Maintaining your espresso machine and grinder

Well maintained equipment will give a lifetime of reliable service and produce superb coffee.

We recommend that your machine be serviced at 18 month intervals and that only filtered, softened water be used in espresso machines. If we’ve serviced it, it should be fine for up to 2 years. Office coffee machines will require yearly service as they have a tougher life. Please note that drinking water filters are rarely adequate for espresso machines. We have produced a guide to filtration which will explain the reasons why you should use filtered water. General operation tips can be found in our in home training manual. Some great online videos are also available for Rocket Espresso and VBM machines, but the techniques shown are applicable to all brands.

What should I be doing to look after my machine?

  • Maintaining your machine is easy! Flush the group before and after use. Do the same with the steam wand.
  • Stainless steel can be cleaned with microfibre cloths and a little steam or some diluted glass cleaner as required.
  • Learn how to backflush your machine and make sure you do it! It’s essential for the health of your machine and for the quality of the coffee.
  • Run a water backflush each day.
  • If you have a heat exchanger (HX) or dual boiler machine, use the hot water from your machine each day. Heat a cup or make a cup of tea. Many users never use the hot water- effectively removing water vapour as steam and then concentrating minerals in the boiler. This can lead to significant scale deposition even in areas where the local water is quite soft.
  • At the end of the week, run a water backflush, followed by a chemical backflush (1/4 teaspoon backflush powder) and then a further water backflush. Watch the colour of the suds exiting from the 3 way valve when using chemicals. When they are clean, the chemical phase can be stopped. Follow with a further water backflush. NB- Traditional Lever machines do not require backflushing.
  • Replacement of group seal and shower screen as required. In most cases, 12 months is a reasonable interval to do this. It’s an easy and quick job.
  • Be vigilant for any any unusual behaviour of your machine and arrange for service if you observe anything unusual.
  • Avoid descaling by using water suitable for espresso machines. Descaling is a specialist job and is best avoided where possible in heat exchanger and dual boiler machines.

What about my grinder?

  • Grinders require regular cleaning to operate correctly too. Ideally this involves removal of the burrs and a thorough clean. This can be done at the time of a machine service. At home, keep the grinder hopper clean with a wash in warm water and dishwashing detergent every few days. Never put a grinder hopper in a dishwasher unless you want to purchase a new one! Grinder cleaning tablets can be used for “between clean” grinder cleaning. Rice of any description is not for grinder cleaning and whilst it’s safe to vacuum to clean a grinder, compressed air is best avoided.