There are two types of cleanings that we will go over in this post, one is the basic cleaning that every good barista does each time they make a coffee, and the other is the chemical cleaning process.
How to clean up after every shot:
Remove the portafilter soon after the shot has finished, knocking the puck (used coffee grounds) into a knock tube (or a bin if that’s what you use at home).
Flush the group, rinsing the portafilter (group handle) with hot water, removing any coffee grounds or espresso residue. - During busy hours at a cafe, baristas will often skip this step and simply wipe any residue off from the filter basket with a cloth, as time does not allow for wet cleaning - but the filter basket should be removed from the portafilter and thoroughly rinsed every 10-20 minutes.
Using a clean coffee-specific cloth, or a dedicated brush, wipe any excess water off from inside the basket (and allow any retained water to drain from the bottom of the portafilter).
If you are steaming milk, the steam wand should be purged immediately after each use and then wiped with a clean damp cloth (the portafilter and steam wand should have their own designated cloths).
Any spilled coffee grounds can then be swept up using a small brush, often a dry paintbrush.
How to chemically clean your machine:
Remove the portafilter and take out the filter basket, replacing it with a blind filter.
Place a chemical tablet into the blind filter and then put it into the machine.
Find the cleaning program on your machine (this will be different from machine to machine) and run it. *This may be labelled “Flushing” or “Group Cleaning” on your machine menu.
Once the program has finished, remove the portafilter and dump the dirty liquid, then thoroughly rinse with hot water to remove chemical residue.
Remove the blind filter, replace it with the original filter and put the portafilter back into the machine, giving it a final flush.
And that's it!