How to Clean Your Espresso Machine?
When you spend close to or above $2,000 on an espresso machine you want to make sure that you’re taking the necessary steps to ensure the longevity of the machine. In order to do so there are daily, weekly & yearly maintenance tasks that we recommend performing. Before getting into the scheduled maintenance on your machine, the first and most important thing to keep in mind is the water you’re using in your espresso machine.
Using soft, filtered water
One of the most important things you can do to increase the lifespan of your espresso machine is to use soft filtered water. We recommend using distilled water in reservoir machines & adding Third Wave mineral packets in order to create the perfect blend of minerals to not only make your espresso taste better but also to prevent scale build up inside your machine. If you find that over time your machine does have scale build up we strongly advise that you call and speak with one of our experienced service technicians to walk you through how to properly descale your machine. If descaling is done incorrectly you could potentially do more harm than good by damaging the inside of your machine. If you are not comfortable descaling the machine at home you can always send your machine to us to have one of our technicians perform the necessary maintenance
Purge group head
Before and after you pull a shot of espresso you should always purge the group head, which simply means running hot water through the group without the portafilter in place. You want to do this so that you can remove any built-up coffee residue which may negatively impact the taste of your espresso shot.
Purge steam wand
The steam wand on your espresso machine should be purged both before and after steaming. The reason behind purging before you steam the milk is to prevent water from getting into your milk by clearing out any residual water from the wand. After you’re done steaming the milk the wand should be purged to help prevent milk build up which can be not only difficult to remove but also damaging to the machine. This should be done by wrapping the steam wand with a wet rag, pointing it away from yourself & turning the steam on.
Water back flush
We recommend performing a water back flush without detergent every day that you use your machine but once a week is sufficient. In order to back flush with just water you should put your back flush disk into your portafilter and lock it into the group head. Depending on the type of machine you own, activate the brew cycle for 10 seconds before turning it off & repeat this one more time.
Empty and clean drip tray
If your drip tray is not set up to be drained then you should be emptying your drip tray at least once a week if not more often, depending on how many drinks a day you are making. When emptying out the drip tray you should clean it with warm water and dish soap. The best way to dry the exterior of your machine is with a soft microfiber cloth and if you need to clean the stainless steel, Windex works best.
Detergent back flush
Back flushing with detergent is a vital part of any machine’s maintenance schedule and it should be done every 2- 4 weeks depending on your usage. Again, this will not only prolong the life of your machine, but it will also prevent the buildup of coffee oils that will make your espresso taste bitter and unpleasant. Follow these steps when performing a detergent back flush:
- Take out the regular coffee basket from the portafilter
- Add the blank basket into the portafilter
- Dose out ½ teaspoon of cleaning detergent into the blind basket
- Put the portafilter into the group head
- Use the manual button to start the pump, or lift the brew lever
- Wait ten seconds
- Press the manual button again to stop brewing
- Wait ten seconds
- Without removing the portafilter, repeat steps 5 – 8, four times
- Remove the portafilter from the group
- Press the manual button or lift the brew lever to start the pump
- Wash the blank basket in the stream of water until no detergent remains
- Once again put the portafilter into the group, without any detergent this time
- Repeat steams 5 – 8, five times
- Remove the portafilter from the group
- Remove the blank basket
- Install your normal brew basket
Cleaning your accessories
Depending on the type of espresso machine you have will determine how you need to remove the shower screen from the group head. Once the shower screen is removed you should soak the screen, the steam tip and insert baskets in hot water and back flush cleaning solution for about 10 minutes to remove any residual coffee or milk oils.
Replace group gasket and shower screen
Two of the main wear and tear items on your espresso machine are going to be the group gasket and shower screen. If using a rubber group gasket these will typically need to be replaced every year depending on how often you’re using your machine and how quickly the rubber has dried out. Replacing the group gasket proactively will prevent any potential leaks that may occur. If you’re using a silicone group gasket this will likely last longer than a rubber one because they don’t dry out as quickly. The other part that should be replaced every year is the shower screen. Despite adequate cleaning of your shower screen it is still likely that the built-up coffee oils and debris will clog the holes on the screen causing uneven extraction and will negatively affect the taste of your espresso.
Replacing miscellaneous parts
Other items that will possibly need to be replaced each year would be the vacuum breaker, expansion valve, steam/hot water seats & other miscellaneous o. rings. All of these items are likely to wear down over time and might not necessarily need to be replaced every year but it’s something to keep in mind that they will eventually need replacing. If you are not sure what parts on your machine need to be replaced you can always contact our service department either by phone; 518-452-5995, or by email; email@example.com.
Every Few Years
E61 group rebuild
In order to maintain a flawlessly operating espresso machine it would be good practice to rebuild your group entirely every 4-5 years depending on usage. We do not sell a kit, but we have all the parts available. If you email firstname.lastname@example.org we can send you the complete list including links to buy them right online. Some of these items include; pre-infusion valve, E61 teflon gasket kit, E61 springs, cam lever gasket repair kit.
There are a few ways to determine whether or not your pump is starting to go and that it’s about that time to replace it. Most of our machines have either a 52-watt ulka vibratory pump (ex: Quick Mill Andreja Premium, Rocket Appartamento, Izzo Vivi) or rotary pump (Ex: Izzo Duetto, Quick Mill Vetrano 2B, Rocket R58). If you think you need to replace the pump but unsure please give us a call at 518-452-5995 to troubleshoot with one of our technicians, or send that email to email@example.com and your message will be responded to in less than 24-48 hours depending on the day it’s received.