Despite its simplicity, preparing a good coffee is not so easy if all the components that come into play in its preparation are not controlled and taken care of. And we are not just talking about the type and quality of coffee or water, the only two essential ingredients; the coffee maker can ruin the experience if it doesn’t work properly.
It is clear that a manual coffee maker, whether it is the typical Italian moka or any filter type Chemex or V60, is easier to care for and check immediately if it is in good condition. The case is complicated when we have an automatic or electric machine at home, from a capsule coffee maker to a filter, manual express or super-automatic one, whose mechanism is more complex.
These devices manage to transfer the professional barista experience to the domestic environment in such a way that the coffee enthusiast does not need to have great knowledge in its handling, but they require a correct maintenance. And, as much as we take care of it as it should, all devices can be damage or spoil for a thousand reasons.
It is always a good idea to read well and reread the manual of our coffee maker when something goes wrong or consult the website with the troubleshooting section of each brand, but the OCU also gives us some advice to solve the most common problems. And if everything fails, it is best to go to the technical service.
How to solve the most frequent failures of coffee machines
1. Premiere Tips. Before preparing the first coffee, clean and dry all the components as indicated by the manufacturer -with plain water or with neutral dishwashing soap-, and, in the case of automatic machines, let water, coffee and steam come out through the different preparation systems to remove factory flavor. Discard the first drink.
2. Check that the tubes are clean. Especially the tube that carries the water from the tank to the preparation system, because if it becomes clogged, water may not come out of the coffee maker. If it is broken, the machine could leak water.
3. Check valve operation. The pump is one of the most delicate parts of a coffee maker, and with poor cleaning, hard water or very intense use it can be damaged. If it is broken, it will have to be replaced.
4. Clean the filter and portafilter. In any model, the filter is another key point in the preparation, since it separates the coffee itself subjected to extraction from the infused and clean drink. If it is dirty, the water may not pass through properly, producing bad-tasting or cloudy coffee, and may even cause water leaks.
5. Check the condition of the joints. Coffee makers with rubber bands and gaskets on the portafilter need to be in good condition to fit properly with the coffee maker. If they wear out or break, it is normal for the machine to lose water.
6. Also check the water tank. Sometimes it can be damaged if we don’t handle it carefully or if it gets hit. A slight crack can cause water to leak inside the machine or cause the coffee maker to leak. Also, remember to clean it periodically so that it does not accumulate lime or dirt.
7. Check and adjust the grinder. In the case of super-automatic machines, sometimes the coffee does not come out to our liking due to a poor grinding setting. Play with the thickness level depending on the type of coffee or drink you are going to prepare, and check that it works correctly. You also have to clean it from time to time.
8. Clean the machine with descaler. The descaling frequency may vary depending on the machine, the brand or the hardness of the water we use; Always consult the manual to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
9. Keep tanks full. If the water tank or the coffee tank, be it beans or ground, are too empty, the machine will not work properly. Remember to refill them as often as necessary so that there is always fresh raw material, since it is also not convenient to accumulate stagnant water or coffee for weeks if we do not use the coffee maker often.
10. Check that there are no loose components. Like any device, the different parts can become loose or loose if we use it a lot or are not very delicate when opening, disassembling and cleaning the machine. Any loose parts will cause the machine to malfunction, and could end up breaking.
11. Check that the thermostat and boiler work well. If the coffee maker does not heat as it should, it could have a damaged part of the resistance. If it is the coil, it can be changed, but sometimes the machine has no solution and it will have to be changed. Consult the technical service.
De’Longhi Perfetto ECAM 23.460.SB – Supe automatic coffee machine (15 bar pressure, automatic cappuccino system, removable 1.8 L water tank, LCD panel, automatic cleaning) Silver/Black
Philips LM8012/60 Espresso Capsule Coffee Maker, 1 Liter, Plastic, Black
Melitta Bio Multi Descaler, Express Cleaner, Automatic, Drip Coffee Makers, Biodegradable Liquid, 6 Uses, 250 milliliters, 0.25 liters
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and may benefit DAP.
In DAP | 13 mistakes that can spoil your coffee (and how to fix them)
In DAP | The most important ingredient in a coffee is not just the coffee: how water affects (and a lot) the final result