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Ask the expert: Coffee machine cleaning tips for the office

Office coffee machine cleaning is unlikely to be someone’s favourite job, but it’s essential for great coffee. Your Monday morning coffee is going to taste better from a clean machine, and who doesn’t want that?

Whether you’ve got a capsule machine or a bean-to-cup solution at your workplace, it’s important to have a routine for cleaning your equipment. We asked Lavazza Australia’s National Training Manager, John Kozsik, for some tips on coffee machine cleaning.

Better coffee, longer machine life

Water and coffee passing through a dirty machine will pick up any bacteria or other nasties lurking in the pipes from the build-up of oils and minerals. The longer these impurities have been there, the worse the coffee is likely to taste. 

Oils, scale and other contaminants can also damage the components of your machine and affect its operation. By keeping your machine clean, you’ll not only enjoy better-tasting coffee, but your machine is less likely to break down and be out of action.

Coffee machine cleaning – every machine is different

Quality machines come with detailed instructions and your Lavazza representative or specialised coffee machine technicians can take you through the steps for cleaning your specific machine. John and his training team have also made a series of videos that demonstrate how to clean different machines and their parts to take the guesswork out of the process.

How to clean a bean-to-cup machine

There are 4 main things to cover when cleaning your bean-to-cup machine: cleaning and descaling, the steam wand, the brew unit and the milk unit.

  • Cleaning and descaling – most machines come with programs you can run at the push of a button. Running the descaling program when prompted will prevent the build-up of minerals from hard water in the machine.

  • The brew unit – coffee can get lodged in the brew unit, but in quality machines, this component is easy to remove for manual cleaning at least once a week.

  • The automatic milk unit – if your machine has a unit that dispenses milk, it’s important to clean this daily to prevent bacteria build-up. Most machines have an automatic cleaning cycle to run each day, cleaning solutions and easy to follow instructions are available to ensure a thorough job.

  • The steam arm – After each use wipe the steam pipe over with a soft cloth, and blast a shot of steam through the pipe to clear it. Milk is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, and a build-up can also cause blockages. Don’t forget to clean the humble milk jug while you’re there. 

How to clean capsule machines

Like bean-to-cup machines, most will have an automated descaling program that you should run when prompted. If your capsule machine has a steam wand, you should wipe and steam it after use in the same way as you would a bean-to-cup machine.

If your capsule machine has an automatic milk unit, remember that daily cleaning is essential to ensure both proper hygiene and a great tasting coffee.

How to clean espresso machines 

Espresso machines have a few special needs that must be met to keep them in tip-top condition.

  • Backflushing – this involves pushing water and cleaning solution back through the system by placing a blind filter in the group head and running the machine. All machines will come with instructions to guide you through this.

  • The group handle and filter basket – clean these daily by soaking in hot water and cleaning solution to prevent the build-up of oils.

  • Don’t forget the steam arm! Keep it clean at all times by wiping it down after each use and flushing out any milk with a shot of steam.

Create a cleaning schedule at your workplace

Those steps might sound overwhelming all at once but having a routine makes it straightforward. Put the coffee drinkers on a coffee machine cleaning roster and create an instruction sheet that includes steps for after-use and end-of-day cleaning. Make it easier for people by putting all the cleaning tools and solutions near the machine where they’re visible and easy to reach.

John’s final tip is to talk to your Lavazza representative. “They’re fantastic and very experienced. Once the machine is installed they can talk you through the cleaning process, even over the phone. After you’ve been through it once, you’ll be ready to go,” he says.

A commitment to quality coffee

A quality coffee machine is an asset that your team will thank you for. Lavazza’s premium range delivers great coffee while being easy to use, clean, and maintain. Find out how to protect your investment in the workplace now and into the future. Download Lavazza’s e-book for office managers.

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