CLEANING AND DESCALING
All espresso machines must be “DESCALED” regularly. Filtered water or bottled water is free from odour of chemicals but not free from minerals. Using a water softener is the best option for mineral free water. If a water softener is not installed, then the best option is to descale the machine at least every 2-months. The Descalers we recommend can be found on this website.
** Do not rely on the machine to remind you when descaling is due. When available, this feature is programmed by the number of espresso's served. The machine cannot sense the variable hardness of water from one place to another. Follow a definite schedule for descaling every two months. “DO NOT” use Vinegar or Lemon juice for descaling
** Automatic programmed descaling does not do a complete job. It flushes descaling solution only through the hot water/steam pipe. It does not flush the espresso hydraulic system ( Boiler outlet ).
Make a few espressos using the descaling solution to clean the espresso hydraulic water system. [for automatic machine]
** Prime the machine after several days of non-use. Priming is simply flushing 2 to 3 oz. of water through the steam/hot water wand. This will ensure that :-
** Before leaving the machine in storage for extended periods, it should be descaled. This will prevent extensive sediment of mineral build-up when water dries out in the boiler and hoses.
It is important to degrease your machine regularly. This is because some parts come into contact with coffee and the oils in the coffee can build up and block the shower discs, baskets and associated parts. With traditional manual machines you can put the degreasing tablet or powder in the basket where the coffee goes and run some water to wet the tablet. run more water every two minutes or so that it cleans the basket and shower disc etc until the tablet is fully desolved and flushed. De-greasing tablets are available on the site. Cleaning the basket with degreasing tablets is vital on the new perfect crema baskets as these baskets have two layers of base. One with lots of holes and the other with one hole. coffee oils can settle in-between the layers and block the basket. You should de-grease the basket every 2-3 weeks. Flushing the basket with clean water, after macking the coffee can also be useful.
Perfect Crema Pin
This is the little black plastic piece that goes below the basket. This is used to regulate the flow of coffee. It is not required for traditional baskets but are needed only for perfect crema baskets because of higher pressure within the basket. Make sure you do not lose the this pin when cleaning the basket or filter holder. Replacement pins are available on the site. If you prefer to use traiditional baskets you can purchase these on this site.
Blockage of Solenoid
With solenoid valve machines (Classic, Baby, Tebe, Paros) it is imporatant to regularly de-scale and prime the machine. This is because the solenoid valves can block with tiny particles of scale or impurities. regularly running water through the brew head can be useful, even if you are not making coffee. If water is not coming though the brew head but water is coming through the steam wand, you may have a blocked solenoid or blocked basket or blocked brewing parts (shower disc, shower holding plate or exit holes) or there may be an air lock. Press the coffee button and open the steam wand to run water through the steam wand and when you have a steady flow of water, close the steam wand with the coffee button still on. This will allow the water to flow through the brew head. If water is not coming through the brewhead then you have a blocked brehead or solenoid. You may proceed to descale the machine.
If no water is coming through the steam wand then you cannot de-scale the machine and will need expert help.
You may also try pressing the coffee and steam buttons intermittantly to agitate any tiny particles blocking the system. Please call us for advice.
Mechanical Valve Machines
If there is a blockage on the brew head, it is likely that the mechanical valve is blocked. Descale the machine.
Automatic Machine DO'S and DONT'S
Do not leave espresso maker .”ON”. - Energy saving mode is mentioned in the operating manual as a safety feature. When the operator forgets to turn the machine off, as a safety feature the machine will switch to energy saving mode. Leaving the espresso maker 'On' reduces the life of seals & electrical components. If the machine will not be used for two or more hours, turn the power switch off. It only takes less than 3 minutes for the machine to warm up.
**Caution must be taken NOT to use over oily or dark-roast beans. This is very important for fully automatic models. The coffee oil causes caking of the ground coffee. Oil and fine particles of coffee stick together and accumulate sediment in the crevices of the grinding chamber and in the doser. The oil also sticks onto the brew group valve and shower screen. If not cleaned frequently & regularly, the sediment becomes hard. Such hardened deposits of coffee will affect the taste and quality of espresso. Cause slow dripping of espresso, reduced or lost pump pressure or grinder to spin freely and timing out, these are some of the common malfunctions due to oily beans.
Incanto series, Syncrony compact, Syncrony Compact Digital, Syncrony Digital, Platinum series, Talea & Odea series, Titanium/Plus are automatic models which have more serious and frequent problems with oily coffee beans.
**Do not store espresso beans in refrigerator: Roasted coffee beans are not a perishable seafood or Dairy product and do not need refrigeration. Roasted beans are highly hygroscopic, they absorb moisture and or Oxygen from the air and need protection from moisture. Moisture and air oxidize the aromatic ingredients causing chemical changes. Beans with absorbed moisture will cause Damage/rusting of the grinder burrs. The moisture content is much higher when beans are refrigerated.
*** Oxygen oxidizes the oil readily if it is on the surface of the bean. Air tight sealed containers protect beans from coming in contact with air and Oxygen.
*** To protect from light, Beans can be stored in closed cabinets.
*** The best way to store and keep espresso beans fresh is to an Airtight container.
Immediately after opening a new bag of espresso, divide its contents in four to six portions and seal them in airtight container/zip lock bags. Squeeze air out of zip lock bags before sealing. The beans will remain fresh for several weeks if they are not in contact with air or moisture. Open one bag at a time in small portions for quick consumption, before beans become rancid.
** Do not use bean hopper as storage container. It is not a sealed container. Fill just enough beans in the Bean hopper at a time for one or two days use...
While making espresso, have a wet rag handy for wiping/cleaning purpose.
**Do not leave the machine without daily (simple) cleaning. The machine is not capable of cleaning after itself. Here are a few steps that must be taken as a routine:
** Make one last espresso without coffee in the filter basket for manual machines or make a last espresso using the pre-ground cycle in machines with a pre-ground cycle option.
** Remove the frother sleeve to wash/rinse. (Hold the steam pipe to which the frother is attached when pulling to remove or pushing the sleeve back on). Flush hot water to clean the nozzle. Pull the frother sleeve and wipe the nozzle. Flush the frother sleeve and replace. To prevent build up of Milk stone, unscrew the nut and tighten it just to loosen the accumulation of dried milk. Once every week dismantle the parts of frother to clean and sanitize the parts using mild chlorine based sanitizer. Or milk cleaning solution which can be ordered on this website.
CAUTION - when using the pre-ground function (on selected models). Only use ONE level scoop (of the scoop provided). Increasing the quantity of pre-ground coffee can damage the machine. Ground coffee doses in excess of 8grms can damage the brew group, brew group drive gears and cause loss of pumping pressure from the pump. For stronger espresso, use less water instead of more coffee.