What Not To Do And Ways To Prevent Damage From Occurring
Espresso machines are expensive, some can cost S$25,000 and up! That’s crazy! So how do we ensure that we get to fully recover the cost of the machine (and more) before the machine dies?
As technological advancements keep happening at a breakneck pace, the machines that we make use of in our day-to-day lives are also becoming more intricate and innovative. However, that being said, even though many of the machines available nowadays are cutting edge, they are still far from being indestructible. From your car to your vacuum cleaner, all machines need to be taken care of if we want them to function at their best– or sometimes if we want them to continue working at all.
In this guide, we will tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, and how NOT to kill your semi-automatic espresso machines.
🚫What NOT To Do 🚫
First things first, we shouldn’t have to go over the painfully obvious things that you shouldn’t do to your coffee machine. Everyone knows that they shouldn’t be hitting their coffee machine with a baseball bat to relieve stress or fill it with chicken stock and noodles to try and brew chicken soup.
However, here are a couple of glaring mistakes that cafe owners and baristas – both newbies and veterans alike – often make from time to time.
- Physical Abuse
No, this isn’t physical abuse in the traditional sense, we’re talking specifically about cases where baristas end up using one group head more than the others consistently.
The fact of the matter is that using one group head more than the others may be convenient in the short term but it can have detrimental long-term effects. This type of use (or technically abuse) can lead to parts malfunctioning or outright breaking far sooner than they normally would.
In fact, many of the times when consumers complain about their state-of-the-art semi-automatic espresso machines breaking down within a year (or just a few months) after purchasing them, the cause can usually be traced back to physical abuse and intensive use.
- Improper Sizing
When it comes to the financial side of things, improper sizing is one of the most important factor that we have advised countless cafe owners about.
What exactly do we mean by “improper sizing?”
Time and time again we have seen cafe owners buying semi-automatic espresso machines that are too grandiose for their humble coffee shops or they have underestimated the size of their customer base and have purchased a cheaper, less suitable semi-automatic espresso machine that ends up being overworked.
Improper sizing can be one of the main reasons why your semi-automatic espresso machine is doomed to an early grave.
One way to look at it is that you wouldn’t see a farmer pulling their hay baler with their family sedan – not only would that be very inefficient but it would also be extremely damaging to the car as well. This same concept applies to commercial semi-automatic espresso machines. A small semi-automatic espresso machine simply won’t be able to keep up with high volume demands in the long run and is destined to malfunction or break down.
✅What To Do ✅
Preventative Maintenance: Cleaning, Descaling, And Backflushing
As far as food preparations go, coffee brewing is fairly messy. As a result of this, the machines and equipment that you use in your coffee shop should always be subjected to basic cleaning routines daily and deep cleaning regimes weekly.
For daily cleaning, you should always make sure that coffee grinds are not left on the rim of the portafilter, the showerhead should be rinsed, and the filter basket should be cleaned as well.
For weekly cleaning, you should soak the filter basket, gasket seal, group head shower screen, and portafilter, in a specialized cleaning solution.
It is important to remember that old coffee deposits and oils can not only damage the effectiveness and efficiency of your machine but it can also negatively impact the taste of the coffee that you’re brewing.
Backflushing is a process that can be used either as a form of preventative maintenance or reactive maintenance. Backflushing is advised for both home machines as well as commercial machines.
Realistically, if you stick to a strict cleaning and descaling routine, you shouldn’t need to backflush your espresso machine. However, that being said, there are no negative repercussions to doing it daily anyway. If your espresso machine’s 3-way valve fails, backflushing can potentially clean out coffee residue that may be hampering its ability to function.
As a form of reactive maintenance, you may need to backflush your espresso machine if you find that either water is leaking into the drip tray while you are brewing or that you are suddenly experiencing low pressure (slow brewing).
Descaling is technically a cleaning method as well; however, unlike the aforementioned daily and weekly cleaning, it is recommended that you descale your machine every few years (usually between 2-3 years).
Although descaling is a form of preventative maintenance, it is still important that you not try to take shortcuts when doing so. You should never use vinegar to descale your espresso machine; no matter how many websites publish it as a “lifehack”, always use specialized descaling solutions.
While descaling solutions work to remove the mineral deposits that have accumulated in your espresso machine, it is recommended that you hire a professional as this is a very delicate process that when not done properly can produce more harm than good.
We Are Here To Help
We understand that you might not always have the time or knowledge to completely look after your machine on your own. We offer Preventive Maintenance Compliance (PMC) and Quality Assurance (QA) services for your busy cafe.
We always see coffee machines dying at the busiest times. Nobody needs angry customers while you have no coffee to sell. Service your coffee equipment at least once every 3 months. EVEN if there are no problems. This is the only way your coffee machines can stay healthy and live longer.
What happens during these Preventive Maintenance Compliance (PMC) and Quality Assurance (QA) visits?
Our crack team of skilled technicians team will come and conduct:
Recommend required parts replacement caused by wear and tear
Recommend correct PMC frequency based on your volume and needs
Workflow and Calibration Diagnosis
Recommend and conduct basic calibration
Free calibration and diagnosis report
What’s more, our team will come by monthly to ensure that your coffee tastes best. You can also call us anytime on our hotline to troubleshoot any of your coffee and machine concerns.
What it boils down to, is that prevention is better than cure.