You invested a lot of time researching the best bean to cup coffee machine for you, and then spent not a small amount of money on the Sage Barista Express.
So you really want it to last as long as possible and keep you in great tasting coffee for many years to come.
One of the easiest ways to ensure longevity for your coffee machine, is to show it a little love from time to time and stick to a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule.
Fear not though, if you stick to my Sage Barista Express Cleaning schedule detailed below, then not only will your Barista Express last a long time, it won’t even feel like a chore to keep it in tip top condition.
But before we get into all that, you really should understand what happens when you don’t stick to a cleaning schedule, this will help you understand the importance.
Why Do You Need To Clean Your Coffee Machine
I know the last thing on your mind when you first dreamt of buying a bean to cup coffee machine was planning out a maintenance and cleaning schedule! It was certainly the last thing I was dreaming of
No I was just imagining the lazy afternoons reading, with a house filled by the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
But it is essential, otherwise within just a few months you may notice the coffee starts to taste a little off, and pretty soon after that you may as well be drinking instant, that’s how bad it could get.
Well when you don’t keep your beloved several things can happen:-
Coffee Grounds Build Up : The reason you chose a bean to cup, is that you fully understand coffee is at its freshness when its just been ground. So letting old grounds build up in the machine, especially the portafilter, will mean you could be using days old grounds in your “fresh coffee”. Not good
Limescale and Mineral Build up : While your Sage has a water filter, you may still over time have a build of limescale and water minerals. This can do real damage to your pipe works and the boiler. But what you may notice is your boiler cannot get up to temperature and your pressure will be lower. This will have a direct impact on your brewing.
Stale Coffee Aroma : I am yet to come across anyone that doesn’t enjoy the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, however the aroma of days old coffee dregs is another matter. You really don’t want to let these build up.
The above information is not exclusive to your Sage espresso machine, but rings true for all espresso machines.
So you now you have an idea of what could go wrong if you don’t keep the Barista Express in tip top condition, its time to see just how easy it is to keep running perfectly for years to come.
Regular Tasks To Keep Your Barista Express Clean
All coffee machines will require 2 different types of cleaning (pretty much like any appliance). You have the bigger tasks, usually the interval for these will be dictated by the instructions provided, or like the barista express the machine will tell you when its time. For a coffee machine this will be flush through and descale.
Then secondly you have your regular schedule, these will most likely need doing after each use or at least weekly. For any Sage Espresso machine the below is required
How To Keep The Portafilter Clean
Some guides will advise cleaning this weekly. For me this is not enough, the portafilter is where your coffee is brewed, if you want the freshest cup then clean it after each use, or at least daily it doesn’t take long.
All it takes is to rinse under a tap of hot water to remove all coffee residue and remaining oils. Sometimes you may find the holes in the filter basket become blocked. You can use the provided cleaning tool to unblock the hole, or just any old pin will do.
If the hole is still blocked then soak the filter basket and portafilter in a solution of hot water and cleaning tablet.
Hop To Keep The Steam Wand Clean
Every time you use the steam wand to texture milk you need to clean it. You simply need to wipe it over with damp cloth to remove any milk residue.
Once you have cleaned the outside of the milk wand, then place it over the drip tray and purge with some hot water / steam. This will remove any left over milk from inside the steam wand.
Just like the portafilter if you find any of the steam holes to be blocked, you can use the pin on the supplied cleaning tool to unblock them. Or you can unscrew the wand and rinse under a tap, or soak in warm water and cleaning solution.
How To Clean To Coffee Bin
Your grounds bin or knock box can actually hold a decent amount of used grounds, but that shouldn’t mean you wait until it’s full before you empty it and give it a clean.
It really doesn’t take too long before this starts to smell and go a little mucky. I would suggest you empty and clean every couple of days. The grounds will make and excellent addition to any compost heap, or just sprinkle directly to flower beds.
Then you just need to rinse the bin under a hot water tap to remove any remains, make sure it thoroughly dry before replacing.
How To Clean The Drip Tray
The drip tray doesn’t necessarily need to be cleaned after each use, particularly if you don’t spill anything in it. Although that doesn’t mean it isn’t slowly filling up.
The drip tray not only collects any drips from the brewing and any spills from you, but it also collects all the condensation from the machine.
If you spill your drink then you will want to clean the drip tray there and then. Otherwise you can wait for the little “empty me” sign to pop up and tell you its time to empty and clean it.
How To Keep The Hopper And The Grinder Clean
You will also from time to time need to clean the both the beans hopper and the burr grinder. This can be as you see fit, but I would advise at least monthly or when you change the brands of bean you use.
Make sure to switch the sage machine off first at the wall, safety first!!
The bean hopper is detachable, so simply remove it and shake out any remaining beans and dust and then clean properly with the supplied brush.
You only need to clean the grinder if something becomes stuck between the burrs and the output. Please take extra care as this is extremely sharp. Follow the below manufacturers instructions (1)
How To Run The Barista Express Cleaning Cycle
First thing to note is whether you have the Sage Barista or the Sage Oracle the machine will tell you when it is time to run the flush through cycle. You will know when the “clean me” light is illuminated.
This light will light up roughly every 200 cups or so, so if your a 2 cup a day household this will happen roughly every 3 months.
What is essentially happening during the flush through cycle, is the system will force a pressurised cleaning solution through the internal workings.
Simple cleaning cycle steps:
- Use the power button to power down the machine
- Insert the 1 CUP filter basket into the portafilter. Along with the supplied cleaning disc
- Pop in 1 cleaning tablet
- Fill the water tank with cold tap water
- Ensure the drip tray is empty
- Press the 1 CUP and 2 CUP buttons at the same time, and then press the power button. Hold the 3 buttons for 10 seconds.
- This will start the cleaning cycle off, this process should last roughly 5 minutes
- Remove the portafilter and ensure the tablet as completely dissolved. If not repeat the cycle until the tablet is dissolved completely
- To finish remove the cleaning disk from the portafilter and reattach. Then press the 2 CUP button to rinse out any remaining solution.
Pro Tip : If you ever power off at the socket, ensure you run the flush through cycle as the machine will lose count.
You can buy either the Breville/Sage branded tablets or order a pack of generic ones.
How To Descale The Sage Barista Express
The descaling process is different to the cleaning cycle above. But is no less important. Even if you use a water filter mineral build up will be an issue over time.
How often you need to descale will depend on how hard your local water is, so you may need to descale either every 60 or 90 days (do not leave longer than 90 days). You will know its time as the machine will struggle to hit temperature and your espresso will taste funny.
Descaling Steps :
- Fill the water tank with hot tap water and dissolve a sachet of descaling powder
- Press & hold the 2 CUP button and the the power button at the same time to enter the descaling mode.
- Press the 1 cup switch to descale the coffee component. The 1 cup light will flash for about 25 seconds, when it switches to constant it is complete
- The steam component can be done by turning dial left to the steam icon for roughly 13 secs
- The hot water component can be done by turning the dial all the way to the right to hot water icon for 8 secs.
- Check the water tank and there should be roughly 500ml of solution left. Repeat steps 4 & 5 until the solution is gone
- Remove the water tank and thoroughly rinse out with cold tap water
- Fill the water tank and replace, then repeat steps 4 & 5 to rinse out the nozzles
- Press the power button to quit the descaling mode. The LED lights will switch off to confirm.