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Jack Merriman

Content Marketing Manager

In this article we’re going to outline everything you need to know about keeping your espresso machine clean throughout the day in a busy café.

How to Keep an Espresso Machine Clean

So there’s a few things you want to keep by the espresso machine at all times in order to keep it clean during the day. The first is a damp cloth, which you’ll keep by the steam wand. Every time you steam milk, you should clean any residual milk off the wand using the damp cloth, and give the steam wand a quick purge of steam for just two or three seconds. That will stop any milk from burning and sticking to the side of the stea, wand and affecting the flavour of your coffee.

The second thing you’ll need is a dry towel. Before you pull another shot of espresso, you’ll want to knock out the used puck of coffee grounds that is sat in the portafilter and use the dry towel to give the inside of the espresso basket a wipe down. You should keep the towel near the machine or tucked into your apron so it becomes second nature to wipe down the basket between shots.

You may also want to keep a brush near your espresso machine. Whenever you have a spare 5 seconds, remove the portafilter and inspect the shower screen for any coffee grounds and oils that might be stuck to the surface of the screen or gaskets. Use the brush and a quick purge of the group head to get rid of these and avoid adding stale flavour and unnecessary oils to your coffee.


How to Deep Clean an Espresso Machine

At the end of every day you want to give your espresso machine a bit more of a deep clean. This includes a backflush of the group heads, and a deep cleaning bath for the espresso baskets and steam wand tips.

So you’re going to need a glass or plastic container and some coffee machine cleaning powder. Add a small teaspoon of the cleaning powder to the container and then fill it with boiling water from the hot water tap. Stir in the cleaning powder until it dissolves, and then remove the baskets from the portafilters and the tips from the steam wands, and let these soak in the hot bath for 5 minutes.

Tip: Getting the baskets out of your portafilters can be difficult, you can use a dry towel for extra grip and to protect yourself from the hot metal, or a spoon to wedge the basket out.

While these are soaking, you will want to perform a backflush for each group head. This is performed by adding a blank basket to your portafilter with cleaning powder, and using the brewing cycle to create negative pressure that sucks the cleaning solution up into the group head.

How to Backflush an Espresso Machine

You want to perform a backflush on your machine at the end of every shift. Grab one of the blank portafilter baskets that your espresso machine came with and lock that into your portafilter. Next, add a small pinch of the cleaning powder into the blank basket, give the group head a quick purge and brush off any grounds or oils, then lock the blank portafilter into place.

Next, start the back flush cycle. Many modern espresso machines are now coming pre-installed with automated backflush cycles, so go ahead and get that started. Otherwise you can perform a backflush manually. Simply lock the blank portafilter into place, then using your manual espresso shot button, we’re going to perform 5 pulses. Simply start the shot, wait 5 seconds, then stop the shot and wait 2 seconds before starting the shot again. Repeat this until you have perfomed 5 pulses. After the backflush cycle, remove the portafilter and give the group head a thorough purge with water until it runs clean, then reinsert your regular basket into your portafilter and give this one last purge of clean water.

Once you have performed the backflush, go back to your hot bath of cleaning solution, baskets and steam wand tips. Remove the parts from the solution and give them a generous rinse with clean water before placing back on the machine. You can then shut down the espresso machine and it will be nice and clean for a full day of service tomorrow.


How to clean an Espresso Machine Shower Screen

Every week or so, it’s good practice to perform a deep clean of the shower screens inside the group heads of your espresso machine. Simply remove the portafilters and inspect the shower screens where the water is dispensed into the portafilter.

Next, remove the shower screens from the machine. You may need a flat head screwdriver, but some machines allow you to wedge them off by hand. Be careful as they will still be hot if the espresso machine is switched on. Once you have removed the shower screen, you may see a build up of coffee grounds and oils underneath, simply remove these with a brush or cloth. You should also add the shower screens to the hot cleaning bath mentioned earlier, once a week, to remove any oils or grounds.

Once the shower screens have been soaking for 5 minutes and you’ve removed any oils or grounds, put the screens back in place and continue with performing a backflush cycle.


Pro-active Espresso Machine Maintenance

So we’ve covered the daily tasks and weekly deep cleans for your espresso machine, but there are also a couple things you’ll want to do every year. Every espresso machine has a number of cheap parts that are prone to failure, mostly rubber gaskets and seals. Most machine manufacturers will provide service packs including these parts, so just make sure these are replaced every year or so just to get ahead failures that may occur and halt your service due to a small issue.

Additionally, from an insurance standpoint, you must also make sure that your espresso machine is receiving a boiler inspection every year so that your are still covered by insurance. The owner of the espresso machine is responsible for making sure the boiler is regularly inspected in case of any faults. Our Service and Maintenance team can take care of this on your behalf, so click through to learn more about our Coffee Machine Repairs Pricing.


We’ll Look After your Espresso Machine

So that was everything that you need to know in order to look after your espresso machine and keep it clean and functioning properly. If you’re interested in working with a wholesale supplier who will help look after the cleanliness and functionality of your espresso machine, make sure to look at what our field service team get up to on our Service & Maintenance landing page.

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