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Have you ever forgotten to clean your coffee maker because you are just being too lazy to spend time on your favorite machine? Well, it is okay; even the biggest coffee lovers sometimes need to remember to wash it properly.
We all get busy or think someone else in the house has cleaned it. While it is essential to take some time out to clean the external components of your espresso machine, you should also consider it clean from the inside, typically known as descaling. But how often should you do it? Let’s find out
How Often to Descale an Espresso Machine?
Short Answer: It is recommended to descale your espresso machine once every 2 months or once you’ve brewed 200 cups.
If you own a modern, high-tech coffee machine, it might have a feature that alerts you when it is time to descale. This makes maintenance more straightforward and easy.
However, if your machine does not come with this reminder, a general rule is to descale after brewing 200 to 300 cups of coffee. However, the frequency of descaling your device can depend on how frequently you use the machine. Daily coffee drinkers must descale more often than those who brew only occasionally.
The type of water you use can also influence the descaling frequency. Hard water, which has more minerals, can lead to faster mineral and limescale buildup, requiring more recurring descaling.
A good practice is to aim for descaling every 2-3 months or about 4-6 times a year. Moreover, using a water filter with your machine might reduce the need for frequent descaling, but it is still essential to deep clean your device at regular intervals.
Why is Descaling Your Espresso Machine Important?
Descaling your espresso machine is crucial for the following reasons:
- Buildup of Minerals: Espresso machines can gather mineral deposits, especially calcium and magnesium, from tap water over time. This buildup happens inside the device, mainly on the boiler or heating element. If left untreated, these minerals can interfere with the machine’s heating process, which affects how well it can make coffee or steam milk.
- Temperature is Key: For the perfect espresso, the temperature of the coffee and milk must be just right, between 195 – 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Mineral deposits can mess with this temperature, leading to a less-than-ideal cup of coffee.
- Limescale Issues: When these mineral deposits turn into limescale, they can clog and damage the internal parts of your coffee machine. Limescale is a hard, white substance that you might also find in your shower or tub. While it is not toxic or harmful, it can seriously hinder the performance of your coffee machine.
- Purified Water is Not Enough: While purified or filtered water reduces the risk of mineral buildup, it does not eliminate it completely. Over time, even pure water can lead to some accumulation inside your machine. So, regular descaling is still needed to keep everything running smoothly on your device.
- Improved Taste: Lastly, a clean machine means a better-tasting coffee. Mineral buildup and limescale can introduce off-flavors into your brew. Regularly descaling ensures that your espresso tastes as fresh and delicious as possible whenever you brew yourself a cup of Joe!
How Do I Know When My Espresso Machine Needs Descaling?
Descaling your coffee machine is crucial if you live in a hard water area and use your local water supply to brew your coffee. The frequency of descaling, however, can vary, making you wonder if there are other signs aside from the passage of time that can remind you when your machine is ready to descale.
Typically, there are 5 prominent signs that your espresso machine will indicate when it is time to descale it. These are as follows:
- Physical Scale Buildup: Over time, mineral deposits accumulate on parts of the coffee machine that come in contact with water. This can be visibly detected in some devices, but you will need to inspect for buildup regularly for most.
- Delayed Heating: If the machine takes longer to heat water or the coffee is not as hot, this could be due to mineral deposits affecting the heating process, indicating the time for an internal cleanup.
- Taste Variation: A noticeable change in your coffee taste may indicate that minerals from scale have begun to interfere with brewing. Regularly rinse the machine to clear out these minerals.
- Coffee Maker Overworks: If your coffee machine feels hotter than usual or makes unfamiliar noises, it might be overworking due to clogged pipes from scale or possibly other internal issues.
- Reduced Output: If your machine produces less coffee than usual while using the same coffee grounds size, it may indicate the presence of hard water, thus resulting in scale buildup.
Suggested Reading: How To Clean Coffee Maker Without Vinegar? 6 Ways That Work
How Can I Descale My Espresso Machine?
Here’s how you can descale your coffee machine by following the steps below:
- Turn off and unplug your coffee machine.
- If it has a removable water tank, rinse it and refill it with water. Otherwise, just add water directly.
- Add two descaling tablets to the water.
- After the tablets or the solution dissolve, plug in and power on the machine.
- If your machine has an auto-descaling feature, use that. Otherwise, continue to the next steps.
- Run the machine as usual with the descaling solution as if you are brewing coffee.
- Pause the brewing halfway and let the solution sit for 30-40 minutes.
- Continue brewing until all the solution has passed through the coffee maker.
- Run 1-2 cycles with purified water to rinse any remaining descaling solution.
For Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine, we have written a special guide. Follow – Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Mr. Coffee Espresso Machine
The frequency of descaling your coffee machine varies based on its model, usage, and water quality in your area of residence.
Neglecting to descale might not harm you, but it can damage your machine over time. Therefore, regular descaling ensures optimal performance and extends the machine’s life. Plus, it guarantees a delicious cup of coffee every time!