The importance of cleaning during coffee service. Not only will keeping your machine clean make noticeably better espresso but there is likely to be fewer breakdowns meaning a longer lifespan for your coffee machine.
Inside your coffee machine
You have probably noticed that making coffee is a pretty messy job. We accumulate a lot of mess around the outside of the machine… as well as the inside! It’s a whole another world inside of the machine, the portafilter handles, the baskets, as well as the spouts of the portafilter handles. There’s the mess we can see and there’s the mess that’s hiding. It’s ESSENTIAL we clean it all.
As you use the machine, coffee oils, and grinds build-up. This must be washed away during service as well as thoroughly at the end of the day.
Most cafes should be incorporating cleaning and backflushing routines into their workflow EVERY HOUR. When you are busy this should increase to every half an hour. Setting a timer can be helpful, we all know how easy it can be to lose track of time when working behind the coffee machine.
It’s so so important we set this time away to clean up. If we don’t, this can lead to a bitter and dirty espresso and no one wants to drink that!
Even when we are not busy, cleaning the machine is just as important. The increased idling time of an inactive machine with no water flowing through can cause small amounts of oils and coffee grinds to bake and become rancid. This leads to bitter and astringent flavours in the espresso. Over time, this can end up restricting water flow causing extraction and maintenance issues.
How to clean during service
Customers can taste when your espresso is dirty. It’s not worth skipping the cleaning routine. Cleaning during service is quick and easy so there really is no excuse.
- Remove the portafilter handle from the group-head and pop out the basket. Take them to the sink and scrub them both with a scourer and hot soapy water until all oils and coffee residue is removed.
- Using a stiff-bristled brush, scrub the group head and seals.
- Insert the cleaning handle (blind filter) into the group-head and turn the machine on for 5 seconds using the PROG.STOP button (or the manual button), turn it off and wait for 5 seconds – repeat the 5 second on/ 5 seconds off cycle a total of 5 times.
- Remove the cleaning handle from the group-head and tip away the dirty water.
- Insert the cleaning handle back into the group-head but this time don’t pull it tight, hold it so it is loose in the group-head, turn the machine on using the PROG.STOP button (or the manual button) the water should be running over the sides, let it run for about 20 seconds.
- The clean portafilter handle and basket can now be returned to the group-head, repeat on all other group heads.
You can easily clean one group-head and keep making an espresso on the other group-head and then swap if you find that you don’t get a long enough break in the coffee orders to do all the group-heads at the same time.
Keep your cleaning handle underneath the machine so that it’s quick and easy, having multiple cleaning handles is recommended so you can do the group heads together at the same time whenever possible.
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Doing this process every hour will make cleaning at the end of the day easier.
A clean machine is a happy machine – and clean tasting espresso = happy customers!
If you would like a cleaning checklist please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will happily provide you with one.
Also, check out our blog on what caused coffee to taste bitter.
All the best and if you have some troubles, book in a training session with us!
Happy Coffee Making,
Barista Trainer, Summah