Frequently asked questions
If you love your coffee machine you probably want to look after it. Here are the most frequently asked questions about coffee machine cleaning, descaling and maintenance.
Q1. Why do I need to clean my coffee machine?
A.1 A high end coffee machine can be a substantial investment. Much like a car, your machine will last longer and perform better if you keep it clean. Residue in your grinder, group head, milk frother lines can all cause your machine to struggle to provide a high quality cup of coffee. If they get very dirty lines will start to get blocked and you will end up using more power and putting too much pressure on your machine.
Q2. Why do I need to descale my coffee machine?
A2. If you live in a hard water area scale will start to build up in your machine. Scale is the death of many components that come into contact with water in your home. Think washing machines, dishwashers and kettles to name a few. If you notice a lot of white material on the glass of your kettle then the chances are you are in a hard water area. If you leave it too long your machine may become permanently blocked. Scale also causes corrosion to metal surfaces. If you have left it that long then when you descale you will see that the metal parts have started to eat away. There are plenty of home grown recipes you can use to achieve this or you can get a ready made tested solution from us. You can also check your water hardness by purchasing tester strips.
Q3. How often should I clean my machine?
A3. There are a couple of ways to tell. Many machines will give you a warning but if not look for coffees taking much longer to produce. Look for a taste of burned coffee and a thicker texture. Sometimes a taste is all you will need. If the coffee is not as good as you remember and you have not cleaned it for a while then the chances are it needs a clean.
Q4. Should I descale the machine inside and out?
A4. NO!! Descaling is an acidic process. It should be used internally only and only for the parts detailed in your manufacturers guidelines. If you use descaler on the outside you will soon lose the nice shiny chrome or brushed look of your machine. This includes for example dipping your milk frother spout into a descaling solution. We have had customer ruin the external look of very expensive machines doing this. All manufacturers have special products for the milk frother spout, Urnex even do two versions an Alkaline and an Acidic version.
Q5. How long does it take to clean a coffee machine?
A5. It really depends on the size of your machine. Lots of domestic machines have built in cleaning functions and will take you less than 15 minutes. Big commercial machines with several group heads will potentially take a lot longer.
Q6. When should I change my coffee machine water filter?
A6. The general rule of thumb here is every two months or every 50 litres of water. However, it is generally accepted in any water filter that if you leave it unused once it has been in water you should dispose of it after two weeks. This is precautionary only but bacteria will form and grow in the water if not constantly being flushed through. Many machines will tell you when to change the filter but mostly operate on a timer. Saeco Aquaclean actually has a sensor to determine when to change.
Q7. Do water filters have an expiry date?
A7. In most cases no. You can keep a bulk order of filters permanently if you want. However you should keep them in their sealed packaging and once they are wet they must be used. It is also good practice to keep them away from extreme temperatures.
Q8. My filters arrive wet in the packaging are they new?
A8. Yes, all filters are sold sealed as new from the manufacturers. We have noticed that one type of filter, namely Jura filters seem to suffer from condensation. This is nothing to worry about. Our filters are sourced from Europe and the temperate differential can cause this issue.