How Often Should I Decalcify my Coffee Maker?

It is one of the big questions that all users ask us every time they think about the necessary maintenance process of their coffee maker. Decalcification: how often should I decalcify my coffee maker?

We are all aware of the importance of decalcifying our coffee machine to avoid the accumulation of sediments and impurities in the interior ducts, which could alter the taste or properties of our coffee. But, in reality, not many users are accustomed to doing so. As a result, we do not know how often to start the decalcification process.

In this article, we are going to give you some clues so that you know how often you must decalcify your coffee maker, regardless of the type of coffee maker you have: espresso or capsules. But then you’ll be the only one responsible for remembering to do it correctly when you touch it. That’s why you have our decalcification guides.

What does the decalcification frequency depend on?

Two factors give the time that we must allow to pass between two decalcification processes:

  • Firstly, the frequency of use of your coffee maker. A coffee machine that takes one coffee a day does not have the same wear and tear as a coffee machine that we put into operation 4 or 5 times in the same day. The more times you use your coffee machine per day, the more frequent the decalcifications should be.
  • And secondly, the hardness of the water in your city. Hard water will force us to decalcify the coffee maker more frequently than if we use soft water.

What is water hardness?

We are not going to enter scientific terminology, but we can broadly define water hardness as the number of minerals (more specifically, calcium and magnesium salts) it has in concentrates. Precisely the accumulation of calcium is where the concept and the need to decalcify comes from. It is said that water is very hard when it has a high concentration of minerals, while very soft water has a low presence of these.

Applying this concept to coffee machines is evident: the more minerals that circulate through the internal pipes of the coffee machine, the more remains and sediments will be deposited in them over time.

As is logical, the best thing for the maintenance of our coffee machine is always to use soft water. But this does not depend on us, since the most normal thing is that we use water from the tap, and we must be satisfied with the quality of this one. So, we have no choice but to decalcify the coffee maker periodically to alleviate the possible effects that water with a high concentration of minerals will have on our coffee maker.

How is the hardness of the water measured?

We have already said that tap water is usually used to prepare coffee with our domestic coffee machines. If you don’t know the hardness of the water in your city, don’t worry because in most decalcification kits, you will find, in addition to the sachets with the decalcifying product, a small plastic strip that is nothing more than a water hardness test.

They usually look like this:

Water hardness test strip

Using this test is very simple: put the plastic strip in a glass of water and wait a few seconds. When you take it out, the strip will have marked colours, or certain marks will be highlighted. You can see it in the previous picture.

It is the code by which you will know the hardness of the water you have just tested. Usually, the more marks in the test, the harder the water. Consult the instructions of your decalcifier test or kit for more information in this regard.

The final decalcification frequency table

Bearing in mind these two variables -frequency of use and hardness of water-, we can elaborate a basic reference table, which will tell us how often we should decalcify our coffee maker:

  • If you consume one coffee per day + soft water = you must decalcify every two years.
  • If you drink one coffee per day + hard water = you must decalcify every year.
  • If you consume two coffees per day + soft water = you must decalcify every year.
  • If you drink two coffees per day + hard water = you must decalcify every six months.
  • If you consume three coffees per day + soft water = you must decalcify every six months.
  • If you drink three or more coffees per day + hard water = you must decalcify every three months.

Anyway, after all these accounts, you’ll never be able to say again that you don’t know when to decalcify your coffee maker, will you? Well, from now on, you know, buy a good decalcifier for coffee machines and get to work. Your coffee maker will thank you, and your palate will be sure to thank you too.

NOTE: The above is simply a generic reference table. Adjust the times according to it. For example, if your water has a medium hardness, it will be enough to make the decalcifications every 4-5 months if you use it very often, or every nine months without consuming two coffees a day. Always consult the instructions of your coffee maker to know how often you should decalcify.