A contribution from Laura in the category #Coffee Knowledge from 17 August 2020
No one likes old coffee, not even your espresso machine! Here are some essential tips to free your espresso machine of nasty deposits so you can enjoy it for a long time – and so your espresso tastes the way it should taste.
For your espresso to retain its versatile and varied flavor, your espresso machine needs to be kept clean and free from oils and other soluble particles. For all the complexity of the machine itself, daily care fortunately only takes a few minutes. At least once a week, though, you should show your machine a little extra love and bring it to a high gloss with the right cleaners.
One of the most important instruments of the machine is the steam distributor for foaming the milk. It should be cleaned after each use. Fresh milk remnants can be removed most easily by cleaning immediately after use, so don’t allow any milk to dry. Simply wipe the steam distributor with a damp, clean cloth. Then let some steam burst so that the last milk residues are also blown out.
If you prepare several espressos, you should rinse through the filter several times, remove it from the filter carrier and wipe it with a cloth. This is how you remove coffee oils that have settled in there. It’s also a good idea to „flush“ before each new espresso. Simply remove the filter holder from the brewing group and allow some water to flow. This way, you remove espresso residues from the brewing group and the water is brought to a constant temperature for the next espresso.
If you’re finished with the espresso preparation, you can use a brewing group brush to remove the last espresso residues from the brewing group.
Insert the collecting strainer (as far as the espresso machine allows) and rinse several times to remove the last espresso coffee from the brewing group. Finally, give the strainer a good rinse to flush out any dirty water and dry thoroughly.
The six-month cleaning
Now, we are breaking out the big guns! The so-called blind screen is inserted into the screen carrier like a normal screen. Since it is waterproof, you can „backwash“ with it. You should also have a group brush and coffee fat remover ready.
Take the brewing sieve out of the sieve rack and let it sit in coffee oil remover.
Give the steam distributor a weekly cleaning. Wipe it thoroughly, turn off the lower part of the lance and clean the thread where milk residues settle with a sponge. Then fill a glass with hot water and milk foam cleaner and let the steam wand sit there overnight.
Now fill the blind screen with a teaspoon of coffee oil remover (the measurement can vary according to the cleaner) and straighten the screen holder together with the blind screen. The cleaner can be distributed even better in the brewing group by gently rocking the screen carrier back and forth. Caution is required here because it can pass through the pressurized water – please do not get burned! Repeat this process several times and then rinse the brew group thoroughly to remove all detergent residues.
You should also put filter holder, screens and the blind filter in the coffee oil remover. Make sure that the plastic handle of the screen carrier does not come into contact with the cleaner. Rinse all parts under running water. While the parts are in the cleaner, you can clean the brew group with the group brush to remove the last bits of residue.
When everything has been rinsed thoroughly with clear water, reassemble the filter holder and reattach it to the brewing group. Remember to run a lot of clear water from the brewing group to remove all residues. Now your machine is good to go!