The answer might surprise you!
Most at-home java junkies and cafe baristas are aware of the effects of recipes, coffee bean selection, skill/knowledge and brewing equipment on their favourite cup of joe. These are the keys to a great cup of coffee, right?
What many at-home and professional baristas overlook cleaning their coffee equipment. This could be the downfall to your efforts and leave a terrible taste to your daily brew.
Coffee is food – treat it that way!
If you went to your local pub and found out that the chef had cooked your steak on a dirty frying pan or even dropped it on the floor before serving it to you, would you be angry? Of course you would! We know how important it is to eat food that has been prepared and served on clean surfaces.
The same is true for coffee. Coffee beans are an organic substance that come from a fruit. They are not a stable product, in fact they are probably more volatile than most foods. Ironically the oils in the coffee that create that satisfying flavour and aroma are also the very oils that can do the most damage to your machine.
The same attention to detail to the cleanliness of your equipment and environment should be given to coffee. After all, would you be happy if you knew your coffee was brewed in a dirty machine?
So how often do I need to clean my equipment?
It doesn’t matter how good you are as a professional or at-home barista, if your coffee equipment is dirty, your coffee simply won’t taste the way it should. Therefore the cleaning and maintenance of your equipment is essential.
Cleaning your machine doesn’t need to feel like a chore or like mum is standing behind you with a stern expression and her arms folded. The process can be easy and the best part is that if you look after your machine (and therefore the people drinking your coffee), it (and they) will last longer.
End of day cleaning – remember the golden rule to never leave your equipment gross and unclean overnight.
Here are a few tips to keep your equipment clean so that it does consistently provide that glorious, perfect cup of coffee every time.
- Dissolve 1tsp of espresso machine cleaner in hot water (or use an espresso cleaning tablet). Let the group handles soak for about 10minutes.
- While you are waiting for them, run water through the group and use the group brush to scrub the seal and shower screen (watch out, it gets hot).
- Loosely insert the blind filter (the one without the holes) into the group head. Turn the water on and gently move the group handle side to side to get rid of any residual coffee.
- Pop half a teaspoon of espresso cleaner (or tablet) into the blind filter. Lock it in tight and cycle the water through the group head five times (five seconds on, five seconds off) or per your machine instructions.
- Repeat back flushing procedure (steps three and four) with water only.
- Remove the drip tray and wash.
- Scrub the group handles and filter baskets with a scourer and give them a good rinse.
- Pop the coffee beans from the grinder into an airtight container.
- Wash the grinder hopper by hand with a soft cloth (not the dishwasher) and leave it to dry (not on the grinder).
Stand back and take delight in the great job you have done and how beautiful your coffee tastes as a result.