Bean selection, storage, coarseness of the grind and extraction time are just a few of the many variables to get right when striving to produce outstanding espresso. Yet while baristas spend a great deal of time personalising their brewing choices, often it can be at the expense of other less interesting (but equally important) aspects!
Cleaning is a great example. Though it is rarely forgotten altogether, for a whole host of reasons all too often espresso machines are either not cleaned often enough, or they are not cleaned thoroughly enough, and over time the machine starts to perform less well. The successful coffee shops that Jaguar have come to know well over the years have built cleaning processes into their daily routines, and they stick to them rigidly.
A notable trend in the UK Speciality Tea and Coffee industry is the growing popularity of 100% organic cleaning solutions, which offer highly effective solutions without using phosphates and are supplied in packaging that is either recyclable or recycled.
Think about it, aside from the brewing decisions mentioned above, what are the two key ways to making great coffee AND getting the best long term return on expensive espresso machines? The answer is cleaning! But as always the devil is in the detail and the trick is to make the most of the cleaning solutions so that they keep your machines in the best possible condition.
Tip 1: Clean your commercial machines every day
…Without exception! Commercial espresso machine cleaning solutions are designed to be used daily and are simply less effective when used less regularly. Cleaners used at intermittant intervals will leave coffee residues in the machine which will become harder and harder to remove over time and this is a frequent cause of machine damage.
If you use Automatic Coffee machines we think Puly Capucino Cleaner with it’s dual cleaning system that cleans milk deposits and also sterilises the whole system takes some beating.
For espresso machines you will need cleaning solutions for group heads, filterholders, steam arms, and coffee grinders to mention a few. Many operators find it helps to make daily cleaning as convenient as possible, and choose to buy their cleaning solutions in handy daily doses, for example, Puly Caff Group Head Cleaner Sachets.
Tip 2: Don’t use too little (or too much)
Using too little solution will probably fail to remove all coffee residues during cleaning. As with infrequent cleaning this build up will eventually become too much for the cleaner to handle and can lead to more severe issues such as machine breakdown.
It’s worth noting that while it might seem that using more cleaning solution should equal more thorough cleaning, it is essential to follow the manufacturers instructions. Many espresso machine cleaners contain potent ingredients, and using too much, too often, can cause equipment damage.
To ensure baristas are using the correct dose, many customers go for a pre-measured options as mentioned above, and we can’t recommend these highly enough.
Tip 3: Use each product only on the intended equipment
This sounds obvious but you would be amazed at how often it happens. Unfortunately there is no one-size-fits-all solution for efficiently cleaning the entire espresso machine. Modern espresso machines are complex and have numerous parts with different functions, and to get the best results you need to buy the correct cleaning solution for the intended pieces of equipment because anything else will likely be less effective.
To keep your machine clean at all times you will need at least a group head cleaner, a milk frother cleaner, as well as a general chrome or stainless steel cleaner for the machine exterior. Other cleaners worth considering for your espresso set up are grinder blade cleaners, hopper cleaners and descalers. Many customers get started with the handy Puly Caff Cleaning System.
Tip 4: Stock up on machine cleaning tools
Keeping espresso machines in top shape is much easier with the right professional quality cleaning accessories.
For group head cleaning a blanking disc will ensure cleaning powder and hot water returns up into the group head, thoroughly cleaning it in the process. Couple this with a specially designed group head cleaning brush to ensure any tough spots are cleaned thoroughly.
With steam arms, a heatproof cloth is ideal for wiping milk away immediately after each drink is served, while a pipe brush such as the Pallo Steamy Wanda is designed to slot into the steam tube and clean out any left-over milk residue.
Cloths will also help keep machine exteriors sparkling throughout the day, while a cleaning basin can be used to soak filterholders overnight, ensuring they are clean and ready for use first thing in the morning.
Tip 5: Read the manufacturer instructions for machine cleaning solutions
Finally, it is important to remember that all machines are different and therefore they have different requirements – the same can be said for cleaning solutions.
Before using a cleaning solution for the first time always read the instructions for both the solution you have bought from Jaguar and for the espresso machine you intend to use it on.
Doing this, and following the rest of the tips above, will help keep espresso machines in tip-top condition all day, every day. Only a clean machine produces the best coffee.
Looking to resell a range of espresso machine cleaning products to your customers?
Jaguar are proud stockists of Puly Caff, the European brand leader for espresso cleaning products and official long term sponsors at the UK Barista Championships, making them a real authority in the espresso equipment cleaning industry.