Yes, it is very important to clean your espresso machine. Let me drop a line I often use for this exact topic. “If I was to cook you scrambled eggs in a rusty pan, would it like to eat it?”. Of course not! Imagine your group handle/basket/head was the pan, and the rust was dried up espresso.
The eggs are the new espresso, and it’s just that simple- you should clean your machine as thoroughly as possible and as often as possible or your espresso will taste like rust (stale espresso).
Espresso is a delicate beverage, there is over 900 compounds found in the beverage and 97% of the liquid is water. If you do the math that means there is no more than 1ml of soluble compounds in the 30ml drink. Such a small volume but so much going on! Stale espresso is nothing short of disgusting, and it will taint the fresh espresso with some of its stale, disgusting flavour. Your equipment should be kept in a very clean order at all times if you want to ensure no compromise for your business.
I’m to swap the word cleaning with maintaining from here, because to me, cleaning seems like a chore whereas maintenance has a more motivating ring to it. You want to maintain your equipment at all time. There is periodical maintenance, daily maintenance, weekly maintenance, monthly maintenance, quarterly maintenance, half yearly maintenance and yearly maintenance. Each one is just important as the last.
So here is your definitive guide to maintaining your coffee machine. Click here for Cleaning your espresso machine part 2