Articles From Whole Latte Love

How to Decalcify Your Espresso Machine.

Posted: 04/14/06
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How to Descale your:
1. Super Automatic w/ auto descale feature
2. Super Automatic w/out auto desacale
3. Semi-Automatic machine

What is Decalcifying?

Decalcifying is a requirement, not an option, for those who want to keep their coffee machine running efficiently for a long time. Also called descaling, this procedure must be done on a regular basis to remove the calcium and mineral build up that occurs in your machine’s boiler and its interconnecting tubing. If this build up is not removed, the taste of your coffee and your machine’s ability to brew and froth milk may be effected because the water lines and valves may be clogged, restricting the water flow necessary for proper operation. Although most espresso machines can be decalcified, machines with commercial/heat exchanger style boilers should not be decalcified.

Machines by the following brands should be backflushed instead of decalcified: ECM, Expobar, La Valentina, Reneka & Pasquini


Super Automatic Machines Gaggia Compact Descaling
Although all super automatic espresso machines should be decalcified, the way that you perform this operation differs from machine to machine.

Decalcifying Super Automatic Machines (with an automatic decalcification system)

Many models require manual descaling similar to semi automatics, but others have automatic descaling cycles built right in that walk you through the process step-by-step. If your machine has an automatic descaling cycle, we recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

If your super auto requires manual descaling, don’t worry - it’s a pretty simple process. When you’re ready to get cleaning, just follow the steps we’ve provided below.


Decalcifying Super Automatic Machines (without an automatic decalcification system)

To determine which decalcifying cleaner is recommended for your machine consult your user’s manual or the maintenance instructions on our website. Decalcify your machine about every 3 months, depending on the water hardness, according to the directions below. The process will take 15 to 20 minutes.

Tools Required:
· Decalcifying cleaner
· A container large enough to hold the same quantity of liquid as your water reservoir

1) Remove the machine’s water reservoir.
2) Empty all liquid from the reservoir.
3) Fill the reservoir with warm water.
4) Add one packet of the recommended cleaner to the full reservoir and stir until the cleaner is dissolved.
5) Return the water reservoir to the machine.
6) Turn the machine on.
7) Set the large container underneath the steam wand.
8) Set up your machine so that hot water -NOT steam-will be emitted from the steam wand when the steam valve is opened.
9) Open the steam valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
10) After all of the decalcifying solution has drained into the large container (within a few minutes this will occur), remove it and discard the liquid that has been collected.
11) Rinse the water reservoir thoroughly and then fill it with the type of water you usually use for brewing.
12) Return the water reservoir to its normal position.
13) Using only water repeat steps 7 through 9 until the water reservoir is empty again.

The process is now complete and your machine is ready once again to brew a perfect cup of coffee. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact us directly at 888-411-5282.


Semi-automatic Machines

Decalcification, or descaling, must be performed manually on all semi-automatic machines. You will need to consider the hardness of your water when determining when to decalcify. As a general rule you will need to decalcify every 3 months.


Decalcifying Semi-Automatic Machines (single boiler, not heat exchange machines)

To determine which decalcifying cleaner is recommended for your machine consult your user’s manual or the maintenance instructions on our website. Decalcify your machine about every two to four months, depending on the water hardness, according to the directions below. The process will take 15 to 20 minutes.

Tools Required:
· Decalcifying cleaner
· One container that will hold the same amount of liquid as your water reservoir
· Another small container

Rancilio Silvia Descaling 1) Remove the machine’s water reservoir.
2) Empty all liquid from the reservoir.
3) Fill the reservoir with warm water.
4) Add one packet of the recommended cleaner to the full reservoir and stir until the cleaner is dissolved.
5) Return the water reservoir to the machine.
6) Turn the machine on.
7) Set the large container underneath the steam wand to collect the decalcifying solution.
8) Set another small container underneath the brew spout to collect more of the decalcifying solution.
9) Set up your machine so that hot water -NOT steam- will be emitted from the steam wand when the steam valve is opened.
10) To start the decalcifying process, press the "brew" button.
11) While pressing the "brew" button, open the steam valve according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
12) Allow about 8oz of water to be dispensed from the machine.
13) Turn off the brew button.
14) Close the steam valve.
15) Allow the machine to sit for the amount of time specified on the cleaner packaging.
16) Repeat steps 10 - 15 until all of the decalcifying solution has drained into the containers.
17) Remove the containers and discard the liquid that has been collected.
18) Rinse the water reservoir thoroughly and then fill it with the type of water you usually use for brewing.
19) Place the water reservoir back in its normal position.
20) Rinse out the decalcifying solution by repeating steps 7 through 11 until the water reservoir is empty again.

The Decalcifying process is now complete and your machine is ready once again to brew a great cup of coffee. If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please contact us directly at 888-411-5282.