Breville espresso machines are known for their sleek design and the quality espresso beverages you can make with them.
But did you know that descaling your espresso machine is just as important as keeping it running smoothly?
Descaling your espresso machine will remove mineral deposits, or scale, from the system’s water passages.
This post outlines 7 easy steps on how to descale Breville espresso machine, along with more detailed steps to take for several different Breville models.
But first off…
What is Descaling?
Descaling is the process of removing mineral deposits and limescale buildup from espresso machine water passages.
Fortunately for espresso fanatics everywhere, descaling your espresso machine is an easy task that will keep it running smoothly!
But what does this look like?
To ensure you are on track, follow these simple steps to descale your espresso machine:
How to Descale Breville Espresso Machine
Step One: First, you need to fill the espresso machine’s reservoir with a gallon of fresh water.
Run tap water through the espresso machine until it is full.
Fill your pitcher or another container with one quart (32 oz) of fresh cold filtered water and pour it into the reservoir.
Do not use boiling hot or warm/hot tap water, as this will cause scale buildup on heating elements.
The descaling process could take up to 12 hours, so ensure you have enough time available before starting!
The espresso machine must be turned off during this process – don’t forget that step!
*Note: You may also want to add some white vinegar and dish soap if mineral deposits are visible in the espresso machine’s water reservoir.
Step Two: After filling the espresso machine with fresh, cold filtered water, it is time to flush out any remaining clean tap water from the lines.
Fill your pitcher or another container with one quart (32 oz) of fresh, cold filtered water and pour into a separate portafilter that can be held by hand while still in place on top of the espresso machine group head.
Push the handle down so that this second stream of descaling fluid runs through all three parts of the espresso-making process-shower screen, filter basket, and brewing tube and then back over these surfaces again before running down to the collection container below.
This flushing should take less than two minutes! Make sure not to fill the espresso machine’s reservoir with this water, as the descaling process is already in progress!
Step Three: To start descaling, turn the espresso machine to its lowest setting and wait a few minutes.
The descalation cycle should now be set to automatically run until completed (approximately 12 hours).
If you don’t want your espresso maker to run continuously during this time period, press the “off” button twice within ten seconds before turning off the espresso machine.
Step Four: After the descaling process, turn the espresso machine off and back on to reset the machine for the next cycle.
You’ll need to wait a few minutes before starting this step for water from the previous descaling cycle to run through the espresso maker’s pipes!
Add one quart (32 oz) of fresh, cold filtered water into the reservoir after turning the espresso machine on again.
Run tap water through the espresso maker until it fills up and the water comes out clear – about two pitchers or so.
This will flush any residue left over by the descaling process and prepare your espresso machine for regular use once more!
Step Five: Clean the filter basket with dish soap and warm-to-hot running tap water while still connected under the group head, and then rinse with cold running tap water.
*Note: This is optional but will help keep your espresso machine clean and reduce the risk of mineral buildup in future descaling cycles.
Step Six: Clean the espresso machine’s shower screen
Grab your espresso machine cleaning brush and clean the shower screen (the metal filter that sits under the group head).
This should take about two minutes to complete, starting from one side of the metal disk and working your way around in a circular motion until all edges are clear.
Rinse any residue with tap water before storing it away for the next descaling cycle!
Fill your pitcher or another container with one quart (32 oz) of fresh cold filtered water and pour it into the espresso machine reservoir again, as this step is an essential part of every descaling process. Cleaning will keep the espresso maker looking good and free it up for future use by removing buildup from previous descaling cycles.
Step Seven: Disconnect the espresso machine from power and wipe down any surfaces with a clean cloth.
Lastly, take some time to give your espresso maker a good cleaning to remove any dirt or residue left behind after the descaling process is complete.
You can use soapy water during this step for easier cleanup but make sure to dry your espresso machine completely before storing away!
How to Descale Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
If you have a Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, you will want to perform the cleaning and descaling when the light is lit up. If the light is just flashing, you will only need to run a cleaning cycle. When descaling, follow these steps:
- Ensure the water tank is empty, and add your descaling solution and fresh water
- Press and hold the 2 cup button for descale mode while simultaneously holding down the power button. This will cause the power button to begin flashing, signifying that the machine has begun to heat. Once all the lights are on and steady rather than blinking, you know it is ready to start the descaling process
- The first component to descale is the coffee. To do this, press the 1 cup button. It will then flash for 25 seconds and will stop flashing when it is done
- You will then need to repeat these steps to empty all the water and solution in the tank. When done, rinse the tank out thoroughly and refill the water tank with fresh water up to the max line. Repeat the steps one more time to remove the residue left behind.
- To stop the descaling process, press the power button once
How to Descale Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine
Before descaling your Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine, make sure to read page 20 of your instruction manual for more in-depth details on each step of the process.
