New Year’s Equipment Check

Sliders6The quality of your drinks depends on a myriad of factors including the coffee you serve, the skill of your barista and even the cleanliness and proper maintenance of your equipment. With the other two areas covered, the beginning of a New Year is a great time to do a check up your equipment and set your store up for success in 2015.

When it comes to equipment maintenance, prevention is key. We always encourage our customers to schedule their certified technician to come in and inspect their equipment regularly. To ensure smooth operations, we suggest having a few things checked, including:

  • All seals and gaskets, to make sure they are not leaking and are in good condition.
  • All water filters and softeners to make sure they are not expired.
  • All brewers for signs of calcium build up.
  • Spray heads. These need to be removed and thoroughly cleaned.
  • Grinders for cleanliness and burrs for sharpness.
  • Blenders need to be checked to ensure the drive sockets and blade assemblies are in good condition.

*All of the above suggestions should be done in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Contact your certified technician to ensure your machine maintenance is done properly and safely.  

As you consider your 2015 budget, it may be a good time to consider equipment upgrades. Contact Stockton Graham & Co. for guidance on the right options for your store, from convenient lease options to handling the certified installation, we can help ease the process. Give us a call at 800 835 5943 to discuss equipment options!

Twenty Years Tells Us: “Routine Maintenance is Worth It.”

SGC-success toolsBen Franklin offered advice that was as sage 250 years ago as it is today; he once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Over the past two decades in the business of coffee, we have come to learn through experience that proper and routine maintenance of our equipment costs us far less in the long-run than waiting to deal with the inevitable catastrophes that come along. A roaster motor, for example, isn’t terribly expensive to replace, but the cost of down-time, overnight shipping for parts, emergency labor, etc. can easily multiply the cost of an integral part many times over.

Similarly, our customers must embrace the idea of routine maintenance in their own businesses. We have seen some extreme cases over the years, for example, one of our customers did not have filters on her espresso machine and was duly surprised at the cost of replacing most of the internal components in her espresso machine after a water main break allowed clay to make its way inside her appliance. Instead of just $150 for a filter, she ended up paying $1500 for a complete overhaul of the espresso machine. In this case, the disaster was swift and completely unforeseeable. In a more recent incident, a customer with a brand new, high-end machine ignored a small leak that appeared. SGC-equipmentOver time, the leak became more severe, and instead of calling in a technician, the leaking water was simply wiped up until eventually an electrical short fried the group head components, and caused damage to additional components nearby. The resulting damage caused well over $1000 repair costs because a service technician wasn’t called out to check the leak and tighten a fitting.

In your business, you certainly have plenty to juggle from the day-to-day fires that must be put out, to looking ahead and making sure you have enough supplies to get you through the weekend. You are bombarded with questions and requests, all while trying to find a way to take your business to the next level. Do yourself a favor and contact your local service provider about setting up routine maintenance for your coffee and espresso equipment as well as your water filtration, refrigeration, HVAC and any other systems susceptible to breakdowns. Then the next time you see your service technician, you can feel relieved that problems are being avoided rather than remedied. You can also budget for these visits to help with your cash flow and use the additional funds for promoting your store.

SGC-about5 Tips on How to Manage Café Maintenance
1. Take inventory of all systems susceptible to breakdowns.
2. Ask your service providers if they offer scheduled service plans to take away the headache of remembering.
3. Create a log for maintenance to maintain maintenance records for all machines.
4. Learn the basic cleaning and maintenance that should be done to each machine.
5. Coach your staff on spotting symptoms of trouble.

Proper Blender Maintenance from Stockton Graham & Co. & Big Train


Stockton Graham & Co. and Big Train want to make sure your shop is ready for summer frappe sales and your blender is a critical piece of that pie. Proper blender care and maintenance can prolong the life of your blender as well as improve your drink consistency and save you money. Here are some great tips to get ready for the blended season:

• Check your pitchers – Pitchers should not have spider cracks on either of the sides or have cracks at the bottom. Spider cracks in the pitcher could mean your quaternary ammonia levels are higher than 200ppm and cracks on the bottom allow the container to sit on the base differently potentially causing the drive socket and blade assembly to wear down quicker. If your containers are cracked, it is time to buy new ones.

• Check your blade assemblies – Hold the pitcher upside down under one arm and spin the clutch that is located at the bottom of the container. For Vita-Mix blenders, the blade assembly needs to be replaced if it does one of the following: spins more than 1-2 revolutions, keeps spinning, no longer has rigid teeth, contains a blackish/brownish oil-like substance beneath or can wiggle, the bearings are worn out. This is one of the benefits of a Vita-Mix blender; you can replace the blade assembly without replacing the entire pitcher.

• Check the Drive Socket – Look into the socket which is located on the top of the motor base. If the teeth/grooves are not rigid and clearly visible by touch, the socket needs to be changed.

-remove the container before the blades have stopped spinning or,
-put the container in the dishwasher.


If your blender cannot be refurbished or repaired, now is the time to bring in a new blender. Hanging on to one that’s clearly on it’s last leg can cost your dearly, especially if it decides to quit during 4th of July weekend. Luckily, VitaMix and Stockton Graham & Co. have your blender needs covered! These commercial VitaMix® blenders have been designed to blend luscious, mouthwatering frappes and delectable smoothies consistently drink after drink and customer after customer. Using our retail experience, Stockton Graham & Co. offers these blenders to provide the retailer the ability to handle one or many customer orders with speed, consistency and reliability for many seasons to come.

List $940
The Drink Machine Advance has the power and performance to produce perfectly smooth beverages that’ll get your customers asking for more! The Drink Machine Advance has 6 programs using just the dial switch! Each program combines the right speed and timing to eliminate the guesswork, allowing operators to have consistency from location to location, and drink to drink.

List $1705
The noise-reducing cover of the Vita-Mix Touch & Go 2 makes this one of the quietest blenders on the market, allowing you to blend virtually any drink while preserving your shop’s soothing atmosphere. As powerful as the Vita-Mix Drink Machine Advance, but adding 34 programmable blending programs, variable speed control, low and high pulsing, and a much quieter operation.

List $2095
Operating at an amazing 18 decibels below its closest competitor on one of the most demanding recipes (milkshake), according to independent third party testing, The Quiet One would be perceived as being four times quieter. It was specifically designed to create a more enjoyable customer environment while offering operators the ability to deliver a wide variety of superior blended beverages.

Give us a call at (800) 835-5943 for blender advice, Big Train recipes and more!

Coffee College: Cafe Equipment Cleaning & Maintenance on Feb. 26th

The quality of your drinks depends on the cleanliness and proper operation of your equipment, whether you serve 200 cappuccinos a day or brew one pot of drip in the morning.

Cafe Equipment Cleaning & Maintenance, apart of Stockton Graham & Co.’s Coffee College course offerings,  will teach you how to perform basic preventative maintenance and regular cleaning on common brewing equipment.

Instructor Brad Kirby, Stockton Graham & Co. coffee roaster and former certified technician, will guide you through the following objectives on Friday, February 26th :

Learn the basic components and functions of modern brewing equipment

Analyze the importance of water softening and filtration

Perform practical, hands-on maintenance procedures on espresso machine, grinder, brewer, etc.

To reserve your spot in this course or to request more information, please call 800-835-5943, or check out the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website.

Happy Brewing,

Mike Adams
Stockton Graham & Co.