How to Properly Clean Your Espresso Machine
Getting your coffee machine squeaky clean is one of the most rewarding things you can do whenever you have some down time. And when we say “clean”, we mean an in-depth cleaning and not simply making it shiny again.
A good cleaning is not just about how an espresso machine looks, but rather about keeping it in good condition in order to keep it working for years and years. Also, having your machine clean as a whistle will help you make the best coffee possible free of foreign tastes and smells.
It’s all rather simple. First, you have to know the right cleaning product for what you want to clean. After that, it’s all smooth sailing.
Cleaning Products and Their Uses
Let’s run down the essential tools and products and what they are for.
Stainless Steel Brush & Nylon Brush
The two most important weapons in your arsenal. A stainless steel brush is the perfect tool for cleaning all the most sensible, exposed areas of your coffee machine. It’s incredibly handy and gets rid of all the muck that builds-up from the minerals in the water, coffee grounds, etc. It’s 8 inches long and matches virtually any coffee machine.
The nylon brush is the one you’re gonna need whenever you have somewhere hard to reach. Tight spots, nooks and crannies that seem to attract all sorts of build-ups in your machine. The nylon brush helps you banish them forever with ease, something that would probably take a lot of effort with a regular brush.
Backflushing is the act of rinsing -or flushing- the grouphead as well as the inside of the machine. Basically, you’re turning on the machine to pull a shot but instead of coffee, you’re using a special cleaning product. This helps this product reach otherwise impossible to reach places in your grouphead. It removes build-ups that can prove fatal to your machine if left unattended.
The Cafiza backflush cleaning powder is one of the best out there because it’s rather mild and can be used more often. Cleaning frequently is always better in the case of coffee gear because build-ups are the number one threat: better to clean every day than to have to get chunks of scale out of your machine every month.
Multipurpose Wand Cleaner
Rinza Steam Wand Cleaner is our to-go cleaning product. It’s designed to easily rinse your steam wand inside and out, and can be used to clean any part of the coffee machine.
Because it’s incredibly safe to use, it’s our favorite cleaning product for just about every and any part of the coffee machine. A good overnight soak in Rinza and water will get rid of just about any unpleasant smell or taste.
Simply pour a 1:1 mix of Rinza and water into your milk pitcher and proceed to steam it as if it were milk. Wipe thoroughly afterwards and both the steam wand and milk pitcher will be as good as new.
Rinza is also great for soaking other coffee gear; French press, moka pot, and other difficult-to-clean things that might give you a hard time.
Scale, as you might already know, is the name given to a particular mineral build-up that affects the innermost parts of our coffee machines, those that we definitely cannot get to with our trusty brush. This scale forms along the tubes as a sort of membrane, impeding proper functioning and, in time, even completely clogging up your machine.
The only solution to scale is actually quite simple: a combination of chemicals that is aimed particularly at calcium and these types of minerals. You mix it in with water which you then place in the water tank - this way, the descaling solution gets to all of the places we can’t, breaking down these malignant build-ups.
Urnex descaling powder is one of the most potent descalers out there, which is why we think it is the best for our customers. It comes in a presentation that is small and easy to handle (three uses per bag, which can easily last a year) and, like most other descalers, it’s just very simple and straightforward. It removes all build up and leaves your machine running like new in a matter of minutes. Easily the most satisfying cleaning product you can use.
If you’re in need of a more heavy-duty product, try Dezcal, which is intended for commercial use and comes in a bigger bag. It’s great for descaling several machines at once.