The topic “should I keep the coffee machine on or off at night?” is one of the most often asked queries that we hear from students enrolled in our Professional Barista Course. This is a reasonable issue in light of the fact that many cafés are experiencing difficult financial times; the following list will assist in illustrating the possible expenses associated in a strategy that seems to be a cost-saving approach. It is important to remember that this list only includes machines that are plumbed in and does not include domestic or tanked equipment.
1. Limescale Building Up In Machines Components
The amount of limescale in your coffee machine is the single most important element in determining how long it will last. Calcium deposits may lead to the formation of limescale. Your coffee maker draws water from a source that contains calcium, and this calcium is in the water.
As soon as the water has been still for a period of time sufficient to begin accumulating, it will begin to take action. Limescale creates several problems, including but not limited to the clogging of pipelines, the blocking of group solenoids, and mayhem to the pump of the machine.
Even though leaving your machine on during the night will still leave it idle for extended periods of time, the fact that the boiler fills itself to maintain the appropriate water level several times during the night causes the water to be stirred up, which prevents calcium from having a chance to build up to a significant level.
The components that are often damaged are not inexpensive by any means. The cost of each group solenoid is around $100, and the cost of a pump is now approximately $250. These costs are in addition to the loss of revenue that results from not having a machine that is operating.
2. Quality Of Coffee Produced
The time it takes for your machine to reach the temperature it needs to operate at is much longer than the first warm-up phase. After you turn on your machine while it is still cold, the time it takes to heat up to maximum pressure may range anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the size and specs of the device. However, it takes many additional hours for the machine to reach a temperature where all of the groups and components are at the optimum temperature for producing consistently high-quality espresso coffee. In addition to that, you need to heat the cups, which is a significant factor in determining the total temperature at which the coffee is served.
3. Risk Of Milk Contamination
One of the most costly blunders that may happen to your coffee maker is the boiler being contaminated. What exactly is it? It occurs when, instead of steam coming out of the steam wands, the milk is sucked back up the wand and taken to the boiler. There, the milk goes bad after a few days and sticks to the boiler, pipes, and valves, which means that whenever you try to steam milk, you get steam that smells, tastes, and looks like spoiled milk.
In order to fix the issue, the machine has to be taken apart piece by piece, put through something like to a sandblaster to get rid of the off-milk that has accumulated on everything, and then put back together piece by piece. a really steep price!
What exactly leads to the problem? When the barista has their jug of milk ready to stretch, turns the steam wand on to find that there is no steam as it is still cold from being turned off, leaves the wand in the jug of milk while they go away and wait for it to heat up, and as the machine heats up to temperature it creates that vacuum with the cold milk being there and sucks it up the wand, and into the boiler. In order for the milk to be sucked back up That odour is quite repugnant to the senses.
You may believe that you would never have to worry about your baristas doing anything like this, but you will be astonished to learn how often we run across situations like this, particularly in the first week back at work after the holiday break, when everyone switches their machine back on. This is hardly the most ideal way to start the new year.
Indeed, rodents like rats and mice are drawn to warm machines. On top of the group heads is a comfortable resting spot for the local rat family, as seen by the mouse poop that is circled in the photo on the right. Who knows whether they run over the glasses, takeout cups, saucers, and anything else there may be on their route to their favourite warm and cosy resting location. In order to discourage them as much as possible, make sure that the temperature in their usual resting location is too high.
5. Cost Of Heating Machine From Cold
The primary reason why people turn off the machine at night is to conserve power; however, after learning how little power the machine actually consumes when it is not being used and taking into consideration the other factors mentioned above, you may start to have second thoughts about this practise.
Even when the machine is turned on but not being used, the temperature does not remain constant throughout the process. Because it only kicks on for 20–30 seconds at a time every few minutes in order to keep the temperature at the appropriate level, it is not evenly heating for more than 80% of the time.
If the machine is cold when you turn it on, it could take up to forty-five minutes of full power for it to reach its operating temperature. In addition, you will need to preheat each cup you use if you want to serve anything of notable quality to your first customers of the day. This will cause the machine to heat more frequently in order to maintain the appropriate water temperature.