Best Espresso Machine Cleaner For Better Tasting Coffee

 Last Updated January 6, 2024

If you have an espresso machine, you know it's important to back flush your grouphead with coffee cleaning solution. This not only results in better tasting coffee, but helps extend the life of your machine. That's why in this guide we're taking a look at the best espresso machine cleaner solutions. 

Espresso machine cleaner

The coffee cleaner I use at home.

I'll start off with recommending my top three options, before having a discussion on why you should use cleaners, how often to backflush with cleaner, and whether cleaner tablets or powder is better.

Best espresso machine cleaners: Top 3

Cafiza is the most popular brand in the USA when it comes it coffee cleaner. It's well priced and exactly what it promises - cleans your machine! That's why it's the staple cleaner for cafes and home baristas.

Cafetto uses rapidly biodegradable and odorless ingredients to clean your coffee machine and better for the environment. It works just as well as Cafiza, it's just a bit more expensive due to the ingredients. So if you're looking for a eco friendly cleaner, and don't mind the price, check it out.

If you prefer to have your powder pre-measured so you can just pop them in, a good value one I found is from Cafiza. There are 100  tablets so they wil last for a long time.

Why do you need to use coffee machine cleaners?

Using coffee clearner is not optional in my opinion, rather it's an essential task. They help improve the taste and longevity of your coffee equipment.

Improve taste of coffee

As you use your coffee machine, coffee oils, grinds and deposits attach themselves within the machine. This buildup can negatively affect the taste and quality of your coffee. Regular cleaning of your espresso machine with cleaner helps to remove this residue, ensuring that your coffee tastes its best. So if you find your coffee tasting bad despite using fresh beans, it's likley your machine is due for a clean.

Extend machine life

This oil and coffee residue can also damage the internals of machines over time if you do not clean it. The build-up will block pipes, cause more strain on the machine, which will result in parts breaking and needing replacement. A good cleaning schedule will product your expensive espresso machine and keep it working in optimal condition.

How to use espresso cleaner

How to use espresso cleaner. Make sure to use a coffee brush to scrub your shower screen.

How often should you use espresso machine cleaner?

The frequency of using espresso machine cleaner for your espresso machine depends on how often the machine is used and the manufacturer's recommendations and there are a lot of opinions.

However as barista of 10 years I say, as a general guideline, for coffee shops, you should back-flush with cleaner at the end of each day, and for home coffee machines, the earlier of once every 3 weeks or 1kg of coffee (2.2 pounds). For home machines you don't want to use chemical often, as the chemicals not only remove coffee oils, but also lubricant within the machine. 

Coffee cleaner powder vs tablets

You can get coffee cleaner in two forms: powder and tablets. They both do the exact same job and use the same ingredients, however in my opinion you should get cleaning powder over the tablets.

Espresso machine cleaner powder

I prefer powder over espresso cleaner tablets.

There are two reasons for this.

Reason one: powder is much better value. When you compare the price to volume ratio between powder and tablets, powder cleaner is better value everytime. In fact, one tub of powder cleaner is likley to last you couple years for home use.

Reason two: powder dissolves faster into the machine. When you use tablets, you need to preliminary wet the tablet to to dissolve it. While powder dissolves much faster so you can clean your machine faster.

The only benefit of tablets is that they are pre-measured, however I find using a scoop with powdered cleaner is just as accurate and fast to dispense.


Below are some common questions people have about cleaning your coffee machine with cleaner and back-flusing in general. If you have any more questions, feel free to leave a comment below.

How often should you back-flush with water?

It is recommended to back flush with water and no cleaner at the end of each day of use of your coffee machine before turning it off. However, if you find this too annoying, do a water back flush at least once every 3 days of use. This will get rid of lose grinds in your machine and improve the taste of your coffee.

What's the difference between coffee cleaner and descaler?

Coffee cleaners remove coffee oils and residues, containing surfactants or detergents, and are used for backflushing, soaking portafilters, and cleaning machine components.

Descalers on the other hand eliminate mineral deposits (limescale) that affect performance and taste, containing acids that dissolve deposits, and are used to clean internal components like boilers and water pathways. Descaling is important if you have hard drinking water.

Both are essential for maintaining coffee equipment performance, taste, and longevity, and should be used according to manufacturer recommendations.

Should you use Breville espresso machine cleaning tablets?

If you have a Breville coffee machine, they come with a pack of free espresso cleaning tablets. These are good to use and I recommend you do. However, once you've used them up, make sure to get a powder form version instead as they are much better value for money and do the job just as well.

Cafiza is the most popular brand in the USA when it comes it coffee cleaner. It's well priced and exactly what it promises - cleans your machine! That's why it's the staple cleaner for cafes and home baristas.

About The Author 

Ivan Bez

Ivan is the founder of Latte Art Guide and a barista with 10 years of experience. He loves coffee and aims to help people improve their coffee making skills.

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