Cleaning and maintaining espresso machine are essential and the practices may not be easy as some of us might think.
I never used to consider regular maintenance practices important until I realized that my espresso drinks had a strange flavor.
At first, I thought I was using a poor quality cappuccino, then I purchased another model from a different supplier but the taste of the drink never went away.
It is then that I thought of learning how to clean and maintain the espresso machine and the results were amazing.
I have collected several valuable tips for proper care and maintenance of the typical espresso machines available in the market presently.
Cleaning the machine
I have noted that most espresso machines come with specific manufacturers’ cleaning guide that we should follow.
However, most of the products and procedures applicable in the cleaning process are relatively similar.
I recommend that you use the right cleaning materials and adhere to the right cleaning procedures.
For thorough cleaning, I use vinegar or espresso machine cleaner, dish rag or towel, back-flush agent, a soft brush and a large container.
Before I start cleaning, I turn off and unplug the machine and let it rest for a while as this is the right way to do it.
When it comes to the actual cleaning, you need to start cleaning the exterior with warm water with the dish rag, and then proceed to clean the interior.
Back-flushing espresso machine
Back-flushing is essential for every type of espresso machine.
I usually use quality back-flushing agents to get rid of accumulated grind deposits, trapped oils and other compounds that may prevent the valves from creating an impermeable seal.
In most cases, flushing frequency varies depending on the guidelines from the manufacturer and the recommendations from the detergent manufacturers.
However, I usually do it two to three times every week depending on the frequency of use.
Decalcifying the interior of the espresso machine
If your coffee develops a funky taste, it is the right time to decalcify your machine.
I have noted that the taste arises from mineral deposits especially if you are using hard water to prepare the coffee.
For proper decalcification, use the espresso machine cleaner or mix equal amount of white vinegar with equal amount of water and run the solution through the filter basket.
From my experience, you should never use soap solution or common detergents since they often lead to internal corrosion.
Afterward, you should run clean soft water through several times to remove the remaining vinegar or espresso cleaner.
Maintaining other parts
You need to soak filter basket, milk wand, shower head and portafilter in warm water regularly.
I discovered that using a dishwasher to clean these parts often leads to corrosion.
I advise you pay attention to the steam hole and the gasket around the head in order to unclog the parts.
If necessary you can use the pipe cleaner to clean the milk wand. Besides, you should not replace the parts until they are completely dry.
In case, you notice some parts are damaged, you might want to engage repair service or follow step-by-step repair or replacement instructions from the manufacturer.