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Gaggia Classic novice with questions
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frozenmouse
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Sep 2012
Posts: 1
Location: Massachusetts
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 7:53pm
Subject: Gaggia Classic novice with questions
 

I'm looking forward to learning to use the new Gaggia Classic that's on its way to me and I could use some help from the knowledgeable folks here. I am totally inexperienced with espresso making. Never done it. Never seen it done (well, sure, seen it done in coffee shops, but never paid much attention). But in the next day or two the machine will be here and I'd like to make the most of it. Any help and support you all could provide would be very much appreciated.

My thought is that I would try to ease into the espresso making world gradually. I would start out by using the pressurized filter basket (I know, bush league) so that I don't get overwhelmed at the beginning with grind size, tamping, etc. I would learn the basic operation of the machine for a month or two, then get a grinder, use the non-pressurized filter basket, and after that, see where things go.

So my most urgent need right now is what I should be focusing on in this next month or two, though suggestions would also be appreciated on how best to make the transition to "proper" espresso making and what I'll need to be doing differently (other than, of course, engaging in grinding and tamping). I suppose hints on how to prepare the machine for first use would be helpful, but if there is a prior thread on this or a link, please point me in the right direction.

My objective at the beginning will be to make two cappuccini (or lattes) in the morning, which would require three shots apiece (so six shots in all, pretty much back to back). So, do I steam the milk first or last? Whichever way it is, what are the steps I need to take to switch the machine over from one function to another? How long will I need to wait in between pulling each set of two shots? Is there any cleaning needed of the filter basket/portafilter in between pulling each set of shots? Are there any other steps to be taken in between pulling each set of shots? Priming? What else do I need to know to do or look out for?

There you have it. Some very basic questions. I'd be grateful for your help.
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Thu Sep 20, 2012, 11:50pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic novice with questions
 

Welcome to CoffeeGeek!

Practicing without a grinder and using the pressurized baskets and pre-ground coffee won't prepare you for proper use of your machine, because putting ground coffee into the filter basket, screwing the portafilter into place, and pulling a shot doesn't require much training. It's dialing in the grinder and learning to work consistently (dosing, distributing, tamping, temperature surfing) that's hard. With the pressurized baskets and pre-ground coffee you'll probably get seemingly good results as far as looks are concerned, but they'll taste disappointingly. And once you start brewing your espresso properly, i.e. with a grinder and the non-pressurized basket, you'll be even more disappointed, because your results won't even look good at the beginning.

Pulling six consecutive shots with the Gaggia Classic will be very hard with its 100 ml boiler, after all six shots equal around 150 ml of espresso. Since it's a SBDU, you should pull the shots first and froth milk later, because it takes some time for the boiler to cool down again to brewing temperature after steaming.

However, it seems to me, you bought your first machine without giving it much thought, because it simply doesn't fir your needs well.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Sep 21, 2012, 3:02am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic novice with questions
 

Sorry for being so harsh.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 669
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Fri Sep 21, 2012, 3:17pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic novice with questions
 

NobbyR Said:

Practicing without a grinder and using the pressurized baskets and pre-ground coffee won't prepare you for proper use of your machine

Posted September 20, 2012 link

I agree. It will make you coffee.. but that's it. It probably won't be all that great coffee, but it'll be coffee. You need the grinder component and cheap beans
to play with before you can start learning. Then you learn what works and what doesn't work.

You need to find out what happens when you have a gusher or when you choke your machine. You need to learn how to tamp properly and suffer the
consequences when you don't. (Believe me, it's not that hard and it's not like the machine is going to blow up and kill you if you get it wrong. :-)

NobbyR Said:

Since it's a SBDU, you should pull the shots first and froth milk later, because it takes some time for the boiler to cool down again to brewing temperature after steaming.

Posted September 20, 2012 link

Some of the other people say to do it the other way with a SBDU. Personally, I find that I can cool down my boiler fast.. It's heating up the boiler from brewing to steaming that takes time.

Personally, I find that if you let steamed milk sit for too long, the microfoam starts dissipating... so brew your shots first, then steam second.

Don't worry, it took me about 40 minutes to make my first cappuccino, then 8 minutes to make my next one. :-) The time consuming part is making sink shot after sink shot until you get it right.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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