If you are a coffee lover, then an espresso machine is a must-have appliance in your home. Espresso machines are complex high-end appliances and should you decide to make this investment, then it’s imperative that you learn the basics of espresso machine care and maintenance.
Luckily, maintaining your espresso machine in the best condition is very easy and this will improve the longevity of the machine. You will, therefore, keep enjoying your favorite drink without worrying about repairs and replacements.
When you use the machine to prepare an espresso, coffee and milk residues collect on the surface. With time, a dirt build-up develops on the machine. Other than affecting the quality of your coffee, this buildup affects the functionality of your espresso machine leading to damage.
With proper care, you will be able to maintain your espresso machine in the best condition and below are simple tasks that will help you achieve this.
Use filtered water to make your brew
Using unfiltered water in your espresso machine will cause residue buildup that will clog the internal parts of the machine.
A calcium scale precipitate will form on the surface of the machine when the water is heated and this is why you need to use filtered and softened water for your espresso machine to prevent this harmful buildup.
Install a filtering system on your water supply to treat the water and make suitable for use in an espresso machine.
If you have not been using softened water and you notice scale buildup on your machine, then you need to descale the machine immediately to prevent the condition from getting any worse.
Some people use vinegar to descale their machines but the problem with vinegar is that it taints the taste of the first few shots after it has been used as a descaling agent.
It is for this reason why we suggest that you use descaling agents that are dedicated to the espresso machine you have in your home.
Daily care and maintenance
Here are some of the activities that you need to do daily to keep your machine in the best condition;
Purge the group head
After preparing your brew, it is important that you purge the head immediately. Once your brew is done, remove the porta-filter and wipe it clean.
Purge the group head next for about 3 seconds to remove the oils and coffee grounds that could be caught on the screen.
Leaving the coffee grounds on the group head will cause a residue buildup that will affect the quality of the coffee being brewed.
Purge the steam wand
You also need to clean the steam wand immediately after use. Milk residue buildup on the wand will cause damage to the machine and affect the flavor of the brew and this is why you need to clean the steam wand immediately after use.
Use a rag to clean the steam wand before you steam your milk to prevent residual wastes from getting to the milk. After steaming your milk, clean the wand again in a similar manner to prevent the milk residue from forming on the wand.
At the end of the day, it is advisable to flush the machine so as to remove the coffee-ground buildup that has been generated during the day.
It is particularly important to perform this exercise if the espresso machine is used by many people such as in an office setting. The flushing exercise is similar to the normal espresso production process only that you use nothing but water for this process.
The used grounds will get flushed out by the hot water and this will leave the machine clean and free of dirt. The machine is washed up properly when clear water comes out at the end. Repeat the exercise if colored water comes out after flushing.
Monthly care and maintenance
Once a month, you need to perform a detergent backflush that will clean the interior of the espresso machine.
You will also have to clean the dispersion screen and porta-filter basket to remove any residue buildup on them. Detach them gently from the machine and soak them in a gentle cleaner to clean them effectively.
Espresso machines are complex kitchen appliances that need proper care and maintenance. When you do this, you will get years of dedicated services from the machine and savings on repair and replacement expenses. Fortunately, maintaining an espresso machine is easy and the tips mentioned above will help you keep your machine in the best condition for long.