How to clean your group heads, gasket and shower screens
It is no secret that only a clean machine makes the best coffee. Any barista can testify to that, but did you know that there’s more to cleaning an espresso machine than just giving it a wipe down after every use? Today we look at cleaning your espresso machine’s group heads.
The group head is one of the most important yet most overlooked areas of an espresso machine. It is extremely important to keep this area clean as this is where the coffee meets the machine. Here we set out a step-by-step guide for how you can maintain & clean your group heads.
- Backflushing: To backflush your group heads you need to remove the filter basket from the handle and replace it with a blind filter, a filter without holes, or use a rubber disk to cover holes on filter basket. Place onto each group head and dispense water as if you are pulling a shot. Run the machine in this way for about 5 seconds and then stop. The blind filter will cause the water to pressurise so when you stop extracting, it will cause the water to flush back through the group screen and group solenoid (now you know why it’s called back flushing too!) and help to remove any coffee grounds and oils that have accumulated. Repeat 5 times for each group head and rinse 5 times with clean water. Do this daily if you resell your coffee or at home at least once a week with a cleaning agent. We recommend using the Caffenu Cleaning Powder when doing this. Doing this will greatly reduce any coffee oils in the group head & solenoid. Here is a full video that shows you how to use the Cleaning Powder on your espresso coffee machine.
- Cleaning the group head gasket: It is a good idea to clean the group head gasket daily to help maintain a positive seal between the group head and portafilter. Best is to use the brush during your daily backflushing routine. Alternatively simply use hot water with the group head cleaning brush (such as the Caffenu Cleaning Brush) to vigorously scrub around the sealing surface.
- Shower Screens: Even with regular backflushing, the group head shower screens must be replaced periodically but you can help them last a bit longer by screwing them off the group head and then soaking them in a solution of hot water and 1 teaspoon Caffenu Cleaning Powder or 1 Caffenu Cleaning Tablet. Scrub, rinse and refit. This will help break down the build-up of coffee oils.
Regular maintenance and cleaning of your beloved espresso machine goes a long way, not only in saving you money on replacements & services but also in ensuring you get the freshest cup of coffee, every time!