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Machine Technician

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  • Machine Technician

    A friend asked me about coffee machine service technicians. More to the point, what training do they undertake to become certified in their profession. I had no idea so I thought i would turn to the great oracle of coffee for an answer as i know I number of members/sponsors service machines. when, where, and how did you learn to do what you do?



  • #2
    Machine Technician

    I've rubbed the magic 8 ball for you...

    I've wondered the same thing in the past Paul ... wondering how exactly people get in to coffee tech roles.

    From what I can gather there's been no official pathway but that appears to be changing. Providers such as ServiceSphere (for example) appear to be heading down the path of providing formal tech training. I imagine some providers who have WT&A will end up developing some official courses - cert III and IV style courses towards this end.

    Aside from that people seem to come at it from various backgrounds and then either work it out for themselves or learn off others already in the business of doing it:
    * tinkerers
    * electricians
    * engineering
    * ex-navy

    Probably helps if you care about coffee and have customer service skills too [emoji736]


    • #3
      makes sense matth. It feels like a bit of a multi-skilled area, as in, in one sense you could use an electrician but you also need that hint of engineering. Interesting one


      • #4
        There isn't a real pathway I had been a tech for 4 years I knew nothing about coffee machines or electrical components or anything. Everything I learned was on the job. To be qualified in qld you must have 5 years of specific experience working on espresso machines which you must have a licensed contractor sign off before you can go for you restricted electrical license.


        • #5
          How I got into being a tech is a funny one. At the time I started to get into coffee ( drinking it ) I was looking at seek and there was an ad for a coffee tech. I said to myself I like coffee I might see what happens. I got interview for the job and got it at the interview [emoji23]


          • #6
            That was great timing Azza! [emoji3]

            What sort of work had you done before that? Did it help with the tech work?


            • #7
              Well yes and no. I was always a little bit handy when I was younger I did my apprenticeship as a carpenter. So I'd say that helped as I was able to be shown something and learn quick. My first year as a tech I worked or super automatic machines which was really hard. I basically got given these massive text books and was told to read haha. In my 2nd year I moved onto espresso machines and it wasn't until then everything clicked. At the start I didn't know what a solenoid was or its role or even knew how to change seals and showers but year the text books helped and then it didn't really click until my second year


              • #8
                Did an apprenticeship in brown goods (essentially self taught as my boss didn't help much) then when that ended I began a business in coffee machine repairs (was a hobby previously) combined with brown goods and other small home appliances.

                Self taught everything about all coffee machines.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by noidle22 View Post
                  Did an apprenticeship in brown goods (essentially self taught as my boss didn't help much) then when that ended I began a business in coffee machine repairs (was a hobby previously) combined with brown goods and other small home appliances.

                  Self taught everything about all coffee machines.
                  Ditto noidle22 - all self taught, however I do not do it for a living - I just fix friend's stuff if it is out of warranty (normally).

                  A bad repairer is a nightmare.

                  The only commercial exception recently was when two friend's Mahlkonig Varios failed (from two different states - West Oz and Qld). Clearly AMS botched both repairs so badly there was no point in sending them back and waiting another three+ months for a non-result. I got both of them on my bench and sorted them without using a part...

                  The West Oz one did not trigger the microswitch in the hopper properly from new. It was probably a wire shaken loose in transit. After a mere successful 250g of coffee at her home, she is a "firie" and it went out into the field with her and promptly failed to grind - the panel worked fine. Over to AMS to fix under warranty. The "returned as living West Oz one" came back 6 months later with two loose wires which meant a total fail to fire anything (not even a display). To rub salt in the wound, that one was sent over to AMS Sydney with 100% of all parts (including packing) in the original box. AMS managed to lose the manual, the plastic coffee basket (never used anyway), the warranty slip and the cautionary note about the electrics plus almost all the protective plastic wrap. They even tore the tabs off the box - dudes, they just pull out... When I contacted the local retailer here he contacted AMS and has not had a response yet (another 6 months - I give up). Back to the grinder, when I sorted the wiring out, it was so far out of calibration I doubt even a cold steep would have been within grinding range. A quick recalibrate and it is now grinding perfectly and quietly.

                  The Qld one popped its adjusters out (a 5 minute fix - see the Baratza online repair video) caused when the owner's friend "helpfully adjusted the grind when the machine was not running" (RTFM dude). Anyway, it was sent for warranty repairs to AMS. It was returned with the adjusters still failing to work. Back to AMS, only to have it returned as "unrepairable" on their second attempt. When I received it there was no sign of motor life. AMS had succeeded in jamming a piece of plastic in the actual grinding mechanism so it could not turn. Considering that was not even its original fault that is quite an achievement. When I removed said plastic tab, the grinder behaved perfectly, and is quieter than my own two Varios.

                  Considering the Vario is a Ditting commercial module "shrink wrapped" down into a domestic setting and it is not only built like a tank, it is trivially simple to repair (like most Swiss stuff) it is hard to see how AMS could have such a low level of competence. Sadly, before AMS got their greasy maulers on them, they would probably been simple to repair anyway.