Mistakes to avoid with your new Bean to Cup machine - Gadget Victims

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Mistakes to avoid with your new Bean to Cup machine

My acquisition of a Bean to cup machine is quite recent and I've been through several beginner's mistakes which I collected here while it's fresh.

After a few weeks of careful research, I finally replaced my old Senseo for a Siemens EQ.500 Integral. 

There's good chance that my notes below will apply to the bean2cups from the other brands like  De'Longhi, Krups, Melitta, Philips...

Fully automated does not mean it won't keep you busy

No matter how well designed and fully automated these machines are, they require a few things in return: maintenance, discipline and money!

The world of coffee pod machines is relatively maintenance free. This changes totally here and failure to regularly clean and descale, with the right products, will lead to the premature end of life of your new best friend.  

While some negative reviews may be are justified, many are probably the result of lack of compliance with the maintenance and operating instructions. Being fully automated does not mean that there is no precaution and care to take. 

Mistake n°1: Not using a cup to collect the water from the cleaning process. 

The machine starts a quick cleaning process when powered on and turned off.
Many reviewers complain that the drip tray fills out quickly and that's true (for most brands and models), but dedicating a cup for collecting the cleaning process water helps mitigating that inconvenience. 

It also seems that the Siemens does not use a sensor but a simple timer to display the "Empty the drip tray" reminder. So it can actually show when there's almost no water, just waiting for you to open and close the front panel to dimissi the message. 

Mistake n°2: loading the ground coffee before turning on the machine.
A cleanup phase takes place when the machine is turned on. This also flushes any pre-loaded ground coffee away, leaving a muddy mess inside and serving a cup of hot water. 
Always load the ground coffee after the initial start up and just before selecting the espresso program. Obviously you won't do this twice

Mistake n°3: adjusting the grinder when it's not running. This one might be specific to Siemens, check your own manual, but to avoid damage, the grinding level should only be adjusted during the few seconds while the grinder is actually running! 

Mistake n°4: not keeping up with the maintenance schedule

"With great power comes great responsibility" (Peter Parker). 

Keeping an automated espresso machine comes with a periodic cost in money and time:
Some prices below are specific to my model and based on ocmpatible "generic" products or equivalent. Buying from the brand bring no benefit to you, only to them...

Water filters:
Frequency: every 2 months
Cost: ~6€/pc

Descaling tablets:
Frequency: every month or every 2 months, depends on the water hardness.
Cost ~0.5€/pc

Cleaning tablets:
Frequency every 2 months
Cost ~0.2€/pc (e.g. 100 x Cafiza Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets cost ~15€)

Regular cleaning of the brewing unit, coffee bin and drip tray, with water only should be done at least once a week. Some machines are easier than others to clean. The Siemens EQ series is particularly well designed for that.

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