How to look after a bean-to-cup coffee machine?
A coffee machine which serves you a cup of good coffee everyday deserves to be treated well. In order to keep it clean and ready to prepare you quality coffee, remember the key steps.
Water system maintenance
One of the most common causes of coffee machine failure is limescale build-up inside the system. Therefore, we advise you to regularly use the descaling programme and replace the water filter. Water filters not only prevent limescale or softens the water, but also improve the taste of water. And since water is one of the essential ingredients in any coffee drinks, water filters will improve the taste of your coffee.
– Bean-to-cup coffee machines have an integrated descaling programme, so the coffee machine indicates when it is the time too descale. How does the coffee machine determine the frequency of descaling? It does not “sense” how hard the water that is used in your coffee machine is. The frequency is determined by the programmed water hardness. By default, it is usually set on the hardest level. Therefore, when buying a coffee machine, it is important to remember to measure your water hardness and programme it accordingly.
– Before descaling, remember to remove the water filter (if you use one).
– We highly recommend that you carry out the descaling programme using descaling products (descaling liquid or tablets suitable for coffee machines). Avoid using vinegar, citric acid or soda: when concentrate is too weak, it will not remove limescales; if it’s too strong, it will damage the coffee machine.
– Follow the insructions in your coffee machine’s manual, otherwise you may risk running the programme improperly. If descaling is done incorectly, the coffee machine won’t understand that it was descaled and will ask to be descaled once again.
About water filters:
– It is important to not only use a water filter (especially if the water is hard in your area) but to also replace it regularly. Most manufacturers produce water filters which last for 1.5 to 3 months, depending on the water hardness and how much the coffee machine is used (more precisely, the amount of water used). So, don’t be surprised if once your machine reminds you to change the filter after a month and the next time after two.
– If your coffee machine has integrated filter installation and replacement programmes, make sure to use them when installing and replacing the water filter. Otherwise, the machine will “not understand” that you are using or replacing the filter (unless the coffee machine has a water filter sensor). If your machine does not have these programmes, remember to change the water filter at least every 2 months. We recommend that you always have an extra water filter so that you can replace it at the right time and avoid limescale build-up.
– If you use a water filter, most coffee machines will indicate that descaling is needed much less frequently (or even never). But note: even your coffee machine it does not “ask” for a descaling programme and you use a water filter on a regular basis, we do recommend completing a descaling programme at least once a year.
Maintenance of coffee machine brewing unit
It is important to properly clean the coffee brewing unit so that your coffee is always aromatic, fresh and full-flavoured. Brewing unit maintenance can also prevent coffee grounds or oils building up inside your coffee machine.
About automatic cleaning programme:
– Most bean-to-cup coffee machines have an integrated cleaning programme during which the coffee oils are removed from the brewing unit. Coffee machines usually indicates when this programme is needed, you only need to start it.
– The cleaning programme uses special tablets (often simply referred to as “cleaning tablets”, but do not confuse them with descaling tablets!). Depending on the coffee machine model, during the programme these tablets are placed in the ground coffee container or directly into the coffee machine.
– Remember to follow the steps described in the manual and only place the cleaning tablet when prompted (not before the programme but during).
Manually cleaning the brewing unit:
– It is important to remember to clean the coffee machine brewing unit. No machine is ‘asking for it’. This part should be cleaned on all coffee machines except JURA.
– We recommend cleaning the brewing unit once a month. First, always turn off the coffee machine, then pull out the brewing unit, rinse it with room temperature water and dry it.
– We recommend that you lubricate the moving parts of the unit with special grease before putting it back into the coffee machine.
Milk system maintenance
For the perfect consistency and taste of milk foam, it is important to take good care of the milk system and devote a few minutes each day to clean it.
– Most bean-to-cup coffee machines have integrated automatic milk system rinsing and cleaning programmes. During the cleaning programme antibacterial fluids are used to eliminate bacteria and degrease the system.
– Despite the integrated automatic programmes, we strongly recommend that you take apart your milk system daily and rinse it thoroughly. Using appropriate brushes will make it easy to clean even the narowest parts (such as the inside of the milk pipe).
– If your coffee machine has a frother, remember that it removable and must be rinsed after each milky drink preparation.
– Tip: if you notice that it’s harder to froth milk and reach perfect consistency, it’s a sign that you need to wash your milk system, the first step is to rinse the system thoroughly by hand (you can soak the parts in water with antibacterial fluid for a few minutes), the second step is to check whether it is time for descaling (when the water system becomes clogged, the flow of steam is reduced and milk is not properly frothed).
Coffee Mates are ready to consult you at any time
If in doubt about how to properly maintain your coffee machine or which products to use, our consultants will always be happy to advise and explain everything in detail.
May your coffee machine have a long life filled with loads of delicious coffee!