Why You Need To Descale Your Coffee Machine August 05 2016

Now that you've bought your very own coffee machine and making some great coffee at home, it's time to turn our attention to how to care for your coffee machine so that coffee keeps tasting great and the machine works well. 

In this article, we'll look at descaling and why it's so important. 

What is Limescale?

Now, before we go into what descaling is and why you should frequently descale your coffee machine, it's important to know what limescale is. Limescale is a hard white substance consisting chiefly of calcium carbonate, deposited by water on the inside of pipes, including those inside your coffee machine.

What problems does Limescale cause?

If cleaning your machine only involves rinsing and wiping the parts, this doesn't prevent limescale from building up over time. This can lead to:

  • Your coffee tasting "funny"
  • Reduced water-flow, even stopping completely
  • Leaking or excessive dripping
  • Machine doesn't heat up properly
  • Strange noises

If you're facing some of the above issues with your machine, it could be an indication of a build-up of limescale in your machine.

Descaling

Descaling usually involves running a citric-acid based liquid through the machine to help dissolve the limescale deposits. Read your coffee machine's instruction manual to get the specifics for your machine but typically, you would add the descaling solution in the machine's water reservoir and select the "descale" option.

The acid dissolving the limescale takes about an hour, involving multiple cycles and should also include an extra run-through of your machine with plain water. You can also take this opportunity to clean the other detachable parts of your coffee machine.

What Descaling Solution Should You Use

We recommend using a using a proper commercial descaling solution designed for use on espresso machines. Personally, we use the De'Longhi Eco Descaler and highly recommend it if your machine allows for using commercial descaling solutions. Some machines might specify that only approved products are to be used. Do read your user manual... we certainly wouldn't want you to void your warranty.  

There are sites that recommend using home remedies like vinegar, we wouldn't recommend using it because of the adverse effects it might have on the pipes of your machine and also because in many cases, it would void the warranty. 

How Often Should You Descale

Most of the newer, fully automatic machines come with a warning sign when it's time to descale. There's no hard and fast rule - it varies depending on your machine usage and also the hardness of your water but a good rule of thumb would be to descale every 3 months.  

Now that you have a sparkling clean machine both on the inside and outside - treat yourself to a cup of coffee. We guarantee that it will taste better!