Backflushing: What is it and how often should you do it?


For the true espresso and coffee lovers among us, the quality of our coffee is of the utmost importance. Every sip must be perfect. But did you know that regular maintenance of your espresso machine , such as backflushing, is essential to continue making that perfect cup of coffee? As in many articles where we discuss the maintenance of your precious coffee gear such as; How to clean a burr grinder , in this blog post we explain what exactly backflushing means, why it is so important and how often you should do it.

What is backflushing?

Backflushing is a cleaning procedure used to clean the shower screen, brew group and three-way valve of your espresso machine. This process is only possible on machines equipped with a three-way valve. After the brewing process, this valve opens and releases the water pressure that has built up against the coffee into the drip tray. By backflushing we use this pressure relief to blow cleaning agent up into the brewing components.

The cleaning agent removes old coffee oils and deposits that can make your coffee taste bitter and rancid. It also prevents coffee from accumulating on the shower screen, which can ultimately lead to blockages. If you see small, high-pressure jets of water coming out of the shower screen, you know it is clogged and restricting water flow.

How should you backflush?

  1. Remove your filter basket from the portafilter and insert a backflush disk. This can be a filter basket without holes (also called a blind basket) or a rubber disk that fits over the holes of a single baffle filter basket.
  2. Add approximately 0.5 teaspoons of backflush cleaner to the basket.
  3. Place the portafilter back into the brew group and turn on the pump.
  4. After about 20 seconds the pump becomes very quiet due to the built up pressure. When this pressure has built up (silently), turn off the pump.
  5. You will then hear a 'whoosh' sound as the cleaner is blown up into the brew group, through the three-way valve and empties into the drip tray. Repeat this process until the foam entering the drip tray is clean.
  6. Remove the handle and rinse the cleaner from the handle. Place the handle back in the machine and do a few more backflushes with no cleaner... just water.
  7. Finally, remove the handle and turn the pump on and off a few times to flush the remaining cleaner from the brew group.

Why is backflushing important?

Regularly backflushing your espresso machine ensures that your coffee retains its rich and full flavor. It not only removes residual coffee oils and deposits that can affect the taste, but also keeps your machine running efficiently and lasting longer. Think of it as an investment in your daily coffee moments.

How often should you backflush your espresso machine?

The frequency of backflushing depends on the use of your machine. For home users, it is recommended to backflush with water at least once a week and once a month with a specialized cleaning agent. With more intensive use, such as in a café, it is wise to perform this process daily.


Backflushing is a crucial part of maintaining your espresso machine, allowing you to extend the life of your machine and enjoy the perfect coffee every day. Take the time to give your machine the care it deserves; your taste buds will thank you.

Start incorporating backflushing into your routine today to extend the life of your espresso machine and ensure the quality of your coffee. Your moment of perfection depends on the care and attention you pay to your machine.

Do you find this information about coffee maintenance, espresso backflushing and coffee machine cleaning useful?