2016-04-16 17.09.01

Solutions Was There: The SCAA Expo Atlanta 2016

One of the biggest coffee shows in the United States was held last week in beautiful Atlanta Georgia, and Solutions was there!

Whether you’re there for the lectures, networking or just checking out all the new products and services you’re bound to find something that piques your interest at the Specialty Coffee Association of America Expo.  Every piece of the delicious tapestry that is the coffee industry is in attendance.  Manufacturers, roasters, cafes and even non-members are able to attend.  Below is a gallery of some of the photos taken by our resident espresso machine repair guru and service manager Jonatan on his first trip to the SCAA Expo 2016.

The good folks at Espresso Parts showing off some nice custom builds.

The good folks at Espresso Parts showing off some of their nice custom builds.
















The rockstars over at Slayer were there with their groundbreaking designed machine, and that blue!

The rock stars over at Slayer were there with their uniquely designed machine, and that blue!
















We've got to show the roasters some love too. Check out Onyx Coffee Lab's custom small batch roaster.

We’ve got to show the roasters some love too.  Check out Onyx Coffee Lab’s custom small batch roaster.
















SCAA Design Lab, soak up the coffee culture!

SCAA Design Lab, soak up the coffee culture!
















Schaerer brought their new Coffee Art with the cool new touch screen.

Schaerer brought their new Coffee Art with the cool a touch screen.















Got to love the La Marzocco booth, so clean and shiny!

Got to love the La Marzocco booth, and that Lion logo is so rad!

SCAA isn't all business, as you can see.

SCAA isn’t all business, as you can see above.




























































If you’re interested in attending the SCAA Expo next year click here for more detailed information.

The 10,000th Work Order Contest!






















We love our customers! In celebration of our 15th year in business we wanted to do something fun.  Whoever gets our 10,000th work order will receive a $300 credit in service, parts and accessories, and be part of Solutions’ history!  To make sure its fair we’ve blocked out the last 30 work order numbers, shuffled them and handed them out to our technicians.  Not even our technicians will know until the customer peels away the cover on site.  We are currently about 180 work orders away, so keep an eye out next time you see us at your cafe or restaurant.

A big thank you to all those who have made Solutions Espresso Services a success, and here’s to 15 more years!

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements during our 15 Year Anniversary!


Water Quality and it’s Effect on Coffee Equipment

Water quality is a huge factor in today’s coffee and espresso business, particularly here in San Diego.  The long-standing drought has all but drained the water supply so we are getting water from different sources and multiple reservoirs.  This means lots of changes in our local waters composition, which shows in San Diego’s most recent water report.  These changes can mean big problems in not only the coffees flavor, but trouble with coffee brewer and espresso machine performance.  Proper water treatment is crucial to protecting the integrity of the coffee product as well as protecting your long-term investment in coffee equipment.

Scale build-up inside of espresso machine group head.

Scale build-up inside of espresso machine group head.

When it comes to machine performance and longevity a key factor is the water hardness.  San Diego’s hardness varies from 7-24 Grains Per Gallon (gpg) depending on location within the county, however, 3 gpg is what we would ideally zero in on for coffee and espresso equipment longevity. The hardness of the water lets us know how likely it is to create scale in our equipment. The boilers, tubing and jets in an espresso machine are extremely susceptible to developing scale build up over time.  The bigger the opening the longer it takes, and vice versa.  A boiler may take quite a while to develop enough scale to create a problem, but once a nearly microscopic piece of scale makes its way to the 0.7mm jets, it can bring the entire operation to a standstill.  As you already know, that’s not good for business.

Scale build-up inside an espresso machine boiler.

Scale build-up inside an espresso machine boiler.

The other key consideration for water is how it affects the coffee flavor profile.  When we talk about the flavor effects we generally speak in terms of a waters level of Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).  TDS refers to any minerals, metals or salts in the water. They are comprised mainly of inorganic minerals like sulfates, bicarbonates, chlorides, sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.  The TDS level in water effects how much coffee it can dissolve or extract in the brewing process.  The Specialty Coffee Association of America has done volumes of research on how TDS effects coffee flavor and has settled at an ideal water TDS of 150 ppm.  In San Diego our water ranges from 350 ppm to 750ppm.  Treatment of the water with reverse osmosis is the simplest way to lower its TDS.

Additional contaminants that lead to both flavor and equipment performance issues are chlorine, chloride, and chloramines. These substances along with salts that cause hardness can all be removed with assorted filters, softening systems, and reverse osmosis.  No single filter will get ride of all contaminants, except for a reverse osmosis membrane.

Although reverse osmosis (RO) water is ideal for an espresso machine’s smooth, scale-free operation RO systems produce water at  5-10 ppm.  Pure RO water can leach copper and other metals and it can negatively affect the taste of your coffee or espresso as it lacks enough minerals. A blending valve that lets some of the minerals back into the water is essential.  It’s not only a way to get the ideal TDS for your coffee’s taste, but simultaneously protects your equipment’s longevity and trouble free operation.

