3. SERVICING & SUPPORT

Installation, support and training:

An espresso machine is a very complex appliance integrating electrical, hydraulic, mechanical and electronic systems to create and manage extremely high pressures, temperatures and voltage. Many “do-it-yourself” Baristas who think they can install and repair their own equipment after watching how-to videos run a very serious risk of damage and/or injury.

Choose a local dealer with an established reputation for excellent customer service along with telephone, in-store and on-site support before and after the sale. Be sure they can provide pre-installation consulting and a written commitment to install and service your machine. Make sure they can provide leasing optionsand provide extensive complimentary on-site Barista Training for your key staff.

Glossary of Terms

– a device that reduces the dissolved minerals present in the water before it enters your machine, thus preventing build-up (known as “scale”) inside your boiler, pipes, valves and outlets; traditional softeners required monthly regeneration with salt but the new disposable cartridges simply need to be replaced once or twice per year.

…rebuilding a machine”
– due to the common problem of scale build-up, properly refurbishing an espresso machine requires completely dismantling all the parts and soaking the metal components in a special solution to dissolve the build-up; they will also replace numerous gaskets and damaged and worn-out parts, check all the wiring and electronics, then rebuild the machine.

“lifespan of a quality espresso machine”– a quality machine that is properly maintained (by the Baristas AND a Technician) will continue to make great product up to 10 years under heavy use or 20 years under lighter use, and sometimes longer; many busy establishments will trade-in/upgrade more regularly; in Europe a restaurant or cafe owner will usually buy a new machine every 3 to 5 years.

Water hardness:

Espresso machines require an in-line water softener to prevent costly “scale” damage. The water softener is more important in areas where water hardness is over 4 GPG (grains per gallon). According to the Canadian Water Quality Association, Metropolitan Toronto has a water hardness reading of 7.5 GPG, whereas Brampton (a suburb of Toronto) is 24 GPG. Outlying cities and towns can be even higher, with Kitchener and Port Elgin at an astonishing 40 GPG!

Insist that your dealer reviews your water hardness and coffee volumes and includes this critical piece of equipment in your installed equipment cost, and be sure to change your filter on schedule.

Buying a used espresso machine:

Many operators don’t maintain their equipment and particularly don’t change their filters or regenerate their softeners; if you try to save a few thousand dollars on a “great deal” you may find the machine will stop working completely after a short time, requiring thousands of dollars to repair. Unlike a car which can often be resold with minimal work, a reputable espresso machine dealer will spend up to 20 hoursrefurbishing or “rebuilding” a machine before re-selling it with a full one-year warranty.

Service & warranty:

Although it requires a fairly significant investment, thelifespan of a quality espresso machine is from 10 to 20 years if you maintain it properly. Buy only from a local dealer with a significant service reputation who employs full-time technicians with experience and factory-training. And ask about a service contract to level your maintenance costs.

Long-term availability of parts is essential (since espresso machine parts are not interchangeable), and be sure your dealer can guarantee you quick response in case of emergencies. A one-year on-site warranty is the industry standard, though some manufacturers such as Nuova Simonelli and Victoria Arduino offer two years on parts. Regular maintenance – both by your staff as well as by a trained technician – is the key to preserving your investment and guaranteeing the longevity and profitability of your machine.