Maintaining a Clean Coffee Machine

by laura everage on August 22, 2013 · 4 comments

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Go ahead, you can confess to us. We know that it’s been a long time since you’ve even thought about cleaning your coffee or espresso machine. It’s too much trouble, and in the end it doesn’t matter, does it?

In fact, a dirty coffee or espresso machine will add impurities to the cup, leaving a rancid flavor that has developed due to the build-up of oils. Not only will keeping a machine clean help extend the life of your machine, but it will help ensure the quality of the coffee or espresso brewed within. Forget the soap and water, put away the vinegar solution, and read on. Charlie Paris, marketing associate at Urnex Brands, a leading manufacturer of cleaning products for commercial and at home coffee and espresso equipment, gives us the inside scoop on the ‘why’ keeping your machine clean is so important.

Please share with our readers the importance of keeping brewing machines clean.

Clean your machine for better tasting coffee! That’s the Urnex motto, but it is also that simple: A coffee machine that is clean of leftover coffee residue and oils will consistently brew better tasting coffee! Machine cleaning and maintenance is sometimes overlooked, but the difference in taste between a cleaned machine and a dirty one is mind-blowing—so apparent we put it to the test with the Urnex Challenge! (Check out the video or taste the difference yourself!) Regular cleaning and descaling will also extend the life of your coffee brewer as it will prevent mineral and limescale build up which can cause the machine to break down or function at a sub-optimal level.

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image_1159_false_180_300_MainHow do you know when it is time to clean your machine?

We advise to clean home coffee machines once per week and descale every three months. Often times, home coffee brewers will advise when to descale with an indicator. This is typically calibrated based on a certain number of brews and the hardness of the water in a given area (the harder the water, the greater the scale build up). When it comes to milk lines and dairy systems, it is important to clean daily otherwise the spoiled milk will enable bacteria to form.

What should you look for in a cleaner?

A good cleaning solution will contain the necessary ingredients to break down grime and remove oils and stains. To properly clean a coffee machine, our products contain three main ingredients:

  • Surfactant: a cleaning agent for dissolving and removing dirt, oil and grease.
  • Builder/Water Softener: This ingredient reduces minerals to soften hard water and help cleaning agent/surfactant target dirt particles.
  • Dissolving Agent: An agent that releases oxygen as it dissolves to help remove stains.

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Why not a vinegar solution?

Vinegar is widely viewed as a good tool to clean and descale coffee machines, but you should NOT use it! Vinegar only gently breaks down some hard water deposits that remain and does not target and remove coffee oils the way a professionally formulated coffee machine cleaner does. Additionally, our tests show that vinegar takes 3.5 times longer to rinse out of a drip brewer or capsule machine than does Dezcal, Full Circle Descaler, or other Urnex Brands, Inc products, making it even more difficult to get rid of that strong vinegar odor! Use Full Circle Products to safely and effectively clean home coffee machines, using a product that is also good for the environment!

There you have it: The why and how to clean your coffee machine so that you can get back to enjoying great tasting coffee!

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