This Little Thing Most Baristas Are Missing

…And making your coffee taste awful.

So you enter your neighbourhood cafe. The barista, beaming with joy, welcomes you with his ear-to-ear smile. While you are eyeing on the menu, he eagerly explains various delicacies of coffee you’d be tempted to try. You got sweet tongue, so you opt for natural-processed coffee. This time, you want to have a cup of espresso.

Tough bet, you say to yourself. It is such a fine art to master.

But surely, from the way the barista professionally greets you, he knows what he is doing?

Besides, there is this trophy of local competition sitting neatly on the shelf near the cashier. At the very least, he knows all about over-extraction and I’m safe from bitter coffee…. right?

RIGHT?

Alas, when you first sip… you sighed.
And whisper to yourself, not my lucky day.

What could have gone wrong?

You made sure to check the roasting date before. Not a week has passed, the beans are smoking fresh as hell.

Truly, what did go wrong?

Behold, for this thing is easily overlooked by both us and the barista of our neighbourhood café.

Hidden Foul of Coffee Machine

Yes, even the world-champion espresso recipes wouldn’t get pass through the sinister touch ofdirty coffee machine.

As if finding recipes for espresso is not a lot of work already!

Truth is… Oils from coffee do build up, make the inner part of portafilter & coffee machine pipes get real ugly fast after 20-30 shots of espresso. Really, really ugly.

And you wonder why, more often than not, espresso taste bitter?

Little did we know, this foulness can be cured by real simple routine of deep-cleaning your espresso machine.

Deep-Cleaning Your Machine

What you’ll need:

  • 1 scoop measuring spoon of Cafetto EVO Espresso Cleaner
  • 1 portafilter with blind filter
  • 1 empty espresso cup

What you’ll do:

  1. Cleaning up the portafilter
  2. Change your portafilter basket into blind filter
  3. Insert cleansing up detergent in your portafilter
  4. Backflush with detergent with 10-10-10 rules
  5. Backflush with clean water with 10-10-5 rules
  6. Finish & calibrate with a cup of espresso

Wait, what does 10-10-10 rules mean?
Worry not, this is just a cheatsheet for your future routine. For you who is about to try this first time, here’s the complete walkthrough.

Step-By-Step Guide

1) Clean parts of screen & portafilter, first thing first

Backflushing basically aims to clean the inner pipes of your machine. But then, what’s the point of cleaning up the inner parts if we don’t clean up dirt on the ‘entry point’ first? Here’s the key to prevent any coffee residue got carried into inner part of the machines: brush your portafilter & machine screen first. Not that difficult once you know what to look at: dissemble parts of your portafilter & screen, and brush them with scrubber.

Voila, you just get rid most of the residue that affects the taste of your coffee!

Yet, it doesn’t stop here…

2) Change your portafilter basket into blind filter

It comes with no holes, in contrary to your usual filter basket. But what’s the use of it?

3) Insert cleansing up detergent in your portafilter
-> 1 scoop of measuring spoon

Exactly, for this. Of course, not just any detergent. There are cleaning powders crafted especially for this purpose. As for World Barista Championship standard, Cafetto EVO Espresso Cleaner stands forward as machine cleaners for champions.

Good news is, we do have it here.

4) Backflush repeatedly
-> 10 seconds backflush, 10 seconds resting, repeat 5-10 times.

Not necessarily involving special buttons, really. Just press the red button as if you’re going to make espresso for 10 seconds, then stop and let it linger for 10 seconds. Invisible to our eyes, after the extraction apparently coffee machine does suck back some liquid into the pipe. Well, that is what gets it dirty in the first place!

You’ll want to do this at least 5 times, up to 10 times.

As you dump the dirty water, you will see just how graciously it turns from clear white into dark brown.

5) Backflush with clean water, repeatedly
-> 10 seconds backflush, 10 seconds resting, repeat 5 times.

Now, onto the exit act! It’s time to get rid of those residue from the cleaning powder, by simply doing the same backflush technique with nothing but clear water. Do it for 10 seconds and pause for 5 seconds as well for each round.

You can do this repeatedly until you see the water’s totally clear. But 5 times should’ve done it well.

6) Finish & calibrate with a cup of espresso

Lastly, to ensure that there is no ‘funny’ taste getting into your espresso, make one dummy cup in order to ‘calibrate’ the taste. Throw the dummy espresso right after, and you’re good to go with your newly cleaned machine!

Now, now, you may wonder: will the taste difference really be that significant? Well, well, we do dare you to try it for yourself. You’ll be surprised at how much the taste complains or dissatisfactions you repeatedly find in your café would be cut down to half… at the very least.

If this routine seemed too much of a hassle to be packed in the middle of a busy shift, worry not. You can just backflush with hotwater after a large quantity of coffee has been made and when the bar is quiet. But for the deep cleaning, it is highly recommendable that you do it on every end-of-day.

If you don’t own an espresso machine at home and greatly relies on your neighbourhood coffeeshop for your dose of caffeine, slip this conversation with your barista.

Why stop if you could be the one inspiring the change?