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Baristas and coffee lovers alike can agree that the ideal cappuccino or latte is served with perfectly textured and heated milk, which is achieved through the frothing and/or steaming of said milk. The taste and texture of the milk, on the other hand, are dependent on a well-maintained milk steamer or frother.

Milk circuits, steam wands, and frothers require regular cleaning due to the milk proteins and residue that can build up in and around the steam wand or frother. This build-up tends to cause blockages and leave nasty, sour-smelling milk on dairy equipment. Truthfully, no one even wants to imagine taking a first sip of a cappuccino and being hit with a foul smell that comes from old milk residue left in a frother.

Furthermore, old milk can harbor bacteria that could potentially have adverse effects on our health. This is certainly something to consider when serving milk-based drinks, whether in a commercial or home environment.

That is why cleaning and maintenance are essential; it keeps foul smells and build-up away while also assisting with the upkeep of diary equipment. Cleaning also helps keep bacteria at bay.

Caffenu provides baristas and coffee enthusiasts with the ultimate solutions for maintaining and cleaning steam wands, milk frothers, and other dairy equipment, including: An alkaline-based milk system cleaner and an acid-based milk system cleaner.

So, what’s the difference?

You might be asking what the differences between the two are. Essentially, it is the chemical make-up of the two, which slightly differs: one being an alkaline-based solution with a high pH and the other being acid-based with a low pH.

Both cleaners, acidic, and alkaline, serve as disinfectants that assist in hygienically cleaning the milk circuits and equipment.

You might also wonder which solution to use on what equipment. The truth is, either solution can be used on any dairy-based equipment. However, it is best practice to use what your machine’s manufacturer recommends; it may require both.

Coffee machines or milk systems that use hot water and/or steam to produce frothed milk would require an acidic milk system cleaner. This is especially the case where these machines are explicitly not descaled to remove limescale and rust build-up. Further, these machines are susceptible to limescale build-up as well as the milk proteins that accumulate in the milk circuit. A typical machine that could require acidic milk system cleaner, would be a commercial espresso machine’s steam wand and dairy components.

On the other hand, machines with systems that froth milk but have no water or steam come in contact with their milk circuit and/or components would require an alkaline-based solution. Also, this is because it is primarily milk proteins, fats, and oils that require breaking down, as opposed to the limescale that builds up from water/steam contact. Hence, there is no need for the acidic solution.

To conclude, the alkaline and the acidic milk system cleaners could be used with any dairy equipment, but each offers an active ingredient to serve its specific purpose.

We understand the frustration that comes from trying to brew your morning cappuccino only to find that your Nespresso® Lattissima® produces little to no milk foam. That is not the way to start a morning, but don’t worry! The Caffenu® Milk System Cleaner makes this an easy fix, and you will have your morning cuppa in no time!

It is likely that there’s some milk residue present. Not only can this clog up your milk system with sour milk, but it also provides the ideal environment for bacteria and germs to breed and thrive. We don’t even want to get into the old, smelly milk particles that may be present in your coffee! Gross!

Now, let’s get cleaning! If your Nespresso® Lattissima® has a “Clean” button, you can start there. Simply press the button and allow the machine to flush itself out. It is important to note that this does not deep clean your machine’s frother, but rather flushes out some blockage.

Next, you will need the Caffenu® Milk System Cleaner. Follow these steps:

  1. Create the cleaning solution in a container or directly in the milk container: Mix 50 ml of the Caffenu® Milk System Cleaner with 500 ml of cold water (if you have a smaller milk container, follow the 10:1 ratio, for example, if your milk system container is only 300 ml, add 30ml solution to 300 ml cold water).
  2. Insert the suction tube into the container with the cleaning solution
  3. Run the solution through the milk circuit.
  4. Repeat the process with clean cold water to thoroughly rinse all components.

As an extra measure, after completing the rinsing process, you can also disassemble the milk system and other accessories and wash the pieces either by hand or in a dishwasher. We also recommend regular cleaning & descaling maintenance to keep your Nespresso® Lattissima® in tip-top shape. The Caffenu® Nespresso® Compatible Descaling & Cleaning Kit is the perfect solution for monthly maintenance.

Cleaning your coffee machine is vital for its lifespan, and the quality of coffee you drink. Here are the mistakes to avoid when cleaning these specific types of coffee machines.

Cleaning Coffee Capsule Machines

Avoid using vinegar when descaling a coffee capsule/pod machine, such as a Nespresso® coffee machine. Vinegar leaves a smell behind, and it doesn’t effectively remove limescale build-up. Learn about proper descaling, and how you can achieve it.

Additionally, you need to flush out your machine to clean the parts where the coffee pours out. However, a common mistake made when doing this, is only running hot water through the machine.

Flushing the machine with water doesn’t effectively remove old coffee oils and residue build-up, not to mention the bacteria. See how a Caffenu® cleaning capsule thoroughly cleans a coffee capsule machine.

Don’t forget about cleaning your machine’s capsule basket and drip tray, which also requires frequent soaking. Simply use the solution after using a cleaning capsule to soak your drip tray and capsule basket, scrub gently and rinse.

Cleaning Espresso Machines

A common mistake with cleaning espresso machines is not cleaning their parts often enough. You should flush the group head each time you brew an espresso shot, and wipe the portafilter down as soon as you can.

Avoid using steel wool or a metal sponge on steel surfaces like the steam wand and group heads. Doing this will make scratches without actually cleaning the parts. Use a gentle wipe such as microfiber.

Use a fast-acting cleaning powder to remove old coffee oils & build-up from your espresso machine’s group heads & valves, great for backflush routine. Soak removable parts: portafilters, filter baskets & shower screens.

Clean your espresso machine’s steam wand, or any steam wand for that matter, with a milk system cleaner. The milk system cleaner removes all milk solid build-up, and clears blockages.

Lastly, you also need to descale your espresso machine, to remove limescale from the machines heating source. Espresso machines which have a removable watertank can use a simple liquid descaling solution.

Cleaning Filter Coffee Machines

One mistake made here is only cleaning the coffee pot/carafe. All removable parts of a filter coffee machine need to be cleaned. Clean the pot and funnel using a Caffenu® cleaning tablet.

A filter coffee machine can also be descaled, as it builds up limescale. You can use a simple liquid descaling solution that you run through your filter coffee machine every 3 months for best results.


Use the right tools to clean your coffee machine. And ensure to clean all parts of it, not just the ones you can physically see. Send us a question if we can help in any way on what the best way is to clean your coffee machine!

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