As one of the primary equipment in coffee making in the world, espresso machines are well-known in traditional coffee shops, artisanal cafes, as well as home coffee stations of home baristas. For experienced baristas, chances are they already have an understanding of the maintenance needs of all home or coffee shop espresso machines. From regular backflushing to descaling the steam tank, professional and home baristas need to know how to properly maintain an espresso machine to ensure its durability and longevity. If you’re a beginner and you’re not yet quite sure how to clean an espresso machine after every use or when to have it serviced by your supplier, we’ll help you figure it out with this espresso machine maintenance checklist.
Daily Espresso Machine Cleaning and Maintenance Checklist
Whether you’re operating an espresso machine at a coffee shop or at home, after-use cleaning and end-of-day flushing are crucial to ensure that all parts of an espresso machine are spotless. To make it simpler for you, here’s a daily espresso machine checklist you need to follow after every use and after each coffee shop shift:
1. Steam Wand Wipe and Purge – Every time you use a steam wand, make sure that you wipe it with a clean cloth. You don’t want to leave it with milk dripping down your counter, because not only will you be leaving a mess with a puddle of milk, but you’ll also allow bacteria to build up. It’s also a great practice to purge your steam wand by covering the tip with a clean cloth and turning it on for about 1 to 2 seconds just to remove any milk residue.
Always have a clean cloth near your espresso machine so that you can make a habit of wiping the wand after every use.
2. Group Head Flush – Known as the espresso machine’s heart, the group head is responsible for pulling the concentrate we call espresso shots. After every shot of espresso you get, you need to flush your group head to remove leftover grounds and oils, which may interfere with the overall flavor of new espresso batches. Flush it by letting water run through the group set for 1 to 2 seconds.
3. Full Backflush and Scrub – This is probably the most important part of the espresso machine maintenance checklist since this affects the overall flavor of all espresso shots that you’ll be pulling the next day. After your shift and before closing shop, do a full backflush and a quick brush to ensure that the espresso machine’s group head is clean. Scrub the group head with a coffee brush and use a blind filter to flush it until the water runs clear.
4. Full Steam Wand Wash – Remove the tip of the steam wand and submerge it in a solution of machine detergent and clean water. Let the steam wand sit in the solution for a maximum of 30 minutes, and then rinse it out with clean water.
5. Draining Hose Cleanup – To avoid clogs from a buildup of coffee grounds, make sure to flush your draining hose with water after each day. This will help you keep your draining hose clean and clear from an accumulation of oils and debris.
6. Drip Tray and Portafilter Cleanup – Flush the drip tray with clean water and wipe it with a clean cloth to remove any leftover debris. Disassemble the portafilter and brush each part with a coffee brush or scouring brush. Rinse with cold water. Drop an espresso machine detergent tablet into a container with clean water and submerge the portafilter for 15 minutes. Rinse it with clean water and reassemble.
Regular or Annual Espresso Machine Maintenance Checklist
The regular cleaning of an espresso machine is a necessary part of taking care of your coffee shop equipment. However, even though daily cleaning does help prolong your machine’s operating capabilities, they also need manufacturer maintenance and espresso machine descaling from experts every few months. Here’s a maintenance checklist for your espresso machine every few months:
1. Shower Screen and Portafilter Basket Replacements – Replace your espresso machine’s shower screen and portafilter with new ones. While these espresso machine parts typically last for up to six months, this largely depends on how much you use them. For home baristas, your shower screens and portafilter can last for up to a year, while coffee shop baristas may need to replace them every three to six months.
2. Espresso Machine Steam Tank Descaling – If you’re using mineral water, you may see a bit of calcification in your machine’s steam tank and even in some external parts. Because calcification can wreak havoc on how your espresso machine works, it’s best that you get it descaled every six months. Bring it to your manufacturer’s service area and ask them to descale your espresso machine for you.
For home baristas who don’t want to bring their espresso machines all the time, you can descale it on your own using citric acid or vinegar. However, just a word of warning, in some cases long-term use of these descaling products can cause more buildup in your espresso machine.
3. Annual Parts Replacements – Much like with other types of machines, espresso machines need a few parts replacements every year to keep them operating optimally. This is why annual parts replacements need to be included in your espresso machine maintenance checklist. Take note of the dates of your replacements to ensure that you’ll get regular maintenance.
These parts that need to be updated annually include your espresso machine’s valves, bolts, bearings, and waste pipes. Source the replacements from your espresso machine’s manufacturer to ensure that they’ll fit perfectly and that you’ll get the same high-quality parts.
Clean Your Espresso Machines for Great-Tasting Espresso Shots
Coffee shops around the world depend on espresso machines for brewing the most delicious coffee drinks there are. From strong Americanos to sweet caramel macchiatos, the espresso machine is a crucial part of every barista’s arsenal. This is why regular maintenance is necessary to ensure that you can pull the same great-tasting espresso shots every time. Not only does regular cleaning and maintenance improve the longevity of your espresso machine, but it also ensures the safety and cleanliness of your coffee workstation.
With this espresso machine maintenance checklist, we hope that we’ve provided you with a clear and easy-to-follow guide to taking care of your equipment. If you’re looking for any high-quality coffee equipment, or maybe looking for a new trusty espresso machine, don’t hesitate to check out Curated. Cheers!