How to Clean An Espresso Machine
An espresso machine is one of those life luxuries that most of us have become accustomed to and are now a basic necessity as life would not be the same without them around.
However, like any other appliance, owning an espresso machine comes with some responsibility, and one of the most important of these responsibilities is to keep the machine clean. And this is because keeping it clean keeps it performing well and producing some flavorful brews.
Every time you pull that creamy and flavorful shot of espresso or two and froth some milk for cappuccinos if your model has this capability, layers of everything from dirt and oils to minerals will accrue on your espresso maker.
And if you use the machine every day, the buildup becomes too much that it affects the machine's performance and even worse how your espressos taste. But the good news is that espresso machines are easy to clean up using things you already have at home.
Cleaning up After Daily Use
As an espresso lover that uses an espresso machine every other day, you should make a habit of always cleaning it after use. Doing this not only helps to minimize the buildup but also ensures the machine will be clean and ready to use the next time you want to pull a shot.
The daily maintenance should not take a lot of time and once you get used to the routine, you should be able to finish it up in just a few minutes.
What You Will Need
- Scrubby pad or nylon brush
- Kitchen towel
- A clean and damp rag
Step by Step Directions
Step 1: Start by removing the basket from the portafilter and scrub both using your nylon brush and rinse them with some warm water before drying them with a clean kitchen towel
Step 2: Clean the gasket that provides the seal between the portafilter and group head with the nylon brush and then run warm water through to rinse it
Step 3: Insert the blind disc if your espresso machine came with one and backwash the machine
Step 4: Sanitize the steam wand by purging or flushing it out to get rid of any milk buildup
Step 5: Add some clean water to the water reservoir and run a few brew cycles to flush out the espresso machine
Step 6: Finish by giving the espresso machine a thorough wipe down with a clean and damp rag
Descaling your Espresso Machine
Besides cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine after every use, you will also need to give it a thorough clean up and descale it at least once a week or after every couple of weeks depending on the frequency of use.
This deep cleaning is essential to get rid of the mineral buildup that often results in unusual espresso flavors and will also help to sanitize the coffee machine to ensure that there is no conducive environment for bacteria and mold to grow.
And like the regular daily cleanup, the deeper one is equally easy and also cost-effective as you will not need anything expensive.
What You Will Need
- White vinegar, citric acid or a store-bought descaling agent
- Clean kitchen towel
Step By Step Directions
Before we get to the step by step directions, it is important to know that espresso machines are different, and so it is always a wise idea to first check what the manufacturer of your specific model recommends on the manual.
Some machines will also have an automatic descaling feature. But, generally, here are the steps you will need to follow to give most espresso machines a deep clean.
Step 1: Pick your Descaling Agent
The first step is to decide which between the 3 descaling agents to use, and in some instances, you might need to try out all of them and settle for what works best for you.
Step 2: Mix It Up
Using vinegar for example purposes, the next step is to mix it with water in equal parts and shake or stir thoroughly to ensure the two mix well.
Step 3: Fill Up Water Reservoir
Now fill up the espresso machine’s water reservoir with your vinegar mixture just as you would when making your espressos.
Step 4: Run a Brew Cycle
Power the espresso machine and run the mixture through the machine by pushing the brew button, and if you reside in an area with very hard water, you should run the descaling solution through the machine at least twice.
Step 5: Clean Steam Wand
Next run the descaling solution through the steam wand to get rid of any build up in there as the more you use it, oily layers of milk and dirt tend to accumulate inside and a regular rinse with warm water cannot remove it all.
Step 6: Wipe Down the Exterior Surface
Use some of the vinegar solution to clean the outside section of the espresso machine by spraying and wiping it off with a soft kitchen towel
Step 7: Rinse with Water
Once both the interior and exterior sections have been properly descaled and cleaned with the vinegar solution, the final step is to rinse out the machine to remove the smell and taste of the descaling agent. This will require you to run several cycles of clean water through the machine and wipe the exterior surfaces with a clean and damp cloth until there is no vinegar smell.
1. Vinegar, citric acid and commercial descaling agents will all do a good job, and so what you choose among them is mostly up to personal preferences and what you can easily access. However, many people seem to prefer vinegar as it is cheap and widely available in most homes.
2. To clean up your portafilter and other detachable parts of the espresso machine, you should detach and soak them overnight on your descaling solution.
3. When using citric acid to descale your espresso machine, make sure that you dilute it adequately before cleaning your machine because it can be a little too acidic and end up tarnishing the machine’s exterior metal surface.
Your espresso machine is probably one of your favorite appliances at home as it is what gives you those refreshing brews that provide the energy boost you need to tackle the day. But, if you do not keep this machine clean, you will not enjoy those tasty espressos for long.
The good news is that cleaning your espresso machine does not take a lot of effort, and it is also not costly as the chances are that you already have everything you will need at home.
By making it a habit to clean up your machine after every use and giving it some deep cleaning at least once a week, you can keep it running smoothly and making some delightful beverages. And in most instances, all you will need is some white vinegar for descaling and a soft kitchen cloth for wiping the machine.