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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Gaggia Classic...  
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Bobik
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 11:38am
Subject: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

I'm trying to figure out if I got burned on my recent purchase of a Gaggia Classic machine on Ebay.  I became suspicious when, after adjusting the grind several times, I was unable to pull a decent shot.  It's not the coffee and I doubt it's me.  I own a cafe (for about a year now), and, though I'm not a barista, I can pull fine shots on our Simonelli Aurelia machine.  The shots I'm getting from the Classic are all too fast and have weak crema.  I tipped the machine over this morning, and the attached picture is what I found.  Is there not a screen missing?  And what shows doesn't correspond to what I see on parts sites as the screen holder for Classics.

Any help would be appreciated.  Has the machine been fitted out with alternative parts incorrectly?  missing parts?

Thanks

Bobik: classichead.jpg
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 11:49am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Hi,

I can't see the picture, but the Classic can be a little finickity to start with.  

Firstly, there should be a screen in the group held in place with a single countersunk crosshead screw - visible in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egeuQThBcG8  If it's missing, it's very cheap to buy.

Secondly, the overpressure valve on the Gaggia's is often supplied set at about 12 bar for pod use.  This needs to be dialled back to about 10 bar static/9 bar brewing if you want to use a similar grind to that for commercial machines, and will cause shots to be too fast if you use the same grind as a commercial machine.  Until you can do that, you'll need to grind quite a bit finer.  The Gaggia also seems to prefer overdosing - about 16-17g of coffee should fit in the standard double basket with sufficient headroom.  You'll also need to temperature surf to get the best shot from the machine - generally you should aim to start the pull about 30s after the ready light goes on (other techniques are available).

Hope this helps.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 11:59am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

I know what you said but fast shots, thin shots and no crema are all signs of stale coffee and a grind that is too large. We define stale coffee as older than two weeks from the day it is roasted.

You do not list your grinder but it may not be able to grind for espresso. Espresso requires a grind that is bimodal or trimodal and few non espresso grinders can do that, .... very very few. It is not simply a matter of being fine, the particles all need to be consistent in size.

Even with a good grinder, old stale coffee will pull fast and be thin and will not have crema, just saying. YMMV

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 12:21pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Looks like your missing the screen, which is a cheap and easy replacement and if your missing the screw for it you need to get the correct sized one as well. Otherwise like posted above, what grinder are you using and what type of beans (fresh roasted?)? But it's hard to tell if the brew group is correct as your pic is tiny and it looks dirty.

The group should look like this w/o the screen:
http://sallee.org/greg/gaggia/parts/gaggiaparts15.jpg
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Bobik
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 12:28pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Thanks for the ideas.  I guess the pic when I first attached it was too big, so I've edited the post to include the pic (smaller).  As you can see (I hope), there's really no center hole at all for the screen screw.  I'll look into adjusting the valve if there are instructions in the manual or online.

Because the grinder I had been using at home was too pedestrian, I brought home our back up Rancilio MD50 (vintage early '90s) from the cafe and got it working, and have been grinding beans finer and finer.  As for the coffee, it MIGHT be that it's been a while from when I brought it from the shop, but I kinda doubt that's it, since when we get it at the shop it is no more than a day past roasting.  Still, I'll bring very fresh and try that.

Thanks again.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,362
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 12:41pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Bobik Said:

Thanks for the ideas.  I guess the pic when I first attached it was too big, so I've edited the post to include the pic (smaller).  As you can see (I hope), there's really no center hole at all for the screen screw.  I'll look into adjusting the valve if there are instructions in the manual or online.

Because the grinder I had been using at home was too pedestrian, I brought home our back up Rancilio MD50 (vintage early '90s) from the cafe and got it working, and have been grinding beans finer and finer.  As for the coffee, it MIGHT be that it's been a while from when I brought it from the shop, but I kinda doubt that's it, since when we get it at the shop it is no more than a day past roasting.  Still, I'll bring very fresh and try that.

Thanks again.

Posted August 14, 2012 link

No center hole for a screw??? that's what I thought looking at that little pic but thought it was b/c it's dirty and small and not showing up. There should be a center screw, the screen has a hole in the middle to screw to the brew head. The two bigger holes w/ Allen bolts are to screw the head itself to the group. If you don't have a center hole then no idea there, never seen that before.

Here's a tear down of the Classic showing the brew head, as you can see there's a hole in the middle for the screw (may have the scroll down to the pics)
Click Here (reedsmeals.blogspot.com)

I don't know about the MD50, if it's that old have the burrs been replaced? Can it choke out the machine? Beans are just going to depend on how fresh they are. But sounds like something is up with your brew head if there's no center screw, have you cleaned it? Unscrew the two allen bolts and it should pop right out, maybe post a better pic on here.
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ggcadc
Senior Member
ggcadc
Joined: 25 Mar 2008
Posts: 147
Location: San Diego, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: QM Alexia
Grinder: Mazzer mini E, Virtuoso,...
Vac Pot: Yama 3 cup
Drip: All of them
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:09pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

you are missing both the dispersion plate and shower screen(likely also the hardware). both can be found on parts guru. besides that I would recommend that you make sure the over pressure valve is calibrated to a proper 9 bar, many how tos are available on this site and others.

Click Here (www.shop.partsguru.com)
Click Here (www.shop.partsguru.com)

together:
Click Here (www.shop.partsguru.com)

and hardware:
Click Here (www.shop.partsguru.com)
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dyqik
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
Grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Preciso...
Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Seconding the post above.  

Just for information, the original dispersion screen was aluminium, not brass.  I have my old one, but I replaced it with that exact brass one, seeking a little more thermal stability.  It seems to work OK, and was easy to clean last time I did it.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,734
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 1:32pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

That grinder should have NO problem with espresso!!!! Nice grinder!
Now that the pic shows, the missing parts can really mess things up when it comes to brewing. The job of the dispersion screen and plate is to spread the water out to a much more gentle flow but still at pressure. The water can be just boring a hole through the puck and just make a mess of everything.

The replacement parts should not cost much to replace. The seller may have taken them off an paniced when they could not find them and sold the machine or they may have taken them off for cleaning and honestly forgot to include them, either way, you need to get them.

The coffee sounds OK, you would be amazed at the number of people who buy who knows how old coffee and expect it to perform, it is one of our "go to" reasons for brewing faults. I know you said you had a cafe but even then people who should know better sometimes don't!

Again, welcome to the board, we will get you up and brewing, hang in there!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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Bobik
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Aug 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Aug 14, 2012, 4:17pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic purchase
 

Thanks for all the helpful comments from everyone.  I'll get the missing parts if the seller doesn't respond to my inquiry about the machine soon.
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