- My grinder manual does not mention running the grinder when adjusting. Why does 1st-line recommend this?
If the motor is off and you adjust finer, there is a very likely chance that you will compact beans between the burr teeth and gunk up the burrs or carry grinds into the grinding chamber threads- jamming the burr carrier. This is not covered under warranty. Typically, the remedy of a jammed grinder takes two technicians about one hour each, resulting in a 2-hour labor charge.
- Why does 1st-line not sell Izzo, Gaggia, or Expobar?
We have evaluated all of these brands in the past. Although they may have for others, we feel they did not meet the expectations we have at 1st-line and for that reason, these brands are not carried by 1st-line. We previously carried Gaggia, but stopped in 2008 after multiple customers reported having 6+ month wait times for warranty service.
- Why does 1st-line not list or show performance for each machine?
Espresso machines can operate differently in different locations or environments. Parameters that can affect performance are actual voltage, ambient temperatures, rate of heat loss, cup sizes, incoming water temperature, temperature of milk for steaming, pitcher temperature, etc. Another big variable is the parameters and the type of testing equipment.
The main reason for not publishing any performance results is that the results can be misconstrued as "false advertising" or "not as advertised" if the new users can not duplicate the test results.
- What's the difference between backflushing and descaling?
Descaling is taking a solution of citric acid, mixing it with hot water and putting it in the water tank. From here, it is pumped into and throughout the machine. This solution, now in the boiler will remove any build up of lime and calcium.
Backflushing is when a small scoop of detergent is put into a blind (no holes) basket. It is locked onto the machine and the pump is activated. After pressurizing against the blind basket, the pump is disengaged. The 3-way solenoid opens and allows the solution to flow back into the machine- cleaning the grouphead/dispersion screen.
- I just received my grinder from you, and I found coffee beans and/or grinds inside. Was this used?
Please understand that EVERY grinder manufacturer in Europe tests their grinders with coffee beans. this is to insure they are working and calibrated. Even grinders which sell for $3000 are tested with beans. Although every manufacturer makes an effort to clean their grinders, some do a better job then others. These grinders are then shipped to us mostly in pallets, and 1st-line inspects 98% of grinders (the 2% is Capresso grinders made in china and we do not inspect), and in most cases, we also add extra packaging to insure a much lower rate of damages in transit. In transit via UPS and FedEx where the boxes are tumbling in all directions, the beans and grinds do become dislodged and the unit can arrive very messy. We are very sorry that this may happen as we have no control over the boxes tumbling. The units are new because any returns get segregated in our warehouse after testing by our technical staff and are placed on our facebook pages for resale.
- I just received my doser grinder and the dosage count is 9872, is this used?
Manufactures send the grinders like this. In most cases they are set just below zero. In a few cases, they are set just over zero. Sorry, we have no control over this.
- My grinder creates static? I was also electrocuted by my grinder. What can I do about this?
After testing/working with many grinders for many years, we have found that static on grinders actually comes from the coffee beans, and not the grinder. If you get static, please change your coffee blend to confirm this. Second, if the coffee blends is too freshly roasted and does not allow proper time to degas, this will also create static. We had 2 coffee grinder customers in 2010 state they were electrocuted by their grinder only after grinding. After testing these grinders, we found there was no electrocution, but a passing of the static electricity. We also confirmed that there was no electrocution because the grinders would have tripped the GFI (ground fault interruption) or the circuit breaker on the electrical panel.
- Does my equipment purchase come with a full warranty?
There is no such thing as full warranty in the espresso machine business. Every manufacturer in our industry has 'limited to manufacturer's defect' as limescale, adjustments and other causes (power surges, misuse, damages) are not covered under warranty. The dealer builds the labor warranty cost into the selling price of each machine sold. The manufacturer does not reimburse the dealer for the labor warranty like other industries. The manufacturer only supplies the parts, and in most cases, the dealer pays for the shipping for the parts from Europe. On demo/refurbished units sold at a deep discount, the warranty portioned cost (time frame) gets reduced along with the profit margins sold with the machine. In some cases, where the profit margin is very significant, the dealer may exclude these limitations.
