Cleaning an espresso machine isn’t easy, but it’s one of the jobs that must be done so you can enjoy great tasting espresso.
Let’s look at the required steps you need to follow on how to clean your espresso machine so that it will remain squeaky clean.
Step 1 – Prepare and gather the necessary items for the job.
First, make sure the machine is turned off and unplugged before starting and familiarize yourself with the cleaning tips and instructions from the manufacturer’s guide.
Then, collect the following materials which you’ll need for the cleaning process:
- Espresso machine cleaner or vinegar
- Backflush agent
- Soft towel or dish rag
- Small sponge with scrub pad surface or soft brush
- Big bowl or container (it will need to be large enough to hold your portafilter)
Step 2 – Clean the outside of the machine.
Take the soft cloth or dish rag, get it wet (squeeze out the excess water) and wipe the exterior of the machine clean.
Step 3 – Backflush the machine.
Consult your manufacturer’s guide for how often this should be done – usually; it is around a couple of times a week. You want to use a backflush agent such as JoeGlo, PuroCaf or Cafiza to do the job. The detergent you are using will give you the recommended flush sequence to use while backflushing. This process effectively gets rid of grind deposits and trapped oils and will allow the three-way valve to seal properly.
Step 4 – Wash and soak the portafilter and other parts.
Fill a large bowl with warm water, and soak the portafilter and other parts such as the filter basket, shower head and milk wand. Important – these parts should never be placed in the dishwasher as this will cause the metal to corrode. If necessary, you can wash with warm water and mild soap by hand with the small sponge or brush before soaking.
Pay particular attention to the gasket around the group head as this can get quite dirty. Also, make sure you unclog the steam hole, and you can use a pipe cleaner to clean the inside of the milk wand if it needs it. When soaking use plain water only – do not use soap, and soak overnight if necessary.
Step 5 – Decalcify the interior.
If you notice your coffee tasting a little strange or funky, most likely, it’s because of mineral deposits that have built up internally. To decalcify, run espresso machine cleaner through the empty filter basket. You could alternatively use one part white vinegar to one part water in place of the espresso machine cleaner.
Never run soap or detergent through the machine as this could cause internal corrosion. After decalcifying, run plain water through the machine a few times to get rid of the remnants of the espresso cleaner or vinegar.
Step 6 – Let everything dry, and then reassemble.
After you are finished cleaning and soaking all the parts, you can let air dry thoroughly. Once dry, just reassemble the machine, and it’s in perfect condition to churn out high-quality espresso drinks.
Never allow water in your espresso machine when not using. This water promotes rust build-up and bacterial growth, both of which will noticeably degrade the quality of your product.
So these are the step-by-step instructions on how to clean your favorite home espresso machine. Make sure you stick to a consistent cleaning schedule. If you do, you’ll keep your espresso machine in mint condition and be able to make great tasting coffee for years to come.