Clean your espresso machine for a long life
Below we show you how to wash the components of your espresso machine (filter, filter holder, gasket, skimmer, diffuser, etc.)
You do not clean a manual coffee machine as you do an automatic one. Each type of machine has its own particularities, and each model has its own characteristics.
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How to clean a manual espresso machine
1. Clean the filter and filter holder daily.
With each use, coffee fat deposits accumulate and become embedded in the filter and filter holder. These deposits can eventually give the coffee a pungent taste.
Get in the habit of washing these two items every day with a little dishwashing soap and hot water. Have you neglected this cleaning and formed a hard black crust?
If the dishwashing soap isn’t enough to get rid of, get a stronger degreasing soap (about $15 at 30 ). This type of product is usually sold in specialty stores. Follow the instructions on the package.
2. Keep the seal and shower head clean.
Underneath the head, the part that allows hot water to diffuse through various openings, is the gasket.
This seals the filter to prevent water from draining off, thus preserving the full flavor of the coffee. Therefore, it is important to keep it clean.
- Always clean the edge of the filter after pouring the coffee moulu to prevent the beans from sticking to the seal and the hand shower when placing the filter.
- Rub the seal after each coffee extraction with a small brush (about 10 to 20 ), then let some water run without putting the filter to rinse the seal and the shower head.
In some machines, the hand shower and the diffuser (to which the hand shower is attached by a screw) can be removed. If this is the case with your appliance, remove these two elements and clean them every six to eight weeks with a coffee machine degreasing soap.
3. Remove all traces of milk from the skimmer
Before and after each use of the steamer, spray the nozzle to clean any milk that may be lodged in it. Wipe the stem with a damp cloth after each frothing.
4. Backward function.
This method allows you to clean the interior of your espresso machine’s extraction system. The first step is to replace the filter with a blind filter (without a hole).
After depositing the degreasing product in the blind filter, an extraction is started, as if you were making coffee. Thanks to the blind filter, the water will be directed upwards and not downwards, thus cleaning the whole interior of the system.
This operation cannot be performed on all devices. Usually only models with a third valve allow this.
To find out if your machine can be backwashed and to start this operation, follow the instructions in your manual exactly.
5. Carrying out the decalcification
Eliminates lime deposits – the number one enemy of any coffee machine – that build up and prevent water from circulating properly.
Lime deposits can even clog pipes inside the machine and cause breakage. Therefore, it is imperative to decalcify your machine every six to eight weeks if you want it to last long.
While some manufacturers recommend vinegar, others recommend the use of a specific product (from about 6 to 15 ). But it is difficult to decide the ideal product to use. To conseil : be careful and follow the instructions in your maintenance manual.
How to clean an automatic espresso machine
Most automatic espresso machines come with a screen that tells you if it’s time to clean, decalcify or lubricate the machine (to prevent components from getting stuck). Here’s what you’ll need faire :
1. Clean the Espresso Machine coffee unit
In some machines, it is necessary to remove the coffee brewing unit (the module that prepares the coffee) to clean and lubricate it.
If your machine doesn’t tell you when to do it, do it every six or eight weeks. Do it more regularly if you use your machine very little (only on weekends, for example), since the parts tend to get dirtier when the water flow is less frequent.
To clean your espresso machine, use the products recommended in your maintenance manual. This is normally a degreasing soap that is added to hot water.
Soak the pieces for about 20 minutes or overnight if they are very dirty. The lubricant (food grade grease in a tube) should also be applied in the areas designated by the manufacturer. Once again, your maintenance manual is your best ally.
Some machines are self-cleaning, which means you don’t have to remove the coffee unit to clean and lubricate it.
Simply place the products indicated by the manufacturer (often in the form of capsules ; sold for about 30 $ for six units) in the designated space and follow the instructions on the screen.
2. Wash the milk vaporizer and its components thoroughly.
After each use, thoroughly clean all parts of the machine that have been in contact with the milk, e.g. the removable parts of the steamer, the steamer bowl or the tube.
Be sure to scrub them thoroughly so there are no deposits. Dishwashing soap and hot water are sufficient.
On some high-end coffee machines, an indicator light comes on to remind you to clean the steam. Simply follow the instructions on the screen to start the automatic cleaning system.
3. Carrying out the decalcification
The vast majority of automatic machines calculate the amount of water that has passed through the machine and notify you when it is time to decalcify it.
If your coffee maker does not have such a program, discard it every six to eight weeks or so. In all cases, follow the instructions in the manual and use the products recommended by the manufacturer.