Espresso machine consumables and supplies


As mentioned in my other blogpost Cleaning/maintaining routine for espresso machines – Quan Mai’s blog ( – pulycaff is something you should always have at hands. You can buy a bottle of 900gr and forget about it as it will take years to go through it. However, if you use pulycaff a lot, this is currently the cheapest option (note that it’s not free shipping, but even with shipping cost, the price per bottle is around 165kr/900gr which is cheapest there is)

2 x PULY PLUS coffee maker cleaner 900g : Home & Kitchen

Cafiza is an alternative but Pulycaff seems to be more popular/more often recommended by the manufacturer, and it’s cheaper per gr, so I’d stick with it.

Puck screen

There are several options for puck screen with different sizes (150-200 micrometers holes) and thickness (0.2 to 1.7 millimeters).

I like this one as it feels well made compared to other cheaper options, yet not too expensive (currently only 185kr/piece).

Normcore 58.5mm Puck Strainer, Filter, Espresso Filter Holder Lower Shower Strainer, Contact Strainer, 316 Stainless Steel : Home & Kitchen

I think the other cheaper options, like this one would do the work, however you can see it has rougher edges compared to the normcore one.

NEOUZA Espresso Cup Filter 58.5mm Reusable 1.7mm Thick 150μm Stainless Steel Professional Barista Coffee Filter Mesh Plate for Espresso Filter Basket : Home & Kitchen

If you can wait, those are probably cheaper to buy from Aliexpress or temu.

It is easy for coffee grounds to stuck into the mesh puck screen, so don’t forget to clean them thoroughly. It’s a good idea to put them in the disk washing machine daily, and then soak them with pulycaff solution with other tools every week. Some suggests that you can use the ultrasonic cleaner to clean it, which sounds like a good idea, but a bit too much for yet another tool.

I am ordering a few thinner (0.1mm) puck screen and will report back.

Paper filter

Puck screen is effective – I like them a lot but except for the fact that I have to pick them up from the knockbox (not fun) and clean them thoroughly (also not fun). They also can’t be used in the bottom of the basket. The alternative solution is paper filter.

I have been using paper filters for a while and I think they are working – and once it’s in the knockbox you can forget about it.

AIEVE 400pcs Espresso Filter Paper for 58mm Filter Holders/Espresso Machines, Paper Filter Coffee Filter, Round White Replacement Paper Compatible with Sage Appliances/De’Longhi Coffee Maker Filter : Home & Kitchen

This works well, but it does not feel like a good deal for me, especially if you are making a lot of espresso.

AeroPress filter can be used as an alternative. It’s a bit tricky as it’s 63.5mm instead of 58mm, but it’s cheap and of good quality. What I usually do is to put a paper in the basket and pour some hot water to make it wet, soft, and fits nicely to the bottom.

And it works

If you want to buy in bulk, this is current the best deal Paper filters Aeropress, 350 pcs. – Kahvikaveri ( . If you buy enough with other stuffs to make it free shipping, this could last you for years.

For Lelit

Lelit uses their own water softener, in 2 models – 35l and 70l. It’s much more economic to use the 70l model. The cheapest currently in Sweden is from Lelit Vattenfilter 70L, 2-pack ( (219kr for 2 pieces). Note that the resin water softener can be recharged Regenerate Softening Cartridge – Pure Water Products, LLC for reuse after 6 month.

Cleaning/maintaining routine for espresso machines

“There is no too clean espresso machine”. That is my favorite quote when it comes to cleaning espresso machines and equipment. When you use your machine, the coffee ground and oil build up, and it can, and will affect the taste of your espresso. Why spend thousands of USD buying fancy machines, and few dozens for each bag of specialty coffee, without getting the best out of it.

Property cleaning and maintaining machine is also helping to prolong your machine and increase your enjoyment of using it.

For every machine

Keep your group head clean after each use. There are several ways of doing that, and you can do a combination of them that you like best

  • Draw some hot water from the group head with an empty portafilter to clean any debris remaining
  • Use a paper filter or a puck screen. This prevents the coffee ground from being attached to the group head.
  • Wipe the group head with a wet cloth (preferably microfiber) after the shot
  • Use this fancy tool from Espazzola to clean it up.

