Time For A Clean-Up? When and How To Maintain Your Espresso Machine

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

How to care for your espresso machine to make sure it’s always in top form.

Owning a coffee shop entails so much more than opening it to eye catching aesthetic, unique coffee names or remarkable ambience. Come dawn of the day, it all boils down to the condition of the equipment you use.

One key equipment that needs your attention is the espresso machine. For a piece of equipment that serves hundreds of your cups a day and determines the quality of your coffee, dedicating time to clean and maintain it is a no brainer.

Does it sound daunting? Fret not. Here, Bean & Barley quickly summarizes how to get the most out of your espresso machine through proper maintenance.

How Frequent Should I Clean My Espresso Machine?

In an article, Guerra explained that when well taken care of, espresso machines can last you from 8 to 10 years.

Ideally, maintenance must consist of a scheduled inspection to check your machine’s total condition regularly. You may also opt to replace some parts a year. You become a proactive coffee shop owner by taking time to notice the smaller parts that need replacement early on. It will also help if such a routine is infused into your barista’s training programme. They should clean as they work. It pays to help them build good habits. In doing so, you avoid that dreaded situation where your café will temporarily close to accommodate machine maintenance.

We suggest you do the following:

  • One must wipe down the steam wand every after use. Purging before use is also recommended to prevent unwanted and unsanitary build up of bacteria.

  • Before each round of espressos, one must flush the group head. What makes this particular tip helpful? Oil produced from coffee and residue grounds create a rather undesirable flavor to your shots.

  • Coffee beans are not the only ones you need to keep sanitized and fresh. Replace your cleaning cloths as much as 2 to 3 times a day. See to it that you use a non-toxic detergent.

Which habits should make-up my routine when cleaning the espresso machine?

We call it ‘habit’ for a good reason. The goal is to do it ideally on a frequent basis. Habits are bound to be repeated so much so that they will occur subconsciously to you. Before you call it a day, you would want to get into the habit of cleaning your machine promptly. We suggest to include the following steps in building your routine:

  1. See to it that the portafilters, filter basket, and drip tray are cleansed thoroughly. We recommend that this be done at the end of each shift.

  2. Are there any clogs in the draining hose? Checking this will help remove unwanted buildup of coffee grounds that could end up blocking the drain lines for the drip-tray.

  3. How does your steam wand look? Clean it by removing the tip and allow it to sit in a mixture of warm water plus a coffee machine detergent for approximately 20 minutes.

  4. Perform a full backflush. First, scrub the group heads with a machine brush to loosen and remove coffee ground residues. You may opt to use the machine detergent along with the blind filter.

  5. Keep doing the fourth step until water coming out of the machine is clear. You can even pull a number of espresso shots to ensure no detergent flavors are present in future espressos.

  6. To maintain your machine’s optimal condition, ensure cleanliness down to the last and minute details by emptying the bean hopper, store beans and knock box of used coffee grounds. Dust the coffee bar free of ground beans as well.

So what happens next? How do I ensure my machine maintains its shape in the long run?