Tips for using and maintaining your Espresso machine

By Site editors - Disclosure - Price update: 2022 August 16 -

What is important when using your new coffee machine?

As the owner of a new espresso machine, there are a few things to keep in mind. You naturally want to make the best coffee with the same taste and delicious milk froth you get at your favourite coffee bar. Knowing how best to maintain and descale your coffee machine is also important. This way, you can enjoy your fresh, delicious cup of coffee at home for even longer. Below, you can read our maintenance tips and advice on how to make the best coffee at home.

Tip: Freshly ground coffee loses all its freshness after four hours. So only grind what you need at the time.

What types of coffee are there?

You have just installed your new Espresso machine and are ready to make the tastiest coffee specialities. But which types of coffee can you actually choose from? Espressos and cappuccinos are familiar to most people. But you will find many more options on most fully- automatic coffee machines these days. The more luxurious machines usually have a one- touch function so that you can make the tastiest coffees with just one push of a button.

The most popular coffee specialities

Below you find a couple of the most popular coffee specialities.

Cafe Americano Often compared to filter coffee. This is an espresso with additional hot water. Espresso: coffee made under high pressure, using finely ground beans. An espresso is a small coffee with a strong taste.
Cafe Lungo A less intense but larger Espresso.
Cappuccino Consists of three equal parts of Espresso, hot milk, and a layer of milk foam on top.
Latte Macchiato A glass of hot milk with a shot of Espresso through it, similar to a Cafe Latte. Cafe Latte: A Cafe Lungo, half of which consists of warm milk.
Cafe/Espresso Macchiato Espresso with a layer of milk foam

Make the best Espresso

The difficulty of making a perfect Espresso depends on the type of Espresso machine. There are 3 types of Espresso machines:

  • bean-to-cup machine (automatic)
  • bean-to-cup machine (manual or semi-automatic)
  • pod or capsule machine
    (Besides Espresso machines, you have filter coffee machines)

The names already largely reveal where the difficulty lies. There are very few difficulties with the fully automatic bean-to-cup machine, but this is different from the semi-automatic bean-to- cup machine. With the semi-automatic or manual bean-to-cup machine, you have to do more than just press a button. That is why your own contribution is important for the quality of your coffee. A fully automatic machine takes the work off your hands. All you have to do is fill the water, beans, and milk container. The rest of the brewing process is automatic. A cup or pod machine is also straightforward. All you have to do here is buy the cups, pods, or capsules and put them into the machine. The options are often limited with a pod system because you can't adjust much. The taste of the coffee is based on the cups or capsules.

More work with a manual bean-to-cup machine

A manual or semi-automatic machine requires more work but is also the chance to master the perfect Espresso.

  • The coffee machine must be properly heated up.
  • Use good-quality coffee beans.
  • Grind your coffee beans just before you use them. Then they are nice and fresh!
  • Use the right amount of coffee with the help of a measuring spoon.
  • Press the coffee down well with a tamper that fits snugly in the filter basket. Use a
  • heavy tamper for this.

Fun fact: You can brew a good Espresso in just 25 seconds!

Sustainable beans

It sounds like a cliché, but the better the quality of your beans, the better your coffee. Much coffee is made through mass production. This makes sense when you consider how much coffee is drunk, but unfortunately, sustainability is often lost in these mass productions. Coffee farmers often receive a minimum amount of profit for their beans, and dangerous pesticides are still often used in the process. Do you want to improve this and make the Earth a slightly better place? Then buy sustainable coffee! Pay attention to the following hallmarks:

  • UTZ Certified: they work to improve working conditions, nature conservation, and agricultural methods.
  • Organic: This says something about the attention paid to nature when producing coffee.
  • Fairtrade: The focus here is on nature and improving the working conditions of the farmers.
  • Rainforest alliance: The focus here is on attention to nature, safe conditions, and biodiversity.

How do you froth milk for your cappuccino?

The coffee specialities also include several milk variants, such as cappuccinos or latte macchiatos. You need frothed milk for these coffees. In the automatic bean-to-cup machine, you will find automated milk frothers that froth the milk for you with just 1 push of a button. Of course, you can also buy a separate milk frother. Some manual or semi-automatic bean-to- cup machines require you to manually froth milk with a steam wand. Below, we tell you how to froth milk with a steam pipe:

  • Keep the milk in the fridge and make sure it is about 4 degrees.
  • Use a special milk foam jug and fill it to just below the beginning of the pouring spout.
  • Fill the steam pipe and let it run for a while.
  • Place the spout of the steam wand until just below the surface of the milk. Then add air until the milk is warm.
  • Place the pipe deeper in the milk and tilt it slightly so that you get a whirlpool. Important: keep the milk moving!
  • It is important that you never let the temperature of the milk exceed 75 degrees.

Check the video below for a few examples, how you can froth your milk via a steam pipe

Cleaning Espresso machine

It is essential to properly clean your Espresso machines. First, you must flush your Espresso machine daily. In addition, it is also important to clean the other elements of your coffee machine. Think of the steam nozzle or the milk container. Always rinse these elements and clean them more thoroughly now and then. If you use the Espresso machine in the morning and evening, you can just rinse the reservoir and steam pipe until that evening. But do clean it at least once a day. If you don't clean the coffee machine enough, you will have mold or dirty milk inside. This causes the machine to clog or simply make the coffee taste much less pleasant.

Descaling your Espresso machine

In addition to cleaning, descaling your Espresso machine is equally as important. Limescale in the water can affect or even completely damage the machine. It differs per coffee machine
how you should descale it, so ensure you read the manual. A large part of the machine can be descaled with vinegar, which often works very well. But keep in mind that some machines will void the warranty, so check the manual. You can usually descale the coffee machine with special tablets or other descaling agents, which can be purchased from the manufacturer, online, or in a specialist store.

Maintenance of your coffee machine

An Espresso machine will last longer if you maintain it correctly. You can do the maintenance yourself or outsource it to certain companies. Many fully automatic bean-to-cup machines usually have a number of cleaning programs, and it is wise to do these regularly. If you don't maintain your coffee machine enough, common defects will arise. To prevent these defects, you must clean and keep the Espresso machine clean.

Descaling too late
Your water contains limescale, and after a while, large pieces of it can seriously affect the machine, with the result that the coffee machine can no longer be used. If you wait too long without descaling, a thick layer of limescale will appear that is very difficult (if not impossible) to remove.

Machine leaks
This is a common problem. The rubber sealing rings dry out and crack after a long time, which allows the water to pass through. In this case, you have to replace these rings. You can do this yourself or outsource it.

If your Espresso machine's burrs are worn, some of the ground coffee may get stuck, causing blockages.

If you suffer from the above defects, it is important to always consult the manual or contact the manufacturer. It can also happen that the coffee machine has become obsolete rather than broken.

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