How To Descale Breville Barista Express: A Complete Guide

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Descale Breville Barista Express: A Complete Guide

The water used to brew espresso causes mineral buildup inside your Breville Barista Express machine. While not toxic, this buildup can impact the machine’s water flow, temperature and performance. It can affect the taste of your shot of espresso too. Descaling is a deep machine cleaning that removes mineral deposits to extend the life of your machine. Keep reading to find instructions on how to descale Breville Barista Express espresso machines using a commercial descaling solution.

How Often To Descale Breville Barista Express

In addition to regular cleaning, a good rule of thumb is that a you should descale your Barista Express every 3 months. The Breville Barista Express will show a solid light on next to the word CLEAN when it is time to descale. If the light is flashing, you only need to run a cleaning cycle.

Descale Breville Barista Express When The Clean Light Is On And Solid
Breville Barista Express Solid Clean Light Means It Is Time To Descale

You need to descale every 3 months whether you are using filtered water, bottled water or tap water with a low to normal mineral count. You will need to clean your machine more often if your tap has “hard water.” That means it contains higher level of minerals. If you are not sure about the level of minerals in your water, you can always get a low-cost water testing kit.

You should also descale if you are having any of these issues with your Breville Barista Express:

  • Produces a lot of steam while brewing
  • Runs for extended periods with only steam output
  • Does not use the full amount of water in the water tank
  • Brews slowly

Can You Descale Breville Barista Express With Vinegar?

You should not use water and vinegar solution to clean Breville Barista Express machines. White vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid. This type of acid can wear down stainless steel and cause your machine to leak. Plus, vinegar cannot remove oils left by used espresso beans.

Instead, the best way to deep clean your espresso maker is with one of the below commercial cleaning solutions. They have safe and effective types of acids that won’t damage your machine. You may also want to stock up on cleaning tablets for regular care.

Breville Barista Express Descaling Solutions

Essential Values

Sale
Essential Values Universal Descaling Solution for Keurig
  • Best-value descaler compatible with all coffee makers
  • Uses gentle and odorless citric acid
  • Made in the USA

Essential Values has a citric acid solution that is both odorless and powerful. Each bottle is good for two uses. A two pack will provide four doses. That’s a year supply if you descale your machine every three months. 

Impresa

Impresa Universal Descaler (2 Pack)
  • Great-value descaler compatible with all coffee makers
  • Uses gentle citric and sulfamic acids
  • Made in the USA

The Impresa descaler is a top selling descaler. It uses citric and sulfamic acids. Both are gentle on metal and aluminum. A pack has two bottles, each enough for two uses.

Urnex Dezcal Powder Descaler

Urnex Dezcal Coffee and Espresso Machine Descaler Activated Scale Remover – 900g Bottle – Fast Effective Descaling Of Boilers and Heating Elements Faucets Spray Heads Milk Systems
  • UNIVERSALLY COMPATIBLE DESCALER – This product can be used to descale Keurig machines, as well as Nespresso, Breville, Jura, Delonghi and other drip coffee makers, espresso machines, superautomatics, and kettles
  • BETTER THAN VINEGAR – This descaler is more effective at removing limescale than vinegar, works faster than vinegar, and is odorless

The Urnex Powder is a descaler that you can use to clean your Breville espresso machine. It is odorless and effective. Add 1 oz of the powder to 32 oz of hot water (a quarter gallon of water) to create a solution.

How To Descale Breville Barista Express

You’ll want to descale your Barista Express when the CLEAN / DESCALE light is lit and steady. If it is flashing you only need to run a cleaning cycle. For descaling, following these steps. Note that you should not let more than five minutes pass in between each step. If you do, the Barista Express will shut off and you’ll need to restart the process from step 2.

Prepare The Machine

  1. Empty the water tank. Add descaling solution and fresh water to the tank according the instructions on your solution’s packaging.
  2. To enter descale mode, press and hold the 2 cup button while holding the power button at the same time. The power button will start to flash as the machine heats up. You’ll know it is ready to start the descaling process when the several lights turn on and are steady.

Run The Descale Cycles

  1. First you will need to descale the coffee component. Press the 1 cup button. The button will start flashing for about 25 seconds. It will go steady once the process is complete.
  2. To descale the steam and hot water components, turn the steam dial right towards the steam icon. The first step will take about 13 seconds. When done, turn the dial to the left to the water drop icon. This will take 8 seconds to finish.
  3. At this point, there should be about half a liter of of the water-solution mix left in your tank. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to empty the solution in the tank.

Rinse The Machine

  1. Remove the water tank and rinse it thoroughly. Refill it to the max line with fresh cold water. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to rinse the machine and remove any residue.
  2. Press the power button to quit descaling.

You may also see pages 24 and 25 of your Breville user manual for these descale instructions.

How To Descale Breville Barista Express

Descaling Breville Barista Express Impress

Note that you should not let more than five minutes pass in between each step. If you do, the Barista Express Impress will shut off and you’ll need to restart the process from step 2.

Prepare The Machine

  • Empty the water tank. Add descaling solution and fresh water to the tank according the instructions on your solution’s packaging.
  • While the Barista Express Impress is off, press and hold the 2 cup button while holding the power button at the same time for five seconds. This will enter the unit into descale mode. It will start heating up and during this time the two buttons you pressed will flash. You’ll know it is ready to start descaling when the several lights turn on and are steady.

Begin Descaling

  • First you will need to descale the coffee component. Press the 2 cup button. The button will start flashing for about 25 seconds. It will go steady and the machine will beep once the process is complete.
  • To descale the steam and hot water components, turn the steam dial right towards the steam icon. The first step will take about 13 seconds. When done, turn the dial to the left to the hot water icon. This will take 8 seconds to finish.
  • At this point, there should be about half a liter of of the water-solution mix left in your tank. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to empty the solution in the tank.

Rinse

  • Remove the water tank and rinse it thoroughly. Refill it to the max line with fresh cold water (about 2 litres). Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to rinse the machine and remove any residue.
  • Press the power button to quit descaling. The lights will turn off.
Descaling Instructions for Breville Barista Express Impress

You may also see page 23 of your Breville Impress user manual for these descale instructions.

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