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Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Waste of time...  
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Bloodshot
Senior Member
Bloodshot
Joined: 13 May 2012
Posts: 2
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue May 15, 2012, 10:23pm
Subject: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Been a journeyman plumber for 10 years and recently took a job as An espresso machine mechanic. I gave my notice and told my boss the position I took. He told me I was an absolute moron and was a disgrace to the trade if I couldn't learn the in's and outs of these machines within a week. Mind you, my starting wage is crap compared to what it was but I'd like to think there's a future in my decision ie: Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Second Cup, and a zillion other places with brewing equipment that needs servicing. Not only that but these things seem to be mini boiler systems with controls and the like that not just any bonehead can piss around with. I'm sticking by my guns with my decision but any opinions from people in the know would be appreciated. Cheers and much obliged.
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Stuart
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Feb 2012
Posts: 113
Location: TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Breville Dual Boiler
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Air Crazy popper
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 4:07am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Certainly, there's a demand -- in heavily developed urban areas. I don't know the dynamics of commercial machine maintenance, though; in another thread on this board, a would-be cafe owner was advised that the best commercial machine was the one that, in their neighborhood, had the best support program. Will you be free-lance, or attached to a company that has contracts to maintain commercial machines? If the latter, I see a continued demand for mechanics/technicians who understand the various systems that comprise espresso machines.

(the wet part is the most obvious, but superautomatics have many mechanical bits; and superautos and automatic  machines have electronics ranging from relatively straightforward to fairly complex. I was advised against the home machine I bought precisely because it appears to have "no user-serviceable parts inside" [which turns out not to be strictly true] -- keeping espresso machines running is a big job.)
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dougl4422
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Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 52
Location: Rochester Hills, MI
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Isomac Venus
Grinder: Rocky, Bodum Bistro
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 5:17am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

I also quit a long-time position to take a job as a coffee equipment service technician. I was an airbag test technician and I grew tired of office politics and poor ethics at the company I worked for. The company I hired on with is a coffee service in southeast Michigan. We worked on our own equipment in a addition to having a service contracts with a regional chain coffee shop, a few restaurants and a large restaurant supply company.

I worked on a wide variety of equipment including Bunn, Curtis, La Cimbali, Franke, Astoria, Wega, Fetco and more. I liked the variety of work and learning about all the different types of equipment. I did not like the long hours on the road and heavy lifting.  I left that position after about a year when I was offered a position with a company that concentrates on home machines. We service mostly Seaco and Delonghi, but we regularly get commercial machines as well. I still have contact with the coffee service and buy coffee from them regularly since they got their roaster running.

I think it is good to take a chance on a new opportunity. Life isn't about making a ton of money, you just need enough to pay rent and buy food. Also, If it doesn't work out for you there is always work for plumbers.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,681
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 5:52am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Well, in my humble opinion, your old boss is correct when he says there isn't a lot to learn. Espresso machines are in the lowest terms a simple temp control system and a hot water heater, that  just about covers it. There are electronics on the machines but again, fairly simple stuff in the large picture of things. Most service would be changing of mechanical parts that wear and the occasional control box or two. Regular service is cleaning, descaling, changing of gaskets and minor adjustments.

Super automatic machines require a little more know how but basic trouble shooting processes should work for most of it and from what I understand, there is very little repair of faulty boards, rather it is replacement of bad boards and parts.

The above is not to say that there is no money in it or that you will find limited chances for work, I am sure there is a need for qualified techs. Only you can decide on the job options out there, the need for techs and if it will suit you.

Good luck!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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wsikes
Senior Member
wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 6:25am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

calblacksmith Said:

Well, in my humble opinion...

Posted May 16, 2012 link

"Humble opinion?"  Are we talking about Wayne here?

 
Bill
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1stline
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1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 492
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 7:47am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Bloodshot Said:

Been a journeyman plumber for 10 years and recently took a job as An espresso machine mechanic. I gave my notice and told my boss the position I took. He told me I was an absolute moron and was a disgrace to the trade if I couldn't learn the in's and outs of these machines within a week. Mind you, my starting wage is crap compared to what it was but I'd like to think there's a future in my decision ie: Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Second Cup, and a zillion other places with brewing equipment that needs servicing. Not only that but these things seem to be mini boiler systems with controls and the like that not just any bonehead can piss around with. I'm sticking by my guns with my decision but any opinions from people in the know would be appreciated. Cheers and much obliged.

Posted May 15, 2012 link

Well, it depends. Having the skills of only a plumber with no electrical aptitude, then it would take much longer. If you had both, it could be done in as little as a month. This is for the basic or traditional machines with very little electronics. Once you add a complexity of different makes and models, it will take longer to learn the little different nuances between machines. Add in super automatics and no proper training, it can take months. I have been in the business 15 years, and I can say that new things are learned weekly.

In other words, there are different levels of experience brought to the table by the employee and there are different levels of needs by the employer. If you are seeking high pay similar to a unionized plumber, I would suggest you find a different career path or start your own repair business, whereby you will need to learn accounting, tax laws, customer service, pricing, marketing, and all other costs with running a business.

 
Sincerely,
Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
www.1st-line.com

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1stline
Twitter: http://twitter.com/1stline
Blog: http://1st-line.blogspot.com/
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/1stlineespresso
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stefano65
Senior Member
stefano65
Joined: 30 Oct 2004
Posts: 1,404
Location: Eugene OR
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme,Elektra,
Grinder: Vario,Macap,
Vac Pot: not
Drip: not
Roaster: not
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 8:18am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

I agree with Jim,

I've been doing it for 12 years and
there is always something different and new to deal with believe or not

and yes plenty of "technicians" that should not be touching customers machines out there.

 
Stefano Cremonesi
info@espressocare.com
www.espressocare.com
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,017
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Don't let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams.  Even when they don't work out like you want them to, they do work out.

Edited for clarity of thought.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,681
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 9:53am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

wsikes Said:

"Humble opinion?"  Are we talking about Wayne here?

Posted May 16, 2012 link

DARN RIGHT AND DON'T FORGET IT!!!!!!!!

;-P

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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CoffeeRoastersClub
Senior Member
CoffeeRoastersClub
Joined: 6 Jul 2005
Posts: 4,456
Location: Connecticut
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vintage La Pavoni Lever...
Grinder: Breville Smartgrind,...
Vac Pot: Vintage Silex, Nicro...
Drip: Technivorm Moccamaster...
Roaster: javaPRO-CRC AIR Fluid Bed...
Posted Wed May 16, 2012, 10:10am
Subject: Re: Waste of time learning to service espresso machines
 

Coffeenoobie Said:

Don't let anyone tell you tell you not to follow your dreams.  Even when they don't work out like you want them to, they do work out.

Posted May 16, 2012 link

+1.  

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com     www.KaffeeFrisch.com
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