- To start, remove the water tank, drip tray, and filter basket or holder. You will then fill the water tank to the descale line with clean water and add your descaling solution, always following the directions on the label
- Once this is done, put the tank back into place and use a large cup or container on the drip tray to catch all the water
- To activate the main menu of your espresso machine, touch the menu button and turn the Breville grind control dial to descale your coffee maker. Once selected, the 1 cup button will light up. Hit this button to start the descaling process
- Pay attention to the screen as this process will go through three stages: coffee, hot water, and steam. The dial will have to be manually turned to hot water or steam when prompted
- Once the descaling process is done, the machine will then need to go through a thorough rinse cycle. Remove and empty the drip tray and bowl used to collect the water and empty any remaining solution from the water tank. Fill the tank again with fresh and clean water up to the max fill line
- The 1 cup button will start the rinse cycle. This process also goes through three phases that you will manually have to adjust when prompted. Once it is done rinsing, your espresso machine will beep and return to ready mode. Remove the drip tray and water tank again, rinse everything, and replace each component
How to Descale the Breville Bambino Plus and Impress Espresso Machines
As you can see, many of the descaling steps are the same from espresso machine to espresso machine within the brand. However, here are detailed steps specific to the Breville Bambino Plus and Impress espresso machines.
- Start by emptying the machine’s drip tray and putting it back
- Now fill the water tank with fresh water, add your descaling solution, and use a large cup or bowl on the drip tray to catch all the water collected during the descaling process
- Press the 1 cup and Steam buttons simultaneously and allow the machine to cool down for several minutes. Once cool, press the 1 cup and Steam buttons simultaneously for five seconds, putting the machine into descaling mode
- The machine is ready for the descaling process when the buttons light up. Press either button to start
- When the water tank is emptied, the descale cycle is paused. You will then need to remove the tank, add more fresh water, empty the cup you are using to collect water, and press the 1 cup or Steam button again to continue the process and start the rinse cycle
- When the rinse cycle is done, the buttons will begin flashing alternatively, putting the machine on standby. Remove the container, thoroughly wash down, rinse each component, and then add them back to the machine
The Breville Bambino Plus also has a steam wand, so keep this in mind when placing a large container to catch the water. It should go under the espresso machine’s group head and steam wand.
Resetting a Breville Espresso Machine After Descaling
Once the descaling process is done, it is time to reset your espresso machine. To reset the machine’s default settings of 1 cup and 2 cup shot volumes and the right temperature for espresso water, press and hold the program button until the machine beeps three times. Once it has beeped three times, release the button, and the settings will return to default.
Deep Clean Your Breville Espresso Machine
Your Breville espresso machine should be cleaned with filtered water and dish soap. This is optional but will help keep the espresso machine clean and reduce the risk of mineral or limescale buildup in future descaling cycles.
It is recommended to use vinegar as a descaler agent (once every week) if there are visible mineral deposits or white vinegar when the descaling cycle has been completed.
When you deep clean your Breville coffee maker, dissolve a very small amount of your cleaning solution in the water as directed. You can then use a nylon brush to scrub the basket. You should also scrub and wipe down every other removable component with warm water.
How Often Should Espresso Machines Be Descaled?
Espresso machines should be descaled once every six months, in addition to a weekly cleaning cycle. The espresso maker will need to run continuously for approximately 12 hours to complete the process. If you don’t want your espresso maker running this long, just press the “off” button twice within ten seconds before turning the espresso maker off.
Take care of your espresso machine; it will treat you well by providing delicious espresso daily! ?
What do you use to descale a Breville espresso machine?
The espresso machine should be descaled with fresh, cold filtered water. It is highly recommended to use white vinegar and dish soap (if there are visible mineral deposits) as descaling agents if you don’t have access to an actual descaling solution that is universally compatible and safe to use on espresso machines and kettles.
You can also mix a cup of warm water with a ¼ cup of baking soda to descale your coffee maker. Run the baking soda and water through a single cycle and then flush the system with hot water at least twice or until the water runs clear.
Can I use vinegar to descale my Breville espresso machine?
Yes. You can use vinegar as an addition to descaling the espresso machine with filtered water (and white dish soap). However, vinegar has a few disadvantages compared to using a descaling solution.
Vinegar requires more time to descale, which might affect the taste of your coffee when the cleaning cycle is complete. Some buildup in your coffee maker can absorb the vinegar odor, which can change the taste of the coffee. This isn’t something you have to worry about when using a descaling solution, as they are odorless.
Vinegar also doesn’t play well with aluminum because of its acetic acid. Many espresso machines have an aluminum thermoblock boiler, with the exception of the Breville Barista Pro.
How much water do I need to descale my Breville espresso machine?
After turning the espresso machine on again, you should use one quart (32 oz) of fresh, cold filtered water in the reservoir. Run tap water through the espresso maker until it fills up and comes out clear. It will take about two pitchers to flush any residue left over by the descaling process and prepare your espresso machine for regular use!
How do you clean a Breville espresso machine filter basket? (Optional)
After running the espresso through the machine, remove the filter from the base of the espresso maker and remove all the leftover coffee grounds. Rinse the espresso machine filter basket with dish soap and warm to hot tap water, and then rinse under cold, running tap water.
What happens if you don’t descale your coffee machine?
If you don’t learn how to descale Breville machine, mineral deposits will build up and clog the water lines. This can result in decreased espresso quality and can potentially lead to more frequent maintenance. If the espresso machine is not descaled for six months (in addition to a weekly vinegar/dish soap cleaning), it should be cleaned with filtered water and dish soap.
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