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My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
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andreafelix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Italy, Milan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic OPV mod
Grinder: Eureka Mignon
Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 9:13am
Subject: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

Hi everybody,
I'm going to buy my first espresso equipment and..I need a suggestion :-)

The coffee machine will make from 1 to 4 espressos a day, seldom if ever a cappuccino.

My budget for espresso machine + grinder is around 500.


After reading a lot, my choice is for Gaggia Classic (210) + Eureka Mignon (300) (prices refer to italian market). An alternative choice could be the Rancilio Silvia + the Vario Home, but they are more expensive and I'm not sure it's worthwhile (Silvia itself is more than 500 and Vario Home is about 400).

I know I need a tamper and a knock box. Questions:

- your opinion for my choice
- I know there are 3 major mods for the Gaggia Classic
  1. replace the pressurized portafilter with a regular one
  2. OPV adjustment (from actual 13-14 bars to 9/10)
  3. replace steam wand (for example with the Silvia's wand)
    - are there other important tweaks that I'm missing?

My considerations:
  1. is a minor point for my usage --> postponed
  2. easy --> to do before buying the machine
  3. OPV adjustment: is really important? My big problem is how to build a decent pressure gauge. I've seen some videos (for instance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnl0LaezLuw) and it's not exactly easy... Is there any other way to achieve the same result (not considering the "blind" adjustment)?

To complete the picture I want to say I have a couple of bar-roasters not far from my home so I shouldn't have big problems to get fresh roasted coffee :-)


thanks for reading!

ciao,
Andrea
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,007
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 10:52am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

Andrea, welcome to CG. Gaggia Classic should serve you well as you described. I don't know your grinder choice, so no comment there.  In US, we get 2 pressurized and one non-pressurized baskets with the portafilter.  If you don't have the non-pressurized basket, you will need to obtain that as you suggested.

So, yes to non-pressurized basket.

OPV to 9 bar will make brewing a lot easier.  It comes set for pressurized baskets and that is a compromise for non-pressurized.  "Not so Blind" fix and gauge information included. Note that a vise is needed to remove the double spouts, but the gauge is simple and easy.

http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/index.php/topic,231.0.html

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/194464

Replace the wand with Silvia V.1.  That does not sound urgent is you rarely steam, but a very good mod.

All single boiler dual use machines will greatly benefit from a PID controller though it can wait. You can temperature surf or learn to time from the light machine lights.

http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/index.php/topic,182.0.html

A great place to start on espresso questions.

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/

     12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 52
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Sat Mar 1, 2014, 8:50am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

Welcome to CG! I second everything D4F posted, but will reiterate a bit because I am on my phone with a small screen and can not look back and forth easily while typing, so I apologize.

I am not familiar with the Mignon grinder. I currently have the Gaggia Classic + Vario combo going and I love it! This would put you a little over budget but it's worth it, to me it was at least.

You are correct with non pressurized basket.

The OPV adjustment will make your shots taste so much better and make learning how to use your machine much easier. Makeing a decent pressure gauge is easy. I know there is information on the gaggiausersgroup.com where exactly I can not remember. When I can get on my computer I will be able to find it easier. I will even post how I made mine here.

The Silvia wand is a great mod for two reasons. Makes better milk and looks much better. Since you do not make many milk drinks this might not be dry important, unless you are concerned about the look.

Adding a PID is another excellent mod for the classic. This will provide you better temperate control. This mod can be costly if you buy a PID kit, around $150, Click Here (www.auberins.com)  

I bought the kit from Aubern. I did not want to really spend the money, but after kissing the fighting battle with the classic temp swing I bought it. Now that I have it I can say that it was worth every penny. The kit is fairly easy to install and will make a world of difference in the quality and consistency of your shots.

It is cheaper if you source the parts yourself and assemble, but it is more time consuming. There is a wealth of information on how to do this yourself here on GC and on the gaggiausersgroup.com

Hope this helps!
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 52
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Vac Pot: Royal Balance Syphon
Roaster: Hottop+TC4C
Posted Sun Mar 2, 2014, 2:34pm
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

As promised, this was my shopping list for my pressure gauge:

Husky 2" side mount chrome gauge 300 psi: 1/4" connection
1/4" to 3/8" reducer
3/8" coupler
Thread seal tape


I used the OEM portafilter. All I did was screw off the double spout. It did not come off easily, as it is glued on at the factory. To get it off I had stuck a long screw driver through the spout. Placed one end of the screw driver on the ground, held the driver at an angle and pulled very hard on the portafilter handle to unscrew it. This broke the seal. The PF has a 3/8" thread, so the order for connection, PF, coupler, reducer, than the gauge.

After your done with the gauge you can just unscrew it off and screw the spout back on (or not) and pull shots with it :D.
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andreafelix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Italy, Milan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic OPV mod
Grinder: Eureka Mignon
Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 6:41am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

]Thanks D4F and IntrepidQ3,
so basically I'm missing only the PID mod...I believe I'll try to live together at the moment

About the gauge I found a ready to use product and they say it's compatible with Gaggia machines (they ask 60 euros) http://imgur.com/qLTZRw8

About the grinder: I just found out that Eureka grinders are not sold in the States so that's probably why is not very well know in this forum. I found a positive review on bellabarista (UK) Click Here (www.bellabarista.co.uk) and for what I've seen it's well considered for example by people in http://coffeeforums.co.uk/

thanks a lot again!

ciao
Andrea
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,007
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 9:53am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

The gauge is a "use once" item, and in US you can build one for about $15. Nice looking gauge, but too much money.

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


Joined: 14 Sep 2013
Posts: 92
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Mar 3, 2014, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

search for andypanda's videos and discussions...lots of temp surf technique there for the gaggia...
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andreafelix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Italy, Milan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic OPV mod
Grinder: Eureka Mignon
Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014, 2:35am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

D4F Said:

The gauge is a "use once" item, and in US you can build one for about $15. Nice looking gauge, but too much money.

Posted March 3, 2014 link

I totally agree with you...First I'll try to do it myself....I was wandering should I keep the pressurized portafilter until I adjust the pressure? Or the machine gives better results with the regular basket even with the 15 bars pressure?

thanks
Andrea
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andreafelix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Italy, Milan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic OPV mod
Grinder: Eureka Mignon
Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014, 2:37am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

dwRK Said:

search for andypanda's videos and discussions...lots of temp surf technique there for the gaggia...

Posted March 3, 2014 link

thanks dwRK, that name is not new to me. There are really a lot of resources on the web.

cheers
Andrea
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andreafelix
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Feb 2014
Posts: 13
Location: Italy, Milan
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic OPV mod
Grinder: Eureka Mignon
Posted Tue Mar 4, 2014, 3:37am
Subject: Re: My first equipment + suggested mods for Gaggia Classic
 

Sorry to bother you again, I'm searching directions to build the PF with the gauge. One of te best I found (so far) is here on coffegeek: http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/422639

I have 2 "stupid" questions (sorry..):

  1. can I use the original portafilter? Should I just unscrew the "nose"? Is it safe I mean after adjust the pressure I just screw the nose and it's like new?
  2. where does go the water?? :-)

thanks!

ciao,
Andrea

andreafelix: pg_gauge.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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