If you own an espresso maker, it is crucial that you understand how to decalcify espresso machines. Decalcifying your espresso machine is an important part of regular maintenance, and if overlooked, can lead to poor tasting espresso and permanent damage to your machine. Read on to learn more about how to decalcify your espresso machine.
Why Decalcification is Important
Over time, the tap water that you use to make your espresso can cause calcium, magnesium, and other minerals to build up on the inside of you machine. These minerals continue to collect as more and more tap water passes through the machine. They can impede water flow and impact the overall taste of your espresso.
However, if you don’t decalcify your espresso machine regularly, this build up can get to the point where it clogs your machine’s pipes. Once this happens, the inside of your machine can start to corrode, thus causing irreversible damage. Some machines have been rendered completely useless due to calcium build up and corrosion. This is why it is always important to decalcify your espresso maker at least every few months.
How Espresso Machine Decalcification Works
Luckily there are several products on the market which have been designed specifically to decalcify your espresso machine. The decalcifying agents often come in liquid form, and are basically poured into the water basin and run through a decalcification cycle. Some espresso makers have a decalcification cycle built in while others just treat the decalcification process as part of the brewing cycle. Either way, instructions are usually provided in your machine’s instruction manual or with your bottle of decalcifying agent.
Vinegar and Citric Acid as Decalcification Agents
There has been some misinformation spread in recent years about using vinegar or citric acid to decalcify your espresso machine. While they both have decalcifying properties they can cause other problems with your machine. In particular, vinegar has a strong smell which can be absorbed into your machine’s plastic, thus creating an objectionable taste in your espresso. It can take weeks to get the smell of vinegar out of your machine. Citric Acid on the other hand can form a residue that clogs the pipes and valves of your machine, sealing in lime deposits further.
Therefore, it is important to properly decalcify your machine by using a decalcifying agent that was designed specifically for espresso makers. It does not make sense to permanently damage your expensive espresso maker simply because it is cheaper and easier to use common households ingredients. Most espresso machine decalcifiers are between $10-15 and are available online.