Cleanliness amounts to godliness – so goes a saying that essentially illustrates the importance keeping things clean around us apart from taking care of oneself. Environment – be it home or office or anywhere else greatly contributes to the well being and success of a human being. It’s been found in research that people who keep files piling up on their tables actually suffer from hypertension alongside reduced work efficiency. So, there’s a direct correlation between staying clean and your performance beyond doubt. So, why to clean things we can actually prevent things getting dirty?
They say prevention is better than cure which is a timeless truth and well accepted across horizons around the globe. Before we get into the cleaning exercise of the expresso (for those who aren’t aware of it – it’s a machine that makes coffee) we must therefore discuss ways and means how to protect it from getting dirty.
Prevent your expresso from getting dirty:
There are no straight jacket formulae for keeping your expresso clean and healthy everyday even though you can ward it off from getting dirty too frequently by way of following a few steps religiously. It won’t take more than five minutes of your time while you can keep your expresso shining for everyday.
- To begin with first go through the instructions of the manufacturers on your expresso guide book. It will guide you on dos and don’ts of the machine for its betterment.
- Now, begin with your regular exercise spanning five minutes (‘m sure not more than that it will take) by switching off the machine followed by unplugging it from the switch board.
- Take a soft cloth or duster, wet it and then wipe off the exterior of the machine gently. You may choose to apply soft cleaners like Collins (based on the requirement only, not recommended for everyday or every time you opt for cleaning such as this) while wiping the expresso off from outside and then rub it with a clean soft duster or cloth. This will effectively take away stains from outside of your expresso.
- Do back flush of your expresso twice a week or as may have been recommended by the manufacturer of your expresso.
- Remove the group head with the help of a screwdriver post unscrewing it carefully even though it’s not recommended for every day. You can do it as per your convenience, say once in a week or in 15 days’ cycle.
- The next step involves in scrubbing the parts of the group head which is again a matter of your comfort and convenience and can effectively go with your effective cleaning cycle. There’s no hard and fast rule in it.
- Drain out the residual milk, if any and clean the milk wand with a damp cloth, soak the wand into hot water so much so that the stains can make its way out. This is also not required on everyday basis.
- Unclog the steam holes with a pin. This is required for the optimum performance of your expresso.
- Make a mixture of white vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:1 (one part of white vinegar to one part of water) and run it through the expresso machine which effectively decalcify your machine thereby grants more life to it. This should be done in sync with your cleaning cycle and then assemble the machine yet again.
v Refrain from using soap or any detergent inside your expresso while cleaning it. This can potentially damage the interior of your machine through chemical reaction between the caustic soda (a component of your detergent) and the galvanizing elements (essentially zinc oxide). Besides, it would leave somewhat aroma inside the expresso machine which will spoil the taste of your coffee for sure.
v Based on usage you must take up the cleaning exercise of your expresso everyday or twice a week.
v While using a specially developed tablet or powder for the inside cleaning of your expresso always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Preventive descaling of your expresso:
Descaling means removal of scales and scale refers to the coating here created by left the leftovers of the coffee. For effective descaling of your expresso follow the simple steps detailed below.
- Make a mixture of citric or tartaric acid in about a liter of water. Citric or tartaric acid should be of approximately two table spoon in a liter of water; alternatively squeeze lemon and then dilute the juice to 33% or 50% and then apply either of the solution on the expresso as well as inside the expresso. Rub the machine off with soft and dry tissue papers. Soon you will start experiencing the result.
- Keep an eye for the hardness of the water you use alongside accumulation of scales; need not have to undertake descaling too often; rather do it when scaling plies up to 2.5gms and above. Else the descaling exercise may be proved futile.
- If you are suing a single boiler machine prevent descaling becomes easy; follow the manufacturer’s instruction on this. Alternative just fill the boiler with the descaling agent stated above, leave it for 10 minutes and then drain off the solution and flush water.
Caveat: You may confront with some greenish patches inside your expresso particularly in case your expresso has copper inside which can be ascribed to the mild oxidation effect in between the copper and the solution and this is too negligible to be accounted for.
Cleaning of your expresso:
We have come this far after passing through the processes of preventive measures from getting dirty as well as preventive descaling and as such we have garnered a fair bit of idea with regard to the upkeep of the expresso by now. We should now address the issue of cleaning an expresso that wasn’t maintained on regular basis and therefore has lost much of its glory and performances. This has eventually put strain on you leaving you in quandary as to how to clean the machine nicely with a view to get back its past glory. Steps outlined here are not exhaustive and hence can effectively work as blanket approach to the issue only. You may be required to take a step or two separately based on the situation.
Steps to follow for cleaning:
- Purchase special cleanser for the expresso and never ever use the ordinary detergents. Before resorting to cleaning action/s you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines with a view to have a clear cut idea about the functionality, propensity to react and general maintenance of your expresso.
- Back flush portafilter basket and use descaling solution as may be recommended by the manufacturer of your expresso.
- Take clean kitchen towel or dishrag for rubbing and wiping the parts gently wherever things appear sticky and / or stains appear not to have gone away with the descaler.
- Take a container and soak the portafilter into the descaling solution; rub it and wipe it off then.
- Religiously follow a cleaning cycle of everyday, week, quarterly or half yearly based on your usage and the harshness of the water your area.
They say a stitch in time saves nine that urges to work proactively before things can really go out of hand and issues can blow out of proportions. Let’s promise not let the expresso down us in front of our guests when we would perhaps need it very badly.