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      • How to clean your commercial coffee machine

      • It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Cleaning a commercial coffee machine is an essential part of owning or leasing your machine, and taking shortcuts won’t do you any favours. Cut the cleaning, and you’ll cut your profits.

        Here’s why cleaning coffee machines matters

        Every coffee poured leaves residue. That builds up over the day, leaving an oily deposit in the filters and head. In the long-term, a build-up of coffee residue risks damaging your machine. In the short-term, you’ll notice – or more importantly, your customers will notice – a change in the taste of their coffee. The bitter note that begins to emerge won’t go away – it’ll get worse – and nobody wants to pay good money for bad coffee. Fail to clean your machines, and you’ll succeed only in driving custom away.

        Cleaning becomes even more important with bean to cup coffee machines, because they contain fresh milk. If the milk container and lines aren’t flushed through frequently, your coffee won’t just taste odd, it could make people unwell. Sour will be an understatement – you could end up with serious bacterial build-up.

        So how often should you clean your machine?

        Daily, weekly and monthly – depending on the task. Espresso makers have different cleaning needs and procedures to bean to cup machines. When you lease a coffee machine for your café, catering business or office from Nationwide Coffee, our team will give you a full cleaning demo for your particular machine and we’ll leave you with detailed instructions, but for easy reference, you’ll find the different routines below.

        If your machine is leased from Nationwide, we can also supply you with all the cleaning products you’ll need. If you have bought a machine from another supplier, we can arrange cleaning supplies suited to your particular product. If you decide to source your own supplies, please do check that they are compatible according to the machine manufacturer’s instructions.

        Cleaning an espresso maker – remember, use only soft cloths and food-safe detergents

        Daily routine – at the end of the working day

        1. Use fresh water to flush the group heads Put your blanking plate(s) in the group head(s) and use fresh water to run the head for about 10 seconds. Let the pressure out and then repeat until the water coming through is completely clear.
        2. All baristas should clean the steam wand after every single coffee poured, using a dedicated cloth (use a colour-coding system to differentiate between your cloths). At the end of each day, disinfect the wand.
        3. Use antibacterial detergent to wipe over the exterior of the machine and any exposed surfaces, including the working surfaces of your coffee grinder.
        4. Empty out your waste containers and drip trays, and clean and dry them thoroughly.


        Weekly routine – after closing time

        1. The group heads need a thorough clean, and for this you’ll need a back-flush detergent. After back-flushing with detergent, repeat with clean water until you’re sure it’s completely rinsed through.
        2. Remove coffee grease build-up from the group handles using the back-flush detergent. A cleaning brush will remove stubborn grease. It’s best not to leave plastic parts soaking in detergent in case of discolouration. Once clean, rinse with fresh water.
        3. Don’t forget to wipe over the top of your machines, used to store and warm clean cups. Those cups won’t be clean if you’ve got dust and grease accumulating on the flat surface! Use an antibacterial but food-safe detergent and dry off thoroughly.
        4. Your bean hoppers need cleaning too. Your trusty back-flush detergent and warm water will take care of this, but make sure you rinse thoroughly afterwards so that it’s only coffee your customers are drinking!


        Cleaning your bean-to-cup machine

        Bean-to-cup machines are fully automated, so the cleaning processes are rather different. There are daily, weekly and monthly cleaning routines you should stick to closely.

        Daily routine – at the end of the working day

        Milk matters most, so run your machine’s built-in milk-flush programme. You’ll need a special milk-cleaning agent. Once it’s finished, run the programme with fresh water to be sure the container and lines are completely rinsed through.

        Weekly routine – after closing time

        Using a special cleaning tablet, run your machine’s internal system clean. This can take up to half an hour, so do allow time.

        Monthly routine – after closing time

        Limescale can spell disaster for machines, so while you should ideally use filtered, softened water anyway, a manufacturer-approved descaler is needed. Your machine will have system descaling programme which will take 30 minutes or more.

        Maintaining your coffee machines

        All machinery needs maintenance – no matter how good the build quality. To be sure your machine performs perfectly with every pour, we recommend a full yearly service, which will test all working parts and electrics – and also includes a deep clean.

        Regular servicing – just like regular cleaning – prolongs the life of your machine, which means much better value for money and no disruption to customer satisfaction. It’s also worth noting that you have a legal obligation to have any coffee machine featuring a pressure system inspected and certificated by a specialist every 12-14 months. Please do get in touch with our team if it’s time your coffee machine saw a little TLC.