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To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > To backflush a...  
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floepie
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 16
Location: Amsterdam
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 2:21pm
Subject: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

So today I inquired about blind filter availability via email with a trusted espresso machine dealer.  They came back with advice not to backflush with this particular machine because of the internals made with aluminum.  Apparently, the cleaning agent typically used with the backflushing can wear away aluminum.  It sounds like sound advice, but to what extent are we talking about here, given the exposure to said solution is so relatively short?  Is this something to be genuinely concerned about?  I've also learned that Gaggia themselves say to avoid this cleansing maneuver.  Yet, I see many backflush tutorials and vids specifically using the Classic.
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SJM
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Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,721
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
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Roaster: HotTop   Huky en route
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 2:43pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

Let's start with the fact that the solution you will backflush with is a detergent (Cafiza is a good one) and would have no negative impact whatsoever on aluminum.  
Actually since that was the only reason they gave for you NOT to backflush, you can just ignore them and do it.  Or, of course, you can continue drinking dirty coffee.....:-))))
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,413
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 3:12pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

"To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?"  That is a question???

YES!  Backflush it!!!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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SJM
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Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,721
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
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Roaster: HotTop   Huky en route
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 3:20pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

Does anyone have any idea where this bizarre misinformation (that backflushing is a bad thing) got its start????
It boggles my mind.

I keep reading that vendors are telling buyers that backflushing will void their warrantees.  Is that really true or is it just misinformation that is getting passed along???
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Iluvdabean
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Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,277
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

I back flushed mine as scheduled maintenance for five years and it never hurt a thing. Whoever told you that didnt know what
they were talking about.
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,021
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Oct 21, 2013, 8:16pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

SJM Said:

Does anyone have any idea where this bizarre misinformation (that backflushing is a bad thing) got its start????
It boggles my mind.

I keep reading that vendors are telling buyers that backflushing will void their warrantees.  Is that really true or is it just misinformation that is getting passed along???

Posted October 21, 2013 link

Here is an article on the WLL site that talks about backflush and noted the manufacturer recommends against backflush.  I have seen it written on other sites about Gaggia.  I am only noting how the concept got started and keeps getting spread.  I backflush.

Click Here (www.wholelattelove.com)

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


Joined: 20 Aug 2005
Posts: 23
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Brataza Vario
Roaster: Bohemor 1600
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 10:04am
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

So then I have maybe a really "dumb" question. Sorry...but just how does one backflush the classic then? Do I need to purchase something as since the manufacturer suggests NOT to do it, I am guessing I don't have the required equipment to perform it?

Sorry for the really basic question here...
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SJM
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Espresso: SAMA (2), Maximatic, Cremina...
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Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 10:18am
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

Check it out here:
Click Here (www.gaggiausersgroup.com)
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steamer
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steamer
Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 900
Location: socal
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Brewtus IV R
Grinder: Mazzer Mini-B Baratza...
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Roaster: Hottop
Posted Wed Oct 23, 2013, 12:10pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

Not that I am a guru and only having my classic a short time, whats the difference of doing a backflush and the OPV operation of during a backflush or even pulling a shot. I think once the pump hits a dead end the opv pops open and drains off. This could happen on both pulling a shot and a blind basket. Does anything beside water go thru the OPV?
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Thu Oct 24, 2013, 5:10pm
Subject: Re: To backflush a Gaggia Classic or not to backflush?
 

Whoever is giving you such information regarding the aluminum corrosion is severely mistaken.  They are mixing up what occurs with, and what chemicals are used, during backflushing and descaling.  

When you backflush, you use a detergent.  Modern detergents are much like the soaps of old made with lye and fats.  The same rules apply, these chemicals remove oily residues.  When you backflush, NO CHEMICALS HIT THE BOILER.  Think about it, when that solenoid valve opens up the point is to relieve the pressure in the PF by allowing it to vent down a tube into another reservoir (like a drip tray).  If the fluid found its way back into the boiler....well that wouldn't be good at all because the following shots would be affected.  To put the story all together, the Gaggia boiler is what's aluminum.  So, even if the detergent did harm aluminum (and it doesn't), it wouldn't matter anyway.

The dealer giving you that advice is mixing up backflushing with descaling.  Descaling chemicals are acids (usually citric acid or tartaric acid).  These chemicals are mixed with water, put into the water reservoir, and run through the entire machine (boiler and all).  Acids do harm aluminum so you'll want to do some research on the proper way to descale a Gaggia machine (I employ a weaker acid solution for shorter periods of time) to avoid such problems.  

As others have mentioned, Gaggia recommends against backflushing.  We aren't too sure why this is.  The most believable reason I can think of is that Gaggia is worried about hot liquid splashing around and leading to injury...who knows.  The weirdest thing is that Gaggia actually makes an acid-based descaler that can, indeed, harm the machine if not used properly.

I backflush once a week and descale every 2 months but it depends on how many shots you make and how hard your water is, respectively.
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