When your coffee machine needs re-setting, or descaling, this article will tell you how to do it!
Coffee machines can become contaminated with minerals such as calcium, potassium, chloride and phosphorus. If left untreated, these additives affect the flavor of your beverages and can even cause health issues.
Luckily, there are descalers that you can use to remove all of the minerals from the brew system. Most recipes call for baking soda (or salted water in some cases), but we have selected our favorite way to do it here!
We would like to share our recipe with you today – let’s get started shall we? 🙂
The ingredients: what you need to descale a coffeemaker
This method works best if you have an espresso maker, pour over brewer, or French press. For both types of brewers, you will mix the baking soda with either hot or cold distilled water and stir until the powder is dissolved.
For the more experienced users, don’t worry about adding too much liquid to the mixture! Too much fluid can result in watered down drinks, so only add enough to completely dissolve the powder.
After the cream has been mixed into the solution, you can now pour it onto the burl bar of the appliance. This will take some time depending on the size of the machine, so be careful not to spill any excess.
Buy the right descaler
There are two main types of descalers used to treat alkaline water- those that use heat, and those that use agitation. Only use one type of descaler in water purification!
Heating descale devices cost more than agitating ones because you have to invest in an oven or heater to burn off the calcium build up. But they will work better if you purchase your descaler from someone who has replaced it before and knows how to check whether it works effectively!
Agitated descale products can be done manually which is easier to do but requires frequent attention to make sure the device is working properly. This may not always be practical as people may need their drink now and then, so there is a balance that needs to be found.
There are some automatic agitated tableted descale systems available too, but these require a separate batching machine to process the tablets. These machines usually have a built in timer and can be set to go every day, week, month, etc., making them more convenient.
How to use a coffee machine descaler
There are two main components of most modern automatic drip machines– a brew group and a descaling device. The brew group is what actually performs the brewing process, while the descaling system was left out by manufacturers in the past because it simply wipes away any burnt or stale residue that could potentially burn your drinker.
However, these days there are separate descalers designed just for this purpose! These work by spraying water onto the internal parts of the machine to remove all residues such as burnt charcoal and sour milk.
There are even some which can be connected to a smartphone so you don’t have to pull over to do the cleaning! All you need to do is download the app and connect via Wi-Fi and it does the rest – automatically.
When to descale your machine
Most espresso machines have an automatic system that includes a cleaning process called descaling. This is done once per week, typically on Sunday. The cleanser in the bottle goes onto the components of the machine where water can interact with them.
The two main components are the burr (the part that grinds the beans) and the pump (that pushes the liquid through the coffee filter). Both of these use acid to dissolve any buildup so they both need to be cleaned every few weeks depending on how much usage you get out of the device.
There are different brands of acids for this purpose but our favorite is Dropsafe which comes as either powder or gel form. You mix it together with some warm water and apply it to the component for around ten minutes. It will then begin to foam up and if you check it afterwards it should look clear.
You can also wash the parts using hot, running water after applying dropsafecleaning agent, but we don’t recommend doing unless the instructions say to do so! That could cause damage.
Tips for using a coffee machine descaler
An easy way to use your descaling tablets is to make your own mix. You can either buy pre-made mixes or you can create your own mixture at home!
Simply put, a descaling tablet contains additives that aid in removing calcium deposits from the inside of your brew machine. Most people purchase their descalers already mixed with vinegar which is fine, but it is not the best combination.
Vinegar does not work as well when used alone because it will simply wash away the powder. The powder gets washed down the drain where it clogs up the pipes and causes expensive repairs and/or replacements.
A better option is adding an acid such as citric acid to increase the effectiveness of the powder. Citric acid works by attracting the minerals in the water so they stick to the powder and are removed along with it. Some vendors also add baking soda to enhance this effect even more.
Both recipes have one thing in common — acd! Acd is easily found anywhere food products are manufactured. It is usually found in natural foods stores in various quantities.
Run your machine regularly
After you have descaled your coffee maker, it is important to run it at least once every two weeks to restore its effectiveness. If you do not, then leftover minerals in the water can re-clay the inner components of the device, making it needlessly expensive to repair or even completely break down.
Some brands offer specific guidelines, but our general rule is to run your machine for a half hour twice a week. (This will depend slightly on how much milk you use and whether you like strong or weak cups of coffee.)
We recommend doing this during non-peak hours as well so that there are no waiting times while the machine runs. You could also start with only running for a few minutes each time until you are sure that it works properly.
Check the machine for leaks
Another way to use descale tablets is to check your coffee maker for fluid leaks. You can do this by holding each bottle up to the mouth of the device or putting some water in the device and seeing if there are any drops coming from it.
If you notice that the drop gets bigger as you add more water, then these bottles contain air instead of liquid. These bottles will not work correctly because they cannot be properly sealed due to lack of liquid.
So, make sure that your drink very carefully before using the product to ensure that there are no mistakes made.
Use descaling tablets properly
There are two main uses of descaler in your coffee machine. The first is called neutralization, which happens when the tablet comes into contact with acid or alkali in your drink. If you use too much cream in your espresso, for example, then it will not foam up due to the excess calcium in the milk that binds with the caffeine and prevents it from reacting.
To prevent this, there should be an adequate amount of descaler in the powder form in the water tank. This ensures that as the water goes through the system, it has enough time to react with any acids or alkalies in the drinks before being poured onto more sensitive equipment.
The second use for descaler is cleaning out the components of the machine. These include things like the pump, valves, and other internal parts.
Know the effects of too much or too little descaling
While there are many ways to descale your machine, one of the most popular is using an acid-based powder to remove calcium carbonate buildup. These powders can be found at most pharmacies or grocery stores with a coffee department.
The amount of powder you use depends on the size of the pot being descaled. Some companies suggest mixing half a teaspoon of powder per pound of water used to make espresso. That equals about two tablespoons total for a six-cup pot!
Too much acid can cause corrosion and damage to components of the machine, so it’s important to know how to use descaling tablets properly.