Cleaning your Espresso Machine
Learning how to care for your new espresso machine isn't rocket science, but it will take a little prep work.
So many factors go into the pefect cup of espresso. From the barista, to the grounds, to the actual espresso machine/maker that you're using. One would think it would be rocket science to get that perfect brew time after time. But guess what? It's totally not rocket science and I'll let you in on the secret to a great cup of espresso brew after brew.
Stack the cards in your favor. First, you'll need to start with the best espresso machine you can find. You can read through our reviews here to find the top rated espresso machine available. Once you've found the best espresso machine you'll need to make sure that you maintain it. Even the best espresso machine and a well practiced barista can't make up for a dirty machine, which make for less than perfect brews. So, what exactly goes into caring for your espresso machine you might ask?
Due dilligence. You've got to make sure that you regularly clean the espresso machine. Keeping a solid cleaning regimen will lengthen the use of your espresso machine as well as the quality of each brew. This won't require an elaborate ritual but it will require that you clean out any grounds, spills or build up from inside the espresso machine. Coffee beans create the delicious taste that you enjoy with each espresso, and these same coffee beans can be the cause of off-tasting brews as well. Coffee beans give off essential oils which can greatly contribute to a delicious tasting crema, but also contribute to oil build up in your espresso machine. *Fact: Coffee beans themselves, are actually seeds that come from the coffee plant. It's the pit inside the red or purple fruit, also known as the cherry. While originating in Ethiopia, it made it's way to Arabia and then finally to South America who now exports 45% of the worlds coffee exports.
Clean water shots. A clean water shot, meaning simply running the espresso machine with only water, after every 10-15 shots will extend the life of your espresso machine. This one step as part of your brew routine can help you enjoy expressos for years to come.
Then I got a Braun which was totally serviceable for yet another 10 years....do these things all last 10 years? I guess so. When it was time to purchase another espresso maker, I chose the DeLonghi EC702. What a nice surprise! It heats up really quickly, and despite the owner's manual that says let it warm up for 15 minutes before you brew the first cup, I find you can get a perfect cup after only about 3 minutes of warm-up.
Can I use vinegar to descale my espresso machine? Well if you want your espresso machine to last the answer is a resounding no. Many who don't want to fork over the cash for descaling solution will try to take the cheap route and just use vinegar. This actually can lead to pre-mature corroding of our espresso machine. Descaling is very important, but you should use the solution provided, or reccommended by the manufacturer to ensure the life of your espresso machine. So to keep it simple, just buy the solution that is reccommended for your brand of espresso machine.
Cleaning nozzles & drip trays. You'd be surprised at how much residue can actually build up on the nozzle and drip tray of your espresso machine. By using a soapy, warm, damp cloth to clean the nozzle, and by gently removing the drip tray of your espresso machine (if they have one) and washing it under warm water will save you from struggling to get it clean later. This one little step can remove residue or build up that might have otherwise hardened.
Simple and Easy. Following these steps will greatly lengthen the life of your espresso machine. Developing a solid cleaning routine at the start of the life of your new espresso machine will allow you to enjoy delicious, creamy espresso brew after brew!
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