This is a spinoff from another topic.

When do you clean your espresso machine?
What does that mean at your shop?

How often do you:
Backflush with water
Backflush with PuroCaf, Caffezia, whatever
Soak yer portafilters

Just curious.

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We give a good backflush with water after every big rush and cafeza only after we are closed. While backflushing, I scrub the portafilters and baskets clean which only takes a minute. Scrubbing the group heads quite a bit is also something we have made a habit out of.
Interesting replies so far, glad to see so many.

As for our shop, we clean our machine at various times through the day, which means:
Scrub screen and gasket with brush periodically.
Clear water backflush at least at midday and at close.
Cafiza every afternoon, usually during the lull we see around 3:00.

I know that doing a backflush with cleaner midday sounds strange, but it seems to work fine. Don't recall who suggested this to us, but the rationale was that as long as you cleaned every so many hours of operation it made no difference when it happened. There was a suggestion that this would also help prevent the solution from sitting in either your machine's or your shop's drain lines overnight. I monitor our dispersion screens and they are perfectly clean after backflushing with solution. I also tend to pull shots for myself late in the morning (several hours after backflush with cleaner) and don't run across that "something's dirty" taste (unless the grinder throat needs cleaning, but I digress).

We soak portafilters at least once a week (I know I do them every Wednesday, not sure what happens other days). We use all double spouts, FWIW. I'll do a spot check on other days; they rarely exhibit anything other than the usual light "seasoning" patina... which I've thought was important to avoid a metallic taste.

Steam wands are kept immaculately clean.

The closing routine includes clear water backflush plus portafilter clean and purge, full exterior wipedown, and drip tray gets hosed off at the big sink.

That's our routine.

b
you got it, dude.

Aaron McNany said:
That's a good point, Jesse - I am often afraid of purocafe remaining in the machine. I have thought it at least necessary between shifts, but perhaps we should rethink even that. We've been having so much buildup behind the waterscreens though...perhaps morning crew will just have to step up the cleaning.

Jesse -D-> said:
You really don't need to use the detergent until the end of the night. Just use a clear water back flush on the live bar, and brush the hell out of the group. You don't want to risk getting the dtergent in somones drink...yuck! I know you guys do an awesome job of rinsing but it still seems excessive.
Matthew Gasaway said:
For the most part I try to stick to one group unless I need to use a 2nd in a rush. The end of the morning shift is when I soak the portifilter I use more often. While that soaks I have the other one still handy.

I frequently see advice to avoid doing this... sounds like its better to spread the wear-and-tear out a bit, plus I think the groups like being used a little better than just sitting idle. I personally force myself to use all three groups, though admittedly hit the middle one a bit harder. Bet that's why that middle solonoid is thinking about going out on me :(.

This does sound like it would make cleaning a bit easier. Perhaps you could alternate groups day to day?
I have also heard that favoring one group head as opposed to using them equally results in them no longer pulling shots consistently against each other. This was the rational given to me at the espresso bar I was working at when I inquired why there was always about a two second difference between the times on the group heads. The inconsistency definitely caused frustration to say the least.

Brady said:
Matthew Gasaway said:
For the most part I try to stick to one group unless I need to use a 2nd in a rush. The end of the morning shift is when I soak the portifilter I use more often. While that soaks I have the other one still handy.

I frequently see advice to avoid doing this... sounds like its better to spread the wear-and-tear out a bit, plus I think the groups like being used a little better than just sitting idle. I personally force myself to use all three groups, though admittedly hit the middle one a bit harder. Bet that's why that middle solonoid is thinking about going out on me :(.

This does sound like it would make cleaning a bit easier. Perhaps you could alternate groups day to day?
Really, behind the screens? That is no good. Try flushing when you remove the PF and right before you put it back in. Also a fun tst is to take some water from the machine and let it cool enough so you can taste it. If it tastes like anything (soap, dirt, metal, coffee) then so do your shots. Our tech guys are gonna pay you a visit soon, I will tell them to check out your screens when they come.

Aaron McNany said:
That's a good point, Jesse - I am often afraid of purocafe remaining in the machine. I have thought it at least necessary between shifts, but perhaps we should rethink even that. We've been having so much buildup behind the waterscreens though...perhaps morning crew will just have to step up the cleaning.

Jesse -D-> said:
You really don't need to use the detergent until the end of the night. Just use a clear water back flush on the live bar, and brush the hell out of the group. You don't want to risk getting the dtergent in somones drink...yuck! I know you guys do an awesome job of rinsing but it still seems excessive.
Time to lean=time to clean
I love this, Cedric! I feel a new annoying motto coming on!
Lately we have been doing some experimenting with temp stability, how long it takes to warm our groups thoroughly, etc etc (PID'd Linea 4grp AV old style) and it's SCARY how much the temp moves around if you either favor a group (overheat) or neglect one (way under temp).

If you have a Scace and Fluke do some research. You could be destroying your shots and not even know it.

-bry
I back flush each grouphead after 3 (double) shots have been pulled. We used to purocaff every night, but ended up getting a build up that affected the water pressure, now we purocaff twice a week; wed & sun.

We do a thorough back flush every night, and soak the portafilters every night, or at least take apart, clean with baking soda and reassemble.
Oh, btw, we also take apart the groupheads/portafilters miday and scrub down with baking soda.

Our nuova simonelli is definitely showing the results of grouphead-favoring. Each one pulls differently, so we have to be careful!
Does anyone know if soaking the portafilter overnight in purocaff damages it? Also I heard someone say that they used oxiclean? Does that work?

in my experience, if your parts are cleaned regularly, any soak longer than 15 minutes is unnecessary.

@carmen, i've noticed some discoloration on the plastic handles from soaking too long. also, you can rust out the nut/bolt/screw that holds the handle on on some types of portafilters. havent seen that happen in a few years but i have seen it happen.

@jessica, if you are getting a buildup of cleaner, you're probably using too much, or not rinsing thoroughly.

as far as scale buildup is concerned, it will happen most often where there is the least amount of water flow (that grouphead you don't use), and at points of temperature differential (ie, mixing valves, some fill valves, heat exchanger inlets)

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