Coffee Machine Maintenance

Coffee Machine Maintenance 101: Maintenance Requirements On Every Type of Coffee Machine

Coffee Machine Maintenance 101: Maintenance Requirements On Every Type of Coffee Machine

We know we stand at risk of perhaps sounding like a stuck record, but owning a coffee machine is – unfortunately- never going to be a “plug and play” solution. Yes, setting up the machine may be easy, and certain types of coffee machines (brands, as well) require far less maintenance than others.

But is it worth the risk of having your machine seize up one day, to never work again? Surely a few minutes of taking care of your investment will pay off in the long run?

Because we love our coffee so very much, we’d love to share with you the main area’s to focus your coffee machine maintenance on, by machine type.

Maintaining A Filter Coffee Machine

Filter coffee machines come in a clear winner in terms of ease of maintenance. The reason for this is because of the simplicity of what actually makes up a filter coffee machine.

Daily – you should be removing your glass pot at the end of each day, washing it thoroughly in warm water with sufficient dish-washing detergent, and allowing it to dry properly before it is used again.

The basket in which the filter paper and coffee grounds are fitted should be removed, along with the coffee pot, and thoroughly cleaned, with dish-washing detergent again, and also allowed to thoroughly dry.

Something that is overlooked on filter coffee machines is the small hole, through which the brewing coffee is dispensed. This must be wiped down and washed at the ends of every day. Finally, the water tank. If you are using purified water, with a low mineral and chemical content, your maintenance requirements here with drastically drop. However, using tap water may lead to your water tank staring to build up lime-scale. TO remove this – you have one of two choices. A cheap and quick fix could be to allow white spirit vinegar to brew through your machine, as you would with a normal coffee brewing cycle. Otherwise, the addition of some descaling liquid, also run through a regular brewing cycle will work even better.

Just make sure to run one or two full tanks worth of water through the machine again before attempting to brew more coffee, otherwise you might be left with a bit of a strange taste in your mouth.

Maintaining a Capsule Coffee Machine

Maintenance on a Capsule Coffee Machine is a bi of a grey area. Some machines come with a rinse cycle button, other machines are not fitted with them, so you’re either equipped, but not sure how to use it – or you don’t even have a button to clean your machine! Admittedly, and without bashing anyone, often times the instruction manual that accompanies your capsule machine is not exactly forthcoming with maintenance tips.

On machines that are fitted with a rinse button: I personally prefer to run a rinse cycle after each capsule is brewed. This is simply so that none of the flavour of the previous capsule finds it’s way into my next cup. Nobody wants Chai Latte in their Espresso. However, if your capsule machine is located inside an office, where performing a rinse after each cup will simply take up far too much time (or in an instance where you’re using only one capsule flavour) I would advise running the rinse cycle at least once in the morning, and once at the end of the day. This will keep your spout nice and clean.

Removing your drip tray daily will ensure no “yuckies” stay behind, or run the risk of accidentally spilling the contents all over yourself in a morning rush. The only other factor that is as important as running the rinse cycle after each cup is running a decalcifying liquid through your water tank.

This again applies mostly to users who make use of tap water or mineral water in their machines, which contain lime-scale building components.

Some capsule machines have a handy “descaling capsule” available, which you simply pop into your machine and allow it to brew as your would your favourite coffee capsule; other machines o not have this, so adding a decsaling liquid to your water tank and allow it to brew two to three cups worth of it through your machine. Replace the water inside your tank with clean water, and allow that to run through the machine until finished – to make sure (again) that no descaling residue is left behind.

If your machine is NOT fitted with a rinse cycle button, using either one of your brewing buttons wand following the aforementioned steps will allow you to clean your machine just as thoroughly.

PS: Don’t forget to empty out your capsule basket often!

Maintaining an Instant or Bean Vending Coffee Machine

These machines are usually the most maintenance-heavy coffee machine types. This is because of a few factors.

Vending machines are typically placed in high-volume area’s, because that’s what they’re suited for.

Factor in instant ingredients, like milk powder or instant coffee, and you instantly (see what I did there) start to run into the “clogging” problem. This is just one of those factors we, well, kinda have to deal with. There are normally mixing bowls, which have the instant product dispensed into them, and are then mixed with the water, sugar and other ingredients, to dispense your drink of choice.

The same goes for Bean Vending machine – but with a wee bit extra; bean vending machines, because of their very nature, will require the same maintenance as a Instant Vending Machine, plus looking after the bean grinder and emptying the grounds daily.

