Cleaning your coffee equipment, and keeping it clean, is essential to ensure great-tasting espresso and will also help with the longevity of your coffee equipment. Coffee is a very oily product so regular cleaning of your bean hopper, the group handles and the group head are essential.
Commercial machines require daily cleaning, while home machines can be cleaned as regularly as once a week to once a month depending on how frequently they're used. The below instructions are a step by step guide on how best to give your coffee machine a thorough clean.
THE BEAN HOPPER
The best way to clean the bean hopper is to wipe it out regularly with paper towel, making sure the oil from the beans doesn’t build up. If the oil is left to build up, overtime it will go rancid giving off a funky smell, which will affect the fresh beans in the hopper and will filter into the flavour of your coffee. Simply wiping it out once a week (domestic use) or at the end of the day (commercial use) will prevent this.
IMPORTANT: Never run the hopper through a dishwasher! The temperature is too hot and will slowly break down the plastic giving it a cloudy look and eventually cracking it. It’s also best not to use cleaning products such as cleaning sprays or detergents in the hopper, again overtime it may build up and affect the coffee beans. Wiping the hopper out with a paper towel on a regular basis is all you need.
THE STEAM WAND
The steam wand must be purged with steam and wiped clean with a damp cloth after each use. This way no milk will dry on the inside of the steam nozzle or the outside of the wand.
THE GROUP HANDLES
The group handle and basket is another area where oil will build up, requiring regular rinsing and cleaning. On a daily basis rinse the group handle and basket with clean water to prevent significant oil build up. If you do find you have a build up of oil in the group handle you can soak it in a cleaning powder.
Using a small to medium sized container: add a teaspoon of the powder and dissolve it in hot water, then remove the basket from the group handle and soak both items in the solution for 10-15 minutes. This will soften the oil and make it very easy to scrub off, using a gentle scourer under running water.
When soaking the handle, only soak the silver part not the handle, regular soaking in the chemical will cause the plastic part to break down.
THE GROUP HEAD
In a cafe at the end of each day the group heads are chemically back flushed to remove any build up of grinds and coffee oils in the equipment; for home coffee machines once a month would be fine.
First, while water is running through the head, use a zigzag brush to brush out any excess grinds.
Dissolve 1/4 tsp of machine cleaner in the blind filter, lock this into the group head and run the water for 10 seconds, then switch the water off - run through this cycle three times. Once you have completed three 10 second chemical cycles, run the CLEAR BACKFLUSH by repeating this with just water another three times.
IMPORTANT: Make sure you season the machine the following morning by running three espresso shots through each group head. This ensures any residual cleaning powder is removed. Don’t drink these shots!