To get the most out of your espresso machine, you need to give it a little love and attention.
Follow these simple steps every 3-4 days to keep your coffee tasting great…
To clean the steam wand, take a damp thin cloth and pop the base of the wand in the cloth. Tie the cloth around the wand, so it stays put. Push the wand back into the drip tray area and set the wand to steam for 5 seconds (be careful of the steam). This loosens up any milk residue that has accumulated during the day, so that you can wipe the wand clean easily.
Remove the group handle and empty the basket of any coffee grounds, like you usually would. Then, use a spoon to lever the basket out.
To clean the basket we use coffee-machine cleaner, which gets rid of any coffee oil. Damage can occur if you use other cleaners or if you put the basket in the dishwasher. Your coffee machine supplier will usually recommend a brand (or you can go with Cafiza, the one we use).
Mix a bowl of hot water with a teaspoon of espresso machine cleaner. Put the group handle and the basket into the solution. Leave them for a few minutes to soak. Give them a wipe to remove any residue.
When cleaning the group head, first thing’s first: don’t touch the inside – it’s very hot! Purge the machine a tiny bit (where the hot water flows through the group head). Then, get a double folded cloth and wipe the underneath. Loosen the screw that you see underneath with the end of a spoon, then finish off the unscrewing with a tea-towelled hand, so that you can grab the screw as it falls out. Keep the screw in a safe place! Once the shower screen has been screwed off, the water could spout everywhere, so don’t turn the water back on! Put the shower screen into the cleaning bath.
Put the blind handle into the group handle and pop it into the machine. The blind handle comes with all espresso machines; it looks like the basket but without holes! Now the handle is back in, you’re allowed to turn the water back on. Purge for a few seconds, then remove the handle, being careful not to spill the water in the handle. This gives the inside a good rinse.
With a brush, give the inside of the group head a scrub until you’ve removed any old coffee grains. You can rinse the brush as you go. Repeat this process a couple of times: scrub, wipe, purge.
Put a tiny amount of coffee-machine cleaner in the blind handle and put the handle in the machine and purge. This will get rid of any coffee oil build up in the machine.
Once it’s been soaking for a few minutes, your shower screen should be sparkly clean. Rinse the shower screen then screw shower screen back into the machine. It won’t be that hot anymore you should be able to put back in without a tea towel on your hand. Tighten the screw with the end of a spoon.
Unlock the drip tray (there should be two levers underneath) and pour out any water. You can wash the tray if you wish, but it won’t affect the flavour of the coffee.
Extra tip: When you’re not using the machine, keep the handle in the machine so that it stays the same temperature, and gives you a consistent brew. Don’t leave it locked in too tight though as that could cause the silicone seal to dry out and need replacing.