All coffee machines need to be cleaned from time to time, but not after every use as some people think. Having said that, if you only use your bean to cup maker once a month, you don’t want to have it sat there for weeks on end unused, especially if it’s got a milk frother built in – I think we’ve all found out what happens to milk fairly rapidly if it’s left out in the warm air. For most of us though, our machines will be used daily, and more than likely several times per day – we’re coffee lovers after all!
Fortunately, as you’re visiting us here at BeanToCupCoffeeMachines.net, you’re almost certainly not looking for the cheapest coffee maker you can find, instead looking for a way to make premium coffee from the comfort of your own home. As you’ve probably seen in our reviews section, that doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune, in fact some of our most popular bean to cup coffee machines are in the £200-£400 range, so while that may sound like a lot, it can soon pay for itself compared to buying your daily cup on the high street from the well known chains.
Manufacturers Usually Have You Covered
As these are premium purchases, luxury items if you will, the manufacturers have put a good amount of time into making them easier to clean that cheaper types of coffee machine, meaning that it’s rarely a completely manual process, with some machines actually doing the vast majority of the work for you either automatically or at the touch of a button. It’s rather lucky that hot water is an integral part of the coffee brewing process, as well as a key feature of most types of cleaning, so it makes sense that the process can be built in. Many machines even tell you when they need to be cleaned!
Some machines have special cleaning tablets (often referred to as ‘cleaning tabs’) or descale liquid available, while others simply rely on blasting boiling water or steam around their own innards. Whatever process your machine uses, it’s usually well documented in the instruction book provided in the box when you open it up. Naturally, most of us feel the temptation to cast that pamphlet aside in the excitement to get going and make the first drink, but try to resist and find out what you need to do, as warranties often require the correct maintenance to be followed.
Some manufacturers refer to cleaning as descaling too – this may be the same or an additional process depending on the machine you have, again – your instruction manual will give you the answer for your machines.
Finally, check out your chosen machines support pages online – here’s an example of the one for our top recommended machine at the time of writing (July 2016), the Delonghi ESAM4200:
Hopefully that’s a great demonstration of just how easy the process can be to descale the Magnifica.
Bean To Cup Coffee Machine Cleaning FAQ
In our reviews, you’ll often find that we’ve referred to the cleaning schedules, often in the ‘What The Customers Say’ section. That should give you the all important information before you buy. The parts most people are interested in fall into three categories:
- How hard is the machine to clean?
None of us like cleaning (well maybe a few people do, but they’re very much in the minority!), so it’s important to be confident that you’re not going to stop using the machine you’ve spent hundred of pounds on simply because you dread the chore afterwards. The good news is we’re yet to come across anything too taxing (at the risk of tempting fate), so most machines should be nothing more than a minor irritation to sort out.
- How long does it take to clean?
For machines with a one touch cleaning cycle (see our reviews to see which they are), you can typically expect a cleaning cycle to last up to fifteen minutes. In most cases, these are used most of the time, and some machines will need a little manual effort every so often, such as cleaning a filter or emptying out the resulting build up of all of those automated cleaning programmes.
- How often does a machine need a clean out?
This varies a lot, and again, we often cover it in the individual machine reviews, given that it’s a question that crops up so frequently. The manufacturers will give guidelines, and let’s be honest, most of use will miss those schedules from time to time and never see any ill effects, but to keep your machines warranty in good state, you should try to stick to what they recommend. Generally speaking, unless you use the maker very infrequently, the more often you use the machine, the more the machine will build up residue, and the more often it’ll need a clean.
- Cleaning is a good first step when troubleshooting
If your machine isn’t working properly, and there’s no obvious error message to suggest otherwise, running a cleaning cycle is a good place to start if that’s possible. Error messages aren’t always as obvious as words on a display, sometimes it can be a combination of lights flashing in a particular order. If you notice lights flashing or anything else unusual when you have problems, then have a look at the troubleshooting section of the manual.
The Last Word
If you’re thinking about spending a lot of money, you can be forgiven for worrying about buying the right model, and part of that decision will inevitably come down to cleaning your new toy. In reality, it’s probably not going to be a huge deal to perform it, even if you don’t like carrying it out very much. Just like most housework, some days it will seem more of a pain to do than others, so if you can get on top of it, you can just see it as one of those jobs that needs doing from time to time. Do have a good look through our review section – we’re confident though that it shouldn’t be such a big concern that it has a significant impact on choosing the model you think is best for you.