Member Spotlight: How I Became an Espresso Technician


I began my career in espresso and coffee equipment in 1999, thanks to my brother-in-law Don Pighetti. He had worked for Bunn-O-Matic from the 1970 to 1999, where he did everything from sales, building and adding knowledge, to the development of a coffee brewer. Bunn decided to get into the espresso equipment business, and he was chosen to play a large part in the development of that venture. He then left in 1999 to open up a refurbishment center for coffee equipment on his own; he called me to see if I would be interested, in working with him. I said "yes" and we began with a bang. Before I started, he had received a call from the president of Gaggia in Spain, where Bunn was buying their machines from, and they informed him that Bunn had decided to get out of the espresso business. They asked him to pick up that line of machines under the factory name of Futurmat, Gaggia, and Italcrem, which also meant we would pick up all the national parts and support for the machines that were sold under the Bunn-O-Matic name.

So there we were, in the espresso equipment business, and we were off. From that point on, I have been working on commercial espresso and coffee equipment every day for 17 years now. During that time, Don had wanted to design and manufacture his own machine, so that is what we did next. He was not sold on how things had been done in the espresso machine world, so we built his machine his way. He created it with parts we had not seen before. One example: our group head was made of stainless steel, which he put a lifetime warranty on it. We also manufactured espresso carts & kiosks. I feel I probably had one of the best mentors I could have had, and at that time most people didn’t know anything about fancy coffee stuff.

In 2005, I went to work for Starbucks Coffee Company. At that time, most of the technicians that were hired had no previous espresso equipment experience, so it didn’t take long for me to move up the ranks. In 2008, Starbucks outsourced all of the technicians. I was disappointed, but I really enjoyed the job I had, and the stores I serviced, along with the people I worked with. So I kept pushing forward and everything has worked out very well for me. Vixxo, is now the company that handles all the services for coffee brew & grind for Starbucks and I am still doing and seeing the same stores as before through Vixxo. I now do equipment training also to teach new technicians for Vixxo and their vendors to be certified to work on the equipment.

So, after all these years I still have a passion for the coffee and the people, and we all now have a place in the SCAA that I am really excited about because it gives a technicians somewhere to go to get started in the coffee industry.

Nick Bolin
Senior espresso equipment technician since 1999.