Before an espresso machine can produce a
quality drink, it must have a constant supply of quality water.
filtration system should be in place for the cappuccino espresso machine and it must
be regularly serviced.
Many filters reduce their water flow as they
deteriorate and this can cause costly damage to your machine. In addition,
if a water softener is in place, it must be regenerated on a regular basis.
One of the most important and most often
overlooked areas of an cappuccino espresso machine is the group head. This area
requires special attention because it is where the coffee actually comes
in contact with the machine.
A simple and essential part of your
maintenance routine must include back flushing. Brewed espresso leaves a
substantial residue on all brewing surfaces. This residue gives a bitter,
stale flavour to espresso drinks and residue can damage your equipment by
clogging dispersion screens, valves, brewing passages and jets. Back
flushing consists of
removing one of the filter baskets from a filter holder, replacing it with
a blind filter (one without holes) placing it into each group head, and
then dispensing water from the group as if pulling a shot.
Run the machine
in this manner for about 5 seconds and then stop. The blind filter will
cause the water to pressurize, and when you stop extracting, it will flush
back through the group screen and group solenoid (hence the name) and help
to clean out any accumulations of coffee grounds and oils that may have formed.
This technique can be done periodically with water alone, but at
least once a week you should back flush with liquid detergent such as
Clean Express. To
use the detergent, simply place a teaspoon on top of the blind filter
before back flushing. Run the group in 5 second intervals several times.
After back flushing with Clean Express, it is important to remove the
filter-holder and run the group again to rinse out all remaining detergent.
At this point it is a good idea to back flush several more times with water
only, to ensure that no detergent remains within the solenoid discharge
valve. This process will greatly reduce the amount of coffee oil
accumulation within the group head and solenoid and help to ensure great
In addition to back flushing, the group gaskets should be
cleaned every day to help maintain a positive seal between the group head
and the filter-holder. This is best accomplished using a specially designed
group cleaning brush and hot water to vigorously scrub around the sealing
surface. Other daily maintenance
should include, purging and cleaning of the steam wands with warm soapy
water and a non-abrasive cloth to remove all milk residue.
As a final daily routine, the drain tray
should be removed and a jug of boiling water should be poured into the drain
cup to help rinse accumulated coffee grounds out of the cup and down
through the drain hose.
Even with regular
back flushing, the group
head shower screens must be periodically replaced, as coffee oils will
eventually build up and clog the screen. You may notice your espresso
shots tasting less than perfect as a result. Another sure sign of screen
build-up is water spraying out in all directions rather than an even and
constant flow while running the group with the filter-holder removed.
Either of these should prompt you to replace the screens, which can be
done quite easily.
Performing regular maintenance will not
only ensure quality that you and your customers can taste, but will help
alleviate costly repair bills. Although you should have your equipment
periodically inspected by a factory-trained technician, there are many
minor adjustments and simple repairs that any owner/operator could perform
with a small quantity of tools, saving you valuable time and money.
if you choose not to perform any repairs yourself, the information
presented will make it much easier for you to communicate problems to your
technician and in turn, save you money on diagnosis and repair.