When it comes to making the perfect espresso, you have to keep your machine working at its best. And it’s hard to create the right brew if the espresso machine keeps conking out on you! In today’s post, we are listing down practical care and maintenance tips to keep your espresso machine working like brand new every day and every year!
Daily Care and Maintenance Tips
Cleaning the Machine
Always remove unsightly marks and stains on your espresso machine. Get a damp cloth and wipe the portafilter and group. Remove any debris. Next, remove the coffee grinds (save it as a soil fertilizer!) and wipe the filter clean. Get a small brush to remove unwanted grinds. The group head should be cleaned with water after every use. This helps eliminate clogging, ensuring that your brew remains fresh and delicious each time you use the machine.
Cleaning the “Baskets”
Most espresso machines come with two removable “baskets.” These small inserts fit inside the portafilter. One of the baskets is perforated and the other has a solid bottom. If you use your espresso machine every day, remove the perforated basket and insert the solid one every night. This helps back-flush the machine with water. Backflushing is a process wherein you activate the brew lever, allowing the water to run several seconds at a time to eliminate oils and debris that accumulated in the group.
Purging the Steam Wand
Each time you use the steam wand, purge it. That means if you use your espresso machine every day, you have to soak the steam wand every night with hot water and detergent. Leave the steam want to soak in soapy water for 15 minutes. Do another round of purging the steam wand before cleaning and wiping it dry.
Weekly Care and Maintenance Tips
Back Flush the Machine
Make it a habit to backflush your espresso machine on a weekly basis. Don’t use any detergent for cleaning the machine. You have to use cleansing agent meant specifically for espresso machines like Cafetto, Urnex or JoeGloe. These detergents will dissolve oil and milk residues much more efficiently than regular cleansing agents.
Just scoop a small amount of the detergent for backflushing. Do note that some machines are not suitable for backflushing. To check if your machine requires backflushing, check the user manual.
Cleaning the Portafilters and Baskets
After back flushing the espresso machine, you need to clean the Portafilters and baskets too. Just remove the hardware from the espresso machine and soak them in warm soapy water for about 30 minutes. Soak them longer if they are extremely dirty. Now, remove them from the soapy water, give them a good scrub and rinse. Wipe the Portafilters and basket clean and re-install on the espresso machine.
Annual Care and Maintenance Tips
Descaling the Espresso Machine
Regardless if you use filtered water or mineral water, you still need to descale the espresso machine each year. This will eliminate calcium buildup inside the espresso machine. Calcium buildup doesn’t just damage the inner hardware of your machine, it can also affect the flavor of your brew. You can buy a descaler from your local hardware store.