How to Clean a Coffee Machine

Students taking a barista course in Melbourne at The Espresso School learn that the art of making great coffee is more than just grinding coffee beans and frothing milk. In order to consistently produce excellent results, cleanliness is key!

Coffee machines are expensive pieces of equipment that require regular TLC to increase their longevity and guarantee delicious quality coffee cup after cup. Daily cleaning of commercial machines is essential, whilst depending on how often they are used, home machines can be cleaned on a weekly or monthly basis.

Since coffee is a rather oily product all parts require a thorough clean, especially the group handles, group head and bean hopper. Stale coffee left in your grinder or machine will affect the flavour of your fresh coffee and is further reason to keep all parts clean and well maintained.

Tools to clean your machine

Without frequent cleaning your equipment will degrade from a build up of oil and mineral residues. To enable you to clean more effectively and efficiently the right tools are needed for the job:

  • Cloth (only ever use soft cloths)
  • Group head brush
  • Espresso machine cleaner (back flush detergent)
  • Blind Filter for Group Handle

Parts that need cleaning

During a Barista course Melbourne you’ll become familiar with the various parts of a coffee machine and how they work. Daily or regular cleaning is required for many of these parts and is an integral aspect of the job once you have achieved your Barista certificate.


Back flushing Barista Course Melbourne

Use a blind filter in the group head to backflush your coffee machine’s internal system according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Back-flushing works to remove old coffee oils that build up by flushing water and cleaning solution through the machine. Rinsing with water is recommended after completing this process to remove any remaining chemical residue.

Contrary to popular belief, backflushing is not done to clean the group head, but as a way to maintain the 3-way solenoid valve in the machine which controls the flow of water. If this valve becomes stuck, it cannot fully open or close meaning you’ll never be able to make proper espresso.

Group Handles and Filter Basket

A daily task to minimise the oil build up that these two areas are prone to involves using clean water to rinse the group handle and filter basket.

If there is a lot of oil build-up try soaking the group handle in cleaning powder. Remove the basket from the group handle, then in a container dissolve a teaspoon of the powder in hot water and soak both parts in the solution for 10-15 minutes. The oil will then be super easy to scrub off under running water with a scourer as the process breaks down the oil.

Shower Screen

Depending on usage, some cafes remove the shower screen, dispersion block/screw and soak in espresso machine cleaner. Wipe the group head clean with a damp towel, rinse the shower screen and reinstall.

It is not advisable to do this to machines where shower screens are not held in place with a screw, as you’ll have to pry the group seal off first, inevitably destroying in the process.

Steam Wands

Barista Course Melbourne Steam Wands

After steaming milk ensure you wipe them down with a damp cloth and purging steam by opening the steam tap to let a small amount of steam out to prevent milk from drying on the inside of the steam nozzle or exterior of the wand.

If this does occur, milk can be removed from the inside of the cylinder by unscrewing the tip of each wand and using a pipe brush and paper clips to open up the nozzles again.

Milk Jugs

Milk jugs should not be overlooked as part of the coffee machine cleaning process. They are really quick and easy to clean using just a jug rinser. It is best to give them a thorough rinse after each use because otherwise the milk dries inside the jug and becomes pretty gross. 

Drip Tray

All day coffee grounds and espresso are falling into the drip tray so it needs to be detached, emptied, washed, drained and reattached so it is ready for the next day of trade.

Season the machine

barista course Melbourne espresso machine

At the start of each day, following cleaning the day before it is important to run a few espresso shots through each group head to ‘season the machine’. This process ensures any residual cleaning powder is removed. Warning – do not drink these shots!

If you have a passion for coffee and are interested in doing a barista course, contact us at The Espresso School to enrol in a coffee course Melbourne today! We provide a range of courses, including Level 1 Barista Training, a Latte Art Course and a 5 day Barista Training Masterclass.

Get your Barista Certificate at the best barista course Melbourne.

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