What do Dungeons & Dragons, volleyball, and motorcycle trips share with coffee machine repair, espresso machine maintenance, and specialty coffee extraction knowledge? Meet the Kaldi’s Coffee Tech Team and find out!
WHY KALDI’S COFFEE HAS A TECH TEAM
The Kaldi’s Coffee tech team is a core component of the wider Kaldi’s Coffee vision, but one that doesn’t often get big headlines. We strive to provide an exceptional coffee experience, and the skills and expertise of our tech team is vital to achieving that goal.
Why? Because while a barista imparts the final touch on your delicious cup of specialty coffee, they would not be able to do so without the technician before them. Espresso machines and coffee brewers run the gamut from simple to complex, automated to fully manual. Espresso machines, especially, are put through enormous strain in a coffee shop's busy environment, be it from the hot water and high pressures inside, or the banging and clanging of portafilters on the outside. Thus, it is up to the tech team to install, maintain, and fix any issues quickly and expertly, so that the coffee can literally keep flowing.
...it is up to the tech team to install, maintain, and fix any issues quickly and expertly, so that the coffee can literally keep flowing.
The tech team’s goal is the same goal all of Kaldi’s Coffee has: source, roast, and brew top quality specialty coffee. This is only made possible by installing and maintaining top quality coffee and espresso machines. As part of our broader mission, we aim to provide this service not just to our own cafes, but to anywhere our coffee is served.
WHAT DOES A KALDI’S COFFEE TECH DO?
Responding to calls for aid up to 300 miles away, the Kaldi’s Coffee tech team delivers parts, skilled service, and freshly roasted specialty Kaldi’s Coffee products to more than a hundred customers. In addition to coffee machine services and repair, a Kaldi’s Coffee technician is expected to have a grounding in specialty coffee, which helps them to help the customer better understand their espresso machine or coffee machine, and how it makes quality coffee. A tech uses their knowledge of Kaldi’s Coffee products to calibrate an espresso machine or automated drip brewer to produce the best cup of specialty coffee it possibly can, while still performing at optimum efficiency.
In addition to coffee machine services and repair, a Kaldi’s Coffee technician is expected to have a grounding in specialty coffee
Most coffee in our cafes or our customers’ is still brewed via drip brewers. A simple flaw in the water line or in the programming or internal sensors can cause total havoc! Malfunctioning or poorly-calibrated coffee machines can over-extract or under-extract the coffee (or in simpler terms, make less than ideal brews that can be sour or bitter). Or, they can go on the fritz and make a huge mess of steam and hot water - not the ideal outcome for a crowded cafe countertop, and a line of coffee-seeking customers!
As mentioned, espresso machines are even more complicated. These expensive, super sensitive devices that baristas use to make cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas can cost tens of thousands dollars. Even a brand new espresso machine requires dedicated calibration to properly perform. An espresso machine is the centerpiece of a Kaldi’s Coffee cafe, and the same goes for many of our wholesale customers and partners.
The inside of an espresso machine. Our techs have to become experts at each part.
High quality espresso-based drinks are not feasible without the perfect functioning of the delicate machinery within an espresso machine. Boilers, pumps, valves, water lines, and more must all be in proper working order for your shot to get the even extraction that it needs to be delicious. Thus, a good Kaldi’s Coffee tech equals good coffee!
High quality espresso-based drinks are not feasible without the perfect functioning of the delicate machinery within an espresso machine.
AT HOME OR ON THE ROAD
Coffee machine service is a hectic job, but it’s always an adventure. The Kaldi’s Coffee tech team rotates “on-call” weeks, where a single tech is available all day for 7 days to respond to any emergency service calls. Go-bags and a hardy squadron of vehicles are maintained at all times to ensure a speedy response to a jammed grinder, an espresso machine on the fritz, or a leaking water filtration system. The techs do it all!
The Kaldi’s Coffee tech team rotates “on-call” weeks, where a single tech is available all day for 7 days to respond to any emergency service calls.
One tech member will usually be based in the workshop at our Roastery manufacturing and warehouse facility. This tech, informally called the “dispatcher” will have a number of duties:
- Answering service call requests and questions
- Coordinate with the techs in the field
- Communicate with our purchaser to order emergency parts from suppliers
- Work on rebuilds, repairs, or other in-house service jobs
- Inventory and prep
The tech team’s workshop is one part tool aficionado’s heaven, one part assembly line, a smidge of office, and always bustling. Disassembled brewers, pipes and boilers soaking in descaling solution, stripped-down espresso machines venting steam, and a steady barrage of service calls and sales team queries keep the place hopping.
The wall of bins and parts that our Techs need to perform their duties.
WHO OUR TECHS ARE
Our tech team, like the rest of our company, is always in motion as people find their own paths, both in and out of Kaldi’s Coffee. But right now, we wanted to shine a spotlight on our current roster of hardworking techs who keep the tasty ‘spro flowing! So let’s meet the team that keeps our gear, our customers’ gear, and ultimately your tasty coffee drinks, pouring smoothly.
Sean joined the tech team some two years ago, having pulled a tour of duty in our busy shipping department. Sean brings intense technical focus and an unending sense of humor to the tech team and to Kaldi’s Coffee. His quiet hobby of juggling--pins, balls, even torches!--may surprise colleagues and customers alike! He’s also a regular on the Kaldi’s Coffee tabletop gaming scene, bringing hilarious, over the top characters to life.
Elliot came to the Tech Team straight from his multi-year role as barista and barista trainer at one of our cafes, bringing a unique viewpoint to his new duties. Having seen and worked on espresso machines for years from both ends, Elliot knows just how important the functionality and high quality of this device is to our own cafes and to our customers. Elliot is a motorcycle enthusiast and takes an annual cross-country motorcycle trip, also indulging his passion for photography.
Justin’s been with our Tech Team for a few years now, working long hours in the field and in the shop. He’s always keeping an eye out for our next single origin release, staying informed and in touch with roasting developments to help him better help his customers understand their machines and their coffees. Justin is sensitive to the stress a customer can be under during a service call when a vital machine is down, and knows the job is more than just draining water heaters and replacing gaskets--he makes sure the customer knows that we’re there for them, and won’t let them down. In his free time, Justin stays active with sand volleyball and basketball.
These team members are the faces of the department, bringing good cheer, specialty coffee expertise, and vital replacement parts wherever they go, but their hard work wouldn’t be possible without the help of our purchasing, sales, and billing teams. From the moment a customer gets a look at the tech department during their warehouse walk-through, to the detailed monthly inventory and billing reconciliations, Kaldi’s Coffee makes sure its customers get the very best we can offer in coffee and espresso machine installation and maintenance.
Interested in Tech Services for your business, restaurant, or coffee shop?
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PURSUING PERFECTION: BARISTA TRAINING AT KALDI'S COFFEE