How and when to clean your espresso machine

Running a busy coffee shop means that your espresso machine sees a lot of action each day, so it’s important to keep it clean. A dirty machine could impair the taste of your espresso, and may eventually lead to breakdowns. Maintaining a good cleaning routine is important for overall kitchen hygiene, as well as enabling you to produce great coffee every time.

Some espresso machines may have a self-cleaning facility, but it’s important to know how to clean them manually too…

After every coffee

In between each cup of coffee you should wipe the milk wand with a damp cloth and release a little steam to expel any milk that may have become trapped. During quiet periods if you’re not going to make another coffee again for a while you should empty the grounds from the filter basket and rinse the spouts with water to remove any coffee residue.

Daily cleaning tasks

As part of your end of day cleaning tasks you should wipe down the chassis of your espresso machine with a damp cloth or a mild detergent to remove coffee splashes and grounds. If your machine has professional group heads then carry out the backflush procedure using a blind filter, running the water through a couple of times to rinse any residue out of the pressure release mechanism.

Weekly cleaning tasks

Espresso machines with professional group heads should be cleaned at least once a week with special cleaning tablets or powder. The procedure is the same as the backflush procedure but the tablet needs to be placed into the blind filter first. Flush the system out a couple of times to move the cleaning solution through it, then remove the tablet from the blind filter and flush clean water through three or four times to rinse.

Dissolve another cleaning tablet in a bowl and soak the filter baskets and handles. After soaking for a while, scrub them with a stiff bristled nylon brush to remove any stubborn residue, and rinse in clean water and dry them off before replacing them. Use a fine pipe brush to clean milk residue from the inside of the steam wand.

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