Like us the majority of the coffee and hospitality industry were forced to close down back in March and none of us had any idea how long it would last for and therefore we couldn’t prepare properly.

Now that we have some positive news that we can start getting back to some kind of normality of the 4th of July we just wanted to make sure your coffee worries are eased and you can serve your loyal customers the same great coffee they are used to.

Below is a quick guide to help you while you re-open and in the early weeks as business picks back up.

Your espresso machine is used to running every day and it might need a bit of care to get back up to working at normal capacity.

  • Has it been left on while you have been closed?
  • Any old coffee left on the shelves or behind the bar?
  • If you have remained open or are open already is your equipment running as normal and is the coffee tasting great?

Here is your guide to getting back to normal.

Your Espresso Machine

If you are not already open, it is worth getting your espresso machine switched on and running at least a couple of days before you open. This will ensure you have time to deal with any issues that may arise and give you time to call out a technician if necessary.

Before starting your machine:

  • The first thing you should do is a visual check to make sure there are no obvious signs of damage to your espresso machine. Also check that the drainage tube and water supply are connected and secure.
  • Water filter – Most manufacturers suggest that a filter that has been out of use for 4 weeks or more should be flushed with 120 litres of water or replaced. The life of a filter is up to a maximum of 12 months so it may well be time for replacement anyway. A stagnant filter is a hotspot for bacterial growth so this is an important part of your starting up checklist.

Switching on:

  • Some machines have 3 switch positions; 0, 1 and 2. If yours has this then turn the switch to 1 for a few seconds as the machine may need to autofill its boilers. Ensure there is water in the boilers by running a group head or checking the sight glass.

Then switch on fully to position 2 and allow it to come up to temperature which may take 15 to 20 minutes. Keep an eye on your machine while it heats up and look for any leaks, hissing or unusual smells. Once up to temperature:

    1. run the groups for at least 2 minutes
    2. open the steam wands for at least one minute
    3. empty approximately 2 litres of water from the hot water spout/tap

    These steps will help to clear the machine of any stagnant water and get the group heads, steam wands and boilers well flushed with clean water.

    Making coffee:

    • Before making coffee; run your daily cleaning and backflushing routine using your cleaning powder and brushes to make sure that any old coffee residue is removed. We can supply you with the same Puly Caff espresso machine cleaning powder that we use.
    • Make sure you are using fresh coffee. It is likely that you will have some coffee from pre-lockdown that was roasted more than 3 months ago. Coffee is best enjoyed within 4 weeks of roasting, after which it is becoming noticeably stale and lacking in its original flavour. Perhaps this coffee can be used for; Cold brew, Espresso sponge cake, Chocolate covered coffee beans, Training staff to brew espresso
    • If your machine has a pressure gauge, it should not read above 12 bars and should brew at around 9 bars. All group heads should be running at the same speed. If one seems slower or has no water passing through then it may be blocked or a valve may be jammed, which is most likely a job for a technician.

    Your Coffee Grinders

    Most grinders will be absolutely fine after not being used for a period of weeks or months.

    That being said, there are a few things you should do regularly to maintain your grinder;

    • was there old coffee left sitting in the hopper during the time you were closed?
    • has your grinder had a service or a deep clean in the last 12 months?

    It is always worth spending a little time giving your grinder some care to ensure that it continues to run smoothly. We clean our grinders daily as ground coffee can build up very quickly inside and behind the burrs. You’ve seen the coffee dust accumulate on every surface, imagine the inside of the grinder.

    The best and most thorough way to clean a grinder is to dismantle it and brush away all the old coffee grounds from every part of the inside of the grinder. This takes a bit of experience and skill to then reassemble and align the burrs so it is not suitable for everyone.

    We are able to supply you with Puly Grind crystals, which make cleaning your grinder very easy. The whole process takes about one minute and it is likely to make a noticeable difference to your grinder. You simply;

    • grind through any beans left in the grind chamber
    • empty one sachet of Puly Grind into the grinder
    • put approximately 20 grams of coffee into the grinder
    • run the grinder until all the coffee has passed through

    These are small, food-safe starch crystals designed to absorb and coffee oils and residue from the burrs as they pass through your grinder. For a busy café this should be done at least once a week.

    If you have any problems at all or if you need to place an order for some fresh coffee, tea, cleaning products or anything else please get in touch. We are roasting coffee during the week and would love to help you get back up and running.

    Are your skills a bit rusty after the time off? Or are you just interested to learn more about brewing the perfect espresso? We have a new training facility and a team of talented staff ready to provide any training you or your staff need.

    Our office is currently open Monday to Friday 9am – 2.30pm

    Outside of these hours our answerphone service will be operational and we will come back to you the next working day. Alternatively you can always drop us a line at coffee@uecoffeeroasters.com and member of our wholesale support team will get in contact with you.