The best thing about owning an espresso machine for a caffeine-lover is always the next cup.
Horrible start to work? Get a cup of coffee.
Tiring week ahead on a Monday morning? Get a cup of coffee.
Need the motivation to meet your deadline on a tedious project? Get a cup of coffee!
If you love coffee and love drinking it without the tiniest bit of effort, you’ll value that special coffee-making equipment at the cafeteria at work or home.
But do you ever wonder how many times a day it is touched by your colleagues at work and your family at home? You can probably guess. And here’s the thing that makes that part of you that loves effortlessly made coffee worry; it requires a thorough cleaning, descaling, and that too regularly!
The longer the espresso machine lingers out in the moisture, more mold, yeast, and all sorts of bacteria gather for their own tea party. But incorporating a daily, weekly, and monthly habit of maintaining your precious Pixie will achieve fruitful results and relentless cups of coffee!
According to Chuck Gerba, professor of microbiology at the University of Arizona, there’s more bacteria in a break room than in an office building restroom. He says the top of the machine where the coffee pods are placed accumulate most germs.
“When you use the machine, it could get in your coffee,” he said.
According to Morgan Eckroth, a Portland, Oregon-based barista, it is imperative to air dry your equipment after each wash. She said, “I’ve definitely had rust buildup happen when I forgot about them and did not dry them off.”
You Just Took a Shot, Now What?
One of the most pleasant aspects of owning an espresso machine is the jolt of lightning their shots provide. Sometimes, after a hectic session of mowing the lawn on a Sunday morning, you want to decompress and perhaps indulge in your espresso shot. That’s great, but right after you finish the shot, don’t be tempted to avoid this crucial step.
This part involves necessary work ensuring your espresso maker is running smooth and is ready to squirt out the next exhilarating shot for you to indulge. However, avoiding this task will result in previously roasted grounds leaving a rusty flavor in the moment of truth.
- First, discard the leftover of the shot you just had. Leaving the residues in the machine for too long will result in deposits like oils and grounds settling in the filter basket.
- Wash the portafilter thoroughly for a couple of seconds to clean the former and the filter screen with it.
- Use a damp cloth to rub the portafilter dry.
- Make sure no leftover milk lingers around; wipe away any leftover milk with a damp cloth as remnants will dry and deposit onto the body quickly.
The result of an indulgent espresso shot should always be:
- a clean portafilter.
- a clean filter screen.
- a clean steam wand.
- a clean pitcher.
It Has Been Two Months of Espressos, Now What?
How often should you descale your espresso machine, you ask? Experts suggest descaling your coffee makers and espresso machines every two to three months and incorporating this habit into a routine.
It has been said that the longer you keep your espresso machines unattended in moisture, the more germs build up. Moreover, you will notice the performance of your machine and the taste of the coffee deteriorate over time; that’s a good sign to begin descaling.
What do experts say about the frequency of descaling your espresso machine?
“Generally, descaling is recommended every one to two months.” – Portland, Oregon-based barista, Morgan Eckroth.
We bring you some of the best descaling agents to use for long and sustainable results:
How to Descale Your Nespresso Machine
Method 1: Descalers
- Turn your Pixie on to heat things up.
- Check for capsules inside the equipment, remove if found.
- Take out the capsule container.
- Empty the drip tray.
- Put a mug or cup under the dispenser to collect the disposal.
The Real Deal: Part 1
- Fill the water tank with half a liter of freshwater.
- Mix in the descaler.
- You’ll notice two buttons on the roof of the machine stop flashing after a while.
- Press both the buttons right away for three seconds to begin.
- Use the LUNGO button to begin descaling.
- Let the reservoir drain out all the water into the cup you placed under the dispenser.
- Discard the used water and repeat the process again.
The Real Deal: Part 2
- Once the last round ends, empty the reservoir and give it a thorough wash to discard any remnants of the descaler.
- Run the last cycle with clean water only and let it drain out completely.
- Discard the disposal.
- Once again, press the same two buttons for three seconds to finish the descaling process.
Method 2: Citric Acid
- Heat the espresso machine.
- Empty the capsule container and remove it.
