This may seem like a boring choice but to be honest, it shouldn't be. One of the most important things you should be doing in your day to day espresso brewing is cleaning your machine. If your machine has the ability to backflush (as in it has a 3 way solenoid valve that immediately flushes out back pressure after you brew a shot), you should have a regular stock of espresso machine cleaner to use.
This is our choice - we've been using this in our home and in the CoffeeGeek lab for years now - the Full Circle cleaner line from Urnex. Espresso machine cleaning suds are not terribly great for the environment by any stretch, but the Full Circle line is probably the most environmentally friendly cleaners you can buy today. And they work really well. It makes a great stocking stuffer for that guy who has a total man-cave of an espresso area, or even a Rancilio Silvia sitting on the kitchen counter.
Column Description Whether it's up to the minute, happening this day, this week, or in the recent past, this column's goal is to present coffee and attempts to make the experience truly culinary. You'll find short reviews about past events, interesting coffees coming on the market, new and different ways to enjoy espresso and other brewing methods, and give an insight into efforts around the globe to make coffee a truly culinary thing. Column written by Mark Prince.