Post By TOK
Post By TOK
Refurbishing a commercial machine
I was wondering if anyone could recommend some resources for how to refurbish a commercial espresso machine. Either online or books are OK.
Aside from general tools, what specialist tools are usually required for a refirb?
I am looking to get a cheap commercial single or double group to make coffee for my upcoming wedding - Or at least the next morning BBQ. I originally wanted to hire a machine but no one does that. I don't think my home machine (Bezzera BZ10) would be up to the task. There are a few cheapish old machines on Gumtree and eBay that should be up to the task after a bit of work, then I will sell it again for hopefully only a small loss.
You may be surprised what a 1 group semi commercial machine will do (as in, one like yours) when called upon for the occasional large family gathering etc.
But of course you would be checking the water reservoir and the drip tray frequently. Otherwise, depends on the number of people and... don't forget you don't need to be in a great hurry and your guests will wait while you (someone) rolls out the coffees to them.
In fact I would consider it preferable to use the machine you know is working well, than some used dog that you pick up in evil sites which as you have noted, will need sorting before you can trust it to do what you need it for...
You never know what you will need for a refurb, until it is sitting on your bench staring at you
Just my opinion.
By the way congrats on the wedding
Where are you situated? There are machines for hire....... if you know where to look.
Thanks for the advice guys. The main reason for wanting to go a commercial over my bezzera is it's small water resevoir, small drip tray and recovery time between shots and milk steaming. After pulling 4-6 shots I feel it needs a bit of time to recover.
But also I was interested in building or refirbing a machine. Just as a project to learn about rebuilding etc
I'm in Newcastle - is anyone aware of a place around Newcastle, hunter or central coast that would hire a machine out?
I worked my Bezzera Mitica on a coffee cart and it was fine, however, mine is a 2L and the BZ10 is a 1.7L. Mine held up well and the recovery time was great but might be different with the smaller boiler.
OK, now we're getting to the nitty gritty. Suggest you dont inadvertently sabotage your wedding by trying to kill 2 birds with one stone. I would leave the project for when there is no pressure to complete it and have it sorted.
Your machine will be fine. As stated you dont need to try and "speed" for this type of event, and it will recover without a problem between you making coffees and steaming milk. I dont see how it would need to be left to recover...if you roll out some coffees without trying to steam milk at the same time, it will recover as you work between one operation and the other. EG, roll out 6 coffees, then texture the milk for two cups at a time in you r 600 ml jug and complete the cups two at a time. Its machine management, there will not be a problem .
Again....you are not under pressure to perform at warp speed, your guests will wait, and your machine will be great.
Hope that helps.
I agree 100% with TOK.
My Alex Duetto II didn't skip a beat over a 3 day wedding celebration for my daughter.
The 'morning after' breakfast was the busiest, knocking out 40 coffees back to back without a break and a total of over 60.
Guests put in their orders and were more than happy to wait.
It looks like there is no-one advertising hire machines in your area but if you were to ask some of the local roasters one of them MAY
have a serviceable machine..... MAY.
There's no harm in asking...... but as TOK says ..... save yourself the headache.
Five years ago I was in a situation where I was going to be entertaining a lot, and needed a machine that could handle the load. At the time I checked out a lot of 1 group commercial machines, and found a range from $400 to $2000. Price depended upon age and condition. I looked at the mid range, as i did not want a lump of rubbish. I could also get a fully refurbished Boema at the time, with a warranty for $1200. I had a lot to choose from, including a lot of machines that needed a fair bit of work. Not wanting a project, I found a machine in excellent condition and bought it. I took it to a Boema agent as it had been in storage for a year, and he serviced it. He also confirmed my assessment that it was in very good condition. I did my research and was fortunate to get a good 1 group Boema. In total the cost was less than if I bought a cheapy that needed to be fixed up. Anyway it proved to be quite a workhorse and makes good coffee. I could plumb it in or run it off a 20L water tank.
At family gatherings, there were heaps of kids, so lots of hot chocolates, chai lattes, as well as the usual milk drinks. The boiler capacity is huge and it never missed a beat.
I have friends who also bought a similar machine, and use it in their bar, or outdoor bbq area for entertaining. They would never consider using their "kitchen" machine for large gatherings, as they could not be bothered filling up the tank, emptying the drip tray etc. Plus other people want to help and use the machine, so a commercial fits the bill. They don't want others touching their pride and joy.
If you have the space etc, it is not a bad idea. Any machine you get, remember to budget a few dollars for repairs.
Sometimes, you might get lucky and pick up a good machine that requires very little work.
2 group machines are quite cheap, but need a 15Amp socket.
+1 on TOK's suggestion to not sabotage your own wedding, a few years back when I got married I was really into homebrewing and just getting into coffee. So my wife to be and I decided to do "gourmet party bags" instead of the bomboniere? lolly bag things as our gifts to the guests that attended. I roasted a heap of coffee in my corretto in the week before the event which then got ground french press style for the majority of the guests (except the ones that I knew had their own espresso machines) and almost killed my poor little EM0480 grinder in the process. I had brewed three different beers which got served at the reception and also bottled half to go in the party bags and my wife baked her backside off making things to go in the bags and we also made our own timber table decorations. To get to the point of the story when the big day came up we were both slightly knackered from everything we had been doing in the leadup to the big day!
So I'm sure your guests won't mind if you take your time whilst you make them coffee's the next morning, I think they will be stoked that you are doing it for them.
What sort of grinder do you have? I always find it's more of a bottle neck than anything else when I'm trying to make a lot of coffees at the one time.
Good luck whichever way you go,
Thanks for the replies guys. Alright, so it seems like this may not be the best way of going about it. I'll have to look into how to keep the reservoir topped up as conveniently as possible. We will also have the chemex there, although almost no one wants long blacks when something with frothy milk is on offer. Pfft, punters.
As for the grinder, I've got an electronic Super Jolly and a Rocky for the chemex, so that shouldn't be an issue. I'm also brewing the beer, but significantly more than you Ausdb - I'm brewing about 10 20L kegs for my wedding. We thought about homemade gifts and things, but we realised how much work it would be. So aside from the Coffee and beer, we are leaving the rest up to the caterers.
But, despite persuading me to not go down the refirb path for the wedding, its still something I want to have a go at doing - so the question remains - What tools do you need and how do you learn how do it?
and if I could ask another question - Where is a good place to find an unrestored machine?
My sugggestion would be to work with the top off the machine so there is ready and easy and quick access to the water tank.
But that is not the problem....the problem is the drip tray. My suggestion there would be to arbitrarily empty it out after every 10 coffees regardless of how full it may not be. Just empty it every time it comes to mind.
After that, there are no problems...it will work well.
Re: Unrestored machine.
My suggestion is to not buy any "basket cases" (machine in bits), nor anything that actually doesnt work properly. It can be old and in need of work, but it must be seen to be working properly f this is something new to you.
EG...the last thing I think you would want is a machine that is not working properly because its had the wiring bodgied up....how would you ever work out how the wiring should go? Wiring diagrams are for the most part non existent.
If you really want to do this buy something that is being demonstrated in front of you to be working...
And so, that is my suggestion.
If you do decide you'd like to restore a commercial machine, I would also try and buy something with readily available parts and a good standing in the community. No point in getting a fixer upper that can't be fixed, or a beautiful machine that makes garbage coffee.