Paul Rigby offers 5 simple tips to look after your coffee machine.
Friends look after each other right? For most of you senior baristas, your coffee machine is actually one of your most important friends. You look after it and you care for it. You rely on its promises and trust that it will get you through the busiest coffee days. So so when we see a gleaming coffee machine and the barista saying how much he or she loves it, we really get it.
But the coffee machine can’t do it alone. So today we have 5 simple tips to help ensure your coffee is tasting good, prevent service issues and keep your relationship with your coffee machine on the right track.
1. Back flush group heads.
Keep in mind that you need fresh and clean water to ensure every drink you prepare tastes great. Now, we know that many of you will backflush with detergent end the end of every day and that is great. But for the busier operations we recommend back flushing with fresh water 2-3 times a day. During a busy day oils and coffee solids can build up in the group head, shower screen and porta filter which will increasingly add a bitter taste to your coffee. At the very least, give the shower screens a little scrub every so often, not just at the end of the day.
2. Clean your Portafilter and baskets thoroughly and regularly.
Think of a Portafilter as a ‘cooking pot’: no one would dream of cooking repeatedly without cleaning it as food residues will deposit and seriously affect the taste and quality of the food you make. So moving back to coffee, nobody should dispense an espresso from a machine in which residues of coffee oils, coffee solids and water deposits will build and affect the taste and quality of the coffee your prepare.
3. Clean your steam wand.
Check your steam wand is clean before every use. The best way is to purge it with steam to clean any milk from the nozzle every time you use it. It also helps to stock plenty of cloths for wiping the steam wand. Try to use white cloths and keep well away from coffee! At the end of the day, check the steam jets in the nozzle are clear. Never use abrasive pads and don’t leave wands to soak overnight or for an extended period of time.
4. ‘Buff’ your machine with a microfiber cloth.
At the end of the day take a few minutes to shine up your machine. All you need is a microfiber cloth and some steam from the wand to keep your coffee machine looking fantastic. Wipe all of the surfaces even under the front panel near the group heads, nooks and crannies and other places where you wouldn’t normally look. Also, lift the plastic grids and give the cup shelf a wipe with a damp cloth, you’ll be amazed how much dust builds up there, (PLEASE ONLY USE A DAMP CLOTH AND AFTER THE MACHINE HAS BEEN TURNED OFF - any water dripping down into the machine may cause injury or damage). If you haven’t got a micro fibre cloth, please call us and we’ll send you one – they are great.
5. Replace your water filter.
Water quality is arguably the biggest issue for commercial coffee machines. A good quality, correctly specified water filter will not only ensure coffee tastes great, it will also prolong the life of your equipment. As all hot drinks consist of 98% water it’s safe to say water is a vital ingredient! The purer the water, the better the drink, it’s that simple. Water filters prevent the build-up of scale and scale will reduce the life of the machine as well as increase costly call outs and downtime which in itself costs money! We recommend changing your filter cartridge every 12 months and for heavy volumes every 6 months to keep your equipment healthy and your water quality at its best.
We all like to look good and perform at the top of our game. While there are many factors that can affect how your coffee will taste, these are some of the simplest and most important ways to look after your friend and keep your coffee tasting great!