So, your machine needs repairs?

Invariably, your espresso machine or grinder is going to need to be fixed at some point or another.

Espresso enthusiasts are resourceful types and will often do their own small repairs. However, the smarter ones will know when a repair project is too big or complex to handle by themselves. If you do not have a access to a local repair shop, that means you'll have to ship it out of town.

Here are some tips:

- If you bought the machine locally, ask the store how they handle repair issues. If you have dealt with a reputable retailer, they may offer to look after the repair logistics for you.

-If you have to contact the repair depot yourself- use email. Write it down so you have a paper trail.

- Write down your specific problem(s) or issues. Describe the symptoms in detail - don't make the mechanic guess what's wrong.

- After you finished writing everything down, remember to put a hard copy of your email in the box with your machine. Do not be afraid to highlight stuff - use colourful markers. Don't forget to put your contact info in the box too.

- Accessories can get lost or misplaced. Ask your mechanic if they really need lids, reservoirs, portafilters, drip trays, etc. to work on your machine. Preferably, send them a barebones machine to work on.

- Take precautions if you are shipping your espresso machine in temperatures below freezing. Get instructions from the repair depot how to properly drain your boiler.

- Ask how long the repair will take. It is no use to have your machine sit in a repair shop for several weeks while the shop is waiting for spare parts from Italy.

- Tell the repair place that you want feedback. A good repair shop will email you back to acknowledge receipt of your machine, describe what was wrong with it, how they fixed it and when they are shipping the unit back to you. A great repair place will do a temperature check on your espresso machine just to make sure everything is within spec. There is nothing worse than getting your machine back without a clue who worked on it, what parts were replaced and what type of work was done.

- Tell them that you want to be contacted before any additional work is performed.

- if it ain't broke - don't fix it. I once had the thermostats and group gasket replaced while it was in for an unrelated repair. The new gasket leaked no matter how hard I tightened it and both factory new thermostats turned out to be duds. I had the tech retrieve my old parts from the garbage bin and had them mailed back to me.

- Don't be cheap. Double box(or crate) your baby for the trip and insure it. Assume the courier will toss your package down a flight of stairs (or worse). Make absolutely sure the repair depot will double box and insure for the return trip back home. Offer to pay the insurance if you have too.

Glenn lives and works in Ontario, Canada. He has been the 2nd officer on deck for almost 2 years now. Trust Glenn for some awesome and timely opinions on coffee consumer affairs.

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