With coffee equipment, a little bit of care goes a long way
Four years ago we launched United Baristas as a Marketplace for baristas and businesses to buy and sell used coffee equipment.
The key objective was to facilitate the resale of used coffee equipment so that it would remain in use and fulfil its working life potential. The service has been embraced by the coffee community and is a success. Together we have kept hundreds of machines in use, with all the personal opportunities, commercial benefits and environmental wins that ensue.
If the original challenge was to keep machines in use, the next is to ensure that they are better maintained over their lifetime. A well maintained machine makes better coffee, is easier to work on, doesn’t break down, has lower environmental impacts, and provides greater economic benefit.
So today we open another chapter in the United Baristas journey with the launch of the all-new United Baristas Workshop, a service to resource the coffee community with better access to information on maintaining and servicing coffee equipment.
The challenge before us and the coffee industry is great. There are now thousands of machines in use, which represents a significant financial investment, but many are in a relatively poor state of repair. The reasons are manifold and complex. But we’re going to focus in on three aspects:
All coffee equipment, and more specifically espresso machines, require regular cleaning and maintenance. It is envisaged by equipment manufacturers that a baseline level of service will be carried out in situ by staff members. Regular cleaning and maintained reduces wear and prevents that build up of deposits that lead to more serious issues. In practice cleaning and maintenance occurs less often than it should because there is often inadequate knowledge by both proprietors and staff.
The types of tasks in this category primarily include general daily, weekly or monthly cleaning. For example, cleaning steam wands, group heads, and burrs, as well as replacing water filters. By sharing some some basic knowhow and a little enthusiasm, we can teach and encourage baristas and businesses to lift the quality of their coffee and protect the value of these assets.
There are a range of service tasks that need to be regularly undertaken by someone with sufficient training, whether internal or contracted out. All too often internal processes are either not put in place or implemented. Neglect in the short-term has relatively limited impacts, but over the medium term it leads to higher service costs and breakdowns.
These types of tasks are often called a front-end service and include basic tasks such as replacing group head seals and burrs. They require general tools, the right parts, and some specific skills. Again, by putting these actions on the agenda, provide the necessary resources (guides, access to parts etc), we want help baristas and businesses to get the best – and the most – out of their equipment.
Espresso machines need periodic comprehensive servicing. This usually needs to be undertaking bi-annually or annually in a workshop by a trained professional.
These types of tasks include the replacement of values, cleaning of boilers, repair, and often require specialty skills, tools, and a dedicated facility. Espresso machines also require an annual boiler inspection by a qualified individual.
By connecting baristas and businesses with accredited, local engineers we want to encourage preemptive maintenance to protect the value of assets, prevent loss of revenue and continue to see the coffee served to consumer lift in quality.
A comprehensive resource
We understand that part of the challenge of keeping equipment in good working order is understanding all the tasks that need to occur, and having a plan for both who and when they’ll be performed. A specific regime depends on the equipment, its age, intensity of use, water quality, and barista care, meaning most shops need to create site-specific maintenance procedures.
United Baristas Workshop draws together information, advice, feedback and contacts from across the coffee industry so baristas and business can better maintain their equipment. Whether you need to know how to clean the burrs, calibrate your volumetrics, are looking for a part number, or get an item serviced or repairs, United Baristas Workshop can help you.
Share your knowledge
Share your knowhow on Workshop whether you are a barista, engineer, reseller, or brand. Anyone can add an item of equipment to the site, provide feedback on the advice on offer, and submit additional information, photos and videos that might be useful for the coffee community. So that the information is up-to-date and accurate, the content is curated and moderated by both the team at United Baristas and the coffee equipment brands and their networks.
Quick start links
• Find out how to add your service business to Workshop
• Find out how to obtain admin rights over your equipment
Distributors and Parts Suppliers
• Find out how to add your business, and – if applicable – gain admin rights for relevant coffee equipment
• Find out how to add your business
If you have relevant expertise, insights or resources, add them to Workshop now.
Our objectives for United Baristas Workshop is to see the the continued lift coffee quality and a reduction in our environmental impacts through the better servicing and maintaining coffee equipment. We hope you find the all-new Workshop a valuable service and look forward to seeing the coffee industry embrace this latest initiative. If there’s one thing United Baristas community have shown us to date, it that together we can achieve more.