If you own an espresso machine, you definitely know all the responsibilities that come with it in order to keep it functioning properly and of course, to make a mean cup of coffee.
It is important to keep an espresso machine cleaned regularly if not monthly, especially if you want consistently great tasting coffee even if that machine is used multiples times in a day.
With the right equipment and effective methods of cleaning, espresso machines can last a very long time. In this article, I will break down all the different ways you how to clean an espresso machine step by step.
Cleaning an Espresso Machine Step by Step
Before learning about how espresso machines can be cleaned, it is important to know why. As much as we love to bask in the idea that espresso machines are doing all the work for us as baristas, they need maintenance like any other machine would do.
It is very necessary to clean an espresso machine as it is one of the biggest reasons as to why your cup of coffee might taste good or bad.
Cleaning an espresso machine not only gets rid of bacteria and other sorts of impurities like mould, but it also keeps your machine hygienic and ensures a safe drinking experience.
Keeping kitchen appliances clean every day is necessary for good hygiene. However, it is important to note that deep cleaning every few weeks or at least once a month can help prolong the life of the machine.
Herein, vinegar is the most useful product when it comes to cleaning appliances, especially espresso machines. This is because vinegar is acidic and it can breakdown the tough to clean oil that is secreted from coffee beans.
However, relying only on vinegar is a bad idea as leaving the machine on vinegar for too long may corrupt the metal surfaces of the machine. That is why you should create a mixture of water and vinegar to use as a deep cleaning agent.
Thoroughly washing the machine with water is one of the first steps to take when cleaning an espresso machine regularly. However, it’s not just washing it down with water, it is backwashing.
FYI, backwashing is an effective method that requires water to be pushed back with a lot of pressure into the depth of the filters of the espresso machine.
It is important to do this on a regular basis, especially if you use the espresso machine quite often. Espresso machines usually come with two different filters which include the blind filter and the porta-filter.
The mechanics behind backwashing involves adjusting the blind filter with the porta-filter and then running hot water and detergent through it, the same way you would do to extract espresso. The hot water will melt the residue on the filters and the detergent will clean it out.
Brushing The Basket
The porta-fillers that come with espresso machines are built with a basket attached to it. This basket captures all the unfiltered coffee grinds and all the other bits and pieces that didn’t make it to the other side.
Since it is technically a basket, it has weaved wires that have pores in them. So, you can understand how clogged up the basket might be after using the espresso machine multiple times.
That is why it is important to remove the basket from the portafilter and clean it properly. You can remove the basket easily by using something as simple as a spoon to pull it right out.
Running the basket under hot water to melt away the coffee grinds and brushing the basket to remove the residue is how you should clean the basket.
Unclogging The Shower Head
All espresso machines contain several filters for various purposes. One such filter is known as the shower head. It is made out of metal to withstand the hot water that flows through it when you run an espresso machine. It is the final filter inspection that the drink goes through right before it falls into your cup.
Coffee grinds, if kept untouched for a long time, disperse their own natural oils. This oil can be quite bitter and if those are not cleaned out properly, they can get into your coffee cup and will ruin the taste of your espresso. In order to clean the shower head, you can use a brush.
Steam Wand Rinse
Steam wands are one of the most important parts of an espresso machine, as it is the device that is in control of frothing milk by steam. Espresso machines usually come with a built-in steam wand that can easily be removed for cleaning.
The amount of steam that comes out of this wand is controlled by a valve. This valve is the bridge between the wand and the pipe of the steam wand.
In order to clean the steam wand quick and regularly, it is useful to wipe it off with a wet cloth. Milk left on the steam wand might become sticky or burn into the wand, so it is important to clean the steam wand regularly to avoid such issues.
And for a thorough cleanse, it is recommended placing the steam wand in a solution of warm water and cleaning agent.
Other Ways To Clean
Most modern espresso machines come with an instruction manual showing how you can clean and what kind of equipment or products to use for cleaning that particular espresso machine, as each espresso machine may have different requirements.
As vinegar might not be everyone’s preference because of its foul smell, there are other alternatives like cleaning agents or detergents made especially for the purpose of cleaning espresso machines, which can also be found written in the instruction manuals.
Sparing time that is especially dedicated to cleaning an espresso machine is hard work that will definitely pay off with the tasty cups of espresso. Taking care of the machine is the answer to great tasting coffee and regularly returning customers.
So, take care of your espresso machine and you will get rewarded.