The operational theory of espresso machine can seem quite simple up front. But, practically, these machines have intricate systems that only the products’ manufacturers can guide you in how to get the most from them. And, yes, there are standard ways of handling espresso machines, most of which you could have learned from your parents or guardians. But, not all of these could be the correct way, especially when it comes to how to descale espresso machines.
Note that you cannot descale your espresso machine as you do with your drip or automatic espresso coffee makers. So, here are a few do’s to learn and don’ts to avoid:
Keeping Scale Buildup from the Flow Restrictors
Irrespective of the descaling agent that you use, it is imperative that you keep the scale from building up on the espresso’s flow meters. These holes are so tiny that any scale buildup will reduce flow velocity of water that blasts espresso grounds to infuse the coffee instantly. So, any scale that clogs these meters will affect the pressure that the espresso machine requires to create high-quality espresso coffee.
Using Natural Compounds
Two of the best natural compounds to use for descaling your espresso machines is citric acid and vinegar. Ideally, that is because they have the right acidic pH to clean off the scale. Moreover, you will never have to worry whether it will be safe to use the espresso machine immediately after the descaling process. You, however, should follow your manufacturer’s guidelines to know when and how to descale espresso machines using these natural descaling agents.
Using a scrubber to clean off the scale buildup can easily deface the inside of your espresso machine. Worse still, using hard or sharp objects can create scratches on your espresso machine. That can cause the material elements of the machine to mix up with your espresso coffee should they have remained in the machine during cleaning.
Using Non-Biodegradable Descalers
It is good that you have been using natural ingredients to descale your espresso machine. But, should you opt for processed descaling agents, be keen to confirm that they are biodegradable. Even if the non-biodegradable descalers promise to descale better than what their competitors are offering, it will require you to be overly careful how you dispose them off. Mind your environment.
Using Insoluble Descaling Agents
Most descaling solutions in the market will clean and dissolve the scum. That is excellent. But, you cannot achieve that with other descaling agents. If you have ever used a descaling agent that never dissolved the scale, it is time you discarded it. You do not want to end up clogging the machine with the residue from descaling your espresso machine.
Using an Expired Descaling Agent
You do not know what that descaling solution turns into when it clocks its expiration date. Once the descaling agents that you use expire, just replace it with a new one. Well, yeah, that a little bit of some common sense; but, you, probably, have never taken your time to check the expiration date either. Ingesting any remains from an expired descaling solution can affect the quality of your coffee, and, worse still, harm your digestive system.
Incorrect Doses of the Descaler
All descaling agents are acidic. That helps them remove the scale that builds up in your espresso machine. In most cases, if you use these descalers in large quantities other than what the manufacturer recommends, it can corrode the machine surfaces. You also can end up destroying the vibratory pump, check valves and probes, which is not what you wanted from the descaling process.
Learning these simple do’s and don’ts will help you know how to descale espresso machines better. It is a basic rule but quite crucial, too, that you also inquire from your espresso machine manufacturer the right techniques to use to descale the machine. Most manufacturers will recommend that you only use certain products unless which your risk forfeiting your warranty. Others will allow you to use from natural to chemical compounds for descaling only if these solutions do not compromise on the functionality of the espresso machine.