How to Clean a Coffee Machine

Are you cleaning and descaling your coffee machine on a regular basis? Expecting our trusty coffee machines to deliver great tasting coffee, means they need to be well cleaned and looked after.


Ensuring that coffee machines produce the best coffee for customers largely comes down to the cleaning process of the machine. The type of coffee machine you have, whether it's an espresso machine, bean-to-cup machine or capsule coffee machine, will establish the kind of care that is needed. To make the process easier and create the best cup of coffee, it is a great idea to invest in some good cleaning tools. 

General Coffee Machine Cleaning Tips

Cleaning coffee machines can be quite simple, especially as most of the time they have built-in cleaning mechanisms. However, you are likely to still need to clean the machine internally to ensure it is thoroughly cleansed. As for the outside, wiping it down with a microfibre cloth will do the job.


It is worth getting into a good routine with cleaning and descaling your coffee machine as over time dust, limescale and bean debris can build up in the machine causing the coffee to have a poor taste.


Coffee machine being cleaned

Cleaning Espresso Machines

Cleaning an espresso machine is quite simple and not very time-consuming which is great for days when it's busy. The brew head on this machine, which is where the hot water is distributed into the coffee, should be cleaned frequently and be flushed through with water after every use.


One of the most important parts of cleaning an espresso machine is making sure that the portafilter is thoroughly cleansed. This is due to the coffee clogging up the filter basket, causing a build up of pressure, which can then lead to a water leak. You can clean the portafilter by using a pin, some machines may supply a pin with them.


It is suggested to invest in some brushes such as a Redecker espresso brush or a set of pipe brushes. They are perfect for clearing out the coffee beans, other debris and reaching the smaller spaces of your machine. These brushes are also great for cleaning the steam pipe, which should be cleaned immediately after every use.


Cleaning Bean-to-Cup Machines

Bean-to-cup machines are great for coffee lovers. These machines allow coffee to be really fresh due to grinding coffee beans on the spot, whenever you like.


Compared to Espresso machines, bean-to-cup machines require a bit more maintenance. Most of these have a variety of lights to help indicate and guide you through the cleaning process and will also let you know when it's time to descale. However you will need to remember to clean the internal parts of the machine, especially the parts that brew the coffee.


Some bean-to-cup machines don't have a built-in self-cleaning programme, so it is more than likely that there will be a limescale filter at the bottom that you can either rinse and replace or replace the cartridge depending on the machine.


Ground coffee can often get stuck in the internal workings, which can sometimes lead to the machine needing to be dismantled. Before dismantling the machine, it is a good idea to read the instructions/manual which should explain how to remove it correctly. But either way it is a good idea to have a set of coffee cleaning brushes to help clean and remove any residue.


Cleaning the steam pipe is just as important as the rest of the machine. To clean this part, just flush hot water through the pipe or use a set of pipe cleaners. Doing this will allow you to achieve a lovely, frothy coffee.


Coffee machine being cleaned

Cleaning Capsule Coffee Machines

Due to capsule coffee machines being the most hassle-free machines, they are the easiest to clean.


It is recommended to flush through the machine with water after every use. To thoroughly cleanse this machine, parts like the capsule holder and drip tray should be washed by hand. As for the outside, wiping down the exterior with a microfibre cloth will be sufficient.


We recommend descaling your machine every 3-4 months to keep your machine performing at its best and remove limescale build-up.

Descaling a Coffee Machine

Descaling coffee machines is crucial for their performance and should be done regularly.


To descale a coffee machine use either a vinegar/water mixture or a suitable descaling solution. Rinse it through the machine by running it on two brewing cycles, using fresh, cold water each time.


Issues that may occur when your machine needs to be descaled are:

  • Reduced water flow
  • Unusual noises
  • Leaking
  • The machine fails to heat up properly
  • Excessive dripping from the spout

Overall when descaling coffee machines it is important to read the manual, this should tell you what is recommended for that specific machine.


Here at Esquires, a UK coffee shop franchise, we ensure that all of our machines are cleaned and descaled regularly in order to serve our customers the best coffee and give them a great coffee shop experience.