Conserving your espresso machine clear is depraved necessary. Espresso oils keep on with steel surfaces and develop rancid over time, imparting musty, bitter flavors. Plus, espresso residue and scale build-up can block water strains, and unclogging them is pricey.

Common cleansing helps forestall icky espresso and in addition retains your machine operating easily. The only technique to clear it’s to backflush; that’s, run espresso detergent via the machine with a clean portafilter basket.

Earlier than diving in, I like to recommend checking that your machine can be backflushed. Cheaper espresso machines don’t at all times have this means. When you’ve double-checked the person guide, although, you’ll be able to comply with my cleansing information under. 

Espresso Machine Cleansing and Upkeep Instruments

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Amazon Pallo Coffee Tool


This brush has stiff nylon bristles for scrubbing the group head clear after you pull an espresso shot. It additionally has a scoop for measuring out coffee detergent powder and a skinny steel rod for cleansing a steam wand’s holes. 

The shorter steam wand took some getting used to however steamed skilled high quality milk texture.

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

The Greatest Espresso Detergent for Espresso Machines

Amazon Urnex Cafiza Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets


Designed to interrupt up espresso oils, Cafiza is the usual espresso machine detergent utilized in most business espresso bars. Whereas it additionally is available in a loose powder form, these tablets are handy and fewer messy. 

Critical Eats / Jesse Raub

Darkish Coloured Microfiber Cloths

12" x 12" MW Pro Multi-Surface Microfiber Cleaning Cloths | Gray - 12 Pack | Premium Microfiber Towels for Cleaning Glass, Kitchens, Bathrooms,...


Microfiber cloths are nice for sprucing the surface of your espresso machine, and most any will do. I normally purchase dark-colored ones so that they don’t present espresso stains. 

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

A Double-Sided Screwdriver

Amazon K20 Tools Short Stubby Screwdriver


You’ll must take away the group head display to verify all the pieces is totally cleaned, and this brief screwdriver will achieve this painlessly. It has each a flat and Phillips-head whereas being sufficiently small to suit between the drip tray and group head. 

How you can Blackflush an Espresso Machine

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

Step 1: Scrub the Group Display with a Brush

The very first thing you’ll need to do is to seize your group head brush and scrub the display and rubber gasket clear of any espresso residue or leftover espresso grounds. It additionally helps to run the espresso machine to flush the group head with clear water.

Step 2: Take away the Group Display

Utilizing a stubby screwdriver, unscrew the group head display and place it in a heat-proof container. Place the display in a shot glass or different small vessel so it gained’t get misplaced. 

Step 3: Take away the Filter Basket

The filter basket may be seen on the higher left on this picture.

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

Pop the filter basket out by leveraging the screwdriver towards the brief steel wings of the portafilter. Place the filter basket within the heatproof container with the display. Observe: In case your machine comes with a rubber backflush disk as an alternative of a clean steel portafilter basket, you’ll be able to skip this step. 

Step 4: Backflush

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

Insert the clean basket (the one with no holes) into the portafilter and add a Cafiza pill or a half teaspoon of espresso detergent powder. You probably have a rubber backflush disk as an alternative of a clean steel portafilter basket, place the rubber disk over the holes in your common filter basket in order that it varieties a seal.

Lock the portafilter into the espresso machine and run the group head for 5 seconds. It will pressurize the recent water and Cafiza combination into the espresso machine. Press the group head button once more to cease the machine and permit the water to be expelled into the drip tray. Repeat three extra cycles of 5 seconds on and 5 seconds off to completely flush any residual espresso detergent from the machine.

Step 5: Soak

As soon as the machine is backflushed, add the portafilter into the heat-proof container with the deal with sticking up. Add one Cafiza pill or a half teaspoon of espresso detergent to the container, and pour in sufficient boiling water to cowl all the steel surfaces. Let soak for 20 minutes.

Step 6: Rinse and Reassemble

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

After all the pieces has soaked for 20 minutes, dump the cleansing resolution into the sink and rinse off all the pieces. Reassemble the display and reinsert the basket into the portafilter. After inserting the portafilter again into the espresso machine, flush the group head for 10 seconds via the filter basket to make sure no detergent residue stays.

Step 7: Empty and Clear the Drip Tray

Critical Eats / Nick Simpson

Whereas that is unrelated to back-flushing your machine, cleansing out the drip tray is a crucial process that is simple sufficient to do. Some espresso machines, like most Brevilles, even have pop-ups that point out when the tray is full. To scrub it, rigorously detach the drip tray (you do not need to spill soiled water all over the place! Extra mess to sort out!), empty it into the sink, and gently clear the components with a sponge and cleaning soap earlier than rinsing and drying. Put it again and voila, your espresso machine is able to pull a shot.

A Fast Observe About Espresso Detergents

Espresso detergent powders are produced from quite a lot of salts and acids and may trigger pores and skin irritation. You should definitely totally rinse any a part of the espresso machine you clear with espresso detergent and wash your fingers with heat, soapy water afterward. You may as well put on cleaning gloves for those who’re involved about publicity. 


What can I run via my espresso machine to wash it? 

The one substance you need to use to wash your espresso machine is an espresso machine-specific espresso detergent, like Urnex Cafiza Tablets. These cleaners are formulated to interrupt down espresso oils but additionally to dissolve simply in water in order that they gained’t create any build-up inside the machine. 

Is it okay to descale my espresso machine with vinegar? 

No—vinegar has sturdy odors and flavors that may have an effect on each the lifetime of your espresso machine and the flavour of each shot you pull. Descaling an espresso machine be a harsh course of, so it’s higher to make use of softened and filtered water, or a product like Third Wave Water, to stop scale build-up within the first place. 

How usually ought to an espresso machine be cleaned?

Espresso machines must be scrubbed clear with a brush each time you utilize them, however backflushing solely must be accomplished round as soon as every week or so. A very good rule of thumb is to backflush every time attainable as a result of it assists with stopping scale build-up, even for those who solely pull one shot of espresso a day. 

What occurs for those who do not descale your espresso machine?

Espresso scale buildup can’t solely make your espresso pictures and drinks style burnt and bitter but additionally hurt your fancy-schmancy espresso machine. In the event you let scale construct up, it may possibly gunk up your machine, stopping water from flowing via it. Some manufacturers allow you to ship the machine in to be cleaned up, however this may price a pair hundred {dollars}. Save your self the trouble (and a visit to the put up workplace, to not point out a number of weeks with out espresso) and purchase a number of Urnex Cafiza Tablets and backflush your machine.

Why We’re the Consultants

  • Jesse Raub was Critical Eats’ commerce author and spent over 15 years working within the specialty espresso trade. He was our in-house espresso professional and usually examined espresso gear for this web site. 
  • He has cleaned and backflushed over 300 espresso machines in his profession within the espresso trade, and usually cleans his private espresso machine at residence, too.

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