Some of you out there might own a cafe and a nice (and expensive!) espresso machine. In my time working as a Equipment Tech for Mocha Joe’s Roasting Co. I’ve found that many other companies will sell an espresso machine and then disappear. As an Equipment Tech, I firmly believe that part of installing a new espresso machine is teaching people how to properly clean and maintain it, as well as being available for repairs in an emergency. So in the spirit of clean and tasty espresso shots, here is my general list for cleaning and maintaining your machine:
Espresso Machine Maintenance
After Every Shot:
1. Using a damp cloth, wipe off the screen and the steam wand arm. Briefly open the steam wand arm to purge it.
2. Clean out the porta filter and group head with a group brush and run water to purge the group head.
At The End Of Every Night:
1. Using a damp cloth, wipe off the screen and the steam wand arm.
2. Remove the screen and dispersion plate then use your group brush to clean underneath. Use a damp cloth to wipe the area underneath the dispersion plate and inside the gasket groove.
3. Using the blank porta filter, back flush the group heads with water only.
4. Remove and clean the drip tray.
5. Clean the residue out of the drain underneath the drip tray and replace the drip tray.
6. Remove the tip of the steam wand arm. Submerge steam wand arm in Cafiza for 15 minutes. Wipe down and purge the steam wand arm for 30sec.
7. Disassemble the porta filters. Fill a container with hot water and Cafiza. Soak the all porta filter parts, the screens, the dispersion plate and the steam wand arm tip in the solution for at least 30 minutes. Do not soak the rubber handle from the porta filter.
8. Rinse all the parts with clean water and scour with a green scrubby, then rinse again. Reassemble all parts.
9. Wipe down and clean the exterior of the machine.
Once A Week:
1. Back flush the group heads once using Cafiza and then again with hot water only. Run the pump five times in 15 second start/stop intervals. Then follow your regular nightly cleaning routine.
Once A Month:
1. Check the water filtration system and see if the water filter needs replacement.
2. Check your screens to see if they need to be replaced.
Admittedly, everyone seems to have different cleaning methods and yours can be adjusted, depending on how much business you do. I’m sort of a neat freak, so I always go for the top-end maintenance methods. If you aren’t a high traffic cafe, you could use hot water on a nightly basis and leave all the Cafiza soaking for one day of the week. It all depends on how much coffee grime and build-up you notice. Just make sure that when you are using Cafiza, you limit contact with any rubber gaskets or handles, the Cafiza will wear them down more quickly. You can purchase Cafiza from any espresso machine or parts supplier. Also, all water filtration systems are different, some need to be changed on a regular basis and some only once or twice a year. Know when you need to check your filter and write that date on your system. Water quality is incredibly important to good tasting coffee and espresso.
If you keep things clean your espresso will taste much better and your machine will last much longer!