espresso equipment

Understanding How Your Espresso Equipment Works

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Espresso equipment requires regular maintenance. It is important for the functionality of this machine, as there is a science behind making a good espresso. Espresso is not loved by everyone, but those who do love it tend to be very straight forward about how they like it. This is why it is important that your barista be supplied with equipment that can efficiently provide the best espressos in the area.

A Perfect Balance of Skill and Machinery

In order to make an espresso, hot water must be vigorously push through tightly compacted grounds (puck) at a high pressure. The pressure needs to reach around 9 bar, which is 9 times the atmospheric pressure at sea level.

It is a delicate process that requires outstanding espresso machinery with good judgment on your part. The taste of the espresso can be compromised if your machinery is not properly functioning. It also depends on the type of beans you are using and when they have been ground. There are some flavors that evaporate within 20 minutes of grinding them, so using up your ground coffee beans quickly will be essential.

Heat and Pressure

No matter what type of espresso machine you have, it will contain boilers with heating elements. This will bring the water to the correct temperature. The pressure is controlled either by a piston or steam power. Most older machines have pistons, as steam power is a newer technology.

If you are using a commercial machine, there will be a rotary pump which will help generate constant pressure. Small machines will contain a vibration pump, which will generate pressure only when the shot is being poured.

Heat and pressure combine allow the coffee to process very quickly. Espresso is typically ready in a matter of 30 seconds. This coffee contains an intense flavor, which is what makes it an espresso. In fact, a fluctuation of heat can cause an alteration in the taste.

Commercial espresso machines will contain a double boiler system. One will be used to heat the water for the brew, while the other heats water for steam. The temperature for the steam will need to be around 212 degrees Fahrenheit, while the espresso water needs to be 200 degrees Fahrenheit. With separate boilers, there is no chance that one will throw the other off during this process.


To ensure all parts of the espresso machine work correctly there are maintenance task that will need to be performed every day. Here is a guide to help ensure your commercial espresso equipment is in tip top working condition.


  • After every use, the portafilter and group will need to be wiped down. This will ensure they stay clean and there is no remaining debris.
  • Run water through the group to ensure the perforated basket is clean.
  • Clean grinder to get rid of any remaining debris. This can easily be done with a skinny brush.
  • Each machine should contain removable baskets, which sit inside the portafilter. Be sure that these are removed and replaced with the solid one. This will allow you to backflush the machine with water. Basically, allowing water to run through the machine for a few seconds at a time. It will flush out any remaining debris.
  • Purge the steam wand after each use. Make sure this is also done at the end of the day. The wand needs to soak in hot water and detergent for about 15 minutes. Afterwards purge the wand and wipe it clean.


  • Use a detergent that is made for espresso machines to clean and back flush the machine thoroughly. You can use products such as Caffetto, Urnex, or JoeGloe. You will only need a very small amount of the cleaner, allowing your product to last for a long time. Proper washing will help your espresso machine remain in the best working condition. Always refer to your owner’s manual when it comes to properly cleaning your machine because not all machines allow for back flushing.
  • Soak your portafilters and baskets in a detergent water for about 30 minutes. Scrub and rinse them clean.


  • Even with the use of filtered water the machine will need to be descaled. If this is something that you are not ready to do, then you will require hiring service for your machine once a year. It will make a difference on how it runs and functions each day.

Espresso machines are pricy so you want to make sure you understand your investment before using it. It is highly important that you get the knack down for proper heat and pressure use. If you feel like your machine is not correctly using pressure, then it is time to call in a service crew. It is a very important part of making espresso.