This article will discuss a topic that is not the most popular or the most interesting. Still, it is too important, and I believe that if we gave it the value it deserves, we could raise the quality level of our preparations.
As you can see in the title, I am talking about cleaning the espresso machine, including the grinder, accessories, and all the barista’s equipment. And although in this article I am going to focus more on the espresso machine, this also applies to all other types of coffee makers.
Why is it so important to clean the espresso machine?
Espresso is extracted at high temperatures, between 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures that release the oils from the coffee. These oils quickly stick to all surfaces they have been in contact with.
Thus, the more coffee we prepare, the more oils accumulate, and the higher the temperature, the more the oils are burned.
Finally, all of this will end up in the fresh and quality coffee we are using. This is the number one reason many coffee shops have very bad coffee, even though they are using quality coffee and following the proper recipe.
This is very easy to recognize since a dirty machine produces a very characteristic flavor, quite unpleasant.
Another reason we have to keep our coffee machine clean is because the operation is blocked by this accumulation of oils and small coffee beans, and we will obtain a very uneven coffee extraction.
Recommendations for the daily cleaning of the espresso machine
- First, we should always purge the machine after each use, both in the group and in the frother. This should always be a mandatory step and cannot be skipped. I recommend keeping separate wipes to clean each part, one for the milk and one for the coffee.
- Run hot water through the filter holder, so no oils get stuck. This ends y fast and costs nothing.
- And when you have a little more time, wash the basket out of the filter holder. In the meantime, you can put the blind filter basket that comes with the machine for cleaning, place it in the group and pass a little water moving the filter holder on each side.
- Also, every time you can, with a small brush, clean the group and the shower to remove any coffee granite that has not fallen, only by purging.
Note: These are some steps to perform during the day, and there is no set time for how often to do it, but the more often you do it, the better the taste of your coffee will be.
Deep cleaning of the espresso machine
At the end of the day (in the case of domestic machines, do it every three months), we should remove the showers from the machine by unscrewing them. Here you are going to see how much coffee accumulates.
⚠️ If a part of the shower filter is blocked, the water will pass more slowly through that side, extracting the coffee unevenly since the shower’s function is precise to spread the water evenly throughout the coffee pod.
1. Use of a cleaner for espresso machines
In a container with hot water, we will place a measure of an espresso machine cleaner according to the instructions of the manufacturer of the cleaner. In this mixture, we will immerse everything: the filter, the shower parts, the nozzles of the filter holder, and the filter itself.
2. Use the blind filter to clean the interior
Place the blind filter and add a measure of cleaner. Next, let the water flow into the blind filter for about 5 to 8 seconds, then stop, wait and let the water flow back in for another 5 to 8 seconds. Repeat this about eight times.
Note: In the high-end machines, there is an automatic cleaning program where we place the filter holder with the chemical, and the cleaning is done by itself.
Then, we remove the filter holder and rinse it, removing the remains of the cleaner and repeating the process, but this time only with water. In this process, the machine’s water reaches the blind filter and is returned, cleaning all the internal parts.
3. Extract the first coffees and discard them
Before using the machine again, always extract a little coffee through the group to make sure that there are no remains of the cleaner, and at the same time, start the espresso calibration.
4. Cleaning the exterior of an espresso machine
Clean the outer part of the machine, which will always have splashes or stains, and clean the steamer well, which can also be soaking in a product. In addition, we remove the trays to wash them and leave everything ready.
5. Cleaning the coffee grinder
The cleaning of the coffee grinder is also very important. After removing the coffee and storing it in an airtight bag for the following day, we open the grinder for cleaning.
The way to open your grinder will depend on your model and brand and if it has conical or flat grinding wheels. Once we open it, we clean it well with a brush or a hand vacuum cleaner.
Removing all the ground grains that remain to have fresh coffee is important. There are also products to clean it, such as some tablets that are good if you do not have easy access to the burrs of the grinder.
Now that you know the importance of cleaning your espresso machine, starts cleaning it regularly. A clean machine is a huge step in brewing great coffee every time. The more often you clean everything, the better.