How to Maintain a Cleaning Regimen
The buildup of coffee oils and coffee grinds becomes noticeable in your espresso shots after approximately 1 hour. This means you should aim to deal with any residues at least once per hour. The worst buildup occurs on the portafilters. These must be dry-wiped on the inside (after removing the baskets) every half hour.
The next priority is the group head. This receives a reverse flow of liquid after the shot finishes. An exhaust valve (aka solenoid valve) behind the shower screen opens every time you turn the shot off to release the pressure, and closes when you turn a shot on. To keep this area clean of coffee residue, you need to backflush every hour.
It is okay to backflush one group while still preparing coffee on another group. Even if you are using coffee-cleaning soap; they are not connected.
In this video, Matt shows you the protocol we use to clean down an espresso machine.
- Scrub the shower screen and around the gasket.
- Insert a blind basket (aka a blank basket).
- Whilst holding the handle, partially insert the handle and allow water to flood out around the basket for a couple of seconds. Wiggle the handle as you do this to prevent hot water from sliding down the handle.
- Insert the portafilter and blind basket into the group.
- Perform at least five cycles of 5-second flushes, waiting 5 seconds in-between flushes.
Twice per Shift: After Lunch and After Serving the Last Customer
- Perform the same protocol as above, with the addition of a quarter-teaspoon of coffee-cleaning soap dosed into the blind basket.
- Be sure the shower screen is still in place when you perform a backflush cycle because the exhaust valve can be blocked by coffee-cleaning soap or large particles of coffee grinds.