Barista Blog

Clean your machine

By Emily Braybrooke

If you’re a coffee enthusiast or a barista (or both) you may be the proud owner of your own, espresso machine, albeit a bit smaller than the giants you see in cafes.

You’ll have access to a range of hand made coffees from your own home, and you can really practice your latte art, but what about looking after the machine?

Even though it can be a bit of a tedious task, keeping your coffee machine clean is extremely important for both you and the machine itself.

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Photo credit: Guy Sie. Taken from Flickr.

If dust, coffee or old water collects in the machine, that is obviously going to cause a few issues.

  • You may notice a smell from the machine, you don’t want your house to smell like stagnant water!
  • The machine may not be performing as well. If dust or coffee builds up in the porter filter or group head (brush up on your coffee lingo), this will affect the quality and taste of the espresso shots.
  • Lastly, it obviously isn’t very good for your health if you’re consuming any of the above.

But how to clean it?

  • Firstly, buy yourself a decent coffee machine cleaner. Most of these come with instructions but the important thing is you keep them stored safely as they often contain chemicals.
    The majority of these cleaners contain the chemical Amine Oxide, which is found in surface cleaners and shampoos.
    Every coffee shop that I have worked in has used the brand Puly Cleaner as their cleaner of choice so naturally, this is what I use for my own coffee machine.
    On their website, there are a selection of cleaners for different machines and processes that come in tablets, liquids and powders.
    While backflushing powders are essential for commercially used machines, they are not as important for your home espresso machine, although it is worth backflushing every once in a while.
    I personally use their Espresso Descaler as it comes in the form of a powder in handy sachets that you dissolve into water, as per the instructions. Not only is this a cleaner and easier process, the sachets also prevent you from getting any of the cleaner on your skin. As I have sensitive skin already, this is really handy.
  • Once you’ve dissolved your powder you want to flush the mixture through the machine before flushing through a few more times with clean water to get rid of any residue from the cleaner.
  • As well as giving your machine a thorough clean every few weeks, it is important to clean a little bit after every use.
    I make sure never to leave water in the water tank of my machine, filling it up when I’m going to use the machine and emptying it after every use.
  • Flushing through the group head of your machine before and after use will clear any remaining coffee granules and it’s also worth buying a brush for the group head and porter filter too.

We hope this advice will help you to keep your machine at its best.

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