It is common knowledge that almost 85% of Americans brew their coffee at home. What people don’t know is – each cup of brew they enjoy leaves a little bit of residue on the machine, which affects the taste eventually. Therefore, to enjoy a fantastic cup of coffee, it is essential to learn how to clean a coffee machine.
Just as you wouldn’t cook in a dirty pan, you shouldn’t brew coffee in a coffee maker that is not clean. Cleaning your machine removes old coffee grounds, oils, and hard water deposits from it and maintains your brew’s quality. Let’s dive deep into different coffee machines’ cleaning processes.
An In-depth Discussion on How to Clean a Coffee Machine
When it comes to the coffee makers, all of us have our favorite types. That’s why I presented a few cleaning procedures according to different kinds of coffee makers instead of discussing a straightforward cleaning process.
How to Clean Drip Coffee Maker
Although single-serve coffee makers are getting popular day by day, many US households still have their old drip coffee makers. However, if you don’t clean your drip coffee maker properly, its life can be shortened.
That’s why you clean your drip coffee maker at least once a month. If heavily used, more frequent cleaning is needed. Here goes the step by step procedure to clean your drip coffee machine:
At first, rub the inside chamber with a damp cloth carefully and remove the loose grounds and other rubbish. Use a brush to remove dirt sneaking from any corner. A small grout brush will be great for tight spaces.
Fill the coffee maker’s water chamber midway with white vinegar and the rest of the space with water. A paper filter can be placed in the basket to seize any hard water deposits or other rubbish that may be loosened. Turn on your coffee maker and brew half of the water-vinegar mixture, and then turn it off. Allow this mixture to soak in the coffee machine for at least half an hour (a full hour is better).
Again, turn on the coffee machine and brew the rest of the vinegar-water mixture. Replace the paper filter, then refill the water chamber and run the full cycle to wash the system. To ensure the removal of any remaining vinegar scent or taste, rinse for a second time.
With warm water and dish soap, rub inside the entire carafe. Use a sponge or dishcloth to eliminate any mark or spot from the carafe’s surface, but don’t use any abrasive. Wipe down the exterior of your coffee machine to eliminate any dust or oil that tries to spread over time.
Some limescale or calcium deposits may not be wiped during the cleaning of the water reservoir. For those, use a cleaning or descaling product dedicated specifically for coffee machines. If the calcium deposits cause you real trouble, use filtered water while brewing the coffee.
Clean Your Single-Cup Coffee Maker
Single-cup machines are quick and convenient. Most manufacturers recommend a thorough cleaning, in other words descaling a single-cup coffee maker within every 3-6 months.
Empty your coffee maker and make sure there isn’t a pod in the coffee maker.
Fill the coffee pot with white vinegar (1/2 cup) and cold water (1 cup) and pour this mixture into the reservoir. Make sure that the pod area is vacant.
Turn on your coffee maker and brew a cup. After completing the brewing, turn off the machine and let the vinegar solution as it is for about 15 minutes.
Brew only with water for two cycles to remove any remaining vinegar taste. Between each brewing cycle, shut off the machine for about 15 minutes.
Daily cleaning tips for single-cup coffee makers
You only need to descale the machine a few times each year. Here are some daily cleaning tips according to the National Coffee Association of America:
- Use a coffee pod only once
- Utilize filtered water when brewing. It will minimize hard water deposits
- Empty and refill your water reservoir every day
- Leave the lid off and allow the machine to “air out”
- Replace the filter (Go through the manufacturer instruction for doing it)
- Wipe down the coffee maker’s outer part and clean the surface it sits on to stop dust from settling inside.
Time to shine your glass pour-over
Cleaning a glass pour-over coffee maker seems a bit difficult as you cannot fit your hand inside it. Follow this method and make your coffee pot glazing. This method of cleaning can be done after every use. However, if you rinse well between services, doing it twice a month would be enough.
Starting at room temperature, fill the bottom part of your pour-over coffee maker with a handful of ice cubes or a cup of crushed ice. If the machine is small in size, a bit less ice will be enough.
