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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Baby Gaggia...  
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epochone
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Jul 2005
Posts: 6
Location: San Francisco
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Feb 5, 2013, 9:16pm
Subject: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

Had a Silvia for years and it worked very well. Just bought a new Baby Gag and 10 pounds of bean experimentation later, I have yet to get a decent shot. My grinder is a mod'd KitchenAid Pro-Line with the well known mini-mazzer conversion kit. I am getting one of three results: too fine which clogs the filter, too course and it runs out fast and black or, on most occasions, it come out very blonde and weak. The beans are not the prob (used the same Peets Major Dickinson for years) and the grinder is just doing what I tell it to do. Has anyone had problems with this machine or possibly suggest a solution or mod? Maybe water isn't hot enough? (The group head is always very hot when I run it.)
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susi28
Senior Member
susi28
Joined: 5 Feb 2013
Posts: 3
Location: New York
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 10:19am
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

I have not faced it yet, so I don't know the solution. Hope you will get it very soon.
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

A really easy (and cheap!) way to test the water temp is with a styrofoam cup and a digital thermometer.  Take a styrofoam cup and cut it down enough so that it slips into the grouphead, i.e. make the top of the cup the same diameter as the portafilter.  Poke your thermometer probe (I used a $20 digital meat thermometer which worked great) into the cup angling down so that the probe tip ends up at the bottom and the hole is up high.  Warm up the machine for at least 15 minutes, preferably more.  Pre-heat the cup and probe with boiling water.  Dump the cup and, as quickly as you can, fit it to the grouphead and turn on the pump.  You should see water around 200F.  I just did this recently and mine was pretty close.  The coffee thermostat is only about $10 and takes minutes to install if your water temp is way out.  FWIW, my group head gets hot enough that I can't touch it for more than a fraction of a second (I have a Gaggia Coffee, probably same aluminum indirectly-heated boiler).

What dose weight are you using?  Have you played with the dose:grind ratio, i.e. higher dose and coarser grind or lower dose and finer grind?  Are you seeing crema?  What is the taste like?

I would say that if you are getting your double-shot in 25-ish seconds and it's too watery, it must be either the temp or the beans.  I've had both good and bad results with Peets, lots of variation bag-to-bag if they are not from the same batch.  For the sake of your sanity, I'd go buy some beans you know are fresh-roasted if only to eliminate the beans as a possible cause if you find the water temp is where it should be.

If you have proper temp, pressure, grind/dose and good beans, it should at least give you something that looks and tastes like espresso.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,022
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 11:53am
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

The temperature check is simple and as described.  BB&B has a Polder digital thermometer for $10, and Harbor Freight for about $5.  I have used both and they work fine.  That said, I doubt temperature malfuncton on a new machine.  

I let the machine warm a minimum of 15 minutes so that the group with PF on is fully hot.  Get the PF wet first and you will have it steamy hot.  The Gaggia boiler is about 105 ml, so any flush will lower the temperature.  You can use a flush to temperature surf and turn on the boiler stat, but the technique is a little different than Silvia.  I have a PID and my idle temperture does not require, or desire a flush.  Be careful with Gaggia, or research the flush and surf.

I believe that Baby does not have an adjustable OPV, so runs at high pressure.  You can add the Gaggia Classic OPV and get a more forgiving machine.  While you have suggested a tunable capable grinder, the results do not suggest that you can hit the sweet spot for Baby's pressure.  "Tracerbullet" has done a lot with Baby, including OPV.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/566170

If you search him, you will find a lot of comments about Baby.

I used to use Peets with my Delonghi.  I asked about actual roast dates and found some variation.  Redbird is very forgiving and has quick USPS.  

I will ask to be complete, but pressurized or non-pressurized PF.  I had both with the Classic and just want to clarify what you are using.  I believe that you are having a problem with beans, or grind, distribution and pressure, and least likely, temperature.  PID is the way to go, but I do not think that it is your answer, yet.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 12:01pm
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

D4F Said:

I believe that Baby does not have an adjustable OPV, so runs at high pressure.  You can add the Gaggia Classic OPV and get a more forgiving machine.  While you have suggested a tunable capable grinder, the results do not suggest that you can hit the sweet spot for Baby's pressure.  "Tracerbullet" has done a lot with Baby, including OPV.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/566170

Posted February 6, 2013 link

I have modded my Gaggia Coffee by adding the Classic OPV.  Without it the pressure was ~12 BAR.
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tracerbullet
Senior Member
tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 3:34pm
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

Yep, the Classic's adjustable OPV bolts right up. Just have to do a little fiddling with the plumbing afterwards.

I have some pictures and info floating around here somewhere in a long post I made, but I made a number of other mods at the same time so it may not all apply. But the pictures may at least give you a good idea of what needs to be done.

There was a gent, jkoll42, who did something much more direct and created a pdf about it, which would be good to follow. I found his screen name but don't have a handy link to that document. I think if you search on his screen name you may find it?

If I did it all over again, I'd likely attempt to replace the hard set OPV that comes with the baby (located at the pump outlet) with an adjustable version intended to be installed at the same place. It'd just make things easier. Coming full circle, it was D4F that pointed out that such a style does exist.

****

Edit - Have a look here: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/304652
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,022
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

There is a somewhat generic in line OPV that should work fine.  It could be an advantage for the other mod that some do, that is a copper pipe wrap preheat.  If you wrap with copper pipe and then go into the Classic type OPV, then most of the preheat water goes back to the tank via the opv.  The inline type can be inserted after the pump, before the copper tubing.  It should also work in a machine without preheat by just splicing it in line.  The difficulty with adding OPVs is to get leakproof connections.  If you use the Classic OPV, you can get Gaggia fittings.  Here is the more generic in line type

Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

I did not bring it up initially because I favor the standard Classic type for the Gaggia, and did not intend to get into anything other than the OPV.  I do not advocate preheat as I can add enough heat to raise the intrashot temperature with use of a PID alarm function slaved to the brew switch.  A whole other topic

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,022
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 4:25pm
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

tracerbullet Said:

Yep, the Classic's adjustable OPV bolts right up. Just have to do a little fiddling with the plumbing afterwards.

There was a gent, jkoll42, who did something much more direct and created a pdf about it, which would be good to follow. I found his screen name but don't have a handy link to that document. I think if you search on his screen name you may find it?

Edit - Have a look here: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/304652

Posted February 6, 2013 link

Here is the tutorial for Gaggia OPV replacement

http://bit.ly/yAE41q

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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dspear99ca
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Jan 2013
Posts: 93
Location: BC, Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Posted Wed Feb 6, 2013, 4:30pm
Subject: Re: Baby Gaggia Problems
 

[quote614446It could be an advantage for the other mod that some do, that is a copper pipe wrap preheat.  [x]

There's been some discussion on the pipe wrap mod, many complain that heated water sitting in a copper pipe ends up absorbing some metallic taste.  YMMV
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