How to clean your espresso machine (2023)

Keeping your espresso machine clean and tidy is one of the most important parts of being a barista, whether you're at home or in a coffee shop. Regular cleaning of your espresso machine ensures that it stays in good shape for a long time and that each shot of espresso tastes as good as the last. In this guide, we'll teach you everything you need to know about cleaning an espresso machine to improve your barista skills and keep making delicious espressos.

Why you should clean your espresso machine

Cleaning your espresso machine extends the life of the machine and preserves the flavor of your espresso. Regardless of whether you have an espresso machine with a tank or one that is connected to a water line, you are probably using hard water in the machine. Hard water is perfectly fine for use in an espresso machine, but it can also cause mineral buildup in the lines, commonly known as "scale."

Scale can slowly build up over time and clog your espresso machine's water lines. This actually makes the machine use more energy as it takes longer to draw water through the machine and heat it up. It can even cause your espresso machine to break down, which is an expensive and frustrating problem.

Scale buildup can also affect the flavor of your espresso by affecting clarity and flavor profiles. Because scale also inhibits the flow of water through pipes, it can affect the overall quality of espresso shots once they're soaked.

How often should you clean your espresso machine?

What counts as "regular" cleaning depends on how often you use your espresso machine.

(Video) How To: Backwash & Clean an Espresso Machine | Wogan Coffee

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If you work in a coffee shop, you should clean your espresso machines at least once a day. If you're in a high-volume cafe where you make hundreds of espresso drinks a day, it's a good idea to create a regimen of cleaning after each shift at least twice a day.

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Home espresso machines are used much less frequently than coffee shops. As a result, scale builds up much more slowly than with standard espresso machines. However, you should thoroughly clean your espresso machine at least once a month to keep it in top condition.

What you need to clean your espresso machine

You will need the following materials to thoroughly clean your espresso machine:

  • Large bowl or bucket of hot water (to dilute cleaning solution)
  • Espresso machine cleaning brush
  • Espresso Machine and Steam Wand Cleaning Solution
    • we useCafizato placelavarto clean our espresso machines
  • Short Handle Slotted Screwdriver
  • Blank portafilter basket (also called a "backwash disk")
  • Putztuch

Parts of an espresso machine

You must identify the following parts of your espresso machine in order to clean it properly.

  • Filter holder:The cup that contains your basket of coffee beans. Usually the handle of your portafilter is made of wood or rubber and the rest is stainless steel.
  • The street:The stainless steel basket that is filled with espresso beans and then inserted into the portafilter. The basket should have small holes for the espresso to leak through.
  • Filter holder wheel:A stainless steel spring that helps keep the basket in the portafilter.
  • Empty portafilter basket or backwash disk:A stainless steel basket with no holes: This part is used to backwash your espresso machine.
  • Group leader:The device that distributes hot water; The portafilter connects to this part.
  • dispersion screw:The bolt that holds the group screen and gasket in place.
  • Group meeting:A rubber seal inside the brew head prevents leakage.
  • group substance:A piece of fine mesh that fits over the head of the pool and filters the water.
  • Evaporator or Nozzle:The stainless steel rod used to froth the milk.
  • drip tray:The metal rack that holds the espresso cups and catches any dripping liquid.

How to clean an espresso machine

Follow these steps to thoroughly clean your espresso machine.

1. Prepare your cleaning solution

Whether you have a Cafiza cleaning solution, another brand, or a homemade cleaning solution, prepare it according to the package directions. For example, for a strong cleaning solution, you can dilute up to two teaspoons of Cafiza powder in one liter of water.

(Video) Cleaning your Espresso Machine

2. Disassemble the filter holder

Remove the filter holder from the brew head and remove the filter holder basket and spring. Place these parts in your diluted cleaning solution. If your portafilter has a wooden or rubber handle, avoid immersing it in the cleaning solution as this could damage the handle.

3. Disassemble the head of the group

Take your short-handled screwdriver and remove the missing screw holding the head of the cluster. Once you remove the screw, you can remove the screen and access the gasket. Soak the auger and group screen in your cleaning solution.

