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Cleaning the coffee machine: the secret trick that professionals keep from us

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Rather than spending money on chemical products to get rid of limescale from our coffee machine, there is a more natural and budget-friendly option: using water and vinegar.

When purchasing your espresso coffee machine, it was suggested that you buy specific cleaning chemicals. The truth is that they are not always easy to find, they have a certain cost and above all they are a bit too chemical ..!

What is limescale and why is it better to get rid of it?

To fight an enemy it's best to know them, and Limestone is a very stubborn soldier.

We are obviously talking about something that exists in nature, limestone is a sedimentary rock formed mainly by the mineral calcite. At sight it looks like a whitish patina which is solid to the touch, but which crumbles if scratched away from the surface on which it is located. In practice it is very reminiscent of chalk.

A limestone cave - How to remove limescale from a coffee espresso machine
A limestone cave

Limescale tends to form inside appliances that use hot water (coffee machines, washing machines, dishwashers, irons, boilers…) going to ruin them and compromise their use. For this reason it is necessary to carry out a descaling periodically.

What happens if you don't do maintenance on your machine by eliminating limescale?

The answer is simple, you will never be able to drink a perfect coffee, because limestone blocks the passage of water and changes the pressure of the machine. The result you’ll see in your cup will always be a watery coffee, insubstantial and no cream.

After time, limescale risks damage permanently the coffee machine, which is why manufacturers always recommend using descaling products.

There is an alternative method to buying expensive chemicals that not everyone knows about: a solution of water and vinegar.

Descale your home espresso machine using water and vinegar

If you don't want to buy chemical descalers and prefer to act with respect for the environment, as well as save money, using a solution of water and vinegar is certainly the best choice.

It's a simple process, but it's best to pay attention to avoid ending up sipping a coffee with a vinegar aftertaste!

Step list:

  • First of all empty the water tray, it will serve as a container for the descaling solution (in some machine models there is no tray but a bottle is inserted directly)

  • Pour white wine vinegar into the tray, filling it up to ⅔

  • Add water until the container is completely filled (the missing ⅓)

  • Insert the container tray back into its space

  • Turn on the machine and wait for it to reach the right temperature (All the machines have a light that signals when the appliance reaches the working temperature.)

  • Activate the machine exactly like when you make a coffee, but let all the water and vinegar solution go through the machine (with some machines it is possible to stop the delivery flow, others are set to stop automatically, the important thing is to be able to pass all the solution you have prepared)

  • When you see that the tank is completely empty, rinse it thoroughly to remove the vinegar residues

  • Fill the container with water again and put it back in its space in the machine

  • Start the dispensing again and let all the water go through the machine in order to rinse and eliminate the vinegar residues (this step can be repeated even several times if you want to be sure you don't end up drinking a coffee with vinegar!)

Some machines have removable accessories or components for better maintenance. Use the solution of water and vinegar to also scrape the components on which limescale forms such as filters and spouts.

This alternative method not only allows you to scrape off the limescale, but also the coffee residues that form over time. The more coffee you drink, the more maintenance your machine will need, in any case it is advisable to carry out a complete cleaning at least 2 times a year.

With your machine clean and fragrant, all you have to do is choose the coffee blend that best suits you and enjoy a good espresso (or a long coffee or a cappuccino... you choose!!!)

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