Ever heard about limescale?

As a coffee machine service centre, we often service machines with a heavy build-up of limescale. Most of the time our customers are completely shocked once we show them what we find inside their machine’s boiler and water lines. This is simply because people don’t know how to spot the signs and what they can do to minimise limescale.   

What is limescale

Scientifically, limescale is simply a deposit of calcium and other excess elements found in water which builds up and separates from the water under high heat. When the water evaporates the heavy trace elements do not and stick to internal coffee machine parts. 

How is it caused

Limescale is ultimately a high concentration of trace elements including minerals such as calcium and magnesium, they are absorbed by water as they travel from water bores, pipes and ultimately into our coffee machines. Once the water is heated by the coffee machines element the water evaporates leaving the heavy trace elements. This is what we know as the chalky white crusty substance found left over.

How it affects coffee

Limescale builds up inside the coffee machine in any location water travels through, over time the build-up can become excessive and limit the performance of particular components, particularly the heater element, solenoids and group head. This results in your machine not achieving optimum temperature or desired water flow. Another issue is the actual taste of your coffee. These unwanted elements often have a ‘bitter’ or ‘metallic’ taste, so when your coffee is extracting these unpleasant trace flavours are found in your beverage.

Can It be fixed?

The simple answer is yes, the long answer is no. The issue with Limescale is once it begins building up limescale sticks to limescale and you end up having an affected machine including the boiler, lines and group heads. Manufactures recommend products such as cafetto which is a great way to prevent and remove minor amounts of limescale within your espresso machine, but this is not as effective with large scale prolonged build ups. Once this has happened, you’ll require a coffee machine technician to spend a few hours disassembling the entire machine and checking over components, once they have found the affected components they can either go and remove limescale which is difficult in particular components or simply use a new component. 

How can it be stopped?

You are never going to fully remove trace elements from table water, instead using a suitable water filter depending on your location and region in Australia. By doing so the filter will remove almost all of the elements found in limescale ensuring your machine has a better life.

Should you require replacement components for your machine or a service on your espresso machine we are able to assist by contact us here.