Whatever coffee machine you buy (and we have a high quality selection on our website), you will soon run into problems if you or your staff don’t set up a cleaning regime. This article is about how to clean your machine, and where to buy commercial coffee machine cleaning products.
How often should you clean your commercial coffee machine?
At Cartwright Coffee, we recommend you clean your coffee machine every day. As you run coffee through your machine, it deposits a residue of oils in the group heads and portafilters. These build up on a daily basis, adding a very noticeable ‘ashy’ taste to your shots. To avoid this, give your machine a daily backflush. We cover how to backflush your espresso machine in the linked article.
I would always backflush a machine at the end of the working day.
For this process, you will need to stock up on an effective coffee machine cleaning product with a powerful detergent.
We are always careful about where to buy commercial coffee machine cleaner because some can be damaging to the planet. We use a green product that doesn’t contain the damaging acids of a standard detergent.
Where to buy commercial coffee machine cloths?
You will need several types of cloth for keeping your coffee machine in tip top condition. Each has its own job and should be kept separate from the others.
For example, we use standard black flannels for wiping down steam wands rather than the more commonly used j-cloths. You could get a big roll of j-cloths from the supermarket but they’re not ideal because they get torn and have to be thrown out. You can just put your flannels into the washing machine. I personally think that’s better for the environment.
Flannels also have that nice textured edge while being non-abrasive. We tend to have one on either side of the machine, one for each steam wand.
Once you’ve steamed some milk, wipe the steam wand straight away. If you leave it, even for a few seconds, the milk will start to weld on to the wand. Then people start using Brillo pads or knives, taking the finish off the wand. We always hear excuses, like, “We haven’t got time to clean steam wands after every use.” That’s nonsense. It takes longer at the end of the day trying to scrape off all the built-up milk. Plus it looks disgusting, and customers will notice these things. We train people not to drink out of machines where the steam wands are caked with milk.
Don’t use your flannels for wiping down surfaces or anything else.
We recommend buying microfibre cloths for wiping down the stainless steel exterior of your coffee machines. Keep your cloth damp and use it constantly throughout the day for presentation purposes. As with your flannels, microfibre cloths can be re-washed. I recommend keeping them partly hidden from view to avoid them being used for steam wands, surface cleaning etc.
Finally, you will want a general purpose cloth for mopping up spillages and wiping down surfaces.
Want to know where to buy commercial coffee machine cloths?
That’s easy. Go to our coffee machine cleaning products page.
What else do I need to keep my commercial coffee machine in good order?
You will also need to brush your group heads on a daily basis. Again, we frequently come across bad practice.
First, people often use boiling water. That causes the bristles to splay because group head brushes are made from nylon. Instead, get a cup of cold water, put it directly beneath the group head and dip the brush into this before scrubbing. The cup will also catch the dislodged coffee grounds, reducing the amount building up in your waste pipes.
It may not seem a big deal, but after about three years, waste pipes tend to clog up. Waste pipe blockage is the biggest reason for engineer call outs. People think it’s their machine leaking but it’s simply down to poor cleaning practice. That’s a waste of their time and money.
Second, people often miss brushing around the rubber seal that fits around the edge of the group head. Eventually, water will breach the seal and come around the side of the portafilter when you’re pulling shots. That’s often what’s happening when you see built up coffee grounds at the bottom of your cup.
You also need to scrub across and around the side of the shower plate which should take you about a minute per group head.
It is a good idea to keep a separate barista brush near your coffee grinder. These are ideal for brushing coffee out of your portafilters between shots.
Want to know where to buy commercial coffee machine brushes?
Again, go to our coffee machine cleaning products page.
Get your cleaning products sorted today
While it’s fresh in your mind, we suggest you visit our cleaning products page and pick up anything you need so that your staff will be equipped to care for your new commercial coffee machine from day one. If what you want isn’t showing in stock, please contact us, as we might be able to point you in the right direction.