Skip to main content

Laura Lewis

Marketing

As nightfall creeps across the world, behind it in millions of streets across hundreds of thousands of towns last customers are ushered out of coffee shops and front doors are locked behind them. Then starts a ritual repeated with minor variations across the globe: cups and saucers are stacked, surfaces are wiped and cleaned, floors are swept and mopped, and most vitally the espresso machine is given its final clean of the day.

The espresso machine is a vital and valuable piece of machinery and keeping it clean and well maintained is vital and valuable to any business with coffee at its heart. These daily routines are key to keeping the machine clean and well-maintained, which increases its reliability, extends its lifespan, ensures hygienic service for the customer and means that consistently great coffee is served time and time again.

The cleaning processes can be broken down into what should be happening with every shot, every day and every week. Here’s a brief breakdown of the key points for cleaning your espresso machine, however for full, in depth details, download our Cleaning and Maintaining Guide which you can share with your baristas.

Every Shot

  • Wipe the steam wand down after every use.
  • Purge the steam wand before and after to avoid build up.
  • Do not leave the puck in the filter, dispose of the puck into the knock box and rinse the filter screen and portafilter to rid them of any stray grounds.
  • Store the portafilter attached to the group head to maintain its cleanliness.

Daily Tasks

  • Back flush all group heads.
  • Remove group heads after back flush, clean with coffee machine cleaning detergent and rinse thoroughly.
  • Reattach group heads and perform a clean back flush to wash detergent away.
  • Wipe the steam wand down with food-safe disinfectant check that the jets are working properly, clearing them out if any are blocked.
  • Purge again to ensure that no cleaning fluid is left in the wand.
  • Remove filter baskets and portafilters (not handles) then soak them in dilute coffee machine cleaner detergent for a minimum of ten minutes. Rinse and put through clean flush.
  • Clean the outside of your coffee machine with an antibacterial detergent.
  • Remove drip trays, dump any contents and rinse with warm, soapy water.

Weekly Tasks

  • At least once a week the group heads should be flushed with coffee machine/back flush specific detergent. Run the head for 10 seconds repeat until the water released is as clear. Do this for all the group heads.
  • Remove filter baskets and portafilters (not handles) then soak them in dilute coffee machine cleaner detergent for a minimum of ten minutes. Rinse and put through clean flush.
  • Remove filter baskets and portafilters (not handles) then soak them in dilute coffee machine cleaner detergent overnight.
  • Group heads should be disassembled, and parts should be soaked overnight in a solution of coffee machine detergent and hot water. Rinse and put through clean flush.
  • Thoroughly clean the cup warming area with a damp cloth and disinfectant.
  • Wipe down all the working surfaces of the machine with antibacterial detergent and then rinse clean.
  • Remove drip tray and completely clean with soapy water and dry thoroughly.

It is also recommended that you service your machine throughout the year. On a quarterly to six monthly basis this can include checking whether you need to change portafilter baskets and shower screens and checking the group flow rates and temperature. Although you should be filtering your water it is also worth having your espresso machine regularly decalcified as build-up can be very harmful to the machine. At least every six months, the removable panels should be removed, and the internal parts should be cleaned of any dust which has gathered there.

Annually you should be considering replacing other small parts which wear out regularly such as switches, steam and hot water valves, and gaskets which become hardened by the constant heating and cooling. The anti-suction valve may need replacing and the waste pipe should be checked and probably replaced at least annually, if not every six months.

This is all intended as general advice which applies to most traditional commercial espresso machines and the cleanliness principles are universal. You should always, however, refer first to the documentation and guidelines for your machine to confirm which cleaning fluids are recommended, how regularly specific process should be undertaken and which services they recommend should be the responsibility of a qualified technician.

What everybody will agree though, be they equipment producers, shop owners, baristas and equipment rental/sales companies are the advantages of maintaining a regime like this. It encourages a constructive attitude to cleanliness and maintenance among staff if it becomes a given that these actions take place, customers will be aware that the shop appears clean and well maintained. The coffee you produce will be better and more consistent, and very importantly you avoid the risks of expensive and messy breakdowns, shop closures and the possibility of the hygiene risks of contaminated equipment. Your espresso machine’s lifespan will also be extended by this care. For these reasons alone, regular cleaning and maintenance pays for itself again and again when you want to provide great quality coffee to your customers on a professional coffee machine.

Download Guide

Our guide covers all you need to know about Cleaning and Maintaining your Espresso Machine. Download it here and share it with your baristas.