You will not be able to make good coffee if your espresso machine is dirty or in need of repair. Cleaning and servicing your equipment should be one of your top priorities, because if you have a coffee shop, your machine prepares hundreds of servings each day.
Depending on the model, the service life of the espresso machine is 8-10 years, provided that you take good care of it. If you want to extend the life of your machine – we have some tips from experts.
An espresso machine is the heart of any institution. Photo: Victoria Arduino
How Often Should a Machine Be Cleaned and Maintained?
The maintenance schedule should include regular inspections and annual replacement of some parts. If you replace the small parts on a schedule, you can avoid having to close the facility for the duration of the equipment repair.
Make sure that cleaning and maintenance are carried out regularly. That’s what professionals advise.
Espresso preparation during a master class at the micro-festival PDG 2016.
David Mejia of Suministros AgroIndustriales, in Honduras, emphasizes “the habit of cleaning up at work is very important”. Here is what he proposes to do:
- Always wipe the dimmer after use. Always lower the steamer before and after use. In this way, the milk powder will not block the openings and no bacteria will be collected on the styrene.
- Lower the group before preparing espresso, as you do not want your espresso to have butter and ground coffee from the previous serving.
- Your wipes should stay fresh. Change them two to three times a day. Wash at high temperatures and with detergents.
Always wipe the dimmer after use. Photo: Victoria Arduino
Train yourself to clean your car well at the end of the day. When you close a change, you have:
- Lower the water, brush the group with a special brush to remove the ground coffee, and only then you can go for detergents and a blind sieve. The steps should be repeated until the water is clear. David also recommends that you prepare some espresso after washing to get rid of even a hint of the taste of the chemistry.
- Clean the steamer: Unscrew the tip and soak in a mixture of warm water and detergent. Daniel advises to keep the steamer soaked for at least 20 minutes or, if possible, overnight.
- Clean the drain hose to avoid any clogs or accumulations of coffee grounds that may block drainage.
- Make sure that you do not forget to clean the portafilters, the basket and the tray.
Prepare some espresso after using chemistry to get rid of the detergent. Photo: Julio Guevara
Every few months
Diana Patigno is the owner of the Kumo Laboratoria de Café in Mexico City. She says her employees change screens and baskets every month or two so that there is no leakage between the group and the portfilter.
Water quality should also be taken into account. If you have hard mineral water, the steam tank will be covered with lime. To avoid this, arrange for a regular decalcification of the machine with your distributor or manufacturer. Diane says that in her cafe, they take all the steam out of the car every six months to ensure stable operation.
Care of screens and baskets helps to avoid leaks. Photo: Victoria Arduino
Once a year, small parts need to be replaced before they become a major problem for you:
- Steam valve and hot water valve
- Adjusting washers
- Expansion valve (which prevents leakage and loss of temperature)
- Suction preventing valve
- Drive Bearing
- Portfilter baskets (not forced, but better checked annually)
It may seem that replacing so many parts will not be cheap. But it is more economical than closing a cafe while it is under repair.
Check the baskets in the portfilter before they become a problem. Photo by Fernando Pocasangre
What are the cleaning products to use?
Check the espresso machine manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning products. Using the wrong tool may result in a malfunction or stagnation of the device. Also think about whether you need all the products you see on sale. For example, you don’t need scum if your water is performing well.
Some use vinegar and water for environmental reasons, but if you also want to try it, be sure to rinse the machine carefully to avoid any vinegar notes in the espresso. In fact, this rule works with any detergent to prevent your visitors from getting a bad drink.
A clean and functional espresso machine plays a key role in the establishment. Photo: Julio Guevara
When scheduling personnel, be sure to take the time to care for your equipment daily. Make a reminder not to miss the monthly and yearly checks.
Caring for an espresso machine is not the most entertaining part of the coffee business, but it cannot be ignored. You need to take care of your car if you want visitors to come back for a delicious coffee.
Posted by: Gisele Guerra.
Translation: Anna Polstiankina