Before explaining what descaling entails, let’s just imagine a scenario.
You woke up in the morning, followed your usual morning routine, and felt like having a cup of coffee. You poured the coffee from the espresso machine and drank a sip of it to get the feel of it.
But the taste of the coffee made you petrified to an extent that you are be thinking if the espresso machine finally gave out on you or something. Nope, it just got messy on the inside.
And that’s where you need to think about how to descale your espresso machine.
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It is a written fact that limescale can obstruct and jam the machines and cause serious damage. And it can destroy your specific taste of your coffee.
So, even if you use different water system reservoir, your espresso machine should be descaled several times in a month as you cannot clean the insides of it with hand.
And you will be glad that you took your time to know about descaling your own espresso machine.
There are various ways of descaling espresso machines. Among them some of the easiest and effective descaling methods are described here.
Products to Choose for Descaling
For descaling your espresso machine, you need to choose descaling products or cleaners.
- Citric Acid
- White Vinegar
- Commercial Descaling Products
Now, before going with this cleaners you should check whether there are restrictions and recommended method for your own espresso machine. As some espresso machine has its unique features, it can be restricted by warranty or descaling method.
And then, you might want to know the details of the water you use as to check the amount, types and quantities of minerals in your water.
If the quantity of minerals is high, then you need to descale your machine more often than you might think. You can use water testing kit for that.
No matter what type of machine and water source you are using, the descaling process is the same.
Citric acid extracted naturally from citrus fruits such as lemon and limes. It can be found in the powdered form and also known as the “Sour salt”.
It is used for preserving foods, flavor agent and cleaning agents. It can be found in food stores and grocery stores.
Now, if you are thinking about how to use this, well it’s very simple. Add one quart of water to two tablespoons of citric acid and maintain this ratio for descaling your machine.
- Not expensive
- Easy to use
- It can create a different sort of scaling in your machine after longer usage.
It can be covered if you use citric acid twice or thrice in a week and on the next time another descaling product in a loop.
In this case, the white vinegar in your house can do the trick of descaling your machine. Adding ¼ of vinegar with ¾ of water the descaling solution can be prepared to work for your machine. But some say to use 50% of the vinegar in the solution to find it effective.
3. Commercial Descaling Product
Now, the commercial descaling products can be found in both ways of application. Such as- The limited descaling product which is available for specific espresso machines. This one is usually found to be recommended by manufacturers or limited warranty services.
On the other hand, there are some descaling products made commercially for availing to use it in all kinds of espresso machines.
Recommended Commercial Descaling Products
- Dezcal Espresso Machine Descaler – Perfect for descaling single boiler, heat exchange and double boiler espresso machines. Can be used for manual, semi-automatic or super-automatic espresso machine.
- Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier – Liquid descaler that is effective for descaling all types of home espresso machines.
- CleanCaf Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine Cleaner and Descaler – It is actually both a descaler and a detergent. Effective for descaling a coffee maker or French press and cleaning the brew basket and decanter. Can be used to descale the home ones too.
- Jura Decal Superautomatic Coffee Center Descaler – Tablet form descaler specified to use in descaling Jura Impressa super-automatic coffee centers. Avoid using other descaling products as it can void your warranty.
- DeLonghi Descaler – Liquid descaler specified by DeLonghi to use in their espresso machines. Avoid using other descaling products as it can void your warranty.
- Saeco Decalcifier – Saeco brand liquid descaler limited for application to Saeco espresso machines.
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Step by Step Process: How to Descale Espresso Machine
There are several different types of types of espresso machines to use. And among them, auto cycling and descaling featured espresso machine can be found.
And if your espresso machine support this feature then, you don’t need to descale manually. But if it is not the auto descale featured one, then you have to descale manually.
Remember to check the user manuals of your espresso to see the specific instructions for your espresso machine.
Deciding on the descaling product to use
Here, in this case, you are on your own. Citric acid, lemon juice and vinegar are natural cleaners or descaling products. And whatever you use, it should be clarified that these are natural as well.
Now, after learning and trying to descale your espresso machine, at some point, you might try yourself with new recipe for descaling or try out on your espresso machine that really works.
Whatever you think that might work out for you, you might reconsider to see the instructions of the manufacturer.
Now, whatever you choose to descale either commercial descaler or homemade descaling product, you need to add or mix water to form a descaling solution.
When using citric acid you need to apply water with it and mix it. And in case of vinegar, you have to dilute it via water. For commercial products, you need to follow the instructions.
Rinse the Descaler in the Espresso Machine
While there are several types of espresso machine, the overall descaling process is pretty much the same.
And here you need to descale your machine by filling up your reservoir with the solution after adding water to it. It’s just like preparing coffee. The descaling solution will get insides and rinse the scaling. You need to apply the solution to the steam wand too.
This will remove the limescale and junks that created scaling on the insides from the minerals. And if you are using hard water, you need rinse your machine twice and make sure that all the gunk have been dissolved.
Rinse the rinse
After the descaling rinse process, you need to add water to the reservoir and do it over. This step is used to make sure that you have rinsed out the descaling product and you get no trace of it.
Or else you’re going to taste the descaling products while making the coffee in the morning.
Smell your water
Now, after you have done all the steps above, smell the water that have come out. If you find it foamy or cloudy and smells like your descaling product then rinse again.
If it still shows foamy structure or taste like the descaling product you had used, start the steps of descaling all over again and make sure you don’t find any trace of it.
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Is Vinegar Good for descaling?
Yes, it is. It is a natural cleaning agent. And then again, you cannot use only vinegar for descaling solution. You need to add water to dilute it.
Direct application of vinegar can cause rough surfaces and scratches. On the other hand, some manufacturers recommend to use 50% of the vinegar in preparing descaling solution.
How often should you descale an espresso machine?
Espresso machine should be descaled at least once a month. But in some cases, if you are using hard water or water that contains high amount of minerals than you need to do it couple of times a month.
And, if you’re going on a vacation, please do descale your espresso machine as it may build scaling while not used. But depending on the level of minerals in the water, you should descale accordingly.