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How to Descale a Breville Espresso Machine (the best way)

It can be annoying to clean your coffee maker regularly, and still have problems with the water flow and the coffee’s flavor. So the best idea is to descale your machine frequently. But what is the best descaler for a Breville espresso machine?

The best descaler for a Breville espresso machine is a solution of 25% distilled white vinegar and 75% water. This is just as effective and far more economical than using Breville’s branded descaling solution.

But it’s not the only way! And will using vinegar void your warranty?

Descaling is an often-overlooked maintenance procedure, but it should not be as it will unquestionably increase the lifespan of your espresso machine.

Frequent usage can cause chalk and limestone to get bonded to the internal working parts. And the performance of your coffee maker will also deteriorate over time if you ignore the issue of mineral deposits.

Whether you are using filtered water, distilled water, bottled water, freshwater, or tap water with a low to normal mineral content, you need to descale your appliance frequently.

If your tap contains hard water, mostly calcium and magnesium, you may need to clean your machine more frequently. This indicates that there is more mineral buildup compared to soft water.

For many of us, a good cup of coffee is everything.

And if you are a genuine coffee drinker, you undoubtedly already know how much of an influence the coffee grounds can have on this potent beverage. But as delightful as your coffee can be, water is a simple ingredient that can make all the difference.

Here, in addition to addressing your main issues with the distilled water, I also described the ideal water to make flavorful coffee. Perhaps you’re interested in learning how water affects coffee flavor; I also looked into it.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Breville espresso descale lg

What descaler does Breville recommend?

Breville recommends its proprietary descalers, Breville Descaler (powder) and the Breville Eco Liquid Descaler (liquid form), to descale your automatic espresso machine and ensure it continues to function optimally.

As a cheaper alternative, you may choose to pick them up from the company directly, but you can also opt to buy them from third-party retailers.

Descaling using these cleaning solutions is simple, irrespective of the Breville model you possess. To start, you will need to remove the water filter from the tank and then fill it with the cleaning solution. Don’t forget to place a bigger container beneath the brew head to store the descaling liquid and ensure the drip tray is empty.

You must also fill up the machine’s water tank to the descale line when attempting a descale. If you’re using descaling powder, give it time to dissolve when adding the descaling agent. Select the descale option from the main menu by navigating there. Then, press the 1 cup button when it illuminates to start the descaling cycle.

The descale cycle contains three stages: coffee, hot water, and steam.

There will be a buzzer after each step is completed. You must turn the steam dial on the right to either the hot water or steam position during the hot and steam stages. You can follow the on-screen directions to decide where it needs to be positioned.

The 1 cup button will flash to signal the start of the rinse cycle after the descale cycle is finished. Empty the water reservoir and fill it with warm water until the Max line completes the three-stage rinse procedure. When the rinse cycle is finished, the machine will return to its initial ready state. It’s that simple.

Also, remember to descale not just the main coffee maker but minor parts as well; these parts require maintenance. It’s crucial to clean important parts like the group head, bean grinder, steam wand, and other outside housing like the drip tray to guarantee your coffee maker runs consistently.

Can I use any descaler in my espresso machine?

Yes, you can. Although, the manufacturer of your coffee maker will strongly warn against using any descaling agent than its line. Sometimes they’ll even suggest that using a different descaler for your cleaning cycle would void your coffee maker’s warranty.

So, it’s up to you if you want to take that risk.

You may be certain that the manufacturer of your coffee maker has created a descaler that is entirely risk-free to use with your machine and doesn’t include any potentially hazardous acids. These descalers can either come in the form of tablets, powder, or liquids.

However, you can consider other descaling tools that are frequently less expensive, like universal descalers and citric acids.

Universal Descaling Solution

Notwithstanding the manufacturer’s recommendations, examine its contents carefully if you decide to use a universal descaler.

For example, a descaler that employs citric acid or lactic acid as its primary ingredient is preferable to one that uses potentially harmful acids like acetic acid or hydrochloric acid. These acids are kind to the environment and your machine.

Vinegar Solution

Descaling can also be done regularly using unflavored distilled white vinegar. A 25% vinegar to 75% water solution appears to be the most effective vinegar descaling treatment for espresso machines. However, manufacturers and some users advise using up to 50%.