To keep your coffee vending machines in tip-top condition, you really should follow the three major maintenance rules.

Hourly cleaning: Your vending machine is fitted with a button that is separate from your drink selection buttons, and is usually identifiable by the small icon that looks like a broom. Pressing this button after every 10 or so cups dispensed will run piping hot water through your mixing bowls and all the dispensing pipes, to remove any possible product build-up which may have occurred.

Daily cleaning: We always suggest that you remove your internal canisters and thoroughly wipe down your mixing bowls, the inside of the machine where any spillage may have occurred, and give every movable part which has come into contact with the product, a good wipe-down. What’s as important as this cleaning stage is the cloth you use to clean the machine. You must bear in mind that any chemical or smell that is on your cloth (bleach, dirt from counters etc.) will leave an unwanted taste on the components of the machine which they have come into contact with.

If you use a Bean Vending Machine, ensure you follow these processes, but also ensure that you remove your spent coffee grounds daily.

Weekly Cleaning: Running a decalcifying cycle through your machine may or may not be necessary, again depending on the water you use in said machine. Also, the application of your de-calcification product differs from machine to machine – but generally speaking, vending machines have a slot allocated inside he machine, into which you can add cleaning powder (manufacturer specific) and allow that to run through your machine. I’ve categorised this as a weekly maintenance routine – but it really depends on your water quality and how badly it requires a deep clean.

Whichever vending machine you have – you should definitely remove every canister, empty it out and wash the canister thoroughly. Maybe try doing this late on a Friday afternoon, where not many people will want a coffee and your product is already finished and the canister is empty. Wiping the canisters down in a crisis will help, but ideally a warm- water wash with detergent is the best route to take.

Don’t forget to wipe down the dispensing spout on the outside of your machine to make sure no funny tastes crop up overnight.

Maintaining a Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

I’m quite certain that if you’ve owned a Bean to Cup coffee machine before, or done any bit of research around it, you know that this is machine type that’s going to need some looking after.

If you machine has an external water tank, you’ll need to make sure it is fitted with a filter so that you circumvent calcification in your machine. Similarly, if your machine is plumbed-in to your water mains, you’ll need a filter fitted even more than you would with an external filter, because we know where we stand with water quality in South Africa…

Maintenance includes running a rinse cycle, which will circulate piping hot water through the extraction area (which removes any coffee product build-up deposited by brewing coffee).

If you machine has a milk frother – either r a jug type container or a spout which has a pipe fitted to it, you will absolutely HAVE TO remove it each and every day and thoroughly wash it out. This means hot water, a soap[y detergent and making sure you get into all the nooks and crannies to ensure that no milk is left behind. If there is any milk residue left, it WILL sour and leave a terrible taste – and often discolouration -in your coffee and the container it is in.

Bean to Cup machines have a grounds container which, depending on usage, may need to be cleaned out either every few hours, or at the very least, at he end of each day.

Certain brands, like Jura, have immovable brew groups, which makes your maintenance exponentially easier. Other brands require that you remove the brew group daily land give it a thorough rinse. Try not to move any movable parts of the brew group, as this could change settings and placements without you even knowing it. Also avoid washing it with soap; the only two ingredients which come into contact with this area of a coffee machine are coffee grounds and hot water. Ground coffee does not clog, as it does not dissolve, so a good rinse will most certainly suffice.

Wiping down the external spouts with a clean, unscented and chemical-free cloth ensures no build up of bitter coffee oils on your beloved Bean to Cup coffee machine. When it comes to decalcifying your machine, brands such as Jura will prompt you when it becomes necessary. Larger brands and models normally have an override doers area -i.e. – a small hole located close to the bean container, into which you can add you pre-ground coffee or decaf for single-use; this is the are into which you can insert your cleaning tablet or liquid (NB: Check your user manual to decipher which off the two you should really use) and perform a full deep clean, perhaps once a month (depending on usage).

Smaller brands, like the Saeco Minuto, do not have an override doser. In most instances, it’s safe to say that models like this can have cleansing liquid added to the water tank and then have about 4-5 cups worth brewed through the machine. As always, run a full tank of pure, clean water through after you have completed this step, to ensure that no funny tasting detergent residue gets left behind.

Yes,. It all sounds like a lot of hard work – but I promise you from the bottom of my heart that if you follow these simple guidelines and keep your coffee machine as clean as possible, you will see the reward. Extended periods between services, better output and performance, better quality coffee and a generally longer lifespan for your investment.

Is it worth is? Most definitely!

 

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