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For those of us who really need that first cup of coffee to get our brains going in the morning, a reliable home coffee maker is a non-negotiable piece of kitchen equipment. If you find yourself using your coffee maker regularly, you may be wondering how often you should clean this machine to keep it in good working order. We spoke to a group of professional cleaners and expert baristas to find out exactly when to clean the most popular coffee makers and what exactly those cleaning processes should entail.
The Keurig’s massive popularity is due to its ease of use, but since it’s a more sophisticated machine than some other coffee makers on the market, users sometimes wonder when it needs a serious deep cleaning. It is important for Keurig machines. clean the exterior regularly,” says Juliana Rocha, owner of Amazing Maids. A soft, damp cloth can be used to wipe up any drips of coffee that drip from the outside of the Keurig. As for cleaning the interior, just make sure to throw away the cases (or wash the reusable cases) after using them and rinse the water chamber thoroughly. Otherwise, make sure you ‘deep clean [and descale] Internal components (eg water reservoir and beer chamber) once a month. This will help prevent the build-up of bacteria and other contaminants,” adds Rocha. See your Keurig owner’s manual for detailed desalination and cleaning instructions for your specific model.
Drip coffee maker
While some home coffee drinkers (or office java jews) don’t see the point in cleaning a regular drip coffee maker (besides throwing away the filter and grounds at the end of the brew cycle), Angela Lee, cleaning expert at Hellamaid. Canada in Ontario assures us that periodic cleaning is a necessary step. “Over time, mineral deposits from water and coffee oils can build up in the machine, affecting the taste of the coffee and the performance of the machine. If these deposits are not cleaned regularly, they can also clog the machine, causing it to malfunction or stop working altogether.” Lee says that “how often you brew your drip coffee depends on how often you use it. If you use it every day, it is better to clean it once a month. However, if you use it less often, you can clean it every two to three months.”
Like Keurigs, Nespresso machines can be kept hygienic and in good working order with minimal daily cleaning, just rinse the water chamber, discard the pods and wipe away any drips/residue with a damp cloth. “To keep your machine in pristine condition, it’s recommended that you clean it every two to three months,” says April Jamieson, barista and founder of Brew That Coffee. Descaling is the process of removing calcium deposits from a car, so Jamieson urges you to “consider the hardness of your tap water.” The harder your water is, the more often you need to clean the dirt. Each Nespresso model has light cleaning instructions, but we have a solid overview here.
Manual coffee makers
Digital coffee makers like Keurig and Nespresso are all the rage these days, but many people still prefer to use manual (or gravity-fed) coffee machines. We’ve broken down the cleaning expectations of the most used manual coffee makers on the market.
The French press has a passionate following due to its ability to produce rich, intense coffee combined with a metal and mesh plunger. For that solid taste experience, Paulo Filho, owner of Celestial Cleaning Service, tells us that French press users should be prepared to clean their equipment after every brew. “It is very important to clean your French press after each use to prevent the build-up of oils that coffee causes. [to become] bitter and unpleasant,” says Filho.
How to clean? Remove the soil, disconnect the plunger, then use warm water and mild dish soap to clean each piece of the plunger along with the carafe.
Pouring coffee is a favorite option of professional baristas. it’s not as fast or efficient as a Keurig or even a drip coffee maker, but the coffee from this process has a much more complex flavor profile. Coffee makers come in many forms, from the aesthetically pleasing Chemex to more utilitarian visions like the Hario V60 or the Kalita Wave Dripper.
If you’re using a drop-in model that comes with a carafe or pot, “I recommend cleaning the carafe and pot after each use,” says Chi Ip, owner of Tidy Here Cleaning Service in Boston, Massachusetts. This cleaning can be done with warm water, mild dish soap and a soft sponge or cloth. Most refills require paper or reusable filters, and Ip recommends changing your filters after each use if you have disposable filters. For reusable filters, depending on how often you use your coffee machine, I recommend changing it every month or two. For metal filters, be sure to clean [with soap and water] weekly.” According to Ip, these cleaning processes “must be done to avoid coffee oils and mineral build-up that can alter the taste of your coffee. [It’s] also to prevent disruption of the water flow, which results in slow brewing, resulting in either a bitter cup of coffee or a lower quality one.”
A simple, travel-friendly piston model, the Aeropress coffee maker is a hit with coffee lovers. Another favorable feature of the Aeropress is the fact that it’s “easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance,” explains cleaning expert and founder of Modern Maids, Justin Carpenter.
How to clean? Remove the filter (or rinse and reuse it) and “rinse the plunger with hot water after each use,” says Carpenter.
A moka pot is a metal pot that brews coffee or espresso using compressed steam on the stove. While the moka pot can be cleaned with mild dish soap and hot water, it serves as an example of a coffee maker that, according to legend, should never encounter a cleaning solution. Anne Ruozzi, co-founder of Therapy Clean, explains don’t clean your moka pot the theory is similar. “I remember a time when I was staying at my aunt’s house in Reggio Emilia [in] Northern Italy, and while helping with the dishes, I washed her mocha pot. The top container in which the coffee is brewed was dark with coffee stains. I proudly showed him how sparkling clean I had left the pot for him, just to find out [that I had] just upset the whole family. I didn’t know he spent years making coffee on the wall inside his car. [According to her,] the darker the better. After each use, he simply rinsed with water and left the container open to dry. [which would] prevent the growth of bacteria. Do not remove the oily film of coffee with soap or hands. that membrane adds richness to the coffee’s flavor. Who knew!”
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