The Complete Guide to Espresso Machine Maintenance

January 18, 2017 3 min read

Entretien de machine espresso: le guide complet - Café Barista

Whether you own a coffee shop or you’re a do-it-yourself hobbyist, maintaining your espresso machine is critical to its longevity, particularly considering how much these babies cost! So, let's look at basic maintenance steps to keep your machine running smoothly every day, every week, and month to month, so it will last you for years!

In Between Every Coffee

  1. Before you put coffee in the portafilter, it should be clean. The more coffee grounds that are left in the filter, the more likely they are to get stuck there.

  2. When you put ground coffee in the portafilter, make sure you clean the edge of the portafilter of any residue that may have spilled over. If you don't remove the residue, the grounds can get into the brew group, or fall onto the tray, which can block the drain.

  3. Before you insert the portafilter into the brew group, run some water out of the brew group until the water is clear (usually for just 1 or 2 seconds).

  4. As soon as you finish extracting, or have finished making coffee, empty the grounds from the portafilter. Any coffee grounds that get stuck to the brewing unit will burn. Eventually, the unpleasant burnt taste will permeate the metal and seep into your espressos. Once empty, return the portafilter to the group so it will be warm for the next coffee.

  5. Purge the steam wand before and after EVERY use. This clears milk residue from the nozzles.

  6. Also clean off any milk on the wand after use. If you forget to clean the wand several times and the sticky milk becomes crusty, soak it in hot water for a few minutes to soften it, and it will then be easier to remove.

porta filter in need of a good cleaning
dirty espresso machine

Daily Routine

You should perform these maintenance tasks daily for a commercial machine, and after each session for a residential machine (as in, after your guests leave, or before you leave for work, etc.)

  1. Clean the filters and portafilters with soap and water and rinse thoroughly (caution: do not unscrew the spouts, which could damage the rails). Then, return the portafilters to the units to make sure that the rubber gasket on the machine doesn't dry out prematurely.

  2. Clean the machine. You can gently scrub the filter basket and rubber gaskets with a Teflon bristle brush, and you can clean the tray like the rest of the dishes.

  3. Perform a thorough cleaning of the groups. The frequency of this depends on the machine and its use:

  • Commercial machine: if you have heavy coffee turnover (a coffeeshop, for example), you may want to do a thorough daily cleaning of the groups. Otherwise (in a restaurant, office, etc.) you can do it once or twice a week.

  • Residential machine: once a month, or a little more frequently if used daily.

Whichever cleaning frequency applies to your situation, follow these steps to clean the unit:

  1. run a small amount of water, until it is clear (for 1 or 2 seconds).

  2. Replace the regular filter in the portafilter with a blind filter.

  3. Place ¼ tsp. of espresso machine cleaning powder (we recommend PulyCaff's) in the filter. Insert the portafilter into the group.

  4. Use the manual button on your machine to run water through the group, using this formula: 5 x 10 seconds, pausing for 5 seconds between each repetition. For a more cursory and quicker cleaning, run the water continuously for 15 seconds, one time with powder, and one time without powder.

  5. Rinse the blind filter and portafilter, then re-insert them into the unit.

  6. Repeat step 4, without the cleaning powder.

  7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for all units in the machine.

dirty espresso machine group

Every Month (or more often if needed)

  1. Soak the complete handles (separate filters and filter holders) in a mixture of hot water and a touch of cleaning powder (ratio: 2 tbsp/L) for one hour or overnight. Clean the parts with soap and water. Then rinse the parts thoroughly and return them to the unit.

  2. Clean the top and bottom of the machine: this area is a dust collector!

tools needed for good espresso machine maintenance

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