In an effort to make RO systems more affordable to our clients, we at Solutions Espresso Services have developed a leasing program for the Nimbus NSC-250 and H-1500 systems.  Both are manufactured locally in Riverside County, California.  These systems have proven highly effective for our customers low and high-traffic cafes and restaurants.  We can evaluate your water needs and have a program tailored directly around your business.  We can even test your water remotely if you send samples of tap and filtered water.  Call us today at (858) 505-0669 for details!


Only A Drop or Two Will Do

There are many factors that go into brewing that perfect cup of coffee.  The condition and cleanliness of the brewer, the water, and the grind are only the beginning.  There are tools of the trade that make these adjustments easier and faster, and one of those is the refractometer.

refract2The coffee specific refractometer, developed by tech company VST, is designed to measure a liquids temperature and refractive index.  Refractometers were not originally developed for coffee, but for finding plasma in blood and minerals in stones.  Yet, the owner of the VST, who just so happens to be coffee obsessed, developed a refractometer specifically for the coffee industry.  This tool has been gaining popularity with roasters, cupping rooms, cafes and technicians, because it allows one to quantify a perfect cup of coffee rather than solely relying on an individuals taste buds.

Only a drop or two of coffee or espresso is needed to yield highly accurate results.  A beam of light inside the tool’s liquid well is shot through the liquid and determines the TDS or total dissolved solids.  That number, along with the recipe used to brew can be plugged in to VST’s CoffeeTool program to determine the TDS and extraction yield of the brew.  These measurements can be plotted on a graph so the barista, or in this case technician, can see what corrections need to be made to get the product to its final, perfectly extracted cup of coffee. Of course the human factor is involved and the palate of the barista or manager should be included in the process.

Solutions Espresso Services is happy to be able to offer this service which can aid our customers to developing the perfect cup of coffee and reach the Gold Cup Standards set forth by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).  Call us today at (858) 505-0669 to set up a time for one of our highly trained technicians to come by and work their magic on your coffee and espresso.





Yan Turns the Big 4-0!

Last Friday marked our technician Yan’s 40th birthday.  His wife had an elaborate surprise party planned that we all managed to keep under wraps for more than two weeks.  It was a great evening full of laughs, street tacos, Micheladas, and Mariachis.

Happy 40th Yan from everyone at Solutions!


Group Photo

Solutions Espresso Volunteer Day

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. the solutions crew volunteered our time on Monday January 18th 2016 to help make San Diego a better place, at least for those who use the bike path where Murphy Canyon Road comes to a dead end.

Shopping Cart

We spent our morning digging plastic cups out of bushes and wading in tall grass to clean up the area.  In the short time we were out there we made quite a dent, picking up 8 full bags of miscellaneous litter, a box full of small used propane tanks, a shopping cart (which came in handy transporting the trash bags to the car) and quite a few random pieces of screen door, A/C units, 2×4’s and drywall.

In the end it was a good way to spend our morning, fresh air, blue sky, and doing a good deed.  A biker on his way by even thanked us.  We consider Solutions Espresso’s First Annual MLK Day of Service a success!

San Diego TNT Is Back!

Swing by Copa Vida in lovely Downtown San Diego on October 22nd for this month’s Thursday Night Throwdown.  This latte art contest features barista talent from San Diego and beyond.   It is judged by three local San Diego coffee culture icons.  Be there or be square!


Solutions Is Hiring Field Technicians!

We have immediate openings for Full-Time Field Service Technicians

Are you interested in a change of career?  Looking for something fast-paced and mobile?  Technically minded and willing to learn?  Then being a Field Technician for Solutions Espresso Services may be a perfect fit for you.

Responsibilities will include:

  • Install, repair and complete preventive maintenance of espresso machines, coffee equipment and water filtration systems.
  • Troubleshoot faulty equipment and conduct periodic inspections to determine maintenance work required.
  • Maintain equipment in safe operating condition as well as tuned to optimum performance for the specialty coffee industry.
  • Document equipment maintenance and repairs including thorough descriptions of work performed and parts used.
  • Inventory control and shop maintenance.
  • Other duties as assigned.

To be considered for this position, candidates must have the following qualifications:

  • Education: minimum high school diploma.
  • Experience with tools, basic plumbing and electrical components.
  • A solid work ethic and the ability to work independently.
  • Exhibit excellent customer service skills and ability to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing.
  • Clean driving record and current insurance is required.
  • Ability to travel throughout the Greater San Diego and surrounding counties.  Reliable transportation is a must, preferably something which can accommodate tools and parts like a small pickup or van.
  • Demonstrated good work habits, including promptness to work, good attendance, and ability to maintain a clean, organized work environment.
  • Ability to work under service cases and at heights up to 10 ft.
  • Ability to lift up to 80lbs.
  • Must carry a cell phone and be willing to work occasional off-hours in an “on-call” environment to handle emergency service (On a rotating basis with other techs).
  • US Citizen or Permanent Resident Status
  • Previous coffee brewer or espresso machine repair experience (Preferred)

Competitive hourly pay with the high potential for overtime.

Generous auto and fuel allowance when not using a company car.

To be considered please send a current resume and contact info to support@solutionsespresso.com

Location: Greater San Diego Metro Area