Cleaning & Maintenance of Your Espresso Machine

13 September 2017
Category: Tips

Backflush your machine! The health of your espresso machine is imperative, not only to deliver you a delicious cup of coffee every time but to also maximise the machine’s lifespan. Backflushing the group heads with water and the proper cleaning powder prevents the coffee oils or even grains from building up back behind the group heads. Built up coffee oils go stale behind the shower head –  adding bitterness, maybe off metallic taste –  i.e. bad flavour to the next espresso shots. So if you want your coffee to taste consistently great (like our beans deserve) then you will backflush. If you want your machine to last, and not need expensive solenoids replaced or other costly maintenance, you will backflush it daily. At least with water, and with cleaner once or twice every week (home barista) or daily (cafe) – depending on how much coffee you serve each day. Don’t be afraid of the cleaner. It’s made for this use, as a food grade cleaner. Just rinse well, backflushing with water a few times, so there’s no residue in the next espresso pour.

Why?

Oily residue, along with hard water deposits and other impurities build up over time. This produces unpleasant, bitter tasting coffee and a poorly functioning machine, with expensive parts needing to be replaced. It’s preventable!

What products/tools do I need to clean my machine?

Follow these instructions for cleaning your espresso machine

BACKFLUSHING:

  • Start by wiping off the residue on the shower screen
  • Place the blind filter into the portafilter (if you’re using the smaller rubber blind filter you will need to leave the basket in)
  • Add the espresso machine cleaner (EVO organic Espresso machine cleaner ) to the portafilter (read the instructions for recommendations on how much to use)
  • Lock the portafilter into the machine
  • Start the flush sequence by running the brewing cycle for 4-5 seconds and then stopping it for 10 seconds, allowing it to draw the cleaner back through the lines of the machine
  • Repeat this process approximately 5-10 times per group head, depending on how long since you cleaned it last and how often it has been used
  • Remove the portafilter from the machine and rinse with hot water
  • Lock the portafilter back into the machine (with the blind filter) and repeat the backflushing sequence 3-4 times using water only
  • Use your group head cleaning brush to get inside the rim of the group head and give it a good scrub. Rinse the brush to remove any old grains of coffee and repeat
  • Remove the blind filter (and basket) from the portafilter and place both the portafilter and basket in a steel jug with a small amount of the espresso machine cleaner and boiling water and soak. Leave overnight if you want. Be sure that the plastic handle of the portafilter does not come in contact with the solution as over time it will break down the plastic
  • Wash the drip tray with warm, soapy water and replace
  • Wipe over entire machine and polish with a microfibre cloth

Before you make another coffee after cleaning:

  • Run a shot of coffee through each group head and discard. This will eliminate any further cleaner residue and will ‘season’ the machine.

CLEANING YOUR STEAM WAND:

  • Just wiping well after each time you steam milk, will prevent build up. Just do it! … even the busiest cafe baristas manage this, before they pour their steamed, textured milk into the cup.
  • If you do have build up, you can soak the steam wand in a jug of water whilst the machine is still on. Do not do this, and then turn the machine off, as the cleaner/water solution with stale milk will suck back up the steamwand into the boiler.  That’s a very bad scenario.
  • Milk Steamer Solution :  follow suggested amount on instruction. Add to a large stainless steel milk jug with warm water. Do not overfill!
  • Insert wand into the jug and run steamer for 1 minute, as you would milk. Soak for a few minutes longer to give it time to break down the stale milk proteins.
  • Remove jug and and purge the steam wand a few times
  • Wipe down steam wand thoroughly with a clean cloth
  • Milk steamer solution works wonders on milk build up ‘stains’ on the interior of your milk jugs. They come back all shiny clean as new.