4. Rub the head of the group

Wet the brush with hot machine water or soak it in the cleaning solution and scrub the group head and gasket. After scrubbing, wipe the brew head with the cleaning cloth and rinse well.

5. Reassemble the head of the group and the portafilter

After scrubbing the group head and cleaning the portafilter, rinse all parts thoroughly and reassemble. We recommend tightening the spreader screw by hand to avoid damaging the mesh screen.

6. Backwash the espresso machine

Backwashing your espresso machine causes water to flow through the lines to remove any residue left in the machine. This is an incredibly important step that will help remove limescale and other deposits.

First insert the empty basket into the portafilter. Then add about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cleaning powder into the basket. Place the portafilter in the group head and turn the machine on for ten seconds to allow the water and cleaning powder to circulate through the machine. Repeat this process five more times to fully backwash your machine.

(Video) How to Clean Your Espresso Machine

After completing the first backwash process, remove the portafilter and rinse thoroughly. Clean the machine of any residual cleaning solution by running the water for a few seconds. Scrub the brew head again with a clean coffee brush and wipe clean with the cleaning cloth.

Replace the portafilter and repeat the backwash process without cleaning solution. This ensures that the hoses are completely clean of limescale and cleaning solution. Remove the portafilter and rinse the brew head one final time to complete this step.

7. Clean the steam nozzle

Use your favorite wand cleaning solution for this step - we used Rinza. Dilute the cleaning solution in a steaming pitcher according to package directions. Insert the steam wand into the solution and turn it on to rinse the wand and heat the cleaning solution.

Leave the wand in the cleaning solution for 5-10 minutes before removing it. Wipe the steam nozzle well with a clean towel and rinse the steam nozzle again to remove any remaining cleaning solution.

8. Remove and clean the drip tray

Scrub the drip tray well to remove any coffee or milk residue that may have dripped into the drip tray. Reassemble the drip tray after cleaning.

How to clean an espresso grinder

Don't forget to clean your espresso grinder so it continues to grind to your calibration specifications. A clean espresso grinder also helps keep your espresso fresh and delicious.

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1. Remove the funnel

Remove the bowl from the grinder. Remember to close the hopper door so your coffee beans don't spill everywhere!

2. Remove the remaining coffee beans

The grain is usually left on top of the mill after the hopper is removed. You can scoop them out and place them in an airtight container, or run the grinder to clean them thoroughly.

3. Vacuum the grinder

Use a vacuum to remove any remaining beans and kernels in the grinder. Otherwise, they can become bland and change the flavor of the espresso grounds.

4. Use abrasive tablets to finish cleaning

For a deeper cleaning, you can use coffee grinder cleaning tablets. You can find and buy coffee cleaning tablets on most coffee supply websites. Just follow the instructions on the packaging when using these cleaning pads, and then clean the machine with a few coffee grounds.

Frequently asked questions about cleaning an espresso machine

Can I use vinegar to clean my espresso machine?

Yes. White vinegar is excellent for descaling your espresso machine when diluted with water. You should not use plain white vinegar to clean your espresso machine. Just be sure to check your espresso machine manual for manufacturer-specific instructions before using a vinegar solution. Remember that commercial espresso machine cleaning solutions are specially formulated to extend the life of your machine and clean it safely and efficiently.

What happens if you don't decalcify your espresso machine?

If you don't clean and descale your espresso machine regularly, scale can build up and clog your machine's water lines. This can prevent you from getting good shots of espresso, use more energy than necessary, increase the time it takes to make a shot of espresso, and even damage your machine.

(Video) The Barista Express® | How to perform a cleaning cycle on your espresso machine | Breville USA

Can I use a homemade descaling solution?

Yes. If you want to clean your espresso machine naturally, you can use white vinegar or citric acid. Just be sure to dilute these natural cleaning products with water so they don't damage your espresso machine. The ideal ratio for a citric acid solution is two tablespoons per liter of water. For vinegar, the ideal ratio is one part vinegar to four parts water, or an equal one-to-one ratio for a stronger solution.

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