How to Clean Your Espresso Machine
Keeping things clean will surely prolong the lifespan of a certain thing. Just like a bike, if you keep on oiling the chain and keep it clean, it will be able to run smoothly without any problems. And it will take you to longer miles. The same goes for your espresso machine. Because espresso machines need to have a deep and thorough cleaning so that it will still be able to deliver the good tasting shot of espresso that we always wanted. There are times when our espresso machine malfunctions. This is because there might be clumps of coffee grounds or hardened milk in some of the tubings and hard to reach areas. It is basically a result of irregular cleaning or not bothering in cleaning it. To make sure that your espresso machine is still doing a great job, make it a habit to have a cleaning routine so that you will no longer have to encounter problems.
Below is an organized way of cleaning your espresso machine. It is divided into three sections: Daily, Monthly and Yearly. This is to ensure that your espresso machine will still have that top-notch quality in making our espresso or espresso-based drinks.
- Always wipe the steam wand. This is to prevent the milk from hardening inside the wand. Because it has a huge possibility that there will be a bacteria buildup if you leave it be. Every after use of the steam wand, always wipe it with a clean piece of cloth. And there’s no harm in inserting a little bit of the cloth in the wand to make sure that there will be no milk residue that will be stuck in it.
- Always flush the group head right after you make espresso. There is a huge tendency that the oils from the used coffee grounds will create an unwanted taste that can mix in your espresso. This is why flushing is one of the most important cleaning steps that you need to do whenever you are making espresso.
- Use a clean cloth to wipe the areas around the machine. Most especially the area where the dripping process is made. Having a clean working area will always affect the end product of your espresso. This is to avoid mixing different kinds of fluids in the cup of coffee or espresso that you will be making. It will also make your working area presentable and keeping ants away from invading the space.
- Scrub the portafilter and the gasket. Clumps of coffee grounds may get stuck in the tiny parts of the gasket. It is also best to give it a little scrub to ensure that there are no coffee grounds that are left inside. If left uncleaned it will be harder for you to attach the portafilter.
- Drip tray cleaning. If the drip tray is already full or almost full, always toss it out. You don’t want to have an overflowing tray while making your favorite cup of cappuccino or shot of espresso.
- Full backflush every end of the day. If you are a fully functioning coffee house, it is best to do a full backflush once you are closed. Or if you own an espresso machine at home, set your machine to a full backflush mode while you are washing the dishes. This is to ensure that there will be no coffee grounds left in the tiny areas of the machine. Using a diluted detergent will also help in cleaning. But be sure to pull a few shots of espresso as the final step. You don’t want the detergent to mix with the espresso that you will be serving.
- Drain and clean the hoses to avoid clogs.
- Disassemble the machine for internal cleaning and this is also to make sure that all of the internal parts are still intact. An espresso machine has a complex mechanism which is why checking the internal parts of it is advisable so that you will know if there are things that need to be replaced.
- Sanitize all metal parts. All stainless-steel materials need to be thoroughly cleaned in order to avoid rust. And one of the best ways to prevent these things from rusting is to sanitize it.
- Change shower screens and portafilter baskets and drain the steam tank of the calcified steam tank.
- Decalcification of your machine with the manufacturer or distributor is the most recommended thing to do. Because they will have all of the necessary equipment to be used in ensuring the performance of your machine.
There are tiny things in the espresso machine that you may want to replace yearly. This is to prevent any future interruptions whenever you are using your espresso machine. Like the expansion valve. A regular replacement will help prevent leaks and temperature loss in the tank.
This is one important part of the machine to keep it running. You may also want to keep an eye on the steam and hot water valve or rings, shoulder bolt shims, anti-suction valve, brew actuator bearing, waste pipe, and the portafilter baskets. Although the portafilter baskets will not wear off easily it is still best to keep an eye on it just in case.
Maintaining the cleanliness of your espresso machine will surely go a long way. If you want to have that decent cup of cappuccino or that strong kick of espresso, make sure your machine is running perfectly well. You invested a lot of money for this kind of machine, better yet take extra care of it so that your money will not be put to waste.
Also, cleaning your own espresso machine will make you feel like a pro barista. If you’re a coffee maker, you should also know how to take care of the machine that is making you the best coffee drink. A cup of coffee a day will always keep you going. How much more for the years to come with your own espresso machine, right?