If you have had your espresso machine in use for a long period of time, there is bound to be a buildup of bacteria inside. This is completely normal, as the coffee mixture can get stuck to the screen and gasket in your machine. If not cleaned correctly, this can actually change the taste of your coffee. However, the good news is that regular maintenance can be done at home, and you don't need a high degree of skill to do it. Here are a few of the most important tips you should consider when you are cleaning a dirty espresso machine:
1. Cleaning the portafilter
The portafilter is located inside your espresso machine. It's purpose is to essentially act as a filter when you are making your cup of coffee. The portafilter usually looks like a handle with a filter basket connected at the end. Maintaining the cleanliness is greatly important in keeping your coffee fresh and keeping your machine in good working order. Your portafilter can actually be washed on a daily basis. The best method is to wash and scrub any dirty residue that may have become stuck to the filter. You should try to avoid using harsh liquid soaps because it can actually saturate the filter and leave your coffee with a rancid taste. Scrubbing with warm water will keep the filter fresh, and you won't need to worry about having the taste of detergent in your coffee. If the residue is stubborn, mixing a small amount of vinegar in your warm water will help you scrub off any remaining particles. Vinegar works as a great cleaning solution for a number of appliances.
It is also a good idea to separate your portafilter, ideally once a week, and give it a light rinse in a coffee cleanser solution.
2. Cleaning the steam arm
After each coffee, you should be cleaning your espresso machine's steam arm. Using a regular cloth, apply some warm water and lightly scrub any residue off the arm. This will help keep your machine clean.
3. Maintaining the hopper
It is important that you maintain the cleanliness of the hopper in your machine. The coffee beans that you use to make your coffee will placed in your hopper, sometimes for long periods of time. It is important, however, to remove the beans from the hopper overnight and place them in an airtight container to retain freshness. The clean your hopper, wash it in warm water with a very small amount of dishwasher detergent. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the hopper after cleaning to remove any remaining detergent.
By following these three tips you can keep your espresso machine in prime condition. Coffee machine maintenance doesn't have to be challenging, but if you do need help, contact a local appliance repair company.