Tips

  • Video Roundup: 10/4/2019

    Another week, another roundup! It's time to dig in to all of our video content from this week!

    First up, a long awaited look at DeLonghi's LaSpecialista with Gail (and Jamie from DeLonghi!):

    Next, Gail showed us some handy tips & tricks for use with the Rocket Espresso Mozzafiato!

    And finally, of course, it wouldn't be Friday without a new Coffee Collaboration with Clementine:

    Check back next week for more videos!

  • Commercial Tips: Where Do I Go From Here?

    "Help….I don’t know where to go!"question mark

    We hear this plea for help from many clients that call into Seattle Coffee Gear. It's very normal to feel overwhelmed when starting a new business, with the search for the appropriate equipment adding to this stress. That's actually why Seattle Coffee Gear Commercial exists -  simply to help you understand your options and pick the right equipment for your goals!

    And what's our goal, you may ask? Well, that is to provide a VIP consultative approach to all your coffee and espresso equipment needs. Whether you're a donut shop looking to add fresh brewed coffee or an office that would like to caffeinate its employees with an espresso machine, we're here for you! So, let us talk you down a bit: "Take a breath. Pick up the phone and dial 866-372-4734. Ask for SCG Commercial." *whew* That was easy, right?

    Now, we know you might be a little nervous about making the call. We all feel this way sometimes (even us, and we deal with coffee all the time!), so we're going to take the mystery out of the process. In doing so, we hope you'll feel confident in jumping on a call with us!

    What Should I Expect?

    TelephoneOnce you've contacted us, you'll receive one-on-one consultation from a Commercial Equipment Specialist (this means they're experts on coffee and espresso equipment for businesses) that will listen to your business concept and needs. Based on what you tell us, we'll create a list of equipment that will work for your business. We'll thoroughly discuss it with you, tweak areas based on your feedback and create a customized quote.

    This consultation and follow-up is typically done over the phone. However, if you live in the Seattle area, in-person consultations are certainly available to you.

    What Do I Need to Know Before the Call?

    We really only need you to know one thing: That you want to serve coffee in your business. We're willing to bet you've already decided on this, eh? From there, we'll help work through the multitude of options that exist, finding the right equipment for your business needs that fits inside your budget.

    What Are Some Things to Consider?

    As we said before, you really only need to know that you'd like to serve coffee or espresso in your business. However, here are some additional things that could be helpful to think about, both for your business in general and for the call.

    • Where is your business located (city/state)?Coffee Menu
    • What is the coffee culture like in your area?
    • What are the ways that you can stand out from similar businesses (differentiators)?
    • What are the hours of day you will be operating and how many days per week?
    • If you're open throughout the day, do you have plans to change your offerings?
      • For example: Espresso/coffee with pastries in the morning and blended/iced espresso with sandwiches in the afternoon.

    These considerations can help us hone in on the types of equipment you will need along with their proper configurations.

    What Happens If I Order?

    You will be provided pre-installation requirements, such as electrical and plumbing needs, for the major pieces. At this point, Seattle Coffee Gear will ship the equipment to a selected service provider, or your business location, for installation preparation. Your Commercial Equipment Specialist will introduce you to the service provider and then assist with coordinating the installation.


    Do you feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders? Let SCG take some of that load off! There really is no obligation to working with us, so give us a call. We promise to listen, recommend and allow you the freedom to choose what best fits your needs. We like to call it a 'super easy, no pressure, consultative service.' That's a long name, though, so you can just call it the SCG Promise.

  • Tech Tips: Plumbing in a Rocket Home Espresso Machine

    We hear from customers quite frequently that directions for pluming in a Rocket Espresso machine are needed...desperately! We're not going to lie, we've even heard from plumbers calling in on behalf of their customers, as they are in their homes trying to complete the installation. And, on more than one occasion, we've had stories recounted of multiple hardware store trips and a fair amount of frustration.

    So we're here to set the story straight: You don't need a plumber to install your plumbed in machine. You don't need to spend hours, or really more than 10-20 minutes, on the installation. Last, but not least, you certainly don't need to suffer through sixteen trips to [insert name of your favorite hardware store]. What you do need is to watch the video below, which is a step-by-step walkthrough (with SCG's very own repair technicians!) of how to plumb in your Rocket home espresso machine!

    They'll even explain how to disconnect the hoses, in case you need to remove the machine for a repair or relocation, and show you the steps for programming the PID to accept a direct connection the R58. Espresso lovers, unite!

  • Tech Tip: Your Boiler on Milk

    When it comes to suffering home espresso machines, our repair technicians have seen it all. From clogged brew screens to burnt out heating elements, there are a variety of ways people unintentionally use and abuse their machines. The unfortunate part is, many of these issues could have been prevented, had the owners known about them and completed some simple espresso machine maintenance. Just following a few easy steps could have saved the owners a lot of money and time away from their precious machine. Of course, just as many homeowners don’t expect some of the worst disasters (such as burst plumbing or leaking roofs) to happen to them, many espresso machine owners hope that they will be able to avoid common problems as well.

    The reality is that even if you have a top of the line machine, wear and tear from frequent use will require that you give it a little extra TLC from time to time. Usually this involves giving the machine a weekly cleaning and doing an annual tune-up. If you don’t follow these tips, it is likely that eventually you will encounter a few problems. Costly repairs or replacements are not myths, and they can happen to you.

