What is the recommended frequency of descaling of an espresso machine? Here is what we’ve found out about this question. In order to get the best results from your espresso machine, it’s crucial to understand when you should descale it.
You should descale your espresso machine every three to six months. If your water is hard, you may need to increase the frequency of descaling.
As discussed in this article, a descaler is often needed for espresso machines. In addition, we’ll explain why coffee tastes bad after descaling and what happens if you don’t descale. Read on for more information.
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How Often to Descale an Espresso Machine?
Making espresso is performed by a machine where hot water is pumped through and forced into the ground coffee to produce espresso. There are dissolved minerals in almost all water. There is a mineral accumulation on the heating element and in the machine’s tubes, which needs to be cleaned. Descaling involves removing this build-up of minerals.
When determining how often to descale your espresso machine, you must consider two factors. Your usage frequency and water hardness. If you are unsure if your water is hard or soft, you can purchase home kits to test your water.
Your espresso machine’s usage pattern will affect how often it needs to be descaled. With only one to three cups of espresso prepared each day, less descaling will be required than if you prepare six cups daily.
To make an espresso, the water must be heated in order to precipitate minerals. Mineral build-up directly correlates with the frequency of use.
The build-up is twice as bad when you drink twice as much espresso. Additionally, there is one other important factor that impacts the frequency of descaling, and that is the hardness of the water.
The Hardness of the Water
Water hardness is determined by the number of minerals dissolved in it. Having hard water refers to water with a high mineral content. Your water is said to be soft if it contains few minerals.
Depending on the hardness of your water, you should descale it at least once a month to avoid build-up.
For those who live in areas with hard water and dislike descaling their espresso machines so often, a water softener might be a good investment. Softening water is achieved by removing minerals from tap water. With one of these, you can reduce the frequency of descaling on your espresso machine.
Best Way to Descale Your Espresso Maker
- To descale your espresso machine, you need to mix water with a descaler as per instructions on the packet.
- You can then run the espresso machine with the mixture while the coffee beans are not in it.
- Clean water should be used to rinse away descaler residue from the espresso machine and water tank.
- Making a hot, tasty espresso is now easier than ever, thanks to your clean espresso machine.
What Can I Use as a Descaler?
A descaling agent can be either a home solution or a commercial solution. First, let’s look at two of the most popular solutions.
You can descale your coffee machine with vinegar, a common home remedy. One part water should be mixed with three parts vinegar.
In general, vinegar-to-water ratios of three to one should be fine for most espresso machines. However, it may damage some espresso machines. It is recommended that you use a one-to-one ratio for those unsure whether their espresso system is capable of handling higher vinegar levels.
You can also descale your coffee maker with citric acid at home. You can use citric acid to descale water by adding a teaspoon per cup.
Lemon juice is sometimes recommended as a descaler for espresso systems, but citric acid is more effective. Almost every health food store or online retailer carries citric acid.
Our next topic will be commercial descalers. Even though there are many descalers available, it’s best to use an organic descaler that is free of any harmful substances.
Why Do I Need to Descale My Coffee Machine?
Water makes up nearly 99% of a cup of coffee, making it an essential part of the process. You may get a lower, inconsistent yield if scale builds up in the boiler or pipes of an espresso machine.
The importance of descaling can be summed up as follows.
Water Won’t Reach the Proper Heating Temperature
Generally, lower brew temperatures result in lower extraction yields, and higher brew temperatures result in higher extraction yields. As the water heats up at the brew point, more ground coffee is released into the cup. A change in brew temperature will have an effect on taste, despite the relatively small difference in extraction yield.
If water is not heated to its ideal brew temperature – or the brew temperature varies – it will be difficult to maintain consistency in cupping profiles. Regarding taste, specialty coffee professionals generally agree that bitterness, sweetness, and body increase as the brew temperature increases, with acidity, slightly decreasing. As brew temperatures are lowered, that taste is lowered.
As a result, the taste becomes more acidic and sweet, bitter, and the body decreases. As your boiler’s temperature falls due to scale build-up, it will likely result in an acidic extraction, leaving your coffee lacking the delicious flavors you love.
There Is a Possibility That Your Machine Will Stop Working
Without proper maintenance, the scale can eventually accumulate in the system’s pipes, obstructing water flow completely or partially. As a result of partially blocked pipes, steam wands and brew heads may experience limited water flow.
This will result in poor extraction and ineffective heating and aeration of milk. Steam and milk cannot be produced when the pipes inside an espresso machine are completely blocked by scale build-up. The level probe inside the boiler can also accumulate scale. Due to this, the machine cannot detect water levels in the boiler, causing the boiler to overfill and overflow.
When Using Filtered Water, Will My Espresso Machine Need to Be Descaled?
You need to descale the espresso machine even with filtered water. You can reduce scale build-up in your espresso machine by filtering your water, although you cannot eliminate it. Filtered water is generally recommended for brewing – both for keeping your machine in good working order and for improving the taste of your coffee.
Several methods exist for filtering, including faucet filters or connecting your espresso machine to the mains via a filter fitting. Floating filters are also available for your machine’s water tank. All do the same thing.
Keeping your espresso machine at its peak performance requires regular descaling. Due to the different construction of each espresso machine, all espresso machines require different descaling instructions. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you follow the instructions provided by your machine manufacturer to clean and descale your appliance.
We also recommend installing a freshwater filter that removes impurities from the water and taking the necessary steps to reduce scale build-up in areas with hard water. Once your machine needs descaling, and you still have coffee made from it, go ahead and descale it, and you will notice the difference. Such a small step to improve the overall taste of your morning, afternoon, or evening espresso.