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When you've purchased your first espresso machine, it might be exciting to think about the possibilities made possible. You can make espressos any time you want - and it will taste the way you like it! But, like most machines, an espresso machine will need routine maintenance. If you're wondering how often to clean a Breville espresso machine, let's find out!
In general, you should clean the entire machine every week. However, some parts will need weekly cleaning - while others can be cleaned every two to three weeks. It will depend on how often you use the machine.
Several factors will determine how long you can go without cleaning. Of course, even if you can hold off on maintenance, there are reasons you shouldn't wait. Still, you can compromise by cleaning the parts that hold the most grime. Which components are those? We cover these issues and more further ahead.
Do You Have To Clean an Espresso Machine After Every Use?
The first issue we have to address is the frequency of cleaning. Some of you might be curious to know if you need to clean the machine after every use. It will depend on what type of cleaning you're referencing.
If you're referring to deep cleanings, it's generally recommended to give the espresso machine a thorough cleaning as frequently as once a week. But, as we've mentioned above, some components will require cleanings much sooner.
The three components that will require cleaning after use are the basket, portafilter, and group.
A portafilter is a cup-like reservoir with a long handle.
The basket is a removable disk or cup with tiny holes. This component is in charge of holding the espresso bean grinds. It's usually paired with the portafilter.
The last component is the group - also known as the group head. It's a round receptacle that releases hot water. Additionally, this is the component that the portafilter attaches to.
Cleaning the Components
If you're making an espresso shot daily, you should follow this procedure after:
- Begin by removing the portafilter. Rotate it clockwise to unlatch it from the machine.
- Empty the basket of espresso grounds. Then, rinse the basket.
- Take a dry cloth and wipe the basket.
- Attach the portafilter back onto the espresso machine.
- Turn on the espresso machine to give the portafilter and group head a final rinse.
- Let it run for a few seconds.
That's the gist of cleaning an espresso machine daily. This process above is known as purging. If you're wondering why it's necessary to give it a final rinse, it's because a lot of residual coffee and ground will build up in the group head.
What happens if you skip the last step of the process above? Meaning, you empty the basket of espresso grounds, rinse and dry it, and attach it back to the machine.
The effects will show over time. It'll be noticeable in your future cups of espresso. Instead of freshwater running through the espresso grounds, you'll have water mixed with old grounds that have accumulated over time.
Depending on how long you've gone without cleaning your machine, you can verify this by running a shot into a glass cup. The result is a glass cup of murky water that might carry a smell to it. For more context, here's a video showing a dirty group head:
How Do You Backflush a Breville Espresso Machine?
Another cleaning procedure you want to do daily is something called backflushing. You can do this by inserting a blind filter into your portafilter. If you don't know what a blind filter looks like, it's a rubber piece with no hole. Though it depends on the model you have - some will have one.
Just in case, some will also refer to the blind filter as a cleaning disc. Insert this disc into the portafilter. Then, attach the portafilter to the espresso machine. Finally, run a shot.
So, what exactly does backflushing do? First, putting a blind filter in the portafilter will allow the machine to pressure on like it's brewing a shot. But, instead of letting water flow through espresso grounds, it will travel through the machine. This way, it flushes all the water and residual grinds into the drip tray.
As we've mentioned, this process will depend on the model of your espresso machine. One user suggests older models will have a cleaning disc with a hole. Backflushing older models involves inserting the disc and placing a pitcher under the portafilter. Then, let water pass through.
Newer models won't need a pitcher under the portafilter. The water from the backflushing will travel into the drip tray instead.
Here's how you can backflush modern Breville espresso machines:
How Do You Clean a Breville Espresso Machine?
Now that we've gone over the daily cleaning procedure - let's address the components that will need cleaning later. According to Breville, some parts will need weekly cleaning. Others - like the grinder and water tank -will need cleaning every two to three weeks.
The component that will need daily and weekly cleaning is the steam wand. After texturing, you should always wipe it off and purge it. You can do this by opening the steam wand and letting the water run for a few seconds.
You can soak the steam wand tip with a glass of cleaning solution or boiling water for weekly cleanings. In addition, unscrew the tip of the steam wand.
Next, locate the cleaning kit that comes included with the espresso machine. There will be an oval tool with a needle in the center. Using the tool, poke the holes on the steam wand. This process will release any crusty milk that is potentially blocking the holes.
The next component that you need to consider is the water filter. However, this process will depend on the model you own. Some will have a Claro Swiss filter. Others will have a charcoal filter. For instructions on how to change it, consult the owner's manual.
You'll want to change the filter every three months.
Finally, you'll want to descale the espresso machine. Of course, the frequency for descaling depends on the hardness of the water in your area. As some suggest, you should descale the machine every two to three months. If you use hard water, it will be much sooner.
The descaling process will depend on the model. In general, this is the procedure to descale the machine:
- Use a water descaler solution and mix with water.
- Transfer the mix into the espresso machine's water tank. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
- Turn it on. Let the machine run until it fills half a cup through the portafilter.
- Next, run the steam wand until it fills up a quarter of a cup.
- Turn the machine off. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn the espresso machine on again. Flush the rest of the solution out.
- Fill the water tank with clean water and run it through the machine. This way, you rinse out any remaining descaler.
As mentioned, the descaling process will depend on the model. For accurate guidance, read the owner's manual. Still, it might be confusing navigating what to do. So, if you need additional help, here's a YouTube video demonstrating the descaling process:
Can You Use Vinegar To Clean a Breville Espresso Machine?
If you don't own a water descaler solution, you might look for alternatives. As some would suggest, it's fine to use a mixture of vinegar and water to descale the machine.
However, if you like comparing results, you might be curious to know if there are any tradeoffs when using vinegar instead of a descaling solution. Fortunately, there isn't any conclusive evidence that one works better than the other.
As some suggest, vinegar and descaling solution should work equally well. Vinegar will be the more cost-effective option. Plus, it's readily available.
In the descaling video above, they use 4 ounces of descaler mixed with what looks like 2 cups of water. If you want to use vinegar, you need to use a 1:1 ratio.
According to some users, Breville has discontinued advising customers to use a vinegar solution. But, it will depend on what you're comfortable using. Some continue to use a vinegar solution for descaling with no problems.
Can You Use Keurig Descaler in Breville?
According to coffee machine users, most descaling solutions should work the same. It is usually a citric acid mix. Though, depending on the manufacturer, other ingredients will be present.
In theory, Keurig descaler should work in a Breville espresso machine. But, it might be on the safer side to use a universal descaler or a descaler from the same brand.
When you own an espresso machine, it's great knowing you can make a cup whenever you want! However, cleaning the machine won't give you the same feeling. Nevertheless, it helps to learn how to do it. We hope you found the information above helpful.
Before you go, do you have more questions regarding descaling? For more information, check out our post - How Often Should You Descale An Espresso Machine?
Are you in the mood for hot chocolate? Maybe an espresso machine can help you make one! If you'd like to learn more, check out our post - Can You Make Hot Chocolate In An Espresso Machine?