There are plenty of coffee brewing devices available, each with their own benefits
From your classic Cafetiere which everyone knows and loves, to the more abstract Chemex filter brewer, whose popularity is slowly on the rise.
Although these devices are all capable of producing an awesome coffee, there’s a crucial step which can often be overlooked. If cleaning your coffee device is the step that is missed, it can leave you with a pretty disappointing coffee. As boring as cleaning is, when it comes to your brewing device it’s super important.
Each device is unique, meaning the way you need to clean it can differ. Don’t panic, I’m going to go through each device below so you can be sure you are cleaning yours correctly.
Let's start with The Cafetiere
Anyone who owns a cafetiere will know that when it comes to cleaning one, it can be a pretty messy job. If you’re new to owning a cafetiere, it can look quite confusing to take apart. However, all you need to do to start is pull the plunger up until it comes away from the glass jar.
You can then clean these parts separately. You will notice that the coffee grounds will get stuck in and around the mesh plunger. Unscrew the mesh filter from the plunger periodically to wash the inner parts of the screen too.
Once the plunger is clean, we need to clean out the grounds that are at the bottom of the glass jug. You can start by digging these out with a spoon, or fill the chamber about halfway with cold water, give it a swirl and pour into a sieve to catch the grounds. Dispose of these either in the bin or put them in your compost pile.
To finish cleaning your cafetiere, fill the jug about half way with hot, soapy water and reinsert the plunger. Plunge the soapy water a few times. This will get rid of any grounds that may still be stuck and will get rid of those nasty coffee oils too. Dispose of the water and then wash the jug out once more, dry it off and it’s ready to go again. Be careful not to break the glass!
Alternatively, separate the device into as many parts as necessary (depending if you are cleaning each part of the filter individually) and place inside that magic cupboard, known locally as the dishwasher.
Next, the Aeropress
This device is effortless to clean. After you have brewed your coffee with an Aeropress, the grounds will be in a neat, compact pile toward the lower part of the device. Unscrew the filter basket and plunge the device over a bin or straight into the compost heap.
There’s nothing in particular you need to do when cleaning an Aeropress, so just make sure you have rinsed and scrubbed the inside well with hot, soapy water. Don’t forget to rinse and wipe the rubber plunger too. The Aeropress is dishwasher friendly too if you prefer.
The Moka Pot
When cleaning your Moka Pot, it’s very important that you don’t use any soap as any residue from it can affect the taste of the coffee. You also need to make sure that this device is never put through a dishwasher for the same reason. Putting it through a dishwasher can leave marks and scratches too as the salt starts to ‘eat’ away at the pot.
After using your Moka Pot for some time, you may notice the inside has started to stain with coffee oils. This a big no-no for most devices, however when using a Moka Pot try and resist the urge to scrub them away. The coffee oils are said to improve the taste of your coffee when using this device.
Before you start cleaning, make sure the device has cooled down completely. When it has, you can start by disposing of the coffee grounds from the middle chamber. To do this, twist the device open, remove the middle basket, using a fingernail or end of a teaspoon and empty into the bin or compost heap. All that is left for you to do is wash each part individually with hot water. If there are any significant bits of residue, remove these with your finger. Once you have cleaned each part of the device, use a cloth to hand dry it.
Leave the device to dry out before you reassemble it.
Due to the unique shape of the Chemex, it can be a bit tricky to clean. But don’t let this put you off cleaning it after every use. If you don’t, you will start to get a build-up of bacteria which is something you most certainly don’t want.
There are a number of ways you can clean this device which will depend entirely on how dirty it is.
Soap and Water
One method of cleaning your Chemex device is with soap, warm water and a bottle brush. Scrub well before rinsing to remove any soap. Any soap remaining can lead to soapy flavours affecting how your coffee tastes next time you use the device.
This method should be used only when your device is in need of a deep clean. You will need a full pint of ice, two tablespoons of salt, three drops of dish soap and cold water.
First things first, make sure there isn’t any remaining coffee in your device. Pour the ice, salt and dish soap into the device and mix well. Once mixed, fill the device a third of the way full with cold water and swirl. Depending on how dirty your device has become, you may need to do this for some time.
Chemex devices are dishwasher safe so if time isn’t your friend, but you want to keep your Chemex looking all shiny, just remove the collar and tie and place the glass ‘hourglass’ in your dishwasher. Make sure there’s enough room for the device as the body of a Chemex is delicate and could smash very easily. Don’t ram it in!
When leaving your Chemex to dry, it’s recommended that you do so overnight and that you rest part of the lip of the Chemex on something so that it can air out. If there’s no air flow, condensation can occur which can result in mould within the chamber.
Cleaning Your Home Barista Machine
As long as it’s cleaned regularly, a home barista machine can last a very long time. However, if it isn’t, you will quickly run into problems which will affect the quality of the coffee it makes.
If you use your machine regularly, backwashing once a month will be sufficient. Place a cleaning tablet in the portafilter, or fill the portafilter with the correct dose of cleaning powder. Then, run the water for about five seconds and then leave it for another ten. Repeat this until all of the cleaning solution has been flushed out. Doing this will remove any coffee oils or grounds that may have built up over time. Alternatively, if your machine has a built-in cleaning cycle, set this to run instead. You may find the machine reminds you to run the cleaning cycle every 200 cups or so. If it does, then great! If not, get into the habit of cleaning once a month.
Brushing The Basket
Remove the basket from the portafilter by using a teaspoon. Then using a toothbrush, scrub both the basket and interior of the portafilter well. Using hot water will make it a lot easier to clean, but be careful not to burn yourself.
Cleaning The Shower Head
Clean the toothbrush you used previously and use it to scrub the shower head. The shower head is the metal filter which dispenses water into your cup. Grounds can build up here which often leave bitter oils behind. Make sure you scrub this well to ensure there are no grounds or oils left behind.
Cleaning The Steam Wand
After each use, you need to wipe down your steam wand with a damp cloth. This will prevent milk from sticking to the outside of the wand, which can be hard to clean off. Point the wand towards the drip tray and turn the dial to ‘Steam’ for ten seconds also, to clean the interior of the wand.
The Hario V60 is very simple to clean. The filter paper will keep hold of all coffee grounds which can then be disposed of however you would like, but preferably in the compost pile. The device itself can be cleaned by giving it a rinse with hot, soapy water. The Hario V60 is dishwasher friendly too if you think it needs a more thorough clean.