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On the right path
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > On the right...  
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donski
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Swindon, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 8:30am
Subject: On the right path
 

Hi all.....completely new to this but read a lot on here before embarking....

Wife bought me a Gaggia Classic for Chrimbo......kind enough to also think about using it so she bought me some of the Waitrose own brand ESE pods. Not really what the Gaggia is about but at least it got me going on Christmas day :-)

So....using the pod with the default "perfect Crema" filters that come with the machine I got fairly good espresso....brew time of about 22 seconds with a fairly good crema (albeit a little artificial due to the out of the box filters and pin that you get with the classic) but I want to make a real espresso.

Alas, my local roaster was closed for the entire Christmas period so I bought dome pre-ground Lavazzi from the supermarket. I know this is still far from ideal for the real experience but I thought it would allow me to get some practice in at least. Needless to say it hasn't worked out and I'm just looking for a little reassurance that my assumptions for this are correct.

So - got a brew time of about 12 seconds for 1oz. Tried tamping as hard as I dare but made no difference though I did manage a crema of sorts.....resulting grounds in the filter are quite wet as well.

My assumptions for this poor result are as follows:-

  1. This is not the freshest coffee being pre-ground, pre-packed supermarket product.
  2. Although the package says fine ground suitable for espresso makers, the reality is it probably still isn't fine enough hence the short brew time.
  3. I still have the Gaggia pressurised baskets and crema pin.
  4. Me - Need more practice

I know this is an art and I need to practice to get it right so I have ordered the non-pressurised baskets and I'm off to the roaster later to get FRESH coffee. At least then I can remove those variables from my hitlist and I'll know that results are down to me after that. I don't have a grinder yet but the roaster will hopefully grind a small batch for me.

Are my assumptions close to the mark?

Thanks in advance.
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donski
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Swindon, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 8:41am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

I'm confident that the coffee I am using is far from ideal but the particular Lavazza cooffee I have is the Qualita Rossa blend/grind if it helps.....

Thanks
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,181
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 8:55am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

1, 2, 3, and 4, all correct.

You'll need to buy:
  1. An unpressurized portafilter and a standard basket.  You don't need a bottomless pf (nice to have, though), just a pf that fits in the Gaggia's group head;
  2. Some decent and fresh beans; and
  3. A decent espresso grinder.  

Beans:
It depends on the supermarket of course, but few of them carry decent beans.  FWIW, "decent" includes but is not limited to a roast date so you know you're never brewing beans which are more than three weeks post roast.  Try and get something with a reputation for being sweet, chocolatey, and otherwise easy.  

Grinder:
If you're buying new, "decent" starts at close to $300.  

BDL
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PJK
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PJK
Joined: 21 Jan 2002
Posts: 2,318
Location: Shingle Springs CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancillo Silvia, Tonic...
Grinder: Modified Rocky, Elma side...
Vac Pot: Old Silex
Drip: Melitta BCM 4  +Some old...
Roaster: Hottop, Modified Z&D,...
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 9:21am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

Listen to BDL!

The grinder is more important than the espresso machine!

Unless you live next door to the roaster and you have him grind for the shot and run home with the grounds, your fresh coffee won't be when you pull the shot.

Phil




boar_d_laze Said:

1, 2, 3, and 4, all correct.

You'll need to buy:
An unpressurized portafilter and a standard basket.  You don't need a bottomless pf (nice to have, though), just a pf that fits in the Gaggia's group head;
Some decent and fresh beans; and
A decent espresso grinder.  

Beans:
It depends on the supermarket of course, but few of them carry decent beans.  FWIW, "decent" includes but is not limited to a roast date so you know you're never brewing beans which are more than three weeks post roast.  Try and get something with a reputation for being sweet, chocolatey, and otherwise easy.  

Grinder:
If you're buying new, "decent" starts at close to $300.  

BDL

Posted January 6, 2014 link


 
Philip J. Keleshian
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
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 Mon Jan 6, 2014, 9:53am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

The grinder must be designed for espresso, it is a different type of grind, not just finer.
You need the grinder because
1 the coffee will go stale in about 15 minutes, yes it really does happen that fast,
2 the grind is critical, and it changes constantly, day to day and sometimes even hour to hour, there is NO WAY anyone else can grind your coffee for you and even if they nailed it for today, tomorrow, it will be wrong as the coffee ages and the weather changes.

 
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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donski
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Swindon, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:01am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

Thanks to all of you......It helps knowing....

The grinder is definitely a priority.....Just going to have to make the best of it until then.

Just one question.....why do I need a new pf. I thought it was just the difference in the basket that differentiated pressurized from unpressurized?

Cheers
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StanleySpadowski
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Location: New Hampshire
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF, Kyocera CM-50
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:23am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

donski Said:

The grinder is definitely a priority.....Just going to have to make the best of it until then.

Posted January 6, 2014 link

You're going to be frustrated until you get a decent grinder.  IMO you can survive with an inexpensive (and stepless-modified) Hario Skerton/Kyocera CM-50 hand grinder until you've saved up for something nicer (like an OrphanEspresso Pharos, or a pricier electric grinder, if you must).  Other people with more experience than I have will tell you that the Skerton is unacceptable, or barely marginal at best.  My feeling is that your standards are currently pretty low, and that you can get some mileage out of the Skerton for a while.  At least that's been my experience as a Gaggia Classic/Kyocera espresso n00b.

Just one question.....why do I need a new pf. I thought it was just the difference in the basket that differentiated pressurized from unpressurized?


I believe you only need to remove the little rubber gasket from the bottom of the portafilter and use a standard basket.  You shouldn't need a new portafilter.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,997
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:25am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

Yep, unless you get a different pf than the rest of us, you have a regular OEM pf and it just needs the device removed and a non-pressurized double basket, and grinder as noted.

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


Joined: 15 Feb 2013
Posts: 11
Location: New Hampshire
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Gaggia MDF, Kyocera CM-50
Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:30am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

Oh, I forgot to mention: your Classic was probably shipped with the pressure set too high -- or rather, set to a pressure suitable for ESE pods.  You're going to have difficulty getting tasty shots when the pressure is 12+ bar.  You can find numerous threads on the Classic's OPV adjustment.  Here is a link that shows how to make the adjustment: Classic OPV adjustment
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donski
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Jan 2014
Posts: 10
Location: Swindon, UK
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014, 10:53am
Subject: Re: On the right path
 

Thanks Stan/D4F

Time to google grinders to death......

Will take a look at the pressure.....will need to find a compromise somewhere as the missus wants to be able to shove a pod in without the fuss.

Cheers all.
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