Tip of the Week: Group Cleaning
April 8th 2020
The nightly cleaning of your espresso machine’s groups is important. The daily cleaning of your groups removes the coffee oil and residue left behind throughout the day. If not cleaned, those lingering elements are baked in; and over time, these deposits build up causing your machine to clog. This residue has a not so pleasant taste and subsequently, your machine will never produce a great tasting, let alone a decent cup of coffee. You should be removing and soaking your screens and diffusers as well. Too much of a hassle? My suggestion would be to purchase a nice brewer and serve a quality cup of coffee. Dirty espresso machines are a great motivation for customers to look elsewhere for a better cup of coffee. If you decide to stay in the espresso business, my tip for you is to clean your groups at the end of the day and all of them at the same time.
I know many manufacturers are now producing machines that offer programming that allows you to clean groups individually but I advise you not to use this option. Surprisingly, I’ve had more than one espresso bar contact me in a panic asking if espresso machine cleaner is toxic. You guessed it! It is not uncommon for a barista to forget that the group was in a cleaning cycle. The faux pas is harmless but embarrassing. Why even bother cleaning a group before closing? If you are hoping to leave early the time you save is negligible and you could end up needing to use the group.
Just because your espresso machine offers a feature that allows you the ability to shut down a group doesn’t mean it is always smart to do so. First of all, it is impossible to know if you will need a group or not. All of those baristas who unwittingly served cleaner to their customers probably thought the same thing until it turned out they actually found themselves needing to use the group. There are a host of reasons you could experience an unexpected rush so why risk it? My tip, be ready to serve your customers at all times, complete your cleaning at closing, and clean every group together.
Tech Nick Lee Ahero
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