This is such a common experience: Everyone loves to drink coffee, but most people hate coffee and espresso machine maintenance and cleaning their coffee or espresso maker. Are you also one of those people who would prefer to skip this task altogether?
Well, unfortunately, we can't promise you that you can do without cleaning and descaling your coffee machine. However, we'll show you a coffee and espresso machine maintenance schedule that is fairly quick and easy – so that you can look forward to clean coffee makers again in no time at all. Let's do this!
What Makes the Coffee Maker Dirty?
A coffee maker can get dirty due to several factors – such as coffee residue, water stains, oil and grease buildup, and an accumulation of bacteria. It is therefore essential to clean the machine regularly to ensure that the coffee is prepared hygienically, and that the machine lasts longer.
So, in addition to the longevity of the equipment, your health is another primary concern, which is why cleaning should be done regularly and as meticulously as possible. After all, according to experts, there are biofilms in your coffee maker that resemble those in the drain. In such an environment, mold spores spread very easily!
And surely, you do not want any of those in your cup of coffee? Now, before you dump your espresso down the drain in disgust, we'll show you how to wash and descale your moka pot or coffee maker properly!
How to Clean and Descale a Drip Coffee Maker
Let's start with the simplest appliance in the bunch – the filter coffee maker. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean it thoroughly:
Make sure the machine is really turned off, (the power plug should also be unplugged for your safety) and already completely cooled down.
It is important to clean all the parts of the machine that have direct contact with coffee grounds daily. A damp cloth and a normal dishwashing detergent are perfectly adequate for this task. However, it is better to avoid aggressive cleaning agents as they can damage the surface.
Depending on the model, individual parts of the filter coffee maker can be cleaned in the dishwasher. To be on the safe side here, it's best to check the manual beforehand to see if and how this is really possible.
To clean the inside of the coffee maker and remove particularly stubborn deposits, it is advisable to use a special cleaner.
In general, the device should be descaled every two to four weeks (depending on the frequency of use). You can easily find suitable cleaning products in drugstores, specialty stores or even supermarkets.
Cleaning a Fully Automatic Coffee Machine
Most devices of this type offer a variety of practical rinsing programs that ideally activate themselves when necessary. However, only the frother, the pipes, and the spout are cleaned in this way. Unfortunately, a regular full espresso and coffee machine maintenance, is something that you will have to do yourself.
Therefore, you might like to bear this in mind when you are choosing a machine. Naturally, the best thing to do in advance is to consider the potential cleaning effort and buy the machine that is easiest to clean.
Here are some important steps to keep your fully automatic coffee machine fresh and clean. Of course, the machine should also be turned off, unplugged and completely cooled down.
- Empty the machine's water tank and grounds.
- Clean the grinder by emptying it and brushing it vigorously with a brush.
- Thoroughly rinse and dry the water tank and drip tray.
- Clean the nozzles and hoses of the milk frother with a brush or cleaning spray and rinse them thoroughly.
- Clean the outside of the fully automatic machine with a damp cloth.
- Make sure that all parts are properly inserted and attached before putting the fully automatic coffee machine back into operation.
While we’re on the topic of coffee and espresso machine maintenance: Nothing works without proper descaling! Therefore, at least once a month, you should perform the descaling process by pouring a mixture of water and descaling agent into the water tank and just run it through the machine without coffee.
Cleaning a Pad Machine
Even if it appears, at first glance, that the pad machine seems to get less dirty, it also needs to be cleaned regularly. In addition to regular cleaning products from the drugstore, however, you can also try citric acid in this case. Cleaning a pad machine is really a piece of cake!
- Simply add 1–3 tablespoons of the acid to the pot (depending on how dirty it is).
- Then place a filter in the device and now pour the mixture from the pot into the water tank of the machine. This should help catch any dirt or limescale residue.
- Now start the brewing process.
- The citric acid will ensure that the deposits are loosened from inside the machine.
- It is ideal to repeat the process. Afterward, rinse the machine tank with clear water and pour away the citric acid mixture. All done!
If your machine should still appear dirty, you can use a suitable conventional descaling agent instead.
How to Clean a Portafilter Machine
A portafilter machine needs to be cleaned regularly to ensure that it works properly and does not suffer any damage. If this is not done regularly, debris and dirt can accumulate on the slides and in the vents.
Not cleaning the portafilter regularly can have serious consequences: In some cases, it can even cause significant damage to the machine. Here are our tips for a long-lasting relationship with your favorite coffee maker:
We strongly advise washing the strainers, portafilter, drip tray, and drip plate with warm water every day. To remove additional residues – especially on the brew head – we recommend using a moistened microfiber cloth.
Thorough Weekly Cleaning
You're not completely “off the hook” with daily cleaning, however. Just like in the home, an additional thorough cleaning should be performed once a week, using a so-called blind strainer, among other things.
This strainer has no holes and therefore does not let any water through, as it is used for backwashing. Fortunately, the application is quite simple, as it is used like a normal strainer.
Additionally, we recommend using coffee grease solvent and the so-called a group brush. It is also essential to keep the drip tray clean and to periodically descale the portafilter.
Cleaning and Maintenance Every 6 Months
Every 6 months, you should perform a comprehensive cleaning and maintenance routine:
- In the first step, carry out the measures you know from the weekly cleaning (with the blind strainer, grease solvent and group brush, etc.).
- Then it's the steam lance's turn. Please pay special attention to cleaning the thread and use a damp sponge to remove any milk residue.
- Then prepare a mixture of hot water and milk foam cleaner, place the steam lance inside and let it soak overnight.
- The next morning, rinse the lance well again and dry it thoroughly. Then properly assemble all the parts of the machine.
How to Descale an Espresso Machine
To descale the machine, simply pour some descaling agent into the water tank (dosage according to manufacturer's instructions). When doing so, you should stir the descaler in carefully.
It is important that the water is extracted alternately every 10 minutes via the steam lance and the brew head, so that all water circuits come into contact with the descaling agent. Afterward, rinse the whole machine again and insert a water filter if necessary. And that’s all there is to it!
The Bottom Line
When you know how to go about it, coffee and espresso machine maintenance is easy as pie. With Coffee Annan, you can ensure that everything stays squeaky clean; your coffee machine and your conscience. If you opt for the sustainable high-quality specialty coffees from Coffee Annan, you will be able to enjoy delicious, eco-friendly coffee, safe in the knowledge, that you are fostering economic justice in the growing countries! Doesn’t this just make your cup twice as tasty and the cleaning less of a chore?