East London Coffee Company / Maintenance  / The Importance of Coffee Machine Maintenance

The Importance of Coffee Machine Maintenance

Whether you own, are renting or are busy purchasing your coffee machinery and equipment via our easy rent-to-own option, there is a multitude of obvious reasons why you should care for your machine. Maintenance is the key to a clean coffee rich future.

Longevity: Coffee machines are expensive and if looked after, can become a valuable asset for re-sale; they will add value to your business and save you from having to replace them due to advanced deterioration.

Here are your guidelines:

  1. Step 1: The sieve underneath your group head should be cleaned once daily just before you back-flush (see Step 2). Make a small mixture in a cup, and use half a teaspoon of espresso cleaner and little water. Dip your head brush into the mixture and brush the sieve as you might brush your teeth. Purge well in order to remove cleaner residue. It is often best to do this just before you back-flush, ensuring no residue remains.
  2. Traditional espresso machines in commercial use should be back-flushed, using a food-friendly espresso cleaner and a back-flush disc. This MUST happen EACH DAY at the end of a shift. Coffee leaves a residue of oils which build up as a surface coating (and keep on building up) – these soon go rancid (yes, rotten)! As you make it, new coffee flows over this old residue. It stands to reason that you simply cannot then produce a good cup. Method: Insert the back-flush disc into the porta-filter, add ½ to 1 teaspoon of approved cleaner and insert the porta-filter into the group head. Draw water for 5 periods of 10 seconds each with 10-second intervals. Remove and wash the portafilter and then do the same procedure with the back-flush disc but without the cleaning agent. Do this to both group heads.
  3. Using the same logic, your portafilter needs to be cleaned daily. This should have a clean silvery shine to it, as it was when you bought it. With thanks to coffee snobs (Australia), please see alongside an image of a dirty porta-filter. Clean these daily by dipping them into a solution of water and cleaner and rub them after soaking. Ensure you use a small pipe cleaner/rounded brush to get into all the places where coffee will flow. This is a daily function of a trained barista. Please remember to rinse with clean water after cleaning with espresso cleaner. I recommend that at the end of shift, one cleans the knock box and uses this as a container to soak your equipment in overnight (with a cleaner/mixture).
  4. Nothing upsets our roaster more than seeing old milk caked onto a frothing wand. One must purge this before use, purge after use and wipe with a damp cloth each and every time you use it. Once per week, take off the tip (carefully, using two sets of pliers and a placing cloth between the pliers and the steel so as to avoid scratching) twist it off, clean the tiny pipe with a long needle, and then reinstall.
  5. Your car, along with any other equipment, needs a professional service. Service your coffee machine at least once per year. The technician will de-scale it throughout, clean it professionally and replace rubber parts where wear is showing. Yes, this will cost a thousand or even two but by servicing regularly, your machine will give you many years of good service.
  6. AUTOMATIC MACHINES: Milk is public enemy #1. 95%, Yes, 95% of all machines sent to us for repair result from users not following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and/or not using the cleaning materials. Automatic machines need a daily “clean the milk system” as contained in the manual and, when called for, need regular de-scaling and cleaning.
Dirty Portafilter
Basket Brush
Blind Basket

NB: Use only industry-recommended espresso cleaners. This is specifically designed for use in traditional coffee machines and is food and machine friendly. Although classified as food friendly, this WILL NOT improve the taste of the coffee!! Remember to purge/clean properly to remove cleaner residue.