Espresso Machine Cleaning
I've had an EM6910 for 8 years and it has served me well. But in the last year it has gone down hill fast (backflush is clogged, pressure gauge is clogged, generally does not pour a good shot reliably any more) so before I replace it, I have some questions on cleaning to make sure I was doing everything right.
It only pours 1 shot a day, maybe 2 on the weekends.
- Weekly clean of all removable parts in the kitchen sink with hot soapy water. then rinse.
- 2 monthly group head clean with sunbeam tablets. as per the book.
- 3 monthly descale with sunbeam liquid. as per the book.
Is there anything else I could have done to prevent the clogging and degradation of the machine? The only thing I can think of is a hot water rinse after each shot (do a double shot with no grinds in the basket).
Your long term cleaning regimes sound good but definitely do a plain water backflush after every shot/once per day. To be honest 3 month descales sounds like too much for your use - what does the manual suggest?
I would tend to backflush with plain water after every use, like you say, but with the rubber backflush stopper in the basket, or it won't do any good.
What's it 'clogged' with? Scale or old coffee? What's the water like you're using in it? After personal experience in pretty much ruining a Gaggia Classic because I never used filtered water I highly recommend only using filtered water no matter what the quality of tap water is in your area.
A plain water backflush after every shot is way over the top, but I'd certainly be doing it more than what you're doing now. Id do a plain water backflush after every 5-10 coffees (so once a week), a chemical backflush after every 25-30 coffees (at least once a month), and a descale twice a year if you use filtered water, more often if you use tap water. Also when you wash your PF and baskets in 'soapy water' I hope you're using a coffee specific detergent. Normal dish washing liquid shouldn't be used as it won't clean properly and it will leave an almost oily residue behind that will hang around for the first few uses until the parts are 'seasoned' again. Get yourself some Cafetto or something similar for this purpose.
I'd reckon Tia has probably got it sorted by now...