How to descale your coffee pod machine and why is descaling important?

Before we get into the discussion of how to descale your coffee pod machine and explain why it’s important, the first question to be answered is what does “descaling” mean?

Defining the term “Descale”:

A cup of coffee is approximately 99% water, and all water contains minerals (such as calcium and magnesium), passing through the pod machine.

These minerals build up and accumulate over time on all machine parts where water makes contact.  Descaling is the process of removing this mineral build up.

It’s also important to note, in certain regions, water can comprise a higher percentage of these minerals (known as “hard” water – see image below).

In Australia, Victoria and Tasmania have the softest water, while Queensland and South Australia have some of the hardest.

Why descaling is important:

Mineral build up can have a negative impact on a coffee pod machine in three ways…

#1.  Mineral build up affects the machine’s ability to heat the water reach the right temperatures. The wrong water temperature negatively influences the extraction of coffee flavour.

Click here to read our article on the role a coffee pod machine plays in creating great coffee.

#2.  Mineral build up can clog the coffee pod machine and restrict water flow, resulting in the inadequate volume of water pumping through the coffee pod.  This also negatively influences the extraction of flavours and the ability to provide the desired strength of coffee

Click here to read our article on what coffee pod intensity ratings mean to you.

#3.  Descaling extends the life of your machine.

Because the above issues are gradual, you could be drinking less potent and flavourful coffee without knowing it.

Point 3 (above) about extending the life of the coffee pod machine is important.  Many coffee pod machine brands provide notices on the packaging about the risk of voiding warranty if descaling is not conducted regularly.

This from Nespresso® on descaling their coffee pod machines…

In order to keep your Nespresso® machine in optimal condition, you are advised to descale your machine after every 600 capsules or at least 1 time a year.  The harder the water in the area where you live is, the more often you need to descale your Nespresso® machine.

Water residue and limescale can accumulate within the system. It may not only affect the temperature, flow and quality of your espressos but it may also shorten the life of your machine.

If you use your machine daily, we at Vibe Coffee recommend you descale your coffee pod machine every three months.

How to descale your coffee pod machine:

The good news is, of all the types of coffee machines available in the market (barista, filter, pod etc…), coffee pod machines are the easiest to descale.  Below is a simple summary of the 5 steps needed to descale your coffee pod machine. 

Step 1:  Create the right cleaning liquid or descaling solution:   

There are two options when it comes to using the right descaling cleaning solution…

  1. Purchasing a descaling solution (there are many choices in the market)
  2. Go “DIY” and make your own descaling solution

The DIY version is just as effective and is comprised of an equal mix of water and distilled vinegar:  a ration of 1:1.

The descaling process is the same regardless of which option you choose.

Step 2:  Preparing the machine for descaling:

Remove all old coffee pods from the machine as well as the detachable drip tray (where your coffee mug sits) from your coffee pod machine.

Where the drip tray normally sits, replace with a small bowl to catch all the water about to come out.

Step 3:  Pumping the descaling solution through the coffee pod machine:

Pour the descaling solution into the water reservoir and pump it through the machine (the “water reservoir” is the canister that holds the water which is fed into the coffee pod machine).

Many coffee pod machines have a “descale mode” but it may not be obvious.   If “descale mode” is too hard to find, simply select the button used to create a cup of coffee until the water reservoir is emptied.

The “descale mode” is a setting which keeps the machine running for an extended period.

Step 4:  Repeat:

Once the water reservoir has been emptied into the bowl, take that same descale solution (now in the bowl) and pour it back into the reservoir to repeat the process one more time.

Repeating Step 3 is optional but recommended.

Step 5:  Rinse the coffee pod machine:

Once the descaling solution is pumped through the machine a second time, pour the solution into the sink and rinse the water reservoir to remove all traces of the solution.

Then fill up the water reservoir with fresh water and pump the entire contents of the reservoir through the machine.

This is done to remove all remnants of the “descaling solution” out of the machine.  To be certain, run this step a second time.

The Final Word:

If you think your coffee is gradually tasting weaker or less flavourful, your coffee pod machine probably needs descaling.  Don’t be fooled by the marketing behind trying to make you purchase descaling solution, even though it’s inexpensive, the DIY option is just as effective.

Save your money and put it towards your next Vibe Coffee order🙂

We created this information because our customers keep asking us this question.  If you have a question which needs answering, reach out!  We would love to hear from you.

May your good vibes keep on coming.

Great Vibes straight to your inbox...

Be notified when we create new blends for you to test, have exclusive offers and much more