How To Descale Your Espresso Machine

How To Descale Your Espresso Machine

As you may know, t's crucial to keep your coffee gear in top shape to ensure the best possible coffee experience for you and if you are operating a cafe, for your customers. One of the most critical aspects of maintaining your espresso machine is descaling. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about descaling your espresso machine, including how often to do it, what descaling solution to use, and how to clean your steam wand.

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Do I Need To Descale My Espresso Machine?

Yes, you do. Even if you use filtered water in your espresso machine, mineral buildup can still occur over time. Descaling is the process of removing these mineral deposits, which can affect the flavour of your espresso and the performance of your machine.

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Do I Need To Descale My Espresso Machine If I Use Filtered Water?

Yes, you do. While filtered water can help reduce mineral buildup, it doesn't eliminate it entirely. Over time, minerals will still accumulate, and descaling is necessary to keep your machine functioning correctly.

If you are interested in learning more about what water you should use for brewing we wrote this article 'Best Water for Coffee'

What Happens If You Don't Descale Your Espresso Machine?

If you neglect to descale your espresso machine, the mineral buildup can cause several issues, including:

  1. Reduced water flow: Mineral buildup can clog the small parts of your machine, leading to reduced water flow and slower extraction times.
  2. Bitter taste: The mineral buildup can affect the flavor of your espresso, making it taste bitter or metallic.
  3. Machine damage: If left untreated, mineral buildup can cause damage to your machine's internal parts, resulting in costly repairs or replacement.

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What Can I Use For Descaling Solution?

There are several commercial descaling solutions available on the market, such as Urnex or Cafec. You can also use natural descaling solutions, such as citric acid or vinegar.

How Do You Descale An Espresso Machine Naturally?

To descale your espresso machine naturally, follow these steps:

  1. Mix one part citric acid or vinegar with three parts water.
  2. Fill your machine's water reservoir with the solution.
  3. Run the solution through your machine, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  4. Rinse the machine thoroughly with clean water, repeating the process if necessary.
  5. Run a few shots of plain water through the machine to remove any remaining solution.

Please keep in mind that Vinegar can leave a strong odor and taste in your machine and may damage the rubber and metal parts and with descaling products so readily available you should consider really consider using the chemicals instead.

How To Descale Your Espresso Machine

Here are the steps to descale your espresso machine using a commercial descaling solution:

  1. Read the manufacturer's instructions for your specific descaling solution.
  2. Empty the water reservoir and clean any removable parts, such as the portafilter and basket.
  3. Fill the reservoir with the descaling solution and water, following the instructions on the package.
  4. Turn on the machine and run the solution through the machine, following the instructions.
  5. Rinse the machine thoroughly with clean water, repeating the process if necessary.
  6. Run a few shots of plain water through the machine to remove any remaining solution.

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How To Clean Your Steam Wand

To clean your steam wand, follow these steps:

  1. Wipe the wand with a damp cloth after each use and be sure to purge every time you finish steaming milk.
  2. After a day's use, remove the tip of the wand and soak it in warm, soapy water, be cautious when using other chemical for this as your steam wand may be effected by this chemical.
  3. Use a toothpick or something similar to chip off any residue that has built up over time, even with really great daily maintenance cleaning this does still build up.

How Often Should You Descale Your Espresso Machine?

The frequency of descaling your espresso machine depends on how often you use it and the hardness of your water. As a general rule, if you are luck enough to live in an area with soft water back flush 4 times a year. If you're using hard water in your machine you will have to service and descale your machine much more regularly.

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