If you use vinegar instead of descaler, the manufacturer might not fulfill a warranty claim. You can decide to avoid the use, and if you must, use it carefully since, although it removes limescale from the machine, it can be too strong and permanently harm other sections of the machine.

Citric Acid

A citric acid is an alternative option where a pure acid is needed and is utilized as a substitute for lemon juice or vinegar. This is why it is a good choice to use tablespoons of citric acid as a descaler in coffee makers. You can get citric acid at most hardware and food stores, which works well for descaling coffee makers.

When descaling a coffee maker, citric acid smells nicer than most other chemical and natural choices and won’t leave a lasting stench in the appliance after you’ve finished cleaning. But use citric acid sparingly since long-term use might result in a different form of buildup in your equipment.

Can I use Nespresso descaler in a Breville?

Yes. The Nespresso descaler can also work with a Breville machine. Regardless of your product, the descaling procedure is the same. In addition, the Nespresso descaler may assist in maintaining your coffee maker’s condition by gently removing the ground coffee residue and hard water scale.

The Nespresso descaling solution gently removes the lime scale that accumulates in your machine over time to guarantee an excellent taste of coffee like the first-day brew. Regardless of the manufacturer, its specifically formulated descaling solution keeps the machine functioning dependably.

Good coffee beans and a well-maintained espresso maker are the foundation of a fresh and perfect cup of coffee. However, it would be best to remember that every machine’s descaling procedure is different. Therefore, always adhere to the directions in the user manual that the manufacturer provides.

You may have a Keurig coffee machine and are unsure of how to go about descaling it. No need to worry, as I have you covered. 

In a recent article, I explained how to descale the Keurig coffee makers and what you can use rather than Keurig’s proprietary descalers.

Here I also explained how you could make your descaling solutions; perhaps you would prefer to. The post also covers how to get rid of the descaler taste, which you may be quite concerned about.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How often should I descale my Breville espresso machine?

You need to descale your Breville espresso machine about once a month if you have hard water to avoid bothersome buildup and maintain the freshness and intensity of your coffee. This may also range from 2–3 months if you have less experience with this water type.

Alternatively, consider descaling your coffee machine every 200 to 300 cups. This timeframe is a rough estimate for individuals who regularly use their coffee maker to brew the morning cup and need to do it more frequently. Those who don’t use their coffee makers can hold off a little longer.

Fortunately, you’ll also probably receive a descale alert automatically telling you when to start the descaling process. When it’s time, the Breville coffee machine will display a descale light next to the word “clean”.

However, you may only need to conduct a cleaning process if the LED is flashing.

This is general advice though, as your Breville coffee maker could be different from your neighbor’s model. Always consult the instructions to see what the manufacturer recommends for the descaling cycle and how frequently you should perform it.

You can search for your coffee maker’s model online if you can’t remember where you stored your manual.

Is descaling solution better than vinegar?

No. When it comes to descaling, vinegar and descaling treatments are both effective. But remember that for this task, only white vinegar will do. Save malt, apple, and balsamic vinegar for your favorite foods, as you cannot use them.

White vinegar is sometimes criticized for leaving a strong aftertaste, yet many praise it as the best way to remove limescale. Some manufacturers advise cleaning their products only with white vinegar.

Vinegar is a cheap yet effective way to descale either an automated coffee maker or a regular coffee pot. If you’re doubtful or don’t like the scent of vinegar, you may go for a descaler, but it’s a more expensive choice.

Final Thoughts

Your coffee maker is a kitchen appliance of modern wonder in its own right. You may have a cup of hot, fresh coffee in just a few minutes by adding some coffee grounds, a cup of water, and pressing a button.

However, to maintain a consistently tasty cup of coffee without harming the machine, you must remove the mineral buildup from regular water usage. Descaling is, therefore, an important activity to consider.

Your Breville espresso machine may be descaled using a variety of products.

However, ordering cleaning powder or solution straight from the manufacturer is the best way. There are also a few safe and reliable alternatives to traditional cleaning solutions if you urgently need to descale your Breville.

With the variety of different water sources available, you might also be wondering, is it ok to use distilled water to make your coffee?

Answers to that are in my recent article. I even cover the one type of water sure to potentially damage coffee makers.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Image which requires attribution:

Photo of a Breville espresso machine titled Breville Barista Express espresso machine by Marko Lazarevic is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

Jeff Campbell