tmaynard Senior Member Joined: 11 Jan 2006 Posts: 35 Location: Chicago Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Coffee, Bialetti... Grinder: Zassenhaus, La Pavoni Zip Drip: Aerobie Aeropress, French... Roaster: Fresh Roast Plus 8
Posted Sun Dec 10, 2006, 5:46pm Subject: Gaggia portafilter spring -- removable?
I was giving my Gaggia Coffee a top-down cleaning and took a good close look at the portafilter for the first time. There's a groove machined into the inner circumference, near the top, and there's a nearly complete "circular" steel wire spring in that groove -- the filter basket is held in by the spring tension (I presume).
Can I get that spring out? If so, how?
That groove is full of gunk! I got a lot/most of the gunk out by pushing the spring around in the groove with a Q-Tip (about a dozen, in fact). But, if that spring wasn't there it would be a much easier job!
Oh, and if it's removable/reinsertable -- how many cycles do you think it might have before I break the d*mn thing?
And lastly, if you don't remove your spring -- how do you clean that groove?
Hi Tom. A good soak in Cafiza (or other strong detergent) should take care of most coffee gunk. However, I can't remember ever having to remove the PF spring for cleaning. There's no reason for oils to accumulate there under normal use. Just rinse the PF after each pour, and pop out the filter basket occasionally for a good scrubbing. ________ John
I have to disagree , John. I have several Gaggia PFs and while the "junk" is not noticeable on casual surface inspection, you will usually see some if you remove the retention spring (I'll get to that) since it is a round diameter set into a square groove. I usually remove the spring a couple of times each year to play with the tension and clean the grooves.
Tom, the spring pops out easily if you slip a sturdy knife blade between the"chord" and the groove to lever it out a little. You will go crazy if you try to pry the end of the wire out first, so don't waste the time. Once the chord starts out, the whole thing pops out easily.
You can change the grip of the spring on the basket by making small changes in the length of the chord (with a pair of needle-nose pliers) or by introducing a small bend in it. I set mine to allow the basket to be retained when I flip the puck out (don't you love those ridgeless Gaggia baskets?) and yet soft enough to let me pluck the basket out with friction from my thumb after I rinse so that I can slap a fresh one in for each shot. (Again, there is no danger of breaking the wall seal of the puck since there is no ridge that the spring is going to snap.)
So, IMHO, pull out the spring "till your little heart's content. Regards, KittJ
Thanks for the tip. I found that a corkscrew works wonderfully: it's thin enough to wedge in behind the chord, and it's pre-curved to pry the spring out and up -- and then it goes flying across the room! [Hint: wear eye protection!]
And when I got it out it was sticky/gummy and the groove was the same. They're both like new now -- thanks!
If there's anyone reading this who hasn't popped their spring, go and do it now! Have your Cafiza solution at the ready: you won't want to handle that spring very much (it's yucky).
Posted Mon Dec 11, 2006, 5:10pm Subject: Re: Gaggia portafilter spring -- removable?
Just out of curiosity, I popped the spring on a couple of my portafilters. I use a naked PF most of the time; as you'd expect, there was absolutely no coffee gunk in the spring clip. But even in my regular PFs, there was no visible gunk. Below is a pic of my oldest PF (from an old one group Rancilio commercial machine), which has never had the spring clip removed for cleaning.
I'm also a fan of ridgeless baskets, and maybe that's why I don't see gunk in my spring clips. It's easy to pop out a ridgeless basket and give the PF a quick scrub with a scotch brite pad. Or perhaps Gaggia PFs are more prone to this problem, who knows.
Regardless, this is of little consequence compared to other cleaning procedures: the portafilter wiggle after each shot, rinsing spent grounds out of the filter basket, etc. The espresso in your cup should never touch the spring clip. If it does, something's gone badly wrong.
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