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How To Descale An Espresso Machine

Graham Cook  — July 25, 2019

Espresso machines are pretty reliable machines, but over time they can develop sediment and scale from normal usage. Descaling your espresso machine is a must. Without regular maintenance, limescale may cause the machine to clog up, changing the espresso’s consistency and taste. Don’t worry, descaling your espresso machine doesn’t have to be difficult.

Warning: Be sure to read your owner’s manual first, for any specific instructions on how to clean or descale your espresso machine.

Gather the Materials

You’re going to need one of these cleaners down below to start:

  • White Vinegar
  • Citric Acid
  • Descaling Product

Before picking one of these things, refer first to the manufacturer’s manual. The manufacturer may restrict you to certain methods or recommend you to another one.

Step-By-Step Descaling Guide

Mixture

Once you have picked your desired product, there are instances where you have to mix things up and dilute with water before you can use it.

Descaler Rinse

Regardless of the espresso machine model, it still follows the same procedure. Simply fill up the machine’s water reservoir with the chosen cleaning solution. Do this as if you were making a shot.

The chemical goes through the boiler and out the espresso machine. Just to be safe, do this to your steam wand as well. As the cleaner runs through the machine, it cleans away the gunk and debris originated from the water’s minerals.

If the city you’re located in naturally has hard water, then let the mixed solution run twice. This ensures the gunk is fully out of the system.

Rinse

After you’ve thoroughly done the second step, you move on to rinse your machine again, but ONLY with using water. Fill up the water reservoir as you did in the previous step, and do the same process again.

Yes, we’re rinsing out the rinse. 🙂

We want to make sure the product of your choice, whether it may be vinegar or critic acid, is flushed out completely of your machine. Of course, the last thing we want is getting a taste of vinegar in your espresso shot.

Take a Whiff

If you feel like you’ve done enough rinsing, it’s time to take a big whiff of the machine’s produced water. Make sure it doesn’t smell like any commercial products or vinegar, it should only smell like water.

Check the water that’s come out too, if it doesn’t look crystal clear, then it means you need another round or two of the post rinse process (this makes sure your espresso will taste like espresso and nothing else).

Once these are all cleared up, you’re good to go. The entire process will only take at least twenty minutes to do, and in return, you get years of full-flavored espresso shot!