4 maintenance musts for your Espresso Machine

Home espresso machines are popular with those who like the taste of strong coffee, but in order for them to work their best they need proper upkeep. Here are some key requirements to ensure the most flavourful drink.

4 maintenance musts for your Espresso Machine

1. The basics

  • Remove scaly buildup the same way you would with an automatic drip coffee maker. Check your owner's manual for specific instructions.
  • Once a month, clean the gasket and screen in the brew head that form the tight seal around the filter basket.
  • Replace any worn gaskets immediately.

2. Priming the pump

You should prime the pump on pump-driven espresso machines before each use. To prime the pump follow these simple steps.

  • Fill the water reservoir and turn on the machine.
  • When the ready light comes on, set a cup under the brew head (with the filter basket removed) and another under the steam wand.
  • Turn on the brew switch and open the steam knob.
  • Let 25 millilitres or so (an ounce or two) of water pass through the steam wand, then close the knob.
  • Allow 5 millilitres or so (a little less than an ounce) of water to flow out of the brew head, then turn off the brew switch.

The machine is now ready to use.

3. Watch out for vapour lock

Vapour lock happens when the boiler tank is low on water so it fills up with steam and the pump can't push water into it. You can reduce the chances of vapour lock  by priming the pump regularly. But if it does happen there is a simple fix:

  •  Fill the reservoir with water, and place one cup under the brew head and another under the steam wand.
  • Turn on the power button and immediately turn on the pump. Water should start flowing through the brew head in a minute or two.
  • When the cup under the brew head is half full, turn on the steam knob and let water fill the cup under it.
  • Then turn off the steam wand and let the water fill the rest of the cup under the brew head.
  • Finally, turn off the pump and proceed to make espresso.

4. Cleaning a steam wand

Clean the steam wand immediately after use; when milk froth is allowed to dry on it, cleaning can become a chore. Here's how to make the job easier.

  • To remove built-up residue on the tip of the steam wand, set a glass of water under it and let it soak.
  • Clear a clogged steam wand by poking through the residue with a needle or toothpick.

Consistently doing these steps will keep your machine happy and the smell of fresh brewed espresso will easily float through your home.

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