Hey there! I am glad you made your way here to COFFEE GRUMP. Full disclaimer – I am a tech guy, not a sales guy. I love coffee and I service the equipment that grinds and brews it for you. If you are looking for a ‘right fix’ not a ‘quick fix’ this is the spot for you. So, grab your cuppa’ Joe and read on…Cheers!
I’m hoping this post will serve as an easy guide to cleaning your La Specialista that you can come back and reference as you need it. I will try and make it easy and give you insight into the processes and why you need to clean and perform the maintenance on your La Specialista. Feel free to jump to the cleaning section you need, Let’s Start.
How to clean your Delonghi La Specialista:
For any day cleaning of the shell of the La Specialista, (I say any day because you don’t really need to do this every day). I would suggest you only use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the shell and dispense area.
Stay away from solvents, abrasive towels/sponges because these will scratch the beautiful, finished surfaces – and once it is scratched you can’t go back.
The only cleaner I use on the outer shell of the machine is a small amount of stainless-steel shine after I have wiped it down with the damp cloth.
The outer shell and the drip tray should be cleaned on a regular basis, I do this about once a week. The Drip tray, metal grill, espresso cup grill, and the plastic drip tray insert should be cleaned regularly to avoid staining or musty odors.
Taking out the drip tray is straight forward but I wanted to touch on taking off the espresso cup grill. Have the grill in the down position and pull the grill off from the support from the left side. It should come easy and to install just reverse the action. Go ahead, you won’t hurt it.
Delonghi does say you can put the grills and the bottom part of the drip tray in the dishwasher, but I want to warn you away from doing this. Plastic can heat up and warp; then you will be buying a new tray. A little bit of dish soap and warm water and a clean towel will always do the trick and you’re not filling up your dishwasher with quick clean items.
There are several reasons why you would clean your coffee bean hopper and the grinding area of your machine. If you use an oily bean for a long time, you might create some clogging and need to clean the grinder outlet. You also might need to clean the oils off the bean hopper or have debris in the grinder causing a jam. Cleaning the hopper also makes sense to do if you are changing coffee beans, to ensure the taste quality of the new bean.
To clean the coffee hopper and grinder, start by unplugging your machine to perform this cleaning.
You can then clean the bean hopper with it still in the machine with a clean cloth. DO NOT put water in the coffee grinder, if you want to clean the hopper while it is off the machine, I suggest you let the beans run down or out and then take the hopper off by turning it counterclockwise (the unlock position) and gently pull it up.
Oh yeah, water in your grinder will result in loss of performance or failure of the grinder.
If you remove the hopper and submerge it, make sure it is completely dry before putting back together. NOT DISHWASHER SAFE!
You have made it this far. You have exposed the upper and lower burr and can clean them. To remove the upper burr, turn the grind collar/selector counterclockwise all the way to the “REMOVE” position. This will line up with the Triangle arrow on the top panel.
At this point, you can lift the silver handle attached to the burr and pull it straight up. You now have the grinder exposed for cleaning. I highly suggest you vacuum the area out of the excess grinds in the grinder and clean the burr with a brush. Delonghi says you can use a damp cloth on the burr, but I warn against this, keep the burrs dry and only use a brush to clean them.
How to clean the grinder:
If your burr is dull and want to replace it, you can find a replacement on Amazon and install the new in seconds. If you’re having issues with your burr not working for some reason, check out the post on Delonghi burr issues we did to solve your issue.
Delonghi should have supplied a brush with your machine to remove any coffee residues from the outlet of the coffee grinder.
Pull the tamp lever forward and with a brush or dry rag clean the tamp up underneath, like as in the image below:
The small push door with the triangle arrow on it can be pushed down on the left side to expose the grind chute.
Work it out of the way and with the use of the brush clean the coffee chute as thoroughly as you can (as shown in the image below).
Let’s start this section by saying “clean your frothing wand after every use” there are no shortcuts, and you could damage your machine if you don’t clean your wand regularly. As a general rule clean it after every use run the steam into the drip tray for a second or two and then wipe clean with a rag.
To clean your Delonghi’s Milk Frother, follow these steps:
The filters need to be cleaned regularly to keep from oil build-up of coffee grind that might get by the screen. After each use, it is a good practice to rinse the cup underwater to clear any debris. The good news is the 1 and 2 cup coffee filters are designed for easy cleaning and to even be replaced and found on Amazon if needed.
The perforated filter can and should be taken apart monthly to clean it from grind buildup. To separate them into their parts, just pull the black tab on one side and separate. Clean the two pieces and ensure the single hole in the cup is free from debris. You can always stick a pin in the hole to clear and ensure the flow.
Push the screen firmly back into the cup and make sure it sits properly.
I would personally rinse and wipe out the water tank about once a month. You can even do it using a small amount of dish soap.
To clean the water tank:
Descaling is an essential process for your Delonghi’s maintenance and cleaning. If you’re having low pressure or loss of temperature, then I would suggest descaling your machine as it’s likely to fix your problem.
What I want to stress, is the requirement to descale the unit when it calls for it. It is an easy process, but you will need about 30-40 minutes to perform it. I personally take advantage of the time and reorganize a kitchen cupboard while I am descaling as you want to be near the machine while it is in descale mode.
Just one note; if it’s been 2 months or longer and the descale indicator hasn’t come on, I would perform the descale not letting too much more time go between descales.
Regular descaling is required to keep your La Specialista running at top performance. The process of descaling your machine can be a bit lengthy, so we have a separate easy-to-follow post specifically on descaling it step by step or you can watch the video above to show you how to descale it yourself.
I’m going to be crazy honest here, a very very small percentage of La Specialista owners use the cheap water filter found on Amazon. I can say this because of the number of machines I have personally repaired – and none of those machines had a filter in the tank! Does it help? Of course, it does. It will add to the quality of the drink and the longevity of your machine, and the filter lasts about two months under normal use.
How to activate/install a water filter in your Delonghi La Specialista:
Cleaning your machine is going to give it a long life, remember to do your cleaning regularly and descaling when the machine calls for it. Assuming you do each pertiuclar cleaning process when you should, you will have great tasting espresso for a very long time!
|What to clean||How often?|
|General wipe-down of the machine||Once a week|
|Cleaning the drip tray||Once a week|
|Clean the coffee hopper and grinder||Once a month|
|Cleaning the Smart tamp Control with a brush||Once a month|
|Cleaning the milk frother||Everyday and after every use|
|Cleaning out Portafilter/Cups||Once a month|
|Rinse/clean out your water tank||Once a month|
|Descaling your machine||As required by your machine|
|Install a new water filter||As required by usage, but bi-monthly is a safe bet|
Delonghi has had a drip tray insert upgrade. If you experience excess liquid underneath the drip tray you should call Delonghi to see if you qualify for the upgrade. If not, it can be purchased from Delonghi.
I’m the Coffee Grump. I’m a tech guy, not a sales guy. I love coffee, and I service the equipment that grinds and brews it for you. I have more than 25 years of experience in technical and customer service in coffee machinery, and I hope to share some of that experience with you with this website!