How To Clean Your Coffee Machine at Home

So you finally got rid of your old automatic drip coffee maker and got yourself a professional espresso coffee machine from De’Longhi for your home. Now, you are enjoying a homemade cup of gourmet coffee every day.

But hold on. If you want to keep getting the best results from your espresso coffee machine at home, you must keep your machine clean and well-maintained;  good maintenance is key to prolonging a coffee machine’s lifespan and ensuring consistent high-quality results. 

Thankfully, you won’t need to go on a shopping spree for cleaning accessories – especially if you have a De'Longhi coffee machine that is designed for easy cleaning. Once you understand the essentials of coffee machine maintenance, you will not only be saving on cleaning products but also on the replacement costs that you may incur if you don’t properly care for your espresso machine or automatic drip coffee maker.

1. Know your espresso machine inside out

You likely won’t ever have to rewire or dismantle your home’s coffee machine but knowing the difference between a gasket and a portafilter basket can help, especially if you need to troubleshoot during the cleaning process.

The most important parts of the machine are the portafilter, group head, steam wand, and drip tray. The portafilter is where you put your coffee grounds. During extraction, the portafilter is placed into the group head – the device where hot water is dispensed. The excess water then falls into the drip tray which occasionally has to be drained. Finally, you have the steam wand where milk is aerated.

Knowing these parts and the roles they play can help you determine which area may need cleaning or descaling when your coffee comes out different than what you were expecting. By familiarising yourself with your coffee machine, you can make an educated guess as to where things went wrong, and pay extra attention to making sure the relevant parts are cleaned, fixed, and maintained accordingly. 

2. Clean as you go and lessen your workload

Cleaning after every extraction helps spreads the workload into manageable micro-steps, making it easier to maintain the machine in the long run.

The portafilter, for example, can be cleaned after every shot. Knock out the exhausted espresso grounds from the portafilter basket and rinse with hot water from the group head. Finish by wiping your basket with a dry cloth. Similarly, it is also good practice to purge the steam wand before and after aerating your milk, making sure to wipe the wand with a wet cloth. These steps alone should help prevent grime and milk residue from building up on your portafilter and steam wand.

3. Even your coffee machine needs a spa day

At times, you will need to give your espresso machine a deep cleanse. This means cleaning individual parts of the machine with great care and thoroughness. Although not everything on the list below is a definite must, know that your coffee machine will operate more optimally the more you clean and maintain it well.

  •     Scrub the group head using a nylon brush
  •     Place a blind basket into the portafilter and backflush the insides of your machine
  •     Flush your steam wand with hot water and wipe down thoroughly
  •     Remove your dip tray and clean meticulously

If possible, do a deep cleanse of your home’s coffee machine at least once a week.

4. Go deep and descale

If your tap water is high in minerals, your machine will likely experience a limescale build-up which will affect the taste of your coffee. In severe cases, limescale can even obstruct the machine and cause damage. The solution here is to descale - in other words, remove foodstuff within your espresso machine.

To do this, you will need a descaler. Descalers tend to irritate the skin and eyes, so please be careful when handling them. If possible, use a descaler that is supplied or recommended by your machine’s manufacturer. For De’Longhi machine owners, this means the De’Longhi EcoDecalk descaler

Once you have your descaler, it’s time to get started. The steps below are general guidelines on descaling your coffee machine. However, it is always recommended to refer to your espresso machine’s manual for specific instructions.

  1.   Place the descaling solution in the water tank as indicated and add water until the required level.
  2. Put a 2L container below the coffee spouts and turn on the espresso machine to allow the macchine to dispense the descaling solution out through the brewing unit and the steam wand. .
  3.   Once the descaling cycle is done, fill the water tank with fresh water and the machine will repeat step 2 to flush the rest of the water through the machine.
  4. Once this is done, your coffee machine is all ready for brewing your favourite coffee. 

*Note: Your De’Longhi machine will notify you when descaling is required

A little will go a long way when caring for your machine

Regular maintenance will help you get more mileage out of your coffee machine at home. It also allows you to keep sipping on delicious home-brewed coffee of the highest quality. If, however, you find yourself in need of a brand new coffee machine for your home, be sure to check out De’Longhi’s range of fully-automatic coffee machines.

Alternatively, if you’re still not convinced on the simplicity and convenience of our fully-automatic coffee machines, sign up for the De’Longhi Coffee Home Trial and discover the esteemed experience of perfectly brewed fresh coffee with your very own De’Longhi coffee machine and a complimentary pack of fresh coffee beans to start your coffee journey. Sign up today!