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First attempt at temp surfing
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clickhappy
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Aug 2011
Posts: 6
Location: Birmingham, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Feb 27, 2012, 2:15am
Subject: First attempt at temp surfing
 

I have just had a thermocouple delivered LINK and have been experimenting with temperature surfing with my Gaggia baby class D.

Using the bottom of a beer can (as a substitute for a polystyrene cup method) positioned against the group gasket with the end of the thermocouple inside, hanging just off the bottom to record the temperature of the brew water.

I have found it takes about 30 seconds of steam switch engagement from the time the brew thermostat switches off for the temperature of the water to reach 93 degrees which I believe is a good ball park figure for brew temperature.

I am pleased to report the espresso produced seems to have lost some of its sourness and I am using the espresso roast from the Urban Coffee Co.

Has anyone else had similar experience or any temperature surfing tips to share?

Tom
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AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Mon Feb 27, 2012, 9:00am
Subject: Re: First attempt at temp surfing
 

If you use a regular coffee cup (porcelain, glass etc.) you will see a much lower temp reading the hot water than what is really coming out of the brew head.  You said you were using a beer can which is going to be even worse for giving you a lower temp reading.  These materials all conduct the heat away from the hot water very quickly.

The reason to use a styrofoam cup is that these don't conduct the heat very much.   You might be reading 93 degrees in the beer can when you would read 100 into a styrofoam cup.

Once the Gaggia is heated up, I typically find that letting the boiler cycle until the heater just goes off - then start the shot right as the boiler heat cycle shuts off - that seems to give about the right starting temp (for me, with my Gaggia and my tastes).

You can also get a feel for how hot it is by cracking open the steam knob for a second and see how powerful the blast of steam is.

It's fairly easy (if you are mechanical and don't mind opening your machine) to attach you thermocouple bead to the boiler itself --- then you can watch the heat cycle.  It's surprising to see how far the Gaggia boiler swings --- but it will give you an idea what happens when you see the ready light indicate the heater has just turned off, the heat keeps going up for another 5-10 seconds.  I like to start my shot the instant the heat turns off so the incoming water plus the heater still being hot average out a bit to keep the temp steady a bit longer during the shot.
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