how often do you clean coffee urns, espresso machines, airpots, etc. with chemical cleaners?

which chemicals (ie: puro caff) do you use?

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i use purocaff to backflush and scrub the machine every night, and scrub the portafilters with dish soap usually every shift change. i'll switch to full circle as soon as i run out of normal purocaff

the couple airpots we actually use (we only do one airpot 7am-11am) i clean weekly if there's any discoloration.
Don't have urns/airpots

Machine is cleaned with detergent at the end of the day, water backflushes 2-3 times (sometimes more) throughout the day after rushes.

What's the poll for?

-bry
If it looks dirty clean it. And for most equipment that means it should have been cleaned sooner! Can't brew or serve great coffee with dirty any part of the process.
really? clean it when it's dirty? :)

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
If it looks dirty clean it. And for most equipment that means it should have been cleaned sooner! Can't brew or serve great coffee with dirty any part of the process.
You might be surprised how many times I've seen that NOT happen. Steam wands with caked on milk, brew group screens with over 75% holes blocked by old rancid coffee oils, airpots with build up inside the color of French roast etc.

alissa mendonca said:
really? clean it when it's dirty? :)

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
If it looks dirty clean it. And for most equipment that means it should have been cleaned sooner! Can't brew or serve great coffee with dirty any part of the process.
Alissa,
Good thread. As miKe points out many of us would shiver in our espresso boots if we saw a machine kept unclean like many shops with little or no knowledge of what great coffee is all about. In general one has to base our cleaning cycle on volume of use. If your behind the espresso machine like Bry points out you know when it needs cleaning or how often. More use more cleaning. I like Bry's fresh water flush of the group heads between busy times. I'm starting that routine now. If you want your spro to taste the same shot to shot and be able to make adjustments your machine needs to be squeaky clean for that.
I run my pitchers spoons etc. through our commercial dishwasher and save my "Joe Glow" chemicals for the spro machine.
Joseph
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform
thanks everyone for input,
i'm always weary of overuse of chemicals, just wondered how others felt about using them.
Remember that it's far easier to prevent buildup than to remove it. To miKe's point, its best to learn how frequently you need to clean something, then start cleaning it just before it is necessary.

Espresso machine manufacturers typically recommend a nightly backflush with an espresso machine cleaner (Purocaff, etc). We use Purocaff and Cafeiza interchangeably and will try Full-Circle once we get our sample.

Brush out grinder chambers and wipe out the grinder throat nightly to reduce buildup. Disassemble and brush/wipe the burrs and chamber clean at least weekly. Synthetic grinder cleaning products are unnecessary if you keep things clean. Wash hoppers with dish soap and water.

I'm not sure I've ever run across a case of a shop cleaning too much. I think its more common for a shop to use too much chemical at each cleaning. Learn how to tell when something is clean and use only as much as you need to get the job done.

I think I understand where you are headed, but the quantities of chemical agents that are required for effective cleaning are really pretty small. Do it efficiently and correctly and your impact will be much lower. Always use really, really hot water with stuff like Purocaff, it is much more effective at high temperatures. If you make up a pitcher to soak handles in, zap it with the steamwand before each portafilter to keep it working. Same goes for urn soaking solutions. Sometimes the solution is spent, but more often it has just cooled off. When you are finished, dump the (hot) spent solution down different drains in the shop (especially the one on your espresso machine) to keep things clear and flowing properly. This way you get maximum use out of each bit of chemical you are using.
The amount of chemical cleaner that is used is so very small that it is really not a threat to the environment even if it has phosphates. The environment is being ruined by the use of huge quantities of any cleaner by the uninformed who may not read manufacturer's directions and add more to be sure. There are studies now that say that phosphates were not bad, overuse was the problem!! And...overuse of detergents is being found to be just as bad as the bad old phosphate days!

I can clean better and more with a quarter teaspoon of machine cleaner than I can with a large amount of any other product. Bye the way, many dish washing products have lotion and aromatics which can leave an off taste from parts which are in the water path like baskets and portafilters.
It is wise to be leary of chemicals in this day and age. Don't hesitate to start with the maker / manufacture of the chemical to ask simple safety questions. The 800#'s are a great place to start. With law suits and attorneys becoming so popular these days the company is not likely to stretch the truth much. That said, I can't wait to look into more "green" chemical solutions.
Joseph
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform.


alissa mendonca said:
thanks everyone for input,
i'm always weary of overuse of chemicals, just wondered how others felt about using them.
Richard,
Thanks for the clarification on phosphates and how our habits of over use play and have played such a detrimental role in the past.
Joseph
--
Ambassador for Specialty Coffee and palate reform

Richard Penney said:
The amount of chemical cleaner that is used is so very small that it is really not a threat to the environment even if it has phosphates. The environment is being ruined by the use of huge quantities of any cleaner by the uninformed who may not read manufacturer's directions and add more to be sure. There are studies now that say that phosphates were not bad, overuse was the problem!! And...overuse of detergents is being found to be just as bad as the bad old phosphate days!

I can clean better and more with a quarter teaspoon of machine cleaner than I can with a large amount of any other product. Bye the way, many dish washing products have lotion and aromatics which can leave an off taste from parts which are in the water path like baskets and portafilters.
Well daily before closing you should flush your coffee screen with the porta filter one that is closed for flushing using pulycaff. It is a good item and make sure you soak all porta filters and screens in a pulycaff powder half tea spoon in hot water and soak over night. But make sure always and daily flush with also half tea spoon of pulycaff in the closed screen and open while hot water is falling to get all the grinds from teh pipes.

You can see how by checking on the net how to clean and flush the coffee screen with the porta filter.

Ali hoejij

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