Caring for an Espresso Machine During Lockdown

Caring for an Espresso Machine During Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has led to closures all over the world, particularly affecting coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants due to the way that the virus can easily spread in these atmospheres. Due to these closures, it means that espresso machines can be left uncatered for for long periods of time. Even during a restricted lockdown where cafes and restaurants are left open, extra caution will need to be taken when looking after your espresso machine. This article will tell you all that you need to know for troubleshooting your machine during lockdown and about adequate cleaning.

General care for your espresso machine

There are many issues that can occur with your coffee machine such as not turning on or not producing enough steam. Here are some basic solutions to the issues that may arise with your coffee machine:

  • Espresso machine stops running

  1. Check that the power cord for the machine is not damaged, and as silly as it sounds, make sure that the switch is turned on. If the cord is damaged then make sure that you get it replaced by a professional. Do not attempt to fix it yourself as it could be dangerous and lead to further issues.

  2. The valves of the espresso machine may have closed due to the clogging of the tubes. You can fix this by using a toothpick to remove the built-in debris. You will then need to run vinegar through the machine, before running it through with water another twice to get rid of the vinegar.

  • Espresso machine has little or no water running

  1. Make sure that your machine has the water tank fitted properly.

  2. If it is trapped air in the machine causing the issue. You must; turn the machine off, empty the tank and take out the water filter, fill the tank with water and then put it back in place, then switch on the machine, once it has heated up dispense some hot water from the machine.

  • Clogged filter basket

  1. Clean the filter in warm soapy water and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth afterwards.

  • Group head won’t dispense water

  1. Back-flush the machine.

  • Group head won’t stop dispensing water

  1. Turn off the continuous pour button. If this button is not turned on then it could be an issue of not cleaning the machine properly. Back-flushing the machine may be a way to sort this issue.

  • Milk frothing not working properly

  1. These issues could be due to low steam pressure, a blocked steam nozzle, or perhaps the issue is with the milk and not the machine. Try changing your milk quality and make sure that you are not re-frothing boiled milk. You can also try cleaning the steam nozzle.

  • Machine doesn’t heat or release steam

  1. Try turning the machine off and on again. You may also like to change the positioning of your machine’s power switch.

  • Machine is slow at producing coffee or not giving out coffee

  1. Check the grind setting. The grind setting is often set too fine, so change that if possible. If it is not this then try taking the handle off the machine’s group head and press the volumetric key.

  • Machine dispensing coffee too quickly

  1. Change the grind setting.

  2. Increase dose.

  • Machine leaking at the bottom

  1. Check the drain hose. Make sure that the drain hose isn’t jammed. If you think that the block may be inside, use a degreaser solution or hot water to unblock it. You may also put some liquid espresso cleaner into the trip tray.

  • Grinder does not grind

  1. Change the amount of coffee grounds in your machine.

  2. Change the grind setting to a more coarse option.

  3. Unblock the funnel and clean it.

  • No steam arm pressure

  1. Make sure that there are no blockages in the steam nozzles.

  2. Make sure that the pressure gauge is showing the right pressure.

  3. Check that the steam knob is not broken.

  4. Clean the arm and purge the machine.

The life of the virus on surfaces varies depending on the surface, but on average it is around 3-7 days. This means that you will need to clean your surfaces frequently throughout the day in order to protect yourself and your customers from the virus. To clean your espresso machine and disinfect it, you will need to continue your normal schedule of daily and weekly cleaning, but you will also need to make sure that after cleaning, you disinfect the surfaces with chemicals in order to kill the germs. The virus requires hot water to get rid of, so 30 minutes in a dishwasher should kill the virus, but of course you can’t exactly stick your espresso machine through the dishwasher. So, the best way to effectively sanitise your espresso machine is to use sanitisers such as hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the machine after cleaning it. You MUST make sure to clean AND disinfect your machine in order to keep your customers and yourself safe by preventing the spread of this deadly virus.

In some cases, cafes will have to close for lockdown. This is unfortunate for businesses, but it is effective in controlling the virus in the long run. If your cafe or restaurant is about to be closed for lockdown, make sure that you prepare your espresso machine for this closure. Make sure that you do your normal procedures, such as cleaning, disinfecting, and back-flushing the machine. It is also wise to do any preventative maintenance before lockdown. However, you may also do this during lockdown so that once the lockdown is over, you can have a smooth start. Make sure that you unplug your espresso machine and let the machine cool down before you shut off water access  and drain the boilers. Draining your boilers will require a trained technician and so you should make sure that you plan for this to be done. Make sure that you keep your machines stored in a heated environment and order new water filters so that you can change them just before you re-open. You should always have a reopening plan that includes steps such as changing the water filters and turning the water access back on.

If you have not had time to prepare for a closure, before reopening you should make sure to wash and sanitise the reservoir and organise a descaling of the boiler in order to get rid of any accumulated germs and dirt that will have gathered due to an unplanned closure.

It is also a wise idea to take extra precautions during lockdown so that when reopening, your cafe can have a quick and easy startup. In order to ensure a smooth reopening, a good idea is to get your espresso machine/s serviced before the reopening date so that you can prevent reopening and then noticing that your machine is faulty. This is especially necessary if you were unable to take the precautions such as unplugging and switching off water access, as your machine may have been damaged due to being left in this state.

Keeping your machines in working order is a must at this time when businesses are struggling, the last thing you need is for an unnoticed issue to arise. For a top quality service, we at Steam and Grind are happy to help in providing a service that will promise you a smooth reopening during these trying times.


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Steam & Grind Cardiff

Espresso coffee machine and coffee grinder service, repair, maintenance and calibration in and around Cardiff and beyond. Helping you and your business ensure that coffee lovers always experience the perfect cup.

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