In this 'How to...' blog we walk you through the simple process of cleaning your espresso coffee machine. Find more of these blogs by clicking the 'How to...' link under categories on the right hand side of this page. Read on to find out more on how to clean your machine.

We're always surprised at how many people forget to clean their espresso coffee machine. It's a relatively quick process and can make a noticeable difference to the quality your drinks.  So to help you along the way (and show you how easy it is!) we have put together a few simple steps to keep your coffee machine as clean as a whistle:

After each use

Every time you make a coffee using your machine take a couple of seconds to clean and prepare it for your next drink:
  • Turn the steam on momentarily to blow out any milk in the nozzles
  • While the milk wand is still wet, wipe it with a damp cloth to clean off any milk residue
  • Knock out the coffee biscuit from the portafilter handle and wipe the the filter basket clean.

Doing this after every drink  will ensure that your coffees taste consistently delicious and can also extend the life of your machine.


We believe that this is the best practice to clean your machine at the end of the day:
  • Take out the portafilter and use a nylon brush (or similar) to clean the shower plate and gasket inside the group head
  • Put a blanking disc or blind basket in the portafilter.  Place it in the group head and turn the water on for that group head for 5 seconds.  Stop and take the portafilter out and discard the dirty water and grounds.  Repeat until you have clean water in the blind filter.  This process also cleans the group head and pressure release valves in a process called back flushing.
  • Remove the portafilter and take the blanking disc out.  Rinse the disc under warm water and scrub the inside of the portafilter to remove the oils and residue.
  • Make up a bowl of espresso cleaner solution with pulycaf or similar detergent
  • Place the portafilter in the espresso cleaner, making sure none of the plastic parts are in contact with the cleaner
  • Remove the filter basket from the portafilter and rinse it in some warm water before putting it in the bowl of detergent to soak overnight
  • Take the drip tray out and wash under warm water.  Clean the drip tray sump.
  • The following morning take the portafilters and filter baskets out of the detergent and rinse it very well under a running tap, making sure all the detergent has been washed off.

Remember to keep the portafilter in the group head so it stays hot for when you want to make your first shot of espresso.


Our recommendations for the weekly cleaning of your coffee machine are very similar to the daily methods mentioned above:
  • Back flush the group head using half a tea spoon of pulycaf in the blanking disc (blind filter). Continue to back flush until there is no more detergent left in the blanking plate.
  • Be sure you back flush 5 more times to remove detergent.
  • Unscrew the shower plates from inside the group head and soak overnight in pulycaf detergent.

So that's it! We think it's pretty comprehensive for a small-medium coffee shop who want to maintain their own coffee machine and increase its life span. Have we missed anything out? Let us know in the comments section below.

By Simon Bower
water rinse portafilter coffee machine

Rinsing the portafilter with hot water.

nylon brush coffee shower head

Cleaning shower head with nylon brush.

clean portafilter and filter basket detergent

Clean the portafilter and filter basket over night in detergent.

clean and dirty portafilter

Portafilter before and after detergent cleaning.

clean blanking disc

Use the blanking disc/blind filter to back flush the coffee machine.