Coffee Machine Descaling: Why is it Important?
What is descaling, and how and how often should you do it? In this guide, we will help you understand what descaling is and how you can do it to maintain the best quality of your coffee machine.
Your coffee machine may look very clean and shiny on the outside, but it can be pretty icky on the inside. While using your coffee machine, some residue can stick to the parts of your appliance, which can be hard to remove. These residues build up over time and create a bigger mess, which you don’t want to deal with the next time you use your coffee machine. Although it’s easy to clean some removable parts like the carafe and basket, another effective solution to remove these nasty things in hard-to-reach areas is descaling.
What is Coffee Machine Descaling?
A coffee machine goes through multiple processes to brew delicious coffee cups daily. Regular maintenance is needed to make sure that these hard-working coffee machines stay in their best shape. This includes regular cleaning after use, yearly professional maintenance services, and coffee machine descaling.
Hard water has a higher mineral content compared to soft water. These minerals can accumulate in the components of your coffee maker, clogging some passageways. These buildups can also impact the taste of your coffee. Unfortunately, cleaning or rinsing the coffee maker with hot water will not remove mineral buildups and residues.
Here enters the process of descaling.
The purpose of descaling is to remove dirt and mineral residues inside the coffee machine’s components that are difficult to access. A coffee machine descaler is an acid that does a great job of addressing the problem. Sounds overwhelming? Fortunately, descaling a coffee machine is very simple.
How to Determine if It’s Time to Descale?
Many coffee machines have light indicators, bells, or whistles that turn on when it’s time to descale. For older models without these features, the best way to identify if it’s time to descale is when you notice white and chalky residues when making your coffee. Gurgling sounds when brewing or a noticeable failure to reach the right temperature may also indicate that your best-loved coffee maker is in need of descaling. You may also be able to determine this once your coffee begins to taste different.
How Often Should You Descale Your Coffee Machine?
Coffee machines with bells and whistles automatically alert the user once a coffee maker is already due for descaling. Others also perform descaling every two months or at least six times a year, especially when using hard water. To be sure, you can check your coffee machine manual or read the care instructions for your specific model online.
The frequency of descaling also depends on your frequency of use. If you use your coffee maker more often, you may also need to descale your coffee machine frequently. If used less often, descaling every three months will work.
How Do You Descale Your Coffee Machine?
You don't have to worry if this is your first time descaling your coffee machine because doing it is relatively easy. Follow these general steps for a successful descaling process:
- Make sure that your coffee machine is unplugged.
- Empty and clean the carafe.
- Create your own descaler solution by mixing water with the descaler. You may also use equal parts of white vinegar and water. Consult the coffee machine manual to determine the right amount of descaler needed to clean the machine.
- If you have a high-end coffee machine, you may use its descaling feature to do the process automatically. If your appliance doesn’t have this feature, you may follow the next steps for manual descaling.
- Run the descaler solution into the coffee machine.
- If it is your first time descaling your coffee machine in ages, turn off the machine mid-brew cycle (note: do not add coffee beans) and let it sit for thirty minutes to an hour. If you descale your coffee machine regularly, you can run the brew cycle without the rest period.
- Remove the descaler solution and thoroughly rinse your coffee machine. Make sure to remove all descaler residue.
- Once rinsed, run a water cycle twice, letting the water cool down between each cycle, to remove leftover residues and prevent the solution from possibly affecting the taste of your first brew.
- Clean your coffee machine to enjoy a more flavorful brew!
What Can Be Used as a Descaler?
White vinegar is natural and easy to find, which makes it a great solution for descaling a coffee machine. However, it’s important to make sure that your coffee maker brand recommends a vinegar descaling solution.
Citric acid works well as a descaling agent. Simply mix one teaspoon of citric acid into a cup of water and run it into the coffee machine as instructed above.
If choosing commercial descalers for your coffee machine, we highly recommend opting for all-natural varieties to guarantee that they are non-toxic.
Descaling your coffee machine does not only get rid of hard-to-treat mineral residues in your kitchen appliance, but it also supports the longevity of your coffee machine. Reward yourself with a better brew with your refreshed coffee machine!
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