For most of us, it is easy to get too caught up in our daily routine and forget that one of the machines we use on a daily basis – our coffee machine – needs to be cleaned & maintained in order to carry on delivering a good cup of coffee without compromising the quality of the coffee or the machine’s functionality and ultimately it’s life span.
Let’s state here in no un-certain terms, that no maintenance or cleaning tips could ever surpass the relevant information offered within your machine’s “owners manual” – therefore make sure you give this document a good read prior to engaging with the processes below.
1. Wash all removable parts with soapy warm water after every use.
2. De-calcify your machine every month (especially if you are using tap water) with vinegar or de-calcifying tablets or liquid. If you choose de-calcifying tablets or liquid follow the instructions on their pack. If you choose to use vinegar, Fill the reservoir with equal parts of vinegar & water, place a paper filter into the machine’s empty basket, position the pot in place and “brew” the solution halfway. Turn off the machine, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the coffee maker back on, finish the brewing, and dump the full pot of vinegar and water. Rinse everything out by putting in a fresh paper filter and brewing a full pot of clean water. Repeat the last step one more time before you brew coffee.
3. Cleaning your machine’s carafe is also a good thing to do once a year. Fill up the carafe half way with hot water and throw two cups of rice in the water. Swirl the mixture and even use a scrub sponge to help the whole “debris removal” process. Rinse well the carafe once done.
Having a bean to cup machine by the office or home, places you in a very privileged position and – chances are – you’ve spend a decent amount of money for it. Most machines of this type usually offer self cleaning programs but a bit of manual care is always required.
1. The milk frothing system always tends to keep some milk residue within. This milk sours overnight, gets hard and sooner or later starts compromising or even blocks the entire system. If your machine has removable milk frothing piping & canister, remove them & clean them once a day with warm soapy water. If not, make sure you wipe them clean externally and run steam through the system by the end of every day.
2. Cleaning the machine’s brew group is your next step. If the machine has the function to automatically clean them, finish off your day by dunning this program. If not, using a soft cloth soaked in warm water, try to clean carefully every reachable part of the group (no soap is to be used there).
3. All though plenty people tend not to, the grounds & water drip tray needs to be cleaned and emptied out. Some machines indicate when this needs to be done, others do not. We strongly advise you to simply tip out this tray, empty it, rinse it with water & slide it back on a daily basis.
4. No matter how clean or purified the water you put into your machine is, chances are you will end up experiencing a bit of calcium particles building into the machine’s system. Usually, machine manufacturers indicate how often you should de-calcify your machine and with what type of product you should (tablets or liquid). Usually you need to drop the tablet or liquid solution into your machine’s water tank. Make sure the tank is full of water & run the machine’s cleaning cycle (usually takes several minutes to complete). Depending on your usage, a bean to cup machine should be de-calcified once a year.
It is very important to keep all your coffee equipment clean – especially if you are running a restaurant, coffee shop, etc. The 10 minute cleaning routine described below, is to be performed on a daily basis (by the end of the day) and it is a must – not only in order to end up serving a great cup of coffee to your customer but also because it will prolong the life span of your equipment.
1. Take a clean cloth run under hot water, and wipe off your steam wands. Remove any milk that has been scorched onto the wand (do not scrape the wand with anything sharp. It is stainless steel, and it will scratch. And some wands are chrome plated which will eventually rub off). If the tip of the wand is threaded on and will unscrew, take it off and clean it. Make sure that the end of the wand is free and clear. If needed, use the end of an opened paper clip to scrape out the inside of the tip. Put the tips back onto the steam wands.
2. Fill a small plastic bucket with hot water. Pour in, a bit of any house hold kitchen cleaning chemical making a solution and place in this bucket all peripheral tools you use when making coffee. Let them soak overnight.
3. Remove the group(s) handle(s). Use a screwdriver to dislodge the filter basket. Clean off the filter basket under running warm water using a scouring pad and soap. Then put the filter basket(s) in the bucket of solution to soak overnight.
4. Put a blind-filter into the group handle. Put a bit of the chemical you used in step 2 into the blind-filter. Lock the group handle into the group head, and then use the manual override to flush water into the group head. The blind-filter will cause the cleaner to backwash into the machine. Do not merely turn the water on. You will burn out the solenoid that operates the valve. Rather press and hold the manual override for a full count of three seconds. Turn it off, and repeat 8-10 times.
5. Turn off the espresso machine and open the steam wands to purge the steam and to release the pressure of your machine. Leave them open overnight.
6. Take the group handle out, remove and rinse the blind-filter, and put it away. Use your scouring pad to clean out the basket-end of the group handle under warm running water. Stick the basket-end of the group handle into the soaking bucket to soak overnight. Always remember to never allow any portion of the plastic handle to remain immersed. Prolonged soaking of the plastic handle will eventually cause it to dry out and crack.
7. Clean the shower heads. The shower heads are up inside the group head. Look up inside the group head. There will be a screw that holds in a shower screen and a brass plate. Take the screw out, and put it into a cup that you will leave on top of the machine so that you will know where it is in the morning. Remover the screen & the brass plate. Scrub them both with your scouring pad, and put them in the soaking bucket.
8. Pull the gratings off of the drip tray. Pull the drip tray out and drain it. Clean the drip tray and gratings and leave them out to dry overnight. Don’t put them back into the machine until morning, when they have completely dried.
9. Use paper towels to buff up your machine. Go out onto the coffee shop floor – where the customers stand – and look at the back of your machine. Buff it up with cleaner and make it shiny and clean.