How Often Should You Backflush The Espresso Machine?
Do you want to know how often should you backflush the espresso machine? Espresso machines need backflushing in order to have a cleaner system to keep the pressure valves in good working condition.
For most coffee lovers, there is a certain and recognized sense of pride when it comes to espresso machines. First off, espresso machines are considered the most versatile and multifunctional device you can have for your coffee shop or your home. Plus, let’s be honest, espresso machines aren’t exactly the cheapest coffee machines that you can have that is why it is extremely important for any coffee enthusiast or barista to learn and understand how to properly care for their precious espresso machines.
What is Backflushing?
Backflushing is a specific method used to clean the internal system of a commercial-grade espresso machine. It is a professionally used term or jargon commonly used by baristas, coffee enthusiasts, and coffee connoisseurs. The process of backflushing is necessary in order to clear out all coffee grind and leftover that got stuck inside the machine when used. The process goes through the machine’s shower screen, brew group, and three-way valve using water and a cleaning solvent.
One of the very first things you have to understand is that not all espresso machines have the capability of being backflushed. Why? Because the three-way valve is a small valve that opens up and releases the water pressure off the machine and out the drip tray. It is like running a brew but with a cleaning solvent rather than coffee. When we backflush, we take advantage of the pressure to push out the debris within the machine and let it flush out along with the water and cleaner.
It is important to identify if your machine can be backflushed or not; otherwise, you would have to look for a different method on how to clean your espresso machine. Only espresso machines that feature a 3-Way Over Pressure Valve can be backflushed. If you’re not sure of the model of espresso machine that you own, you can simply google it or check your machine’s user manual.
How to Backflush an Espresso Machine
Backflushing is important to keep your machine performing at peak condition. For machines used commercially, backflushing espresso machines should be done every after operation hours. Considering the amount of work coffee shop espresso machines do, the faster the debris accumulates inside the device, and the more often it needs to be backflushed.
- The first thing you need to do is to remove the filter basket from the portafilter and insert a backflush disc. This specialized disc can either be a simple filter basket with no holes or a rubber disc that covers the holes of your machine’s filter basket.
- Measure about half a tablespoon of backflush cleaner into the backflush disc. After that, put the portafilter back and turn the machine’s pump on.
- After about 20 minutes, the pump will turn quiet because of the pressure forming inside the. Once this happens, turn the pump off.
- Once you do this, you would hear a whooshing sound that is the sign that the cleaner is being pushed through the three-way valve and starts emptying to the drip tray. Don’t forget to have some sort of container to catch the solvent coming out of the drip to not cause anymore mess.
- On the first run, the liquid would most likely be blurry and muddy-looking. You would have to repeat the whole process until the solvent coming out of the drip is clear.
- To clear the machine of the solvent, run a couple more backflush using water without the cleaner.
- The last step would need you to remove the handle and turn the machine’s pump on and off a few times in order to totally rinse the insides of the solvent.
Tips In Caring And Maintaining Your Espresso Machine
Now that you know how often you should backflush your espresso machine as well as how to do it, it’s safe to say that you have some idea how to properly care for your machine. However, there are some other ways that you can ensure that your machine is at its best and works at its peak performance. While backflushing is one part of espresso machine maintenance, here are some more tips you can follow to further care for your precious espresso machine.
- Always wipe and purge your steam wand every after use. Cleaning your steam wand would ensure that no obstruction stays and builds up any kind of bacteria.
- Keep in mind to clear and flush your group head for each round of espresso as leftover oils could have an undesirable effect on the taste of your pulled shots.
- You can use vinegar and water as an alternative if a backflush cleaner is not available.
- Make sure that the cleaning cloths you use to wipe your machine are also clean and washed often.
- Keep a strict schedule for cleaning your steam wand, draining hose, portafilter, filter basket, and drip tray at least once a month.
- Get into the habit of cleaning your machine often and on a schedule. Cleaning not only maintains your machine but also ensures that you produce quality tasting espresso shots with no unnecessary taste or smell.
Learning the ins and outs of an espresso machine is important for anyone regularly dealing with one. Understanding the reason behind backflushing and realizing how often should you backflush the espresso machine will not only maintain your espresso machine but also ensure that you produce quality tasting coffee every time. Your responsibility as an owner does not stop in making good-tasting coffee; you also have to make sure that you maintain your espresso machine in tip-top condition at all times.
Can you make espresso with regular coffee beans? Well, the short answer is ‘yes,’ but there are some caveats you’ll need to know.