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Should I Turn Off My Espresso Machine at Night?
August 31st 2022
There are a couple of professional opinions on the topic of turning an espresso machine off when not in use.
Metal Expands and Contracts
The first thought is no, you should always leave your machine on, and it is perfectly safe to do this. Many believe that turning your equipment off causes stress and fatigue on the metals that make up your unit. Your machine’s metals expand when hot and contract when cold. The conclusion made is that the movement of the copper or stainless steel that make up your boiler and the other elements of your machine, weaken and break down over time. Other proponents believe it is economically prudent to power down at night.
Heat Damages Internal Gaskets
Turning your machine off when not in use will help preserve your internal O-rings and gaskets which are made up of different types of rubber and silicone. Leaving your machine on means it will work throughout the night to maintain its temperature. As your machine heats and reheats, many of these parts become dry and brittle causing them to crack which will result in water and steam leaks and earlier maintenance.
With over thirty years of experience as a commercial coffee field technician, I have never seen a machine’s metal fatigue by heat. I’ve seen it exhausted by water, minerals, and acid, but not by temperature fluctuation. Most of the equipment your technician makes available to you will come with an on/off program that they can set for you. Be aware that turning your machine off does mean you will need to provide it the time it needs to reheat.
Setting your On/Off Program
If you have an on/off program set it to turn your machine on at least sixty (60) minutes before opening or when you would like to start making beverages. Most machines will have full steam pressure within ten (10) to twenty (20) minutes, but your groups will need more time. It is very important that you allow the temperatures especially in your brew groups to stabilize to ensure proper brewing. If you do not have an on/off program on your commercial espresso machine, I would recommend that you leave your machine on when not in use. Any morning can present us with roadblocks to our hectic schedules. Knowing you will need to turn on your machine before you can open will only add unnecessary pressure to your already busy day.
by David Easley
Inland Coffee and Beverage
Deer Park, Washington
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