Meet Nick Lee
March 21st 2018
A Hero is Born
"I have been working in coffee all my adult life. When I was just sixteen, my mom worked for a coffee break service and she got me a job washing coffee pots at an office coffee service (OCS) called “Secretary Coffee.” At the time, the name didn’t seem so antiquated as it does today. Secretary Coffee was purchased by a company called “Daiohs” and they now operate as “First Choice Services.” Working on beverage equipment suites me so I eventually opened my own service company.
"... a great technician understands the necessity of product consistency."
I learned a lot about coffee and customer service working in OCS and it helped me transition to the specialty coffee industry. In OCS, if your customer’s coffee brewer broke too often or was not fixed quick enough, you could easily lose an account. Losing an account could mean five floors of a law firm which could easily amount to over twenty brewers. A technician needs to be thorough and knowledgeable to avoid receiving call backs on their work. You also need to be able to communicate with clients and learn to get out of the way when necessary. In specialty coffee, the stakes are even higher and more complicated for a service tech.
An espresso service technician’s job is not just about the repairing of equipment. Espresso equipment represents your customer’s livelihood and business reputation. Of course, a coffee machine represents that too, but for the espresso service technician you seem to find yourself much more connected to your customer’s vision and their concerns. A lot of people think espresso repair is a job in which you just show up and swap out parts; but in reality, the job is more about troubleshooting than it is about parts replacement.
It takes a technician years of hard work and study to learn about brewing techniques, coffee and equipment. Most importantly, great technicians understand the necessity of product consistency. No one ever likes buying a cup of coffee that tastes differently from the day before. Product inconsistency is one of the easiest ways for an espresso bar or coffee house to lose customers. There are many factors that affect the taste of coffee and not all of them have to do with the espresso equipment. That is really what an espresso repair technician’s job is all about. We help business owners make the coffee their customer’s have come to enjoy. If we can do that we end up looking like heroes."
~Tech Nick Lee Ahero
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