We hear it sometimes: people who own a coffee machine but have never cleaned or descaled it and about the same number do it less than once a year. If you do not maintain the machine regularly it will very likely get leaks or things get blocked.
Descaling is the single most important thing to do to avoid problems. The degree of cleaning you will have to do depends on the type of machine:
Cleaning and descaling of a bean-to-cup coffee machine.
A bean-to-cup gives one of the best coffees because the coffee is grinded fresh for every cup. However these machines are also the most time consuming when it comes to cleaning and descaling.
Happily most machines have processes for automatical cleaning and descaling! Indicator lights will indicate when it's time to clean or descale. Never skip this! Your manual will tell how it can be done.
Most bean to cup machines have a steam pipe for milk frothing - for a latte or cappuccino. If you don't clean the steam pipe afterwards it will soon dis functioning. It can become blocked or even worse: full of bad bacteria.
It's simple to avoid this: ensure you clean the outside of the steam pipe with a damp cloth, after you are done using it, and run steam though it for a few seconds. If there are part which can be removed: take these off and clean them in warm water.
Maintenance: cleaning steam pipe, descaling, cleaning with cleaning tablets (not for all machines).
Cleaning a traditional espresso machine.
A traditional espresso machine will use ground coffee which has to be done in a filter basket. The basket is fitted into the holder with a handle - called the portafilter. This together will be locked onto the espresso machine to make coffee.
The place where the water is dispensed into the coffee - know as the brew head - which has to be cleaned and flushed through after every use.
We would recommend to check that both the filter and the portafilter are clean and not blocked. Especially with very fine ground coffee it can get blocked easily. It can be cleaned with a pin.
Maintenance: cleaning with a damp cloth, cleaning filters, cleaning steam pipe, descaling.
Cleaning a capsule coffee machine.
Capsule coffee machines are the easiest when it comes to cleaning. As it is a very expensive way of making coffee - it doesn't leave much waste in the machine! Basically a capsule coffee machine, such as Nespresso, will need flushing through with water to clean the internal parts and a regular descaling.
Some capsule machines come with an internal or separate milk frothing options. Please keep in mind that it has to be cleaned after every use with a damp cloth and clean water.
Maintenance: cleaning with a damp cloth, descaling.
Descaling a filter coffee machine.
Descaling a filter coffee machine is very straight forward. Add the descaling solution and water in the reservoir and let it flush through a couple times.