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  1. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Port Republic, MD
    Posts
    180
    CoffeeMD,
    That's okay, I have marines in the family. Everyone has a dirty little secret, and that's mine.

  2. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,551
    I was seriously thinking of writing a big long reply here. Instead I'm going to recap a bit. Used equipment in my opinion should only be purchased from coffee shops who can show you the service record of that piece or from a Importer/Dealer/Service Provider. Ebay, Craigslist, and those wholesale kitchen outlet places who want to sell you cheap used equipment should be avoided unless you go into the sale with the understanding that after you purchase the item you will ship it to your nearest service provider for a thorough inspection.

    When possible lease the stuff that has highest potential for failure aka dishwashers and ice machines. I would suggest calling Ecolab and talking to them about those two items. My reasoning for this really is simple. If you lease the repair should be built into the lease so every time these items break is one less time you have to pay for a service call.

    Coffee brewers tend to be overlooked a lot. I would avoid the low end Bunn line such as CWTF's and Axiom brewers. They are designed more for your diner experience then say a specialty coffee shop. I do however like the Bunn ICB's its well thought out and easy to use. Other manufactures to look into would be Fetco, Newco, Curtis just to name a few.

    The espresso machine is considered to be the bread and butter machine. Going cheap on this will only hurt you in the long run. Even if you buy a low end 2 group Casadio Dieci A2 for around 5 to 6000 you'll be light years ahead of any used machine. You can upgrade to a higher end toy once you get the hang of things and you feel out how your business is doing. Plus if you do choose to upgrade in the future you can still keep the low end machine as a back up.

    Lastly you need to look into water filtration. Don't over look it. I would say that about 90% of my service calls are water related. You just paid all that money for that equipment why not protect what you invested in. If you take the time to plug your electronics into a surge protector to protect your investment then you need to take the time to invest in proper water filtration.
    Last edited by CCafe; 07-30-2014 at 02:28 AM.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  3. #13
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Rutherfordton, NC
    Posts
    17
    There is some good information being posted here and I commend you for desiring to keep costs down by doing much of the work yourself and buying used equipment. CCafe makes some excellent points about being aware of getting used equipment and the idea of proper water filtrations. That being said, I'd like to give you a little bit of feedback on this subject because we are smack in the middle of setting up an espresso bar and roastery in a historic downtown setting in small town Rutherfordton, NC.

    I will be brief and to the point. Give yourself LOTS OF TIME to build your business. Especially if you are doing much of the work yourself. We purchased a 1300 square foot building back in December of 2013 and here we are August of 2014 and have yet to open our doors. Things could have gone quicker if we had more capitol to hire other crafts to do the work. Yes, we have hired plumbers to cut into the concrete floor and add lines not only for an adjoining apartment that I will be living in, but also HVAC and building contractors to put in a firewall separating the residential from the commercial space with the addition of the cooling system and fire protection. That being said, my son and I have been doing everything else. If you want to see the beginnings of our setup, here's a link to the blog entry to Sustainability At Its Roots – The Start of a Specialty Coffee Business.

    The major thrust of the work is done. We are currently repurposing office furniture that came with the building into a classy espresso bar. We are also putting back together our Royal #1 coffee roaster that will be used to micro roast specialty coffees in-house. Our espresso machine - a Sorento Michelangelo 3 group head, was purchased used from a local roaster/coffee shop that was going out of business. Thinking that we were getting a good deal and that since this guy had over 20 years of experience and is an avid SCAA member, we thought all was well. Guess what? The espresso machine was working when we first got it, but after 3 months of lite use, the machine died. There is no one locally that can service these machines. We are tech savy and know that we can fix it given time, but I have to say that you need to be very careful buying used equipment and if you do not have the ability to fix this equipment yourself, then you are better off buying new.

    Here are a few pictures of where we currently are repurposing our office furniture to make a classy espresso bar and finishing the interior of the space with a wall mural...


    New Shop in Maryland Initial Planning your advice wanted.-img_2591.jpgNew Shop in Maryland Initial Planning your advice wanted.-img_2655.jpgNew Shop in Maryland Initial Planning your advice wanted.-img_2656.jpgNew Shop in Maryland Initial Planning your advice wanted.-img_2657.jpg

  4. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,551
    That stinks, do you know what died on your machine? Have you tried contacting Burgess Enterprises, manufacturer of Espresso, Food & Beverage Carts and Kiosks yet? If they can't help you could always call ECM but that too may be a lost cause. Seems like ECM just dropped all the old lines of equipment and called it a day on support.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  5. #15
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Rutherfordton, NC
    Posts
    17
    Quote Originally Posted by CCafe View Post
    That stinks, do you know what died on your machine? Have you tried contacting Burgess Enterprises, manufacturer of Espresso, Food & Beverage Carts and Kiosks yet? If they can't help you could always call ECM but that too may be a lost cause. Seems like ECM just dropped all the old lines of equipment and called it a day on support.
    We haven't had the time to diagnose the espresso machine. What I do know is that we had what we thought were two electrical spikes and later found the machine had died. Not sure if it was an electrical spike because the lights did not flicker or go out. My computer screen did blink as each loud crack came from the area where the machine was at.

    We are also aware of Burgess and have been in touch with them. Yes, parts for this model are hard to come by and they are the ones that told us a repair technician is in South Carolina. So it looks like we will be diagnosing and doing the repairs ourselves. I just hope the espresso machine can be fixed and not a total loss.

  6. #16
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,551
    Not to hijack this thread but I'd check over by your heating element. Past experience from loud cracking noises tends to make me think your element came in contact with some water and grounded out. It doesn't take much arc welding to kill a machine real fast!
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  7. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    600
    Semper Fi CoffeeMD! I started off with a 3kg US Roaster and it has made me money. Still does. If you purchased a new roaster, Mahlkonig grinder and a Fetco brewer you would be looking at 15K. That is what I started with and have grown since. Started with just the roaster and selling whole beans. Then customers asked if I could grind for them, so I purchased a grinder. Then customers who wanted to purchase larger quantities wanted to taste so I purchased the Fetco Brewer. If you produce a good roast, the beans alone will pay for ll of your needed equipment. Others will disagree with what I posted but it worked for me.
    Charlie
    If you are afraid of failure or losing money, quit while you are ahead

  8. #18
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Pasadena MD
    Posts
    5
    Hey all,
    Just an update. I actually voted John Piquet at Caffee D'bolla in SLC. Great coffee thanks, and it was great to meet you! I have been focusing on my business model and i have been meeting with and talking to many business advisors and coffee experts. I am taking my time as many of you have said i should. It is coming together and I am getting there slowly. I'll keep updates for all and thanks for all the advice so far.

    CoffeeMD



 

 
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