    Still not convinced? Check out what happened to the heating element and boiler inside a Nuova Simonelli Oscar when the steam wand wasn’t removed from the milk frothing pitcher when the machine was turned off and properly cleaned.

    espresso machine maintenance

    All of the brown clumpy stuff coating the walls of this boiler is milk that got sucked inside it due to the steam wand not being removed from the milk frothing pitcher and opened up after each use; it baked and rotted! The two brown strands hanging off of the white and metal valve are also strands of milk, and should not be there.

    milk_boiler_02

    As you can see, the boiler on the left overheated, blackened and even cracked due to the milk buildup inside. The boiler on the right is what a normal, or “healthy,” boiler should look like – nice and clean.

    heating_element02

    The heating element for this machine, on the left, has also gotten burnt out, blackened and corroded. Again, the heating element on the right is how one should look.

    Unfortunately, once a boiler has gotten to this stage it has reached the point of no return and must be replaced in order to get your machine up and running again. In some instances you may even be out of luck and have to get an entirely new machine.

    However, there are a few easy tips you can follow to avoid winding up in this situation. If you have a heat exchanger machine like the Oscar above, make sure to open the steam valve on your machine every time you turn it off and it cools down. If you don’t, a vacuum is created and the left over milk in the steam wand is sucked up into the boiler. On the other hand, if you have a single boiler machine, such as the Rancilio Silvia, the best way to avoid this problem is to run water out of your steam wand after each use so you don’t create a vacuum in the boiler.

    The next time you consider saving flushing out your steam wand for “later,” remember these images and cautionary tale. Clean your steam wand after each use and do a more thorough cleaning of the machine once a week. If a wet cloth isn’t strong enough to cut through the grime, try using a liquid or powder espresso machine cleaner. If your machine has any removable parts, you should take them off for cleaning as well. For instance, if your machine has a panarello, you should remove it and soak it in a solution like Rinza. This will rid it off any milk that has built up inside the panarello as it can get sucked into the boiler. If you follow these simple steps, your espresso machine will likely run well and continue to produce tasty drink for years to come. If you are kind to your espresso machine, it will be kind to you.

  • Tech Tips: Rocket Espresso Mineral Sensors

    R58 Dual Boiler Rocket Espresso MachineWhen it comes to semi-automatic espresso machines, Rocket’s are the cream of the crop. Not only are they beautifully designed with their shiny stainless steel housing, but they also have state of the art mechanics as well, making them excellent for espresso production.

    If you’re lucky enough to have purchased a Rocket Espresso machine, you likely rushed home so you could proudly display it on our your counter in all its glory. So, now you’ve got the machine all set up, plugged in, filled with tasty filtered or reverse osmosis (RO) water and you are good to go. But wait – what’s that flashing green light on the front of the machine? You’ve just filled the water tank, so why is the machine telling you that it is empty?

    Never fear, your machine is not broken! This is a common question our customer service team receives about all Rocket machines, and luckily it is easy to fix. The problem is your Rocket is too smart for its own good and thinks the water reservoir is empty when the machine’s sensor doesn’t detect any minerals in the tank. In this video, Teri walks us through what causes this error and explains an easy solution.

    SCG Tech Tips: Water Sensing on Rocket Espresso Machines

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Talea Giro Test Mode & Troubleshooting

    Saeco Talea GiroWhen you have an excellent tech resource like Brendan around, you sometimes have to just lock him in a room with a bunch of superautomatics and force him to teach you his ways of diagnostics and troubleshooting! Okay, we really didn't have to lock him in the room -- he was more than willing to share his expertise with us -- but we did spend an afternoon with him as he explained the Saeco Talea Giro's test mode and errors for us.

    As you may have learned from our other forays into Test Mode, this is a wonderfully helpful tool that you can use to run each functional element of your superautomatic separately, without making coffee, in order to determine what might be the cause of an issue with the machine. Is your machine not brewing because the pump isn't working, or are you simply grinding your coffee too finely? You can find out by running the pump to see if water comes out of the machine, sans coffee.

    After he guides us through Test Mode, Brendan then dives into the Talea Giro's more cryptic errors and alarms -- since it doesn't have a display screen and only a series of symbols and lights to communicate any issues it might be having, it can sometimes be difficult to interpret. He gives us a few tips and tricks in understanding what the errors mean and how you might be able to easily resolve them.

    SCG Tech Tips: Saeco Talea Giro Test Mode

    SCG Tech Tips: Saeco Talea Giro Alarms & Errors

  • Tech Tip: Saeco Syntia Test Mode & Troubleshooting

    Saeco SyntiaWhile it's true that the Saeco Syntia offers a display with icons and text that will signal to you when something is going wrong, we often hear from folks that aren't clear on what's going on with it. Is that a close up of a fly's head or a symbol telling you to descale? Is it signaling that the tap is open a smidge or is it warning you that snakes are coming out of your espresso machine? These are the big questions, folks.

    In our next series of Saeco superautomatic espresso machine troubleshooting, Brendan takes on the Syntia series. Using the SS model, he first guides us through Test Mode, which is the highly useful diagnostic tool that enables you to run each functional component separately, and without making coffee, so that you can deduce what might be going on with your Syntia. Then, we dive into interpreting the rather cryptic symbols that appear as errors or alerts on the machine.

    Even though we used the SS model for this demonstration, much of this applies to the Syntia Focus and Syntia Cappuccino models, too. If you've wanted to learn more about the inner workings of your machine, these are your go-to videos!

    SCG Tech Tips: Saeco Syntia Test Mode

    SCG Tech Tip: Saeco Syntia Alarms & Errors

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