As true coffee-lovers know, coffee is an art form. The beans matter, how they’re roasted matters, the grind matters, how the coffee is brewed matters…we could go and on. People are even more particular about espresso, and not without reason. Not only do these potent shots take skill to make, but tiny variations in the coffee or brewing process can result in noticeable differences in flavor. If you think the flavor of your espresso has been “off,” it could be because you need to clean your machine. Follow these tips for a clean espresso machine and shots that are great again.
Take off your portafilter. Pop out the brewbasket and replace it with a blind basket, one with no holes in the bottom. Set this aside for now.
Run the water to get the group head wet. Once the group head is wet, clean it off with a small brush. The screen in the group head can be coated with residue and oils, so scrub really well!
Add a teaspoon of espresso machine-cleaning fluid to your blind basket. Replace the portafilter with the blind basket on the group head. Run the machine for five seconds, wait 5 seconds, then run it again. Do this 5 times.
This is called backflushing and forces the cleaner through the machine over and over again.
Remove the portafilter and dump out anything inside. Run the group for 10-15 seconds to flush cleaner remaining in the machine.
Repeat Steps Three and Four with just water, no product.
Place the small pieces (baskets and portafilter) in a large container. Add a tablespoon of your cleaner, then fill the container with water. Let the parts soak for 10 minutes. After their soak, scrub to get rid of stains.
It’s a good practice to clean the steam wand right after you use it. Either cover the end of the wand with a damp cloth or point it at the drip tray. Then briefly turn on the steam to flush out any milk residue from the wand.
If you think there is a clog, many steam wands have tips you can unscrew. Take off the tip and use a small wire brush, or even just a paper clip, to remove the clog.
A Clean Espresso Machine for Great Coffee
Making espresso is a labor of love. It’s about little rituals and attention to even the smallest of details. Having a clean espresso machine is part of the process of creating perfect coffee.