Complete Guide to Descaling an Espresso Machine
Descaling an espresso machine is incredibly important to prolong its life, save you money in the long run, and keep producing quality coffee. However, many espresso machine users aren’t sure how to descale their machines or don’t know how often they should do it.
Read on for a complete guide to what descaling is, why it is important and how to descale espresso machine to ensure you’re serving the best espresso possible.
What is descaling?
‘Descaling’ refers to removing the build-up of minerals that develops in your espresso machine over repeated use. Water containing minerals such as calcium and magnesium passes through your coffee machine, which eventually builds up on the machine’s heating element as limescale.
The build-up of scale can hurt your machine’s boiler, which in turn can affect the quality of your coffee.
Why is it important to descale an espresso machine?
Descaling an espresso machine, such as those by La Spaziale and Fracino, helps to maintain the quality of the espresso that your machine produces. It also extends the life of your espresso machine.
Built-up scale reduces the temperature at which your machine can brew coffee. The higher your water temperature, the higher the percentage of coffee extracted into your espresso. If your machine’s water temperature decreases due to built-up scale, the espresso extraction becomes more acidic, which could ruin the quality of your coffee and even damage your machine.
Keeping your coffee machine descaled will ensure you serve high-quality coffee. This will benefit your business and can even help you retain clients.
How often should I descale my coffee machine?
To ensure your machine produces the best quality coffee possible, regularly descaling your coffee machine is essential. How often you descale your machine depends on how frequently your coffee machine is used and whether you are in an area of soft or hard water.
This helps maintain the quality of espresso you produce and extends the machine’s life.
Hard water causes a quicker build-up of scale in your coffee machine. This is because hard water contains to higher levels of calcium and magnesium bicarbonate, which is deposited and develops as hard scale in your coffee machine. Using filtered water can help slow and combat this scale build-up. However, the best way to improve it is by descaling your machine.
In areas of hard water, such as areas around London and the East of England, it is recommended to descale your espresso machine a minimum of every two months.
Even in areas of soft water, scale is likely to build up over time. If you’re in a soft-water area, you can descale it every three to four months.
The more you use your coffee machine, the less likely you risk an extensive scale build-up. If you’re using a smaller commercial espresso coffee machine model, which is not frequently used, , it is best to descale it every three weeks or monthly to prevent scale build-up.
How to descale espresso machine
Different models and types of coffee machine require different descaling processes. While some commercial coffee machines, such as the Jura JX8 Platinum Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, have automated descaling systems, classic espresso machines must be descaled by hand.
The first thing to check when descaling your espresso machine is the manufacturer’s recommendations since they may suggest the best product or method of descaling for your specific coffee machine. However, most dual boiler and heat exchange espresso machine can be descaled using the same simple process.
To ensure your machine runs well and to keep serving high quality coffee, it is important to know how to descale coffee machine.
What to use to descale your coffee machine
Although some choose to use vinegar or citric acid, the best and most effective product for descaling espresso machines is a commercially-made descaler. Your coffee machine brand may stock specific espresso machine descaler for their machines or even for your particular model.
However, if there is not a suggested descaler for your machine, generic descalers such as the WMF Descaler Liquid are just as effective.
4 simple steps for descaling an espresso machine
Descaling your heat exchange espresso machine is a simple, four-step process.
- Turn on your machine and let it heat up to its normal operational pressure.
- Discharge water from the machine water tank.
- Prepare your descaling solution according to manufacturer instructions. Pour the descaling solution into the machine water tank and switch the machine back on to let the descale run through your machine’s system.
- Once the descaler has been run through your coffee machine water tank, rerun your machine simply with water to rinse the machine.
If your machine has a steam wand, you should also run the descaler through this, since scale builds up quickly and easily in steam taps.
Rinsing is an essential step that must not be skipped. You must do this to ensure you have no residue descaler in your espresso, which could pose a health hazard.
How do I know when my espresso machine has been fully descaled?
To ensure that your machine has been properly descaled and rinsed, release water from your espresso machine. If the water still carries the scent of your descaling solution or appears to be cloudy, you must repeat the rinsing process. Once the water released is completely clear, pour an espresso.
Regular coffee drinkers will immediately notice the difference in flavour; your coffee will taste fresher, richer and better in almost every way with a freshly descaled machine.
Descaling an espresso machine is an important process that should be done regularly to maintain the quality and flavour of your coffee. It’s also a good opportunity to clean out any built-up residue or calcium deposits so that your machine continues to run smoothly.
For an extensive range of office coffee machines, from traditional espresso machines to innovative coffee machines with smart descaling programs, check out our range at Logic Vending.
We offer great buying, renting and leasing packages, which include complete installation and training to ensure that you get the most out of your coffee machine.