Keep them clean - to get the best out of them!
As a coffee shop, we know that a clean espresso machine always pulls the best shot and that looking after our machines gives them a better lifespan. It's no different with your at home Sage Machine.
As your machine likely isn't making 1000 coffees, you won't need to clean yours as often. However, we do recommend that to stay on top of things and always give your machine a wipe down and empty the drip tray after each use. The below article will give you some tips on how to clean as you go!
Cleaning the water drip tray
You’ll notice that an “empty me” sign will pop up from the front of the drip tray when it begins to fill with water. While it may appear that very little water has dripped from the machine as you are using it. The machine is collecting condensation from the condensation pipe at the back of the machine. This happens every time you heat water, either through the coffee filter, the direct water spout or the steam wand.
When the “empty me” sign pops up it’s time for a quick clean of the entire tray. Simply pull it towards you by the cut-out handle at the bottom. You should notice that pulling the front tray will also drag the back-tray out too.
This just shows the attention to detail on these machines and stops you having to put your hand to the back. Which is dangerous if you’ve recently heated water as hot condensation will drop down the back of the machine!
Take the front tray out and pour the water into the sink. You can then take the 3 pieces that make up the front tray apart to give them a quick wipe down.
Although at first you may not notice that it has gotten dirty; over time small amounts of coffee grinds and splashed coffee will splash into the tray, meaning it’s more than just clean water collecting in there.
A top-tip for ensuring that your drip tray doesn’t get dirty real-quick is to keep a folded microfibre on top of it. This helps to stop the coffee splashing into the drip tray as you make it.
Another notorious spot for getting dirty is right under the coffee grinder. Coffee will usually sit in the crevices at the top of the machine after it’s ground. You only have to move the machine a bit to see what I mean; it’s little like crumbs coming out of a toaster.
The microfibre will catch these and you can easily clean them off.
How to clean your portafilter
Take some time to properly clean the portafilter every few weeks. You’ll notice that grime and coffee residue build up around the piece of metal that splits the espresso (the pour-out).
As shown below, you can simply unscrew this to get to the surface behind and clean properly.
How to clean the steam wand (milk frother) from dried on milk
This is a really common question, people will usually make their first few cappuccinos or lattes and run off to enjoy them, forgetting to clean the wand. When they come back they realise they have dried on milk stuck to it.
The easiest way to clean this is to keep it clean as you go. After you’ve finished steaming the milk you should run the steam for about 5 seconds whilst using a microfibre cloth (the same one we keep on the drip tray).
If you find yourself in the above situation and wonder how to easily remove the dried-on milk; all you need to do is point the wand over the hole in the drip tray and activate the steam for about 30 seconds.
Remember that it will take a while for the steam to build up, so start counting the 30 seconds from when the steam starts to come out, not from when you turn the wand on. From there you should be able to easily wipe the milk off with your microfibre cloth as this will soften the dried on milk.
Running the flush-back (“Clean Me”) cycle on the Barista Express
Important note: The “clean me” light will come on when the flush-back cycle is due to be run. This is different to the descaling cycle (which does not have a light indicating its time is due - keep reading to learn about the descaling cycle).
Also note: If you turn your machine off at the wall plug you will need to remember to run the “clean me” cycle as the light indicator will reset meaning it will never illuminate if you always turn it off at the wall - so if you do turn it off at the wall, remember to run the below cycle once a month.
The flush-back cycle will build up pressurised water which in turn will clean the internal workings of the machine. Sage/Breville recommends this happens every 200 cups of coffee, however the light will usually illuminate way before this.
Emma Gleeson, Manager & Head Barista