How To Clean an Espresso Machine: Tips and Tricks

When you have an espresso machine, whether it is at home or in a commercial establishment, it is paramount to make sure that it is kept clean. Just like in the case of any other kitchen equipment, it is vital to have it well-maintained, which is going to be instrumental towards being able to preserve its quality and functionality in the long run.

If you do not pay attention to its proper cleaning, the superiority of the machine can be compromised. With this, for those who are asking how to clean an espresso machine, we have written this short guide. We hope that it will provide you with the basic knowledge that you have to know.

how to clean an espresso machine

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Why It is Important

Before we proceed with our discussion on how-to clean an espresso machine, let us first discuss why it is necessary. Among others, one of the reasons would be for the process descaling. When you use hard water from tap, which is common in most households, it is possible that sediments will form.

Overtime, they will harden. They will limit the capabilities of the machine, and worse, they will affect the quality of the espresso. Aside from such, it is also important because it is going to extend the functional life of the machine.

If it is well-maintained you can be confident that it is going to be useful for a longer span of time. Lastly, regular cleaning will prevent serious problems that will be costlier to be repaired in the future. It is an act of prevention, eliminating the possibility of serious problems.

Step-By-Step Guide on How To Clean an Espresso Machine

There are different parts of an espresso machine. Hence, you should also clean each part separately. To clean the group, follow these simple steps:

  • Start with having the group scrubbed. A toothbrush with soft bristle can do the job. There are also specialty brushes that are made specifically for this purpose.
  • Take out the basket from the portafilter. Have it replaced with a blank disk, which is often included as one of the extra parts of the espresso machine when it was purchased.
  • Look for an espresso machine cleaning powder. Add a small amount on to porta-filter and have it locked on the group.
  • Have the machine operated under the normal brewing cycle. This will take at least five to ten seconds. Stop. Repeat.
  • Remove the porta-filter, have it scrubbed, and rinse it with water.
  • Next, have it cleaned through back flushing. Once this is done, run it again in its normal brewing cycle, but this time, without having to add the cleaner.
  • To finish the cleaning process, prepare one shot of espresso and discard it. By this time, your group is now clean!

Aside from cleaning the group, it is also important to know how the steam system can be cleaned. These are the simple steps that you should follow:

  • In a pitcher, combine water and milk wash.
  • Aerate the solution with your steam wand. Pretend like it is milk.
  • Remove the tip of the steam wand. Have it cleaned with a sharp object, such as a paper clip. This will effectively get rid of any residue in the wand, especially those that may have already hardened.
  • Have the steam wand soaked in your milk wash for at least 10 minutes. Bring back the steam wand in its place and purge.

Tips in Cleaning an Espresso Machine

Aside from the steps mentioned above on how-to clean an espresso machine, we will also provide you with some valuable tips, including the following:

  • Unplug the unit before it is cleaned. This might be something that is very basic, yet there are a lot of people who forget to do it. Unplugging it is necessary for safety purposes.
  • When you are finished, make sure that all of the components are completely dry. If they are still wet, there are risks that can be apparent and they can even affect the quality of the espresso that you will be making.
  • Refer to the instructions from the manufacturer. While the steps that we have mentioned above can be effective, there are some models with special cleaning requirements. Make sure to follow what is stated by the maker of the espresso machine.
  • Use vinegar as a powerful agent for descaling. This is a natural cleaner, which means that it is also eco-friendly. The best thing is that it is readily-available in the kitchen. Just make sure to wash properly any part that is cleaned with vinegar as it can leave a strong smell and taste.
  • Clean the espresso machine daily, specifically the group head and steam wands. This is especially true if they are being used for commercial purposes.
  • Invest in training. If you have a coffee shop, make sure that the employees are educated. If you have one at home, watch online videos and read articles to let you know how the task can be done properly.
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