I have often talked about the descaling process of coffee machines, and I produced descaling guides for all brands. However, once we realise that we need to descale our coffee machine, one question is how often we should carry out the process.
Descaling is very important for two fundamental reasons:
- To maintain the health of our coffee machine and extend its useful life. Limescale clogs the pipes and components of our coffee maker until it stops working.
- To improve the coffee flavour. When water passes through pipes full of limescale, it loses pressure and picks up flavours from impurities, resulting in poor-quality coffees.
If you are convinced that you should descale regularly, I will now tell you how often you should do it, depending on the type of coffee machine, its use and where you live. Yes, where you live does influence the frequency of descaling, you will see.
How your choice of water impacts your coffee machine’s calcification
Calcification in your coffee machine results from the gradual deposition of mineral salts from the water you use, whether from the tap or bottled sources. These mineral salts benefit humans, but when left to accumulate over time inside the machine, they can form a crust that may cause clogging.
The greater the use, the greater the calcification
Calcification occurs more frequently in coffee machines that circulate more water. In other words, if you make more coffees, more limescale will be deposited in the machine. For instance, if you prepare five coffees instead of one, the amount of limescale will increase by five times.
The greater the water hardness, the greater the calcification
The amount of limescale also depends on the mineral content of the water. Water can be classified as hard or soft depending on its mineral composition. You can check online to determine the type of water that flows from your tap or the one you purchase to know whether it is harder or softer.
Frequency of descaling according to use and water hardness
We’ve created a list of descaling frequencies based on the number of coffees you prepare and the water hardness in your city. Water hardness measures are classified as follows:
- Soft water contains 0 to 60 mg/L of calcium carbonate
- Moderately hard water contains 61 to 120 mg/L
- Hard water contains 121 to 180 mg/L
- Very hard water contains more than 180 mg/L of calcium carbonate.
➡️ To simplify the study on the frequency of decalcification, soft water is defined as water containing 0 to 120 mg/L and hard water as water containing more than 121 mg/L of calcium carbonate.
Note: It’s important to note that you should descale your coffee machine immediately if it has a colour code on the power light, a display, or other means indicating the need for descaling.
|Coffee per day||Type of water||Frecuency of descaling|
|One coffee||Soft water||2 Years|
|One coffee||Hard water||1 Year|
|Two Coffee||Soft water||1 Year|
|Two Coffee||Hard water||6 Months|
|Three+ Coffee||Soft water||6 Months|
|Three+ Coffee||Hard water||3 Months|
With all this information, you won’t have an excuse for not knowing when to descale your coffee machine. So, now that you know, invest in a quality coffee machine descaler and start taking action. Your coffee maker and taste buds will thank you.
The table provided above is a general reference guide. Be sure to adjust the descaling frequency according to your specific needs.
For example, if your water is of medium hardness, you may need to descale every 4-5 months if you use your machine frequently or every nine months if you don’t use it daily. Always check your coffee machine’s instructions for recommended descaling intervals.