Coffee brewers typically last from 7 to 12 years, or even as long as 25 years, depending on a variety of factors including how well the operator cares for the equipment and the water quality. In fact, the type of unit and water quality will determine the necessary amount of maintenance.
Use a brush or clean cloth with mild cleaner and warm water to clean brewer and urn interiors. Clean exteriors with a damp cloth and nonabrasive, mild cleaner. Regularly clean the filter basket, pots and other removable parts. Regularly treat and clean the spray heads using a special tool or a dishwasher.
To help eliminate deposit and scale buildup, feed the brewer with filtered water. Descale the interior by lightly washing with plain white vinegar and soaking the stem and spring before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.
Inspect the brewer for any signs of water spots, which may indicate there is a leak in the tank. Regularly examine power cords and coffee urns for visual signs of cracks, leaks or damage.
Although fully automated espresso/cappuccino machines require less labor to operate, because this type incorporates milk inside the machine, they can require more extensive cleaning and maintenance compared with manual and two-step units. Keep mineral content at less than five and as close to three grains per gallon as possible to help reduce a variety of machine failures.
Once water quality is under control, espresso machine operators should back flush the unit with detergent daily. This entails adding 1 teaspoon of detergent into the brew cycle, which cleans the entire group head. Group gaskets should be replaced at least every six months, and water level probes should be cleaned twice a year. A service call becomes necessary when there is leakage from pinholes or when electrical components fail. Units with a lot of mineral buildup and other damage are not worth fixing. Also, if a unit is 10 or more years old and costly to maintain, it should be replaced.
Coffee grinder chambers should be emptied each evening and cleaned thoroughly with a brush. The hopper should be removed, cleaned with soap and water, and not replaced until it is completely dry. Leftover beans are best kept in an airtight container until use.