Maintaining Your Manual Espresso Machine
Maintaining your espresso machine is the key to a good espresso. Maintenance is essential for keeping all of the flavours in your coffee without denaturing it.
Just like for your bean to cup coffee machine, limescale, coffee and milk residue will alter the extraction process and the taste of your coffee. It can even sometimes damage your machine. There are several maintenance steps to follow to avoid this outcome.
Filter the water to slow down the maintenance cycle
Firstly, it is essential to filter the water for your espresso machine, because limescale is the number one enemy. It’s the main way to properly maintain your espresso machine. There are several methods: use a water softener, put a filter cartridge in the water system, use a filter carafe or put a filter cartridge directly into your coffee machine.
As its name suggests, the latter will filter the water in your coffee machine to get rid of limescale and other impurities in the water to protect your machine and stop any changes or degradations to the coffee. There is no universal cartridge. Each espresso machine manufacturer offers cartridges to fit their machines.
If your machine doesn’t have the space (or pipe) for a filter cartridge, you will need to filter your water beforehand or use filtration sachets that you leave in the water for a few hours.
Descaling: a Necessary Step for Maintaining your Espresso Machine
Even if the cartridge filters out almost all of the limescale there will still be a small amount that builds up in the machine’s pipes. This can cause blockages, overconsumption of electricity and ruin your machine. That’s why it’s important to descale your machine roughly once every two months.
Maintaining your espresso machine using thermobloc
Is your espresso machine equipped with thermobloc? Firstly, pour the descaler into the water container and run through several extractions waiting a few seconds between each one. Once your water container is half empty, wait 10 minutes for the product to work to remove the limescale and dissolve it. Then, carry on until the container is empty and repeat using just water to rinse the system.
Espresso machine with a boiler
Is your espresso machine equipped with a boiler, a heat exchanger or a dual boiler? Don’t try to descale your boiler. A boiler can never be completely emptied and you risk damaging your machine or even poisoning yourself. To make your machine last a long time, use filtered water. If your heater is clogged we suggest that you take your machine to a specialist.
Maintaining your espresso machine and its brewing unit
Every time you use your machine, ground coffee and oil from the coffee will get stuck to the unit walls and its pipes. This residue will turn rancid and degrade the extraction and taste of your coffee. To avoid this you need to clean your brewing unit.
There are two methods:
If your machine is equipped with a 3-way solenoid valve, you can use the backflusher (thanks to a dead-end filter and cleaner, the machine will start a cleaning cycle in the unit and flush out all the dirty water in the tank while releasing pressure. This will allow for a deep clean). See our dedicated blog article: Espresso machine backflush.
If it does not have this solenoid valve, you will need to use a cleaning brush and hot water to remove the oil and ground coffee residue. If your brewing unit and/or filter holder is made from aluminium, don’t use detergent as this risks ruining the metal.
Cleaning the milk system
Does your coffee machine make milky drinks? If so, it’s important to clean the milk pipes. To avoid having bacteria in your gourmet drinks use a detergent that is suitable for espresso machines. This will allow you to remove the milk residue that has collected in the pipes. Clean pipes mean good-tasting milk foam.
Now you know everything. You can find the full cleaning kits on MaxiCoffee.com.