I was just wondering what methods/products everybody uses to clean their steaming pitchers.  Some of ours are a bit 'scuzzy' and the usual methods of cleaning them are not working as well as I would like.  Any suggestions?


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Liquid drain opener. Basically, it's caustic soda which cuts through protein.

Personally, I carry all my own tools to work, including a portafilter, and all of my toys are spotless. The ones the other people use get a thick coating of dead brown milk in them because the morning people boil milk and let it sit.

Don't ask.

But anyway, caustic soda cleans biologicals very well. Yes it's bad for you, but, it is easily washed out.

There are specialty products for cleaning dead milk but liquid drain opener works the best.
I simply wash them after every single use using a double sided scrub pad (the type that don't scratch) and dish detergent. We try to steam just what we need per order and wash everything after each order is filled whether it be a steaming pitcher or a blender pitcher.
CLR. It works. Pour some in the affected pitcher (about a cap full), dilute to the top, and for the love of God, set aside somewhere safe. Let stand for about 10~15 minutes and when you dump out the solution, a light scrubbie should get that lovely tan buildup out of the lil' pitchers. Works every time. CLR because Calcium (from milk) and Lime (limescale from hard water) is a fine product on stainless, especially for ...R... Rust on whatever Mother Nature decides to reduce. Crikies. Good luck!
Yes, and just as with CLR, if you opt for liquid drain opener I'd be sure to tell co-workers what's in the pitcher before you set it aside in a safe place. Caustic soda is amazing at cleaning casein but it also does a fine job on removing skin from your hands.

Your choice; both work great.
Thankfully, the baristas I work with do a great job of keeping things clean, but on the off-chance that one of our pitchers gets grody, I usually just dunk it in a Purocaf bath for 20 minutes or so. I love that stuff... So many uses... :P
Bleach and a scouring pad. Pour a little bleach into the pitch and scrub. When it is done, pour the bleach into the next pitcher needing to be cleaned. Wash in soap and water afterwords.
i soak 'em in some cafiatza or puro caff then just wipe off and rinse. seems to do the trick.
dood, i know right. pretty impressive stuff for being high tech salt.

Adam Wilson said:
Thankfully, the baristas I work with do a great job of keeping things clean, but on the off-chance that one of our pitchers gets grody, I usually just dunk it in a Purocaf bath for 20 minutes or so. I love that stuff... So many uses... :P
All of the previous methods sound great. Some also swear by Rinza, but I've not used it before.

I would only add a serious look at training procedures to the list, since pitches will remain spotless if used properly. We have never had to use more than a sponge, soapy water, and the requisite quats soak on our pitchers, and they have zero residue or discoloration after 2+ years of daily use. The sponge is really just a formality, since they are still clean at the end of the day.

Like Shadow said, steam only what you need, dump any leftover, and rinse clean after every single use - rush or no rush. Once you get them clean, they should stay clean. If you have ANY residue on your pitcher at the end of the day, someone wasn't doing their job.

(Hopping off soapbox now...)

They don't need no stinking training.

My boss doesn't seem to understand English, doesn't know the first thing about making espresso, and doesn't seem to want to learn. If Terika works with people like that I'm sure she's going to be stuck with cruddy pitchers every two to three days.

In a previous thread I made a comment about people abandoning the milk pitcher on the deck of the machine while they wandered off to do God knows what. Bryan called me on that, because he does that too but knows what he's doing and does it well. Well, many I know who do that don't have a freeking clue what they're doing. I work with 4 of them. Not a clue. They boil milk, and reboil milk, over and over again in the same big pitcher. Brown, brown and gross in a day. I don't use their mixing jugs but I have to clean them. Why I bother, I don't know. It's so thick Cafiza won't touch it.
Agreed. Knowing how to clean cruddy pitchers is valuable info, and lots of options were covered in previous posts. I was not trying to be a jerk, just providing a little more info on the subject. Let me explain a bit...

Fraser, when I first started I worked at a shop that was somewhat similar to your employers (though not AS bad). The pitchers had a film on them at the beginning of every shift. I scrubbed them clean with a green scotch bright once or twice at closing, but eventually gave up after finding them in the same condition on my next shift. At the time, I faulted the person that was washing dishes... but the reality was that I was contributing to this by parking a pitcher of hot milk on top of the machine to keep it warm. I had no clue about proper process for steaming milk - it never occurred to me that I should steam milk to order and rinse the pitcher between uses. I honestly didn't realize it was even possible for a milk pitcher to remain clean.

Wow, if I'd run across this conversation 3 years ago...

The thing that we have to remember as we're discussing subjects like this is that the majority of this community doesn't actively participate in discussions, they read them though. Nothing wrong with this, just something we should keep it in mind. Given the broad spectrum of knowledge and experience reading them, its worth mentioning the more basic aspects of an issue in the course of the discussion. Agreed?
Totally agreed!

And hey, we all have to start somewhere. When you were putting the milk pitcher on top of the espresso machine you did that because, at the time, you thought that was a good idea. I'll bet when you see that done now you correct the person doing it and explain to them why it's a bad idea.

My goal is to learn something new every day. Big or small, it matters not.

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