- Can you sell the equipment in a different voltage that what is listed? Once I purchase, can I convert?
Please note that we only carry the equipment listed in the voltage advertised. Items can be listed as 110, 115, or 120 volt for home machines, home, and smaller commercial machines, or 208, 220, 230, volts for most larger commercial machines. There are no switches fro changing voltages on the machine we carry (as of December 2011). Sorry, we do not special order any other voltages for the following reasons: a) there is a lot of effort to set up new items in our systems which adds to a cost not covered by a single unit purchase, and b) we will not be able to provide the service we are known for because we will not have spare parts for the different voltage, and c) when ordering a single unit, we usually do not acquire our quantity discount which translates into a higher selling price. We normally do not recommend a voltage conversion as usually any of the following costly applicable parts need to be changed: pump, motor, electronics, heating element, electric solenoid valves, lights/LED's, and electronics. The sum of the converted parts plus labor can equal the price of the new machine.
- Why am I directed to email or check the Espresso Parts category for parts when I call the call center?
Please understand that 1st-line Equipment now has over 5,000 parts in stock, and we sell over 300 models of espresso machines and grinders. Our call center is not trained to handle parts as most training starts with equipment placement and usage.
For 1st-line Equipment 'equipment customers' under warranty, we may assist you over the phone or we may ask you to email as we may have scripts available to you. For all parts, we do ask that you email your 1st-line invoice number of the equipment purchase so we can email the correct part links and place priority on service. There is also the option to search for the parts in our Espresso Parts category. After warranty expiration, we do provide unlimited free support via email (except for complex cases where we may need the machine to be shipped in).
For those inquiries on equipment purchased elsewhere, we will try our best to assist with parts. However, please understand that we reserve the right to assist or not assist with technical diagnosis of the equipment in question. In non-simple cases, we will automatically ask you to ship in the machine for repair or hire a 3rd party service provider of your choice.
- Why doesn't anyone help me over the phone diagnose my problematic espresso machine? I did not buy from you, but I am willing to buy parts.
Please understand that to provide the best service possible to our own customers, we can no longer provide phone technical support for equipment purchased elsewhere. In these cases, you will be advised of the option to ship in your equipment for repair. Unfortunately, service assistance to non-customers does impact our service levels that we commit to our 45,000+ customers, and we are sorry to report that the selling price of the parts normally does not cover our cost for labor to diagnose your machine.
- Why is it difficult to physically see many high end espresso machines and grinders in stores or locally?
The Internet has accomplished several things since it started becoming more commercialized in the early 1990's. It has brought merchandise to a larger audience. Second, it has increased competition and decreased selling prices. One of the negative impacts created by the web is less availability of physical stores to display and demonstrate. Two reasons are a) the lower selling prices do not have enough margins for retailers to operate and pay for their locations rent and labor, and b) customers would use the physical location and the retailer's time only to purchase over the internet to save on sales tax. It became apparent to retailers that demonstrating cost labor which sales were lost to sales tax issues.
In the future, to combat this, physical retail stores will negotiate to purchase products that can not be found on the internet.
- Can you confirm if a particular part fits my machine which you do not sell (or do sell)?
Sorry, we do not take measurements on parts, nor do we confirm if a part fits another make and model we do not sell. If it is a model we sell, we will investigate an alternate manufacturer's part under two conditions: a) the customer purchased the specific equipment from 1st-line, and b) the original part is not available at 1st-line and/or the manufacturer.
- I am purchasing a gift that the recipient will not receive until after your 5 day limit to report damages and defects?
Please understand that we have a limit of 5 days because damages that are reported within 5 business days give us the highest success rate for getting UPS and FedEx to pay the claim. We also limit defective claims because there are other factors (ie electrical) that can make a machine defective. If making a purchase as a gift, we recommend two things: a) physically inspecting the espresso machine or grinder, and b) testing it. For the grinder, plug it in and power it on without coffee. For the espresso machine, test it with water only. Make sure to not allow the espresso machine to freeze.
- Do you have a kit that can convert my doserless grinder into a doser grinder.
Unfortunately there are no kits or parts that can convert a doserless grinder into a doser grinder (or vice versa).