- Drain the drip tray.
- Place cup onto the tray.
- Begin DESCALE MODE by pressing the two flashing buttons for three seconds.
The Real Deal:
- Fill the reservoir with ¾ parts of water.
- Fill the rest with citric acid.
- Press any one of the two buttons to begin descaling.
- Notice when the water stops draining through the dispenser, that indicates the process is complete.
- Descale in the same method once again.
- Dispose of the water and thoroughly clean all parts.
- Reassemble the equipment and run two RINSE cycles with clean water.
- Press the two descaling buttons for three seconds until it beeps to end DESCALE MODE.
Method 3: Lemon Juice
- Allow Pixie to power up.
- The capsule tank should be empty and unassembled.
- Check if the drip tray is empty and put a container on it.
- Press the top two buttons for three seconds to start.
The Real Deal:
- Fill the tank with equal parts clean water and lemon juice.
- Use either packaged lemon juice or squeeze some lime yourself.
- When the lights stop flashing, use the LUNGO button to start.
- Let all the solution drain out onto the container from the water tank.
- Repeat process.
- Dispose of residues and rinse each piece of equipment.
- Run two CLEANING cycles with clean water this time to get rid of the lemon taste.
- Press the LUNGO button to deactivate DESCALE MODE.
Can I use White Vinegar to descale my Nespresso Pixie?
Yes, you absolutely can do that! Just follow the same method above but run five RINSE cycles with clean water to ensure the stubborn smell and taste of vinegar is gone after.
Because Your Pixie Comes With a Valve
A valve system demands that you backflush the whole thing. Many deposits like coffee oils, grounds, minerals, etc., settle in at the back of the valve, intricate places where a normal descaling won’t do the job. But a backflush will, and here’s how:
- Remove the portafilter basket and exchange it with a screen.
- Insert the portafilter back into the group head and let the water flow for ten seconds.
- Pause for five seconds.
- Do this cycle three times.
- Let the water run again and shake the filter to dispose of the deposits from the seal.
You will notice the fruits of your labor in the form of grease formulated in the portafilter water, and that indicates you’ve done it!
Some of the best Descalers for your Nespresso Pixie:
1. K&J Descaling Solution
If your espresso machine has been producing below-par coffee shots and espresso, the K&J Descaling Solution is just the medicine it needs. You will realize a substantive upturn in performance after using this product.
- It is odorless, so no worries about extra rinse cycles.
- Value for money – buy two bottles, and you’re set for four subsequent descaling sessions.
- Top-of-the-line customer service cooperative before and after purchase.
- Efficient and easy to use at a reasonable price.
2. Durgol Swiss Espresso Descaler
This descaler is perhaps one of the best out there and comes highly recommended by experts all around. It is very efficient and performs proactively without damaging equipment and keeping things in mint condition.
- An effective cleaner that doesn’t damage rubber or metal parts.
- Relatively cheaper than other descalers.
- Best for single-serve coffee machines like Nespresso.
- Safe and comfortable to use.
- Highly competent at breaking down calcium, limescale, coffee oil, etc, deposits.
- Reaches even the most complex internal sections of your machine.
- A smart formula that works across all grounds.
3. Dezcal Descaler
The renowned descaler brand amongst restaurants, cafes, and coffee experts, Dezcal is one of the best in the business. It works by destroying mineral buildup while keeping your equipment safe and improving performance each time.
- Approved by restaurant and cafe owners.
- The 31.07-ounce container can serve you for 16 descaling sessions.
- It comes in bottled and sachet versions.
- Not recommended for use with aluminum.
- You can still use the powder with aluminum parts; just dilute the solution with more water.
- Bang for your buck.
Whether you own an espresso machine or a coffee maker, you understand how valuable it ultimately is to have your necessities ready for you so that you can get on with the more essential things.
Machines were invented so we could do our jobs with greater ease and comfort. However, not taking care of them and taking their marvels for granted ends up costing us more time and making our jobs ten times more challenging. This comprehensive guideline is meant to tell you exactly that.
Incorporating these necessary bits into your daily life will keep your espresso machine performing through the years without a blip.