Every now and then your espresso gear will need cleaning. You wash the portafilter and baskets after every use, clean the driptray at least once every few days (i hope) and wipe down the rest of the machine every so often. But what about the inside of the boiler? You can’t just reach in with a brush and start scrubbing around. Well you could but it’d be a lot more trouble than i would want to go through. Especially on a Tuesday morning before (!) i had my first espresso.
There are a lot of ways to descale, some people use vinegar (diluted or undiluted) but a common practice is to use pure citric acid. You can buy it at most drugstores, but be sure to check that it is purely citric acid and doesn’t contain anything else! A little heads-up, do not eat or drink it, get it in your eyes, open wounds or anything else because the stuff is not good for you. If you accidentally spill it on the chrome of your La Pavoni, wipe it off immediately because citric acid will damage chrome (not instantly but it certainly doesn’t do it any good)! Keep a couple of paper towels handy. Keep your workstation, tools and accessories clean.
Never let the Citric Acid solution enter the grouphead or steamwand
The inside of the grouphead on the La Pavoni Europiccola and Professional is also chrome plated. If it comes in contact with the citric acid the chrome will start chipping and flaking off. The surface inside the grouphead is where the piston and its rubber seals slide along, if that surface is damaged the seals will eventually start leaking and simply replacing them will be nothing but a temporary solution. Eventually you will have to remove the grouphead and have it re-chromed or replaced, not cheap.
Cleaning some more
Rinse and repeat
As you can see i had the portafilter with a single basket locked in the grouphead, if you don’t have a bottomless portafilter do not use it while purging the grouphead, the water will shoot out of the spout(s) and end up on the walls left (and right) of the machine, not in the kettle. The only reason i locked it in was because i wanted to flush some water through the basket that had been in a citric acid solution as well.