How To Clean And Descale An Espresso Machine
Great beans and a great grind – both contribute to making a great shot of espresso – but learning how to clean an espresso machine can help prevent minerals and oils from building up and altering the taste of your beverage. A regular cleaning and understanding how to descale your espresso machine can make all the difference.
WAYS TO CLEAN AN ESPRESSO MACHINE
For the best tasting espresso, an espresso machine that’s used often should be wiped down daily and the portafilter and basket should be rinsed out with every use. In addition, a deeper clean, which involves washing the individual parts, should take place weekly to help keep the machine and its parts free of residue and impurities.
Descaling your espresso machine, either with vinegar or a descaling solution, at least once a year, is also key to maintaining your appliance and ensuring delicious results.
The items you’ll need to keep your espresso maker clean are simple and straightforward. In addition to the vinegar or specialized solution you’ll need for descaling, a daily or deep cleaning requires only a soft, clean towel and a little soap and water to get the job done.
TIP: START WITH GREAT WATER
Espresso only has a few ingredients so everything you put in your espresso maker matters, including water. Starting with good filtered water can not only improve taste, but it also can help minimize the concentration of dissolved minerals in your espresso machine. If you are looking for filtered water straight from the refrigerator, KitchenAid Brand recommends everydrop® Refrigerator Water Filters.1
1. everydrop® products and KitchenAid brand products are both owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.
HOW TO DESCALE AN ESPRESSO MACHINE
Descaling is the process of removing mineral buildup from your espresso machine by flushing vinegar and water or a descaling solution through it. This type of cleaning should take place at least once a year, but if you’re not using filtered water, or your water is hard and has a higher mineral content, you might need to descale more often.
There are many different types of espresso machines, so before you begin descaling your espresso machine be sure and check your owner’s manual for the proper instructions on how to descale an espresso machine for your make and model. If your owner’s manual indicates that vinegar won’t harm your machine, you’ll want to make a cleaning solution containing the ratio of vinegar and water recommended for your machine, or have a descaling solution on hand. Vinegar does have the potential to leave a slight odor behind; if this is an issue for you, affresh® Coffee Maker Cleaner2 fights hard water and mineral build up for a powerful clean without the odor of vinegar.
2. affresh® products and KitchenAid® products are both owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.
WHAT OTHER HOUSEHOLD ITEMS CAN YOU USE TO DESCALE YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE?
To descale your espresso machine, you’ll want to use a white vinegar and water mixture or a specialized solution. If you’re using vinegar, check your owner’s manual first to make sure it’s safe to use on your appliance then follow the ratio of vinegar to water instructions to make the solution.
Use the following steps to descale a KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine:
(Please note, if you need to descale a coffee maker, the steps will be a bit different.)
Fill a clean water tank with the volume of descaling solution and water recommended.
Place a container below the group head and steam wand to catch the water and cleaning solution – press the Clean cycle button.
Empty the container and repeat.
Some machines have an indicator light to let you know when it’s time to descale. If your machine is sputtering or the liquids aren’t flowing freely, this is another sign that your machine might need to be descaled. Also, if you’re going on vacation and you won’t use your machine for a while, you might want to descale your espresso machine when you return, to flush out any deposits that might have accumulated while you were away.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON’T DESCALE YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE?
If you don’t descale your espresso machine it can cause mineral buildup that may affect the taste of your espresso and keep your machine from running optimally. Descaling your appliance at least once a year or more, if you’re not using filtered water, helps remove impurities while ensuring that your espresso machine functions properly.
KITCHENAID® ESPRESSO MACHINE PARTS
Before you start cleaning your machine, it’s important to understand what parts are included in it and whether or not they are dishwasher safe, or should be cleaned by hand.
Two of the most important parts of an espresso machine are “the group” or “group head” which is the heart of the machine and the “portafilter” – which holds the coffee grounds, and is set inside a handle. These two parts connect the water and grinds to create the espresso. The portafilter should be tapped and rinsed to empty it of any residual grounds every time your machine is used.
The steam wand, which is used to heat and froth milk, should be purged and wiped down after every use and should be rinsed with water after you’re done brewing. Learn more about how to clean a milk steamer or frother wand.
The KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine includes the following parts:
- Espresso machine
- Coffee scoop
- Steam wand
- Milk pitcher
- Water tank
- 4 filter baskets
- Drip tray
- Cleaning brush
- Milk tank
KitchenAid offers a separate Automatic Milk Frother Attachment, or discover the Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine and Milk Frother Attachment to help prepare milk for delicious lattes and cappuccinos.
WHAT CAN YOU USE TO CLEAN YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE?
Use a clean, soft, damp cloth to wipe the exterior of your espresso machine. Place the drip tray, portafilter, filter baskets, milk pitcher and drip tray plates in a sink of warm, soapy water to wash, then rinse clean. You can dry them with a cloth but avoid using abrasive cleansers or scouring pads.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE?
If you use your espresso machine in your morning routine, it’s best to wipe it down daily. Clean the steam wand and rinse the portafilter and basket after each use. You can wash the other parts of your appliance in warm, soapy water on a weekly basis.
For a deeper clean, consider descaling your espresso machine once a year or more often if you’re not using filtered water to prevent mineral buildup. You may have an indicator light that alerts you when to descale. If you notice your appliance isn’t running as smoothly as normal, descaling may help resolve that issue.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR KITCHENAID® ESPRESSO MACHINE
Before you begin a deep cleaning of your KitchenAid® espresso machine, make sure that the machine and its accessories have cooled off and the maker is unplugged. Then follow these step-by-step instructions – and for standalone steps on cleaning a KitchenAid® espresso machine – please see these product help instructions.
NOTE: Never use abrasive cleansers or scouring pads to clean your espresso machine.
When the drip tray indicator becomes visible, empty the drip tray.
Wipe the espresso machine and the group head with a clean, soft, damp cloth.
Wash the drip tray, portafilter, filter baskets, milk pitcher and drip tray plates in warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water. Dry with a soft cloth.
Clean the steam wand after every use by selecting water. Position the wand over a cup or the drip tray and press the start/cancel button. Wait 3-5 seconds, then press the button again to stop. Wipe the wand with a soft, damp cloth.
Armed with a clear understanding of how to clean an espresso machine and a great espresso maker, you’ll be making delicious, “barista-style” espresso in your own kitchen, shot after shot. Soon, you’ll be discovering new recipes like this Warm Winter Espresso Cocktail, for a spirited twist on classic espresso. Shop the complete Coffee Collection from KitchenAid brand for more inspiring brewing possibilities.
SHOP POPULAR ESPRESSO MACHINES FROM KITCHENAID
Whether you’re brewing a shot of robust espresso or crafting a coffee shop favorite at home, KitchenAid brand has a full lineup of espresso machines to explore. Enjoy smooth lattes, rich Americanos and tasty cappuccinos just the way you like with the KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine with Automatic Milk Frother Attachment and Dual Smart Temperature Sensors to brew exceptional coffee drinks at home.
EXPLORE MORE ESPRESSO POSSIBILITIES WITH KITCHENAID BRAND
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