Regular maintenance is essential to keep your coffee machine running properly and consistently produce delicious cups of espresso. Even if your coffee maker has a self-clean function it will need to be descaled now and then too.
Descaling solution is available in different forms from a range of brands which can get confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for. The below reviews takes a look at some of the best descalers available for coffee machines in Australia.
Top Pick: Breville The Descaler 4pk
This 4 pack of Breville descaler is easy to use and is recommended for Breville Espresso machines and kettles. It’s a great option if you want a descaler that has specifically been designed to be used with the espresso machine you have.
It comes as a powder and is in sachets to make it compact, easy to store and long-lasting. The formula is strong enough to remove hard water scale while being non-corrosive to protect the espresso machine.
It is also biodegradable and phosphate-free making it gentle, environmentally friendly and a great descaling solution for regular espresso machine maintenance. One of the best things about the Breville Descaler is that you can use it with confidence knowing it will be effective and will not cause any damage or corrosion to your espresso machine.
The Cafetto LOD Liquid Descaler is an organic concentrate that is safe to use on stainless steel, aluminium and brass. It is ideal if you need to decalcify or descale your espresso machine.
This liquid descaler is almost odourless and contains a blend of 4 organic acids that remove scale 9 times more effectively than white vinegar. As the liquid is odourless it isn’t going to leave a strange smell or taste in your espresso machine.
This 1-litre pack is enough for 8 uses and offers great value for money. This is a gentle solution that can handle scale with ease.
The Breville Eco Liquid Descaler is a biodegradable, phosphate-free and GMO-free descaler option. It is odourless and effective against removing hard water scale from coffee machines.
This descaling solution is straightforward to use and the pack comes with two 120ml doses. This is a low-cost option that requires no preparation.
This cleaner not only works well in reducing scale build-up and bacteria risk, but it also won’t leave any bitter taste or smell behind after use.
This cleaning & descaling bundle from Cafetto is ideal for thoroughly cleaning all espresso machines, including Breville models.
The pack contains a Restore powder descaler that is effective against hard water scale. This descaler contains a blend of organic acids, it is biodegradable and free from GMOs as well as phosphate. 25g makes up one litre of solution and using Restore powder will leave no harmful residues behind on the coffee machine.
The cleaner is safe to use on products made from stainless steel, aluminium and brass. The pack also comes with Cino Cleano tablets which are designed to clean espresso machines of coffee oils, grounds and stains. This set is one of the best as it helps you give your espresso machine a thorough clean which helps to improve the flavour and aroma of the coffee to give you the best experience.
The DeLonghi EcoDecalk descaler liquid is designed to be used with all coffee makers including pump espresso machines, bean to cup, filter coffee and pod machine.
As it is in liquid form it is quick and easy to use compared to tablets or powder descalers. EcoDecalk can effectively dissolve limescale deposits and helps to restore the condition of an espresso machine. The pack contains 500ml of descaler formula making it great value for money too.
This 4 pack of espresso machine descaling tablets help to remove limescale and keep your coffee maker in optimal condition.
The tablets are versatile and can be used with manual or automatic coffee machines. They also last a long time and should be used every 4-6 months.
A Brita Aquagusto Water Filter is an effective, easy to install option for improving water quality and preventing limescale in espresso machines. By placing the filter into the water tank of your coffee maker it helps to improve the quality of your coffee while also protecting the machine.
The filter requires no adapter or assembly making it simple and straightforward to use. It also comes with a time-strip that reminds you to change the filter when needed.
This filter offers immediate filtration and lasts for around 6 months. It can be used with coffee makers with water tanks of up to 3.5L making it ideal for home coffee machines. If you use a filter then descaling your espresso machine won’t be required as often.
Guide to Descaling your Coffee Machine
Coffee machine descaling is part of routine maintenance that cannot be avoided. It may seem like a nuisance but with a high-quality descaling solution, it is a quick and easy task that will leave your espresso machine cleaner and ensure it continues to produce great tasting drinks for years to come.
This guide takes a look at what kind of descaler is best and why so you can easily pick a product that works for you.
The ingredients of the descaler are important as the cleaner needs to be strong enough to deal with mineral buildups and scale as well as odours and stains. Citric acid based solutions are great for scale caused by hard water. If you are using soft water then you may find a non-acidic descaling solution works well. Whatever type of scale you are dealing with, it’s best to avoid options that include harsh chemicals such as phosphorus.
Choose Products That Are Made For Espresso Machines
Keep in mind that some descaling agents are more effective than others, some acid can be corrosive which is why it is important to choose a product that has been made specifically for use with coffee machines.
It’s important to choose descalers that won’t damage or corrode your machine as the product is being used to clean internal parts of the machine that are integral. If these areas corrode or become damaged it will be difficult to know the true extent of the damage until it is too late and it will be even harder to fix or replace these parts at home.
A note on vinegar: Although vinegar is sometimes considered a cheap, DIY descaler, avoid it. It is not a good idea to select vinegar to descale your espresso machine as it is very acidic and the acid can cause damage to the internal elements of a coffee machine.
It’s best to go with a citric acid or lactic acid based descaler as other formulas such as those that use vinegar have a strong odour. The odour of vinegar can be difficult to wash out of the machine and this will not only cause problems in the coffee maker but will also impact the smell and taste of your drinks.
Go for products that are odourless and make sure you rinse the machine a few times before you make a coffee after using a machine descaler.
Type Of Descaler
Descaler comes in many forms including powder, tablets and liquid. They each do the same job but the easiest option is liquid as this doesn’t need to be dissolved in water before using.
This makes it quicker and easier to use but make sure you check the instructions as the liquid descaler sometimes needs to be diluted in water before use.
Although liquids are more convenient to use, tablets and powder descalers are much easier to store as they take up less space and often have a longer shelf life.
There is branded descaler available for most of the big brand coffee makers, the good thing about this option is that you know the solution will work effectively with your specific machine.
There is a wide range of universal descalers available too, just make sure they have been formulated for use with coffee machines.
Descaling solution is available in a range of sizes from single-use kits to descaler that can be used for the next 4+ times descaling is required.
If you get a lot of use from your espresso maker then it may be worth buying a descaler that has enough solution for the next few times you need to descale.
This tends to be more cost-effective and will save you time too.
Signs Your Espresso Machine Needs To Be Descaled
Some espresso machines have an alert that lets you know when descaling is required. If yours doesn’t then you may want to keep an eye out for signs of a limescale buildup, these include:
- Increased brewing time
- Weak/ off-tasting coffee
- Tepid water temperature when it should be hot water
- Slow water flow
Descaling Vs Cleaning
Descaling and cleaning are two very different things. Descaling involves using chemicals to remove built-up minerals, scale and residue while cleaning is dealing with dirt and grime that can be wiped away.
Some kits come with descaler and cleaning tablets, these are handy as they help you give your espresso machine a thorough clean handling both the scale and any residue or dirt that may be inside your machine’s system.
How To Avoid Limescale Buildup
Use filtered water – the quality of the water being used in the machine makes a big difference when it comes to the build-up of scale. Using a water filter is an easy way for you to improve the water you are using and prevent scale from forming.
Have a regular descaling routine – rather than waiting for the scale to build up before doing something about it have a routine of descaling your espresso machine to prevent it from being a problem at all. If you descale your espresso machine every 2-3 months this can help keep it in top condition and will handle any limescale quicker and more effectively.
Coffee Machine Descaler FAQ
How Often Should I Descale My Coffee Machine?
As a rough guide, a home coffee machine needs to be descaled every 3-6 months but it really depends on several factors including the quality of the water you are using and how much coffee is being made with the machine each day.