How To Backflush Your Coffee Machine

18 March 2021
Category: Tips

There’s nothing worse than odd tasting coffee, and that’s exactly what buildup on your espresso machine does to great tasting coffee!!

In this post we share our Steps To Backflush Your Coffee Machine, continue reading below:

Step 1: Place half a teaspoon of espresso machine cleaning powder into blind filter and place into portafilter handle ready for backflushing.

Zentvelds espresso machine cleaner - locked in ready for backflushing

Zentvelds espresso machine cleaner – locked in ready for backflushing

Close up backflushing ready with Zentveld’s or Cafetto EVO cleaner powder.

Step 2: Slot portafilter handle up in machine as usual. Hold on to handle once in place.

Step 3: Free pour some water through – for 3-5 secs. Then stop. The water can’t come out down through the shower head (as it is blocked by your blank filter)… so it will go back through the waterline. Hence the term “ backflush”.

Step 4: Wait 3-5 seconds for this backflushing cleaning action. You will hear or see a bit of water ’spit’ at the bottom, as it is released into the drip tray.

You might notice the water released into the drip tray is bubbly like detergent and becomes brownish as coffee oils are released with the cleaning action. It’s working!

* Meanwhile you can soak another handle and basket in a jug or container with half a teaspoon of powder too. Even just half an hour soaking will remove built-up coffee oils.

Evo & Zentvelds branded espresso machine cleaner – soaking baskets

1. Remove old coffee oils that build up below the basket and in the portafilter handle base.

The coffee oils will go rancid and affect your next espresso pour. Don’t let bad taste build-up affect your next cup!

2. Remove old coffee oils that build ‘up there’ behind the group head shower screen.

Up behind the shower screen the coffee oils start to build up and clog the holes in the shower screen. Take a look! Pour some water through and see if some shower holes are clogged and water not coming out evenly across the screen. The oils will also build up ‘back there’ along the water line.

So soak your baskets and portafilter handle – the stainless steel part – not the grip handle – and shower head screen to remove any built-up coffee oils. Just half a teaspoon in a cup of water will do. Rinse well afterwards.

3. Backflush your espresso machine with half a teaspoon of espresso cleaner.

So little to use and in so little time!

It all takes about 2-3 minutes. It makes such a difference to lasting good tasting espresso – free of taints. 

Do you want your freshly poured espresso to be tainted by the remains of old coffee? I didn’t think so.

Old coffee oils build up behind the shower head and along the waterline.

Backflushing with just water – won’t remove the coffee oils. They are vicious and stick to the stainless steel pipes and clog the shower head holes.

Backflushing with half a teaspoon of dedicated espresso cleaner will break down those oils easily. Just 3-5 repeated shots of water through, with the black filter in place .. with a few seconds in between will do it.

Then just backflush with fresh water 3-4 times afterwards with the blank filter still in place. To rinse.

Pour a few seconds of water out of the shower head to further flush out the line of any remaining ’soapy’ water.

Finally, rinse the blind/blank filter and remove to dry ready for another day’s use.

*If you are a cafe or are super dedicated to cleaning : do this daily.

If you only make a handful of coffees a day in your home machine – then backflush with water daily,  and with espresso cleaner at least on the weekends after you have made a few!

Keep your machine in tip-top shape and help it last without the need of (unnecessary) servicing – by using espresso cleaner like a pro!

3. Use espresso cleaner to soak any stainless steel items or surfaces to bring them back to sparkling like new.

Cutlery, tools, can be soaked in a stainless steel sink with half a teaspoon of cleaner. Your sink then gets a good clean too! After half an hour or overnight – whatever you like ..

Comes up sparkling and just needs a good rinse as usual.

Note : don’t soak espresso machine handles or plastics or resins.. softer materials in espresso machine cleaner. It is too alkaline and can affect the surfaces.

Use it just to clean the stainless steel parts and remove built-up coffee oils. That is what espresso machine cleaner is designed for.

* Safety data, cautions and first aid advice are written on the containers. 100g Zentvelds, 500g or 1kg Cafetto Evo espresso machine cleaner.

Evo Espresso Machine Cleaner