How to maintain your espresso machine
An essential part of owning an espresso machine is maintaining it regularly.
We receive many inquiries about the sorts of procedures needed as well as how often they need to be performed, and the following overview is meant to address as many of these questions as possible all at once.
As for questions about how often these procedures need to be done, it is very difficult to give exact answers because it is very much dependent on how often you use your machine, as well as other factors like the quality of your water. For the sake of this guide we have kept in mind home machines that will typically be brewing 1 to 3 cups each day.
More regular maintenance procedures
The kinds of things you should be doing daily to keep your machine in great working condition are things like keeping your portafilter clean, as well as the screen inside of your group head.
A quick wipe down of your portafilter after each shot will do wonders, as will running a quick shot of water through the machine to clear out any leftover grounds before replacing your portafilter. If you use your milk steamer don’t forget to purge this regularly as well to avoid a buildup of milk gunk.
Backflushing is also an important procedure that should be done every day or two. This is done by inserting the blind basket (the one without any holes) and using either water or a mix of water and backflush detergent.
Different machines often have different procedures for backflushing so it is best to consult your user’s manual for more specific instructions on backflushing. For home machines, there is no need to use the detergent every day; it is likely enough to add the detergent in only every one to three weeks, depending on how often you are using your machine.
Another easy way to keep your grouphead clean is to brush it about once per week in order to free up any stubbornly clinging grounds or oils.
Descaling and Steam Wand Cleaning
These maintenance procedures don’t need to be carried out as often as the ones above, but still need to be done from time to time. About once every month or two you should do a more serious steam wand cleaning to completely purge it of any milk gunk by running a milk cleaner through it. Again it is best to consult your user’s manual about this because the process will vary slightly from machine to machine.
And finally the most important maintenance procedure of all: descaling. This only needs to be done about every three to six months, but it is essential to do it from time to time to purge your machine of any limescale buildup. In general the process will look something like this: fill your reservoir with a 50-50 mix of water and vinegar, and then run it through the machine until you’ve got about a cup of water filled up.
Now let the vinegar mix sit inside your machine for 20 minutes to an hour in order to let it loosen up any limescale buildup. Next, you run about a quarter of the reservoir through the brew head and steam wand to clear out the first round.
Then wait about another 20 minutes and run the rest of the reservoir through the head and wand for a secondary purge. Finally, run two more full reservoirs of clean water to clean the machine out completely.
Please be aware, however, that certain machines need to be descaled by a professional, so please consult your user’s manual or search online about your machine to find out if it is OK for you to perform this procedure by yourself.
Also be aware that if you are running particular hard water through your machine the limescale may buildup more quickly and require more regular descalings.
Hopefully this will serve as a helpful guide to maintaining your espresso machine and keeping it performing at its best for as long as possible!
Pierro commercial coffee machines are an Australian owned company manufacturing commercial coffee machines specifically designed for the Australian coffee industry.
If you are looking to buy or rent a coffee machine for your work environment which is simple to use and produces 100% pure espresso then our Pierro corporate coffee machine range is perfect for you.
For more information on The Pierro coffee machine range, for purchase or rental, please contact us direct or feel free to visit our Sydney head office and showroom at 8 – 12 Robert Street, Rozelle NSW 2039.