Add these things – 4 tbsp of table salt, 1 tbsp of water, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice (optional) and make a slightly vigorous swirl with the mixture. As a result, the salty ice will do the job of cleaning dried-on coffee sludge, while the water doesn’t allow it to be abrasive enough to roughen the glass. After the cleaning is done, you can see it if the glass isn’t too frosty.
Pour the ice, salt, and water down the drain and cleanse the coffee machine with cold water. Don’t use hot water; it can break the cold glass.
If there is still any debris left (most unlikely), repeat this process. Another option is to apply the Chemex brush or any other long-handled brush and dish soap to rub your pour-over coffee machine.
Here Goes the Cleaning Method of Aeropress
Lower acidity and rapid brewing have increased the popularity of the Aeropress. Rinse your Aeropress after each use and take special care of the rubber gasket on the plunger. These are the key issues here. The remaining cleaning procedure is simple and easy. It goes like this:
After using it every time, unscrew the cap and press the Aeropress. Continue pressing until the filter and condensed grounds pop out.
Rinse out the machine, take special care while rinsing, and remove the rubber seal around the plunger.
In case any debris still remains on the Aeropress, scrub the inside softly with a brush and dish soap. A piece of additional information: the Aeropress is top shelf dishwasher safe too.
The structure of cold brewers frequently varies from each other. You may have the multi-cup makers including a tap for dispensing straight from the fridge, or the single-cup makers having a core infusion filter.
For dedicated instructions, check the manufacturer’s manual of your specific cold brewer before proceeding forward to know how to clean a coffee machine. Please note that cleaning the cold brewer after using it every time will assist in preventing mildew growth.
According to the manual, dismantle the machine. The dismantling process should be easy as most cold brew coffee makers are built with a pitcher with a filter basket filled with coffee grounds, which expands down into the water.
Wash both inside & outside of the pitcher with dish soap and a sponge. Then make it dry.
Always wash the filter between uses. If you notice any debris clogging the filter, clean it with a brush and dish soap and thoroughly flush it with hot water. Don’t forget to dry all parts before putting them back together.
Brewing coffee in a percolator is environment friendly and doesn’t require high maintenance. Just a quick hand washing after each use will keep your percolator well and good. However, tough stains can be seen inside the percolator eventually. To avoid this, do a deep cleanse monthly or less (if the problem is not that big).
Fill the percolator with water, then add 3 tbsp of baking soda. Turn on your percolator and run through a cycle.
Let the water become cool, then rub inside the coffee machine with a brush. Throw out the water and rinse well.
Fill the machine with half water and half white vinegar, perk through, and then throw out the water. Finally, run the third cycle of freshwater to rinse any remaining debris.
Don’t Leave the Accessories!
Although we may easily overlook it, the coffee maker isn’t the only thing responsible for affecting the brew’s taste. Make sure to clean all your accessories (for example, the grinder) after each use.
Wash them with hot water and make them dry with a towel. If the hot water isn’t good enough to get rid of all the coffee residue, give a quick wipe by using a damp cloth. Cleaning both the machine and accessories will ensure the perfect taste of your brew.
Why You Should Not Use a Dishwasher to Clean a Brewing Equipment
Well, it may be an option to clean the glass and dishwasher-safe plastic swell; however, this allows those parts vulnerable to breakage and warping. Even BPA (Bisphenol A) free plastics may leak potentially dangerous chemicals if exposed to the dishwasher’s heat.
Besides, replacing the broken parts would be hard and expensive, whether it’s Chemex glass or the filter basket for your favorite coffee maker. Stick to hand-washing to keep your brewing equipment well and good.
Keeping your coffee machine is not something you can neglect. Do the regular and periodic cleaning properly, and you will taste the difference in your brew. Check the manufacturer’s manual if you get stuck during disassembling or any stage of cleaning. Keep this piece on how to clean a coffee machine as a guidebook.