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A Guide To Descaling An Espresso Machine

A Guide To Descaling An Espresso Machine

Do you own a traditional espresso machine? Are you struggling to find the right guide to help you descale your machine? You have come to the right place.

This is your ultimate low-down of what to do when it comes to giving your machine a regular descaling and attention it needs, to continue to work to perfection.

There are a number of methods used to descale an espresso machine, depending on the make and model of the machine you have. Descaling it on a regular basis is crucial for maintaining the quality of espresso you produce and helping to extend the life of the machine. You should be descaling your machine at least three or four times a year to avoid the unwanted build-up of scale, coffee residue and harmful bacteria.

Why Is It Important to Descale Your Espresso Machine?

There are many factors that can hinder the quality of your coffee, including not maintaining a regular cleaning routine. Here are some of the key reasons why it is so important to descale your espresso machine.

Taste Will Be Compromised

A low brewing temperature produces low extraction yield and high brewing temperatures produce a high extraction yield. The higher the water temperature, the higher the percentage of coffee that is extracted into your cup of coffee. As the temperature of the water decreases, resulting from built-up scale, the extraction becomes more acidic. This means you will be producing espressos that are below the quality expected from an espresso machine. Using filtered water can make all the difference when it comes to minimising limescale build-up.

Your Machine Could Break Down

The scale in your espresso machine can build up so much that it causes obstructions in the flow of water inside your machine. If scale is obstructing your machine’s pipes, the amount of water flowing to the brew hand and steam wand becomes limited. When this happens, it will become almost impossible for you to heat milk effectively. If the pipes become completely obstructed, the machine will be unable to produce any steam or milk. Overfilling and overflowing of the boiler can also occur, when the machine struggles to detect the correct levels of water.

How To Descale Your Heat Exchange Espresso Machine

If you office is based in a hard-water area and use your espresso machine up to 6 times per day then we suggest descaling your espresso machine every three weeks or monthly to avoid scale build-up. If however, you are based in a soft-water area then it is recommended to descale it every 3 to 4 months.

Some espresso makers have their own automatic descaling cycles where they pulse water through at regular intervals, using a full reservoir of water and taking up to 20 minutes to complete. If you do not have an automatic espresso descaler option then you will need to do it manually. Here is a step-by-step guide for descaling your machine.

  1. Turn your machine on and let it heat up to its operational pressure. Once the machine is ready for operation, turn it off again and open the hot water valve.
  2. Discharge water from the heat exchanger by operating the brew lever. Once all the water has been discharged, close the hot water valve.
  3. Prepare your descaling solution according to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you are using a powder-type solution, mix it in until it has completely dissolved.
  4. Pour the descaling solution into the machine’s water tank and switch the machine back on. You will hear the pump turning on and filling the boiler with the solution.
  5. Place the portafilter with the blind filter into the brew group and lock them in place. Operate the brew group lever three times (20-30 seconds each time). Move the lever to the lowest position after each operation to descale the expansion valve.
  6. Let your descaling solution react in the boiler for no longer than 20 minutes.
  7. Operate the brew group lever once 20 minutes are up to release any remaining descaling solution from the machine.
  8. Switch off the machine and remove the nozzle from the hot water dispenser.
  9. Open the hot water valve and remove the water tank. Rinse the water tank with warm water. Put the tank back and switch the machine on again. Allow the machine to refill the boiler with fresh water.
  10. Once the boiler has refilled itself, operate the brew group lever once for 60 seconds to rinse the heat exchanger.
  11. Repeat the previous step no more than 5 times to fully rinse the boiler.
  12. Turn the machine off and operate the hot water valve in order to drain the boiler. Refill the water tank and turn the machine back on. Let the machine reach its operating pressure then turn it off. Open the hot water valve and drain the machine
  13. Repeat the previous steps 5 times to fully rinse the boiler.

Descaling A Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

If your machine has an automatic descaling cycle then you can refer to the manual for instructions on how to descale the machine. This is a step by step guide for machines without an automatic descaling cycle.

  1. Dissolve your chosen descaling agent into a full reservoir and boiler by running a cup of water out of your steam wand. Afterwards, make sure you close the steam wand.
  2. Turn the machine off and let it sit for 20 minutes to allow the descaling solution to work.
  3. After 20 minutes run about ½ of the reservoir out of the steam wand.
  4. Turn off the machine and allow it to rest for another 20 minutes.
  5. Flush the remaining water out of the steam wand and finish by running a reservoir of clean water through the machine.

Descaling A Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

If your machine has an automatic descaling cycle then you can refer to the manual for instructions on how to descale the machine. This is a step by step guide for machines without an automatic descaling cycle.

  1. Dissolve your chosen descaling agent into a full reservoir and boiler by running a cup of water out of your steam wand. Afterwards, make sure you close the steam wand.
  2. Turn the machine off and let it sit for 20 minutes to allow the descaling solution to work.
  3. After 20 minutes run about ½ of the reservoir out of the steam wand.
  4. Turn off the machine and allow it to rest for another 20 minutes.
  5. Flush the remaining water out of the steam wand and finish by running a reservoir of clean water through the machine.

Recommended Descaling Products

Jura Descaling Tablets

Highly recommended descaling tablets for use with your Jura coffee machine. Available in packs of 9 or 36.

Jura Descaling Tables - pack 36

Bravilor Descaler Sachets:

For help preserving the taste and quality of your coffee. Available for purchase as a box of 15.

Bravilor Descaler Sachets

Liquidline Cleaning Tablets:

For help preserving the taste and quality of your coffee. Available for purchase as a box of 15.

liquidline cleaning tablets

Descaling & Cleaning Products

Cleaning and maintaining your machine is vital to extending life and durability and our range of cleaning and hygiene products ensures you can do this with ease.

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