possibly every two weeks if you’re only pulling a couple of shots each morning.
When you’re doing a deep clean you’ll need to make sure that you mix up a cleaning solution. There are a ton of them on the market, but you should see which one the manufacturer of your machine recommends. If they don’t recommend one then you’ll want to do some research and see what people with your machine are using.
Make sure you follow the directions that come with the solution while mixing it.
After mixing the solution you’ll want to take off all removable parts, especially those that come into contact with milk or espresso. Your manual will point you in the right direction if you’re unclear on how to remove some of these parts.
The solution can be used to sanitize the group, steam arm, screens, and the portafilter. Allow the items to soak overnight for the best results. The solution will change color as it removes the dissolved solids that have accumulated on the parts over the course of the last week’s espresso creation.
After the overnight soak, you’ll want to remove the parts and rinse them until you can no longer smell the solution. You may even want to soak them for fifteen to twenty minutes in cold water if you’re having trouble.
Then all you need to do is dry them with a towel and re-assemble the machine. It’s an easy process and it’ll help you avoid a lot of problems as time goes on.
3. Descale the Machine
Descaling may need to be done anywhere from two to four times per year depending on how much use your espresso machine goes through.
\Scale occurs from calcium deposits in the water, milk proteins, and the oils that are contained within the espresso grounds. It naturally builds up over time and can eventually clog the machine, so it’s best to stick to your schedule.
Descaling solutions are added directly to the freshwater reservoir of the machine. You’ll need to follow the instructions with the descaler to know how much to add.
You’ll first want to run the solution through the steam wand. Make sure to wipe up the excess: descalers contain a mild acid to break up the accumulated proteins and hard water deposits. That means it can tarnish the exterior surface of your espresso machine if you let the solution sit.
You’ll then want to let the machine sit for some time to allow the descaler to work its magic.
Afterward, run some more of the solution through both the steam wand and the group. Roughly ¼ cup will do the trick. Turn the machine off and let it sit for another half hour, the accumulated descaler will continue to break down the soluble,
After letting it sit again all you need to do is run the rest of the solution through. Try to do it equally between the steam wand and the group.
Once done you’ll have removed most of the deposits in the machine and won’t have to go through the process again for a few months so you can rest easy and enjoy each shot you pull.
Keep Your Espresso Machine Shining!
Espresso machines require quite a bit of maintenance but the majority of people will tell you it’s well worth it in the end. As long as you keep up on the cleaning process you’ll have a solid machine with a much longer lifespan than one which isn’t cared for.
So, make a maintenance schedule and get to it!