Anytime you want to stop in and buy a new machine is a good time for me! Seriously though, there comes a time when repairing a well-used machine is going to cost more than it’s worth.
Our records show that most commercial espresso machines will be replaced after six to eight years, although a few will last for well over a decade with proper care. Heavy use can wear moving parts and perishable gaskets more quickly. Poor maintenance procedures can also shorten the life of your equipment.
As with any restaurant equipment that uses water, softening the water will give your machine the opportunity to last as long as it should. Hard, untreated, water will plug up the boiler and pipes. This will cause brew head temperature to drop below 190 Fahrenheit, and will prevent your machine from pouring a good tasting shot.
Cleaning out the boiler and pipes can easily cost $1,000 or more. A computer replacement can also cost over $1,000. These high dollar repairs can exceed the resale value of a 6 year old machine, and may tip the scales in favor of new equipment.
If you’ve been wondering if your espresso machine is ready to be retired, give us a call and we can help you make an informed decision.
Fresh ground coffee, clean water, and a clean running espresso machine are key for a good tasting espresso-based drink.Â A few simple steps will ensure you are getting the most out of your coffee, and your equipment.
Keep espresso beans in stock for no more than 3-4 weeks and try to keep them away from heat generating appliances. Heat destroys flavor. Grind just enough beans to last a shift. Once ground, coffee quickly loses flavor. A proper grind is important.Â Rub the grounds between your thumb and forefinger.Â It should be ground fine with a slight grit.Â If it is powder with no grit it is ground too fine. Your shots should pour slowly, thick and syrupy.Â If you are not sure, ask one of our delivery or service people.
Proper machine maintenance ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ will enhance both your coffee’s flavor and your pocket book.
- After each drink empty and rinse the brew basket and clean the steam tip. During a lull clean the loose grounds under the group head with a head cleaning brush.
- At the end of the day back flush and rinse the group heads and soak the baskets in Cafiza, flush the drain tray, and clean the machine with a mild soap or a water-vinegar mix.
- Weekly: Take the steam tips off, clean holes with a pin or paper clip, and soak overnight in Cafiza. If you are not using tea water regularly drain and refill the water tank, you might want to ask a service tech about this. Soak the diffuser screens overnight in Cafiza.
- Monthly: Very important! Change the Softener.
- Yearly: Change the brewhead gaskets.
- Whenever you notice bad tasting coffee and cannot figure out why: Call a service tech.
- Leave the steam arm sitting in milk. The milk could back up into the system and create rancidity.
- Leave the basket with used grounds in the group head. The spent grounds tend to contaminate the brew head, resulting in a stale taste. You should leave an empty rinsed basket in the head. This will help the taste of the next drink because the espresso is being brewed through a warm basket which results in better flavor extraction.