How-To Descale a Breville espresso machine?

Descaling a Breville espresso machine isn’t hard. But you have to do it right. And if you follow the official Breville user-manual, you might get stuck.

I’ll tell you how to descale your Breville espresso machine the right way.

To keep your Breville espresso machine performing its best and avoid damage from mineral deposits, regular descaling is essential – even if you use a waterfilter.

Descaling removes built-up limescale and calcium inside the internal components.

It differs from ‘regular’ cleaning: at Breville cleaning is with cleaningtablets, descaling with powder.

For my advise on the tablets, read about cleaning a Breville espresso machine.

How-To Descale your Breville espresso machine – Step 1

At first, you’ll need some tools to descale your Breville. These tools are often inside the box:

cleaning and descaling tools Breville

To decalcify your Breville coffee maker, you’ll need the decalcifier:

Breville Descaler

To get started, pour the descaling agent into 1 liter cold water – not into the water tank!

descaling agent into 1 liter cold water

Then wait a while for it to dissipate. There may be some left; it’s not the end of the world.

Mix it with fresh water in the water tank. It should be filled to the maximum: 2 liters…

filling the watertank

I know, I overdid it. Now comes the “hard” part: starting the descaling program.

Step 2: Starting the descaling program

To start the Breville descaling program hold the 2 CUP and Power button at the same time.

It took me a few tries before I got it right.

Make sure that the machine is OFF, then press the buttons.

Starting the descaling program

If you have the Breville Barista Express (or Impress) or the Bambino-version, this guide is perfect for you.

With the Barista Touch Impress-version, the machine does everything for you.

Once you activated the descaling program, this is what it should look like:

Breville espresso descaling activated

The Power + 1 CUP + Clean Me buttons should light up.

Step 3: Descale espresso, steam, hot water

To start descaling the coffee departement, make sure to have something under the coffee exit to prevent leaking all over your table or kitchen.

Descale by pressing the 1 CUP-button.

start descaling the coffee-compartiment Breville Barista Express

This takes about 25 seconds, after this make sure to put the steam wand into the tray you’re using.

Descaling steam wand

You’ll see that the steam wand now produces steam:

Steam wand produces steam descaling

This won’t take long: about 13 seconds. After this, put the switch to hot water:

Breville Barista Express descaling hot water

Now, hot water comes out of the Breville. This takes about 8 seconds.

After completing the above steps, your water tank should be half from full. Mine wasn’t, but I overloaded a bit.

Step 4: Finish descaling your Breville espresso maker

To finish descaling your Breville espresso maker, repeat the steps from descaling the coffee to steam wand and hot water until the water tank is empty.

After repeating the steps, clean the water tank and fill with fresh cold water.

For the last time, repeat the steps until the tank is empty again. Make sure to do this!

After this, you’re done descaling the Breville espresso machine.

Press the Power-button to exit descaling mode.

Preventing Scale Buildup in Breville Machines

Preventing scale accumulation through proactive measures minimizes required descaling frequency:

Install a Breville Water Filter

Breville water filters attach to the tank inlet valve to reduce limescale entering your machine. Change the filter cartridge every 2-3 months.

Use Purified or Bottled Water

ForZero Water or distilled water have minimal mineral content. Or use high-quality bottled water instead of directly from the tap.

Descale Regularly

Don’t allow scale to proliferate. Descale as frequently as recommended based on your machine model and water hardness.

Remove and Clean Parts

Regularly remove parts like the shower screen and soak in descaling solution to prevent mineral buildup internally.

Run Rinse Cycles

Heat up the machine when not in use and run hot water rinse cycles to flush the internal components.

Wipe Exterior Surfaces

Wipe down exterior stainless steel surfaces with a microfiber cloth to prevent calcium spots on the housing.

With proactive measures, you can dramatically reduce limescale accumulation inside your Breville espresso machine. Limiting scale buildup also optimizes the flavor of your shots.

Maintaining your machine through periodic descaling and preventative care ensures it runs optimally so you can continue brewing cafe-quality espresso and espresso-based drinks at home.

Descaling Tips for All Breville Espresso Machines

While descaling procedures differ slightly across models, some general best practices apply:

  • Always use fresh bottled or filtered water for rinsing – never tap water. This prevents re-introducing minerals.
  • Only use descaling agents formulated for home espresso machines, never vinegar or citric acid cleaners. Only use Breville’s recommended descaling powder.
  • Monitor the waste container and empty when nearing full to prevent overflow.
  • For severe scale buildup, consider descaling twice in a row for a more thorough cleanse.
  • Backflush with plain water before pulling shots again to rinse any residual solution.
  • Always store descaler tightly sealed and out of reach of children.

Following the simple descaling procedures for your model every 2-3 months keeps your Breville machine running in peak form for years.

Common Breville Descaling Mistakes to Avoid

It’s important to adhere to the descaling instructions for your specific Breville espresso machine model. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Not adding the correctly proportioned amount of descaling powder – Too little won’t dissolve all the scale, too much can damage components.
  • Failure to run water through before descaling when starting from cold – Can crack the boiler if descaler makes sudden contact.
  • Inadequate rinsing after descaling – Residual descaler left inside can impart an unpleasant flavor.
  • Using acids like vinegar not formulated for espresso machines. Can corrode stainless steel components.
  • Immersing the machine in water or solution – Descaler should only enter via the water reservoir to avoid damage.
  • Not emptying the drip tray – Solution overflow can damage counter surfaces.
  • Skipping backflushing after descaling – Purges any remaining solution inside the group head.

Descaling FAQ for Breville Espresso Machines

Here are some commonly asked questions about descaling Breville espresso makers:

How do I know when it’s time to descale?

Warning signs include decreased flow, loss of steam pressure, changes in shot taste, dripping from outlets, odd noises, and reduced heating power. Breville machines may display a descale alert on-screen or by flashing lights, this varies per model.

What is the white powder left after descaling?

The white residue after descaling is just dried mineral deposits from dissolved limescale rinsed out of your machine’s internal system. It’s harmless.

Can I pause in the middle of descaling?

It’s best to complete the descaling process through to the end rinsing once started. Pausing halfway risks residual descaler contacting coffee.

How often should descaling be done?

Descaling frequency depends on water hardness and usage. Softer water requires less often. With moderate hardness, every 2-3 months is ideal for most home machines.

Is it safe to descale with aluminum components?

Yes, Breville machines contain stainless steel boilers. The included descaling powders are specially formulated not to corrode aluminum if present.

Regular proper descaling keeps your investment protected and coffee tasting pure and robust. Refer to your machine’s manual for Breville’s exact recommended descaling procedures.

Nigel Hooijmans

Nigel Hooijmans

I have tested over 20 espresso machines and tasted hundreds of kinds of specialty coffee. What is left is a lot of knowledge which I'd like to share. On you'll read honest opinions about real products.

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