It is the job of every barista to brew the tastiest coffee possible. Obviously it would be easy to expect the high-tech machines doing all the work for us, but as smart as they are, these cannot work if not properly cleaned. Maintaining the machine in a clean state is one of the main tasks.
Gwilym Davies showed us this in his video tutorials Learn Coffee With Gwilym. ”We don’t value it enough, but it is the thing that can make your coffee taste better than the café next door,” he emphasised the importance of cleaning. You don’t want this “dirty taste right at the back [of your mouth], in the aftertaste” to ruin the coffee time for you and more importantly for your customers.
What are the major cleaning principles? We asked baristas that proved their competence in national competitions and became European Urnex Ambassadors. What piece of advice would Charlotte Malaval, Lex Wenneker, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood and Davide Berti give you?
1 – Clean Throughout The Day says Lex Wenneker
“I think everything in a café should be clean. But the espresso machine is definitely important, because you can never have a very nice espresso when your machine is not cleaned throughout the day.” explains Lex, 2015 Dutch Barista Champion and co-owner at Headfirst. Some of the best cafés carry a timer on their machines as a reminder of the last time that the insides of the portafilters were cleaned.
2 – Understand What Can Get Dirty says Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood
“The key is to understand where water and coffee come into contact with a surface and to make sure a cleaning procedure is in place to monitor those surfaces.” goes into detail Maxwell, co-owner of Colonna and Small’s, 3x World Barista Championship Finalist and co-author of the Water for Coffee book. “It is often the things you cannot see as easily that get neglected. Especially when considering coffee making equipment. The inside of the portafilter below the basket needs continual cleaning all day,” adds Maxwell. More over, you should aim to create a cleaning structure that can help you continue to work during busy hours.
3 – Use the Right Product for Each Piece of Coffee Equipment says Charlotte Malaval
“Coffee flavors are fragile, it is quick and easy to pollute them with rancid, stale or metal taste from the machines,” explains Charlotte, 2015 French Barista Champion. She emphasises that: “Each component must be continuously cleaned throughout the day if you want to serve the same quality to all your customers everyday. Not only it makes the coffee taste better (or what it should naturally taste) but it also extends the life of your equipment.”
“There should be no such a thing [as neglected part]. In my coffee shop I aim for perfection!” explains Davide Berti, 2015 Italian Coffee and Good Spirits Champion and 2015 World cezve/ibrik Champion. “Hygiene first!” advocates Davide. “Regardless the machine and the coffee you would use, you cannot achieve perfect quality if you do not clean all your equipment precisely and constantly.” Baristas should not rush through the cleaning routine just to get the job done, that would influence the taste of the coffee and show they are not professionals.