The number-one cause of espresso machines breaking down is lack of basic maintenance. The 5000th shot you brew should be as good as the very first one, provided your machine is well taken care of.
By WKSHOP Technical Manager Paul Martin.
At WKSHOP, we take a two-pronged approach to ensure your espresso machine continues to perform at an optimum level.
Regular six- and 12-month servicing is very important. A preventative maintenance check is like your annual car tune-up: we check the entire machine. We open it up, look inside, and check flows, times and pressures, making sure the machine is performing as well as it was the first day you used it. Because if it isn’t, you’ve just made a $15,000 mistake.
At the six-month mark, we change the shower screen, go over the group heads, replace any worn seals and rebuild the steam wand. There’s always a bit of wear and tear on those.
It’s all fairly simple, but every part of the machine contributes to that final brew.
At the 12-month mark, we check and replace the safety parts on the boilers, such as the anti-vacuum and safety valves, as well as going through the flow meter sensors and solenoid valves to make sure they’re all within tolerance.
The next part of the equation is up to the machine owner. Here’s a breakdown of what you should be doing to ensure your machine has a long and happy life.
After every brew
Give the shower screen a two-second flush. This removes all the old oils and grind so that your next brew isn’t extracted through the old residues. Knocking the handle empty after every brew is also important – don’t let it sit in the machine.
Another good tip is to taste the coffee yourself throughout the day. Again, it should taste the same throughout the afternoon as it did in the morning. If you can taste any difference, make sure the wand is free of dried milk, and that you’ve cleaned that head properly.
After every day
At the end of the day or shift, it’s important to back-flush every head with chemicals, and keep the steam wand clean – not caked with brown, dried-on milk. Of course, if you can keep your machine clean during the day, this won’t be such a big job.
Ultimately, it’s a simple, logical process: keep your machine clean, keep your space tidy. A customer may look at a neglected machine or barista space and think, ‘If you can’t look after the machine, what chance do you have of looking after me and my coffee?’ I’ll be honest, I’ll walk out of a cafe if the machine’s not being taken care of.
At WKSHOP we know that a clean machine is a happy machine. A happy machine makes good coffee. And most importantly, good coffee keeps customers coming back.
About Paul Martin
Paul Martin is Technical Manager at WKSHOP. He is responsible for ensuring WKSHOP coffee partners are supported technically and receive after-sales assistance, ensuring their coffee equipment is running at its best.
WKSHOP is here to supply, create, educate and innovate your coffee business. We provide specialty contract coffee roasting, private label packaging, coffee training via our WKSHOP Academy, coffee machinery and technical service support. If you’re a cafe, restaurant or multi-site franchise, let us workshop your coffee business. Enquire now at wkshop.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.