You will also need to backflush – i.e. using a blind basket – a basket without holes so water can’t be escaped. It will flow back to the machine and escape through the OPV (over pressure valve), bringing with it any coffee ground and oil that is inside the group head. Each type of group head needs a different backflush schedule – more on that later.

For milk wand

  • Purge the wand before each use.
  • Wipe the wand right after frothing. Immediately if your is not non burn – i.e. it gets very hot to touch. Otherwise the milk will be baked and is very hard to remove.
  • Purge the wand as soon as possible after each froth.
  • If your milk wand has removable tip, remove it once every month to check for blockages

For equipment

If you are using a bottomless portafilter, either wipe it or rinse it under running water after each use to remove any stuck coffee ground. One quick way to check if the basket is clean is to use a household paper to wipe it. If it comes out clean, you are good. If it comes out black – you need to clean a bit more.

If you are using the normal portafilter with sprout, pop the basket out and clean both it the portafilter (if you have never done it, you might be surprised, yuck!). This is also one of the reason I’d prefer the bottomless.

Every week, soak your equipment that have been in contact with coffee ground in a detergent that can clean coffee oil. I recommend to use puly caff as it’s effective, safe (it’s NSF-certified), and cheap to use. Add 10gr of pulycaff to 1 liter of hot water, stir it well then soak your equipment for 15 minutes, then clean and rinse them thoroughly.

For Integrated/saturated group head

Those group heads can be backflush as many times as needed.

  • Once every week, use 3-4gr of pulycaff in a blind basket, and draw a few shots until the pulycaff is dissolved, then draw a few more until the water in blind basket is “clean”. Remove the blind basket, and draw a few more shots without the portafilter locked in.
  • Every 3 months, or less, open the shower head and clean it. (tip: make sure that the group head is cooled down and completely comfortable to touch. it can retain heat for a long time)
  • Change your gasket every year if it is rubber (as it degrades with heat), or every other year if it is silicone. That is just the guideline, check if it is hard and has lost its elasticity.

For E61 group head

E61 group head needs lubing with food grade silicone grease, and backflushing with pulycaff washing that away, so you need to be conservative about that. Instead:

  • Backflush with water only after the final shot of the day.
  • Backflush with pulycaff every other month, then grease your lever. If you do not, your lever will be squeaky, it will feel tight to open/close, and it will wear much faster.
  • Open your shower head every week and clean it up. Use a spoon and gently remove the shower head. If you have a hardened rubber tool to avoid scratches, even better.
  • Change your gasket every year if it is rubber (as it degrades with heat), or every other year if it is silicone. That is just the guideline, check if it is hard and has lost its elasticity.


Limescale is the #1 enemy of espresso machine, especially for dual boilers ones with the steam boiler – as the water boils, it leaves the remaining mineral behind, the TDS in the water increases, and the chance for limescale build up gets higher.

  • If your water is relatively soft, always use the water softener and change it when it is used up.
  • If your tap water is very hard, you might need some other options instead of using it directly. You might have to use distilled water + added mineral (distilled water does not taste good, and it can also be harmful with electronic component in the boilers. Certain sensors rely on the ions available in the water to work (properly).
  • Draw 200ml of water from the hot water tap to increase the water exchange, use that for heat your cup. Don’t draw too much as it can expose the heating element to the air and fry it. This ensure that your steam boiler gets fresh water every day, avoid high concentration.
  • Descale according to the manufacturer guideline. NOTE: be more cautious if one or both of your boilers are brass, as descaling chemical can cause harm to them.


Each use

Draw some water from steam boiler if you have dual boilers

Clean group head and portafilter

Wipe and purge milk wand

Wipe splashes of coffee (from channeling) or milk (from frothing) if any

Every day

For E61: backflush with water only after last pull of the day

Weekly (or every 3 days, depends on our usage)

Soak portafilter, basket etc. in pulycaff solution, and clean them thoroughly

Clean the dip tray

For saturated group head: backflush with pulycaff

For E61: remove and clean shower head

Every other week

Clean water tank with some disk soap, rinse it thoroughly

Every other month

For E61: backflush with pulycaff, then lubricate the lever

Every 3 months

For saturated group head: remove and clean the shower head

For E61 with flow control: lubricate the o rings of the flow control

Every year

Check gasket and replace if they become hard

Remove cover and check for internal for any sign of leaks

Every other year

Consider descaling if necessary