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Everything You Need To Maintain A Clean Coffee Machine

Delish UK logo Delish UK 07/08/2020 Marianna Gould
a cup of coffee and a spoon on a table: The type of coffee machine you have, whether that’s a bean-to-cup coffee machine, espresso coffee machine or capsule coffee machine, will determine the kind of care that's required when it comes to descaling and cleaning. © Guido Mieth - Getty Images The type of coffee machine you have, whether that’s a bean-to-cup coffee machine, espresso coffee machine or capsule coffee machine, will determine the kind of care that's required when it comes to descaling and cleaning.

How clean really is your coffee machine? Are you cleaning and descaling it on a regular basis? Surely, if we expect our trusty machines to deliver good coffee, we need to give them the TLC they deserve. Right?

First things first, the type of coffee machine you have, whether that’s a bean-to-cup coffee machine, espresso coffee machine or capsule coffee machine, will determine the kind of care that's required when it comes to descaling and cleaning. So, it's worth gaining an understanding of the cleaning measures you have to take. It's also a good idea to invest in some decent cleaning tools to make that process much easier.

For some coffee machine cleaning tips, and to avoid bad-tasting coffee in the morning, check out what we have to say below.

General Cleaning Tips

Generally, cleaning your coffee machine is pretty simple. Most of the time, they have built-in cleaning processes that work at the touch of a single button. But it's more than likely you'll have to clean internal workings manually. As for the outside of most coffee machines, a simple wipe with a microfibre cloth will suffice.

According to a blog post by the Cleaning Mentor, over time things such as limescale, dust and coffee bean debris can accumulate in your machine. So, it's worth getting into a routine when it comes to cleaning and descaling your coffee machine, as this will ensure quality, good-tasting coffee always.

Cleaning Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machines

A bean to cup coffee machine is the type of gadget you buy if you consider yourself a real coffee-enthusiast. These machines quite literally grind coffee beans on the spot, whenever you like, so that your coffee will always be fresh.

Most of the time, these machines come with a range of indicators and warning lights to guide you through routine cleaning and will let you know when it's time to descale. But you'll also need to remember to clean the internal parts of the coffee machine, particularly the parts that brew the espresso.

Often, ground coffee can get stuck in and amongst the internal workings, which might mean dismantling the coffee machine and removing the coffee manually. But before doing anything, it's a good idea to read the care instructions/manual as it should explain how to remove it. Either way, it's always worth having a set of coffee cleaning brushes to help you clean and remove any unwanted coffee.

4 Pcs Coffee Machine Cleaning Set © Seaperich 4 Pcs Coffee Machine Cleaning Set

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You'll find that keeping the steam pipe clean is equally as important. Otherwise you won't get that lovely frothiness in your morning cappuccino. All that's required is flushing the pipe through with some hot water, or using a set of pipe cleaners.

Blogger, The Perfect Grind, also mentions that if your machine doesn't have a self-cleaning program, then it will most likely have a limescale filter at the bottom. He says: "Some of these will be rinse and replace, and others will need to have a cartridge replaced."

Cleaning Espresso Machines

Espresso machines have what's called a brew head, and this is where the hot water is distributed into the coffee. The brew head should be cleaned regularly and flushed through with water after every use.

Making sure the portafilter is clean is also super important, especially if you tend to use fine ground coffee. This is because the coffee can clog up the filter basket and cause a build-up of pressure, which can lead to a water leakage. To clean the portafilter, use a pin (a pin might be supplied with the coffee machine).

The Cleaning Mentor also suggests investing in a Redecker Espresso Brush, as it's perfect for reaching into the small spaces of your machine to clear out coffee grinds and other debris.

As for the steam pipe, having a set of dedicated pipe brushes makes cleaning much easier, as this is something that should be cleaned immediately after every use.

a close up of a logo: Kiemeu Small Pipe Cleaners © Kiemeu Kiemeu Small Pipe Cleaners

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Cleaning Capsule Coffee Machines

Capsule coffee machines are the easiest to clean, which makes sense as they're the most hassle-free way to make a delicious coffee (they also tend to be the cheapest).

When cleaning a capsule/pod coffee machine, simply wipe down the exterior with a microfibre cloth to remove any coffee stains. Parts like the drip tray and capsule holder should also be washed by hand, or in the dishwasher (if dishwashable). For any more care instructions, read the manual.

a close up of a towel: AmazonBasics Microfibre Cleaning Cloths Pack of 24 © AmazonBasics AmazonBasics Microfibre Cleaning Cloths Pack of 24

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Descaling Your Coffee Machine

Descaling your coffee machine is extremely important and often critical to your machine's performance. Some issues that arise when descaling is required include:

  • Leaking
  • Excessive dripping from the spout
  • Reduced water flow
  • The machine fails to heat up properly
  • Unusual noises

To keep your coffee machine in tip-top shape, descale regularly. Some machines will permit the use of vinegar to descale, whilst others recommend using a commercial descaler.

a close up of a sign: Oust Powerful All Purpose Descaler, Limescale Remover © OUST Oust Powerful All Purpose Descaler, Limescale Remover

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