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Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee Maker

Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee MakerHere at SCG, we discuss the importance of taking care of various espresso machines and coffee accessories quite a bit. So, imagine our surprise when it came to our attention that we had yet to cover cleaning and maintaining a drip coffee maker. Although we use these machines every day, it seems that they are so easy to use that we tend to forget that they need maintenance too. Once we realized we were remiss in our ways, we set out to remedy the situation as soon as possible. We took stock of our machines, and realized that the much-loved Technivorm Moccamaster in our break room was overdue for a cleaning. Thus, we temporarily borrowed this little dude to return it to its shinning glory.

The first step in maintaining your drip coffee maker is making sure to descale from time to time. Technivorm recommends using Urnex’s Dezcal Coffee/Espresso Machine Descaler, so we used it for our descaling process, but it is a good idea to check with the manufacture of your particular machine to see what they suggest. To descale, simply mix the descaler with hot water and fill up the water tank with the mixture. When you turn the machine on, the mixture will be pulled through the water path of the machine and clear put any scale that has built up. Once you have finished descaling, make sure to run two cycles of just plain water through your machine to rinse out all of the descaling solution.

After you have descaled your drip coffee maker and rinsed it free of solution, the third, and final, step in this maintenance process is to give your machine a good cleaning. To do so, soak all parts of the machine that come into contact with coffee residue in Cafiza. Generally speaking, these pieces are the coffee pot, coffee pot lid, brew basket lid, water tank lid, spray arm and brew basket. Let all of this gear soak for about 5-10 minutes, then give it a rinse and wipe it down. You also may want to dip a rag into your Cafiza solution and give the outside of the water tank, heating plate, stand, etc. a good wipe down to get your coffee maker extra clean.

One important thing to keep in mind is that while descaling a drip is easy, it doesn’t mean should do it all the time. Generally most manufactures will have a recommendations for often you should descale, so it’s a good idea to consult your manual or local service center for advice before you start the descaling. To learn more about how to clean and maintain your drip coffee maker at home, watch Brendan take us through the process in this video.

Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintenance for Your Drip Coffee Maker

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13 thoughts on “Tech Tips: Cleaning and Maintaining a Drip Coffee Maker”

  • larry walker

    When I got my Technivorm drip maker some years back they recommended a periodic cycling of the machine with vinegar.
    Is Ernex better for the job?
    I don't use my machine for more than one batch a day so I don't experience the cruddiness your demonstrator on the video was talking about?
    If Ernex is better, you must sell it. Details please. Also Kefeeza?
    Thanks
    Larry Walker

    Reply
    • Brenna

      Hi Larry,

      The reason we don't recommend using vinegar to clean your machine is because it actually breaks down o-rings and gaskets faster than even normal wear and tear. We recommend using Cleancaf (http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/cleancaf-coffee-machine-cleaner) to clean your machine instead, which will break down coffee oils, and Dezcal (http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/dezcal-coffee-espresso-machine-descaler) to descale, which will actually break down any water minerals that have built up in your machine over time, you will see a white film (if you have scale) clear up in your tank and also anywhere the water touches, including the carafe. I hope that helps, let me know if you have other questions.

      Thanks,

      Brenna

      Reply
  • Chris Underwood
    Chris Underwood June 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Can Cafiza be used inside the glass lined Bonavita maker? I noticed it is starting to have a coffee smell even after washing with mild soap and water with the included wash foam brush. I can see visible brown stains in it as well.

    Thank you,

    Chris

    Reply
    • Brenna

      Hi Chris,

      You could certainly use Cafiza in the carafe, but you wouldn’t want to run it through the machine. The better idea would be to use Cleancaf (http://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/cleancaf-coffee-machine-cleaner). It’s safe to run through the machine like descaler, and it helps to break down that coffee residue and clean up the inside of the carafe. We've used it on a couple of our drip coffee makers and they always turn out so shiny and pretty.

      Thanks,

      Brenna

      Reply
  • David

    Cleancaf also works well as the cleaning agent instead of Cafiza. Urnex recommends Cleancaf for drip machines and Cafiza for espresso machines.

    Reply
    • Brenna

      Hi David,

      You are absolutely right, Cleancaf does indeed do wonder for drip coffee makers. I actually just recommend it to the folks above. Thanks for the feedback.

      Brenna

      Reply
  • Ralf Winkler

    The water tank itself cannot be properly cleaned without removing it. On the outside it seems easy, only two screws holding it in place but upon removing these two screws, the water tank doesn´t come off. It´s really tightly held by something. My question is this: do I dare to pull it off without braking it or do I have to disassemble the whole damn thing? Is there an o-ring or some kind of rubber gasket holding it to the water tube and will I be able to put it back if I manage to get it off without breaking it?
    Thanks in advance for tips and advice.

    Reply
    • Felicia Kloewer
      Felicia Kloewer May 18, 2016 at 1:50 am

      Hi, Ralf!
      Ah, that sounds frustrating. What coffee maker do you have? Without knowing the machine, we'd recommend not forcing it off to be safe (there might be a hidden screw). If a gasket was holding the water tank to the machine, slow and gentle pressure up should release it. If that's not working, there might be other hardware holding it in place. This would be the easiest option: We are currently having a 10% off our tune-up services from 5/15/16-5/31/16, which thoroughly cleans the whole coffee maker, including descaling the water tank. If you're local to Seattle, you could take your coffee maker to one of our retail store and ask for our techs or if you're not local but in the US, you can ship it to us. Here's the link if you'd like to check that out more: https://www.seattlecoffeegear.com/service/repairs.
      I hope that helps! Feel free to give us a call if you need further help!
      Felicia

      Reply
      • Ralf Winkler

        Thank you for your swift answer. Sorry I didn´t mention the brand and model of the coffeemaker. It´s a Technivorm Moccamaster KB-741 but pretty much all the Moccamaster models are basically the same in this respect. I live in Finland so bringing or shipping it to Seattle is not an option. Nevetheless, thank you for your answer.

        Reply
        • Felicia Kloewer
          Felicia Kloewer May 19, 2016 at 1:15 am

          Technivorm's water tank tend to be harder to remove (as with a lot of their parts) but they have a great 5-year warranty. I would reach out to them and see if they could help assist.
          Cheers!
          Felicia

          Reply
  • Gregory Willard

    I have always loved to drink coffee, and will usually make it before I go to work. I had no idea that you should run plain water through the machine twice to descale it. I will try and keep our coffee machine, and will usually clean it once a week. I will have to remember to run the system to clean it even better.

    Reply
    • Felicia Kloewer
      Felicia Kloewer August 24, 2016 at 1:58 am

      Hi, Gregory!

      Sorry for the confusion! We recommend first descaling your machine with a solution recommended by the manufacturer and then rinse out the solution with water.
      Thank you for catching that, Mrs. Bean!

      Cheers!
      Felicia

      Reply
  • Mrs Bean

    I think running the clean water through it is just to rinse out the descaler dear, so that users aren't have their flavour enhanced by proprietary decaling fluid.

    Reply
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