Basic Cleaning Tips for Better Tasting Coffee
Coffee not tasting quite right? Bit of a burnt taste? Don't blame it on your coffee beans; how your coffee tastes is often the best indicator that it's time for some basic cleaning. That burnt taste comes from old coffee oils and residue that's built up inside your machine—guaranteed that when your equipment is clean, your coffee is going to taste a whole lot better.
Let's start with the grinder, which doesn't require much more than a good brush out of the burrs, with either a grinder brush or any small stiff-bristled brush. Keep in mind that light roasts beans are harder than darker roasts, so they're harder on the burrs. A general rule of thumb is that if you're only using light roasts, your burrs will last a good three years, and five to six years for darker roast beans.
With semi-automatic machines, the coffee oils build up and can seize up the valves. We carry a variety of espresso machine cleaning tablets; they work to dissolve and flush out the oils. We recommend a good backflushing once a month for home machines. Various brands such as Jura, Breville and Rocket recommend their professional-grade cleaning tablets.
Your Superautomatic machine, like our 9-Bar Twenty-Six.01, for example, is quite the self-cleaning wonder. A Superautomatic machine will indicate on the interface screen when it's time to run a cleaning cycle, and that is based on how much coffee you're brewing.
Don't forget your milk system; whether it's a milk frother or a steam wand, milk residue builds up and not only smells nasty, clogs will affect how the machine feathers in the air to froth milk. Frothers are best washed by hand in mild detergent and rinsed well. We also carry Puro milk system cleaning tablets to help dissolve caked-on milk from steam wands, Pannarello frothers, and automatic milk frothing devices.
The inside of your bean hopper will collect that oily residue as well, and we recommend a weekly wipe out with a damp paper towel, keep wiping until you don't see any more residue on the towel, and then let it dry before adding beans.
Back in the day, the recommended clean-up for a drip coffee maker was to run a vinegar/water mix through the brew cycle. Never mind the fact that hot vinegar smells awful, you're much better off using a commercial descaling solution for the best results.
Basic home cleaning means chances are we won't be seeing you in our service department – until it's time for a tune-up. Most machines have various gaskets, O-rings and valves that naturally wear out and require replacement. Again depending on usage, you should be good with a tune-up every 2-4 years. If you have questions about cleaning and maintenance, our sales and service department will be happy to help you out.