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Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, and wonder if it isn't just a wee boat anchor
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Help! Just...  
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Grimsthorpe
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Surrey
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 10:34am
Subject: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, and wonder if it isn't just a wee boat anchor
 

Okay, I could really use some help. I just bought a Gaggia "Coffee" after doing a brief tour on the internet. This machine is going to be carted off to work and I am not expecting it to compete with my Bazzerra Medea, but I would like to make a decent cappuccino. Am I doomed here?
So far, I mostly just appreciate my double boiler machine more and more. Ohhh, the gooey coffee mess. Who knew?
This is a used machine and I have cleaned it top to bottom, and yes, it was clear it had never been done before.
I can force the machine to produce a fairly hot cup of joe, but using my nice freshly ground freshly roasted beans produce what I can only charitably consider a sad bit of crema around the edges.
Is this me?
Little did I know how forgiving my Medea is.
I know even with a Rancilio Silvia there are tweaks necessary to get a decent shot. I am hoping that is the case here. Or should I just repost it and move on? It really did get decent reviews -makes me consider the operator is a bit challenged!
Help me Gaggia folk, help me!
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 172
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 7:23pm
Subject: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, and wonder if it isn't just a wee boat anchor
 

The Gaggia is certainly a machine capable of making great shots.  It's not going to be your Bezzera...but there are some tweaks that will help the machine out.

Since it is a used machine, do you know if the previous owner adjust the OPV?  The machines come from the factory set to brew at something like 12 to 15 bar, which is meant for the pressurized filter basket that came with the machines.  The shots will improve if its set down to between 9 and 10 bar for use with a non-pressurized portafilter.  How-to pages are all over the place for that.

I'm also under the assumption that you are using the non-pressurized basket.

What type of grinder are you using?  How fresh is your freshly roasted coffee?

I assure you it's not a boat anchor ;-)
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,851
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 7:59pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

I'm too lazy to look this up, but does this model Gaggia have the 3 way solenoid? (Pressure relief) Or, do you have to wait several seconds to remove the PF after the shot to avoid the PF "sneeze?"
If the latter, then you MUST make sure when the ready light first goes out that you bleed the steam wand 4 seconds or so. This will release the "false pressure" and allow the machine to comne up to full temp.

I also like the other blokes idea of (if needed) adjusting the pressure down to 9.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,851
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 8:01pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

I'm too lazy to look this up, but this model Gaggia have the 3 way solenoid? (Pressure relief) Or, do you have to wait several seconds to remove the PF after the shot to avoid the PF "sneeze?"
If the latter, then you MUST make sure when the ready light first goes out that you bleed the steam wand 4 seconds or so. This will release the "false pressure" and allow the machine to comne up to full temp.

I also like the other blokes idea of (if needed) adjusting the pressure down to 9.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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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 Sun Mar 23, 2014, 9:01pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

The machine probably should be clarified from below.

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaModelCoffee.html#WIDTH: 95px; HEIGHT: 111px

Most common is the version with the steam knob on the side.

http://www.partsguru.com/user/ER0077-01.PDF

No 3 way valve and no adjustable OPV.  The group head is not plumbed for a 3 way, but an adjustable OPV can be added and then the pressure adjusted down to 9 bar.  That makes is a bit more grind(er) tolerant. Many people use it as is.  The model shown has a self priming valve, 63, and it should be removed and the port plugged.  They are prone to leak and let hot water back to the tank and affect the pressure.

The 3 way is a bit more convenient, but does not really change the shot in the cup.

Cappucino should be very easy for this machine, it certainly is for the Classic.  With proper grinder and fresh roasted beans crema is not a problem.

SBDU machines have difficult pulling a shot, then steaming, and then switching back to the next pull if needed rapidly.  The boiler has to cool and stabilize, best after 4 - 5 minutes.  As you suspect, the problem is the operator, but that is easily solved by learning on the Gaggia as I am sure that you did on the first machine :)

Allow a 15 - 20 minute initial warm up to stabilize the temperature.  Do not flush the machine, but make sure the boiler is full prior to heating. Gaggia has a small boiler and high wattage heaters and can heat rapidly, but also cools rapidly if cool water is introduced. Again, do not flush. Sorry to contradict, but no false pressure.   Also, warm up with the PF locked in.

Eventually you will want a PID on any SBDU machine to allow for easy temperature control.  With all of that if you are still interested, keep posting and asking :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,851
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sun Mar 23, 2014, 10:08pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

Fred, awesome posting!!!
No worries, I STAND CORRECTED!

I had NO idea these machines needed these little fixes to break them away from the pressurized PF/basket world.

Still, I wonder if our OP wouldn't find a machine like an NS Oscar more to his liking?

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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witoldb
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Aug 2013
Posts: 105
Location: Dubai UAE
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Sanremo Treviso LX,...
Grinder: Vario,Elektra MXS,...
Roaster: DIY 250g drum roaster
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 9:35am
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

Gaggia Coffee uses group valve (part No 58) which drops pressure by around 3 bar so your OPV setting should be 11 bar.
With 120 ml/min flow rate from Ulka pump, it should result in 9 bar above the puck.
You might not need to install OPV if  the safety valve (part No 27) opens at 11 bar.
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 172
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 11:05am
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

D4F Said:

The machine probably should be clarified from below.

http://www.partsguru.com/GaggiaModelCoffee.html#WIDTH: 95px; HEIGHT: 111px

Posted March 23, 2014 link

Indeed I stand corrected too!  It's hard to adjust an OPV when there isn't one to adjust :-/
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Grimsthorpe
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Surrey
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 3:43pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

The model is the all black "Coffee" Gaggia -#1998. Steam wand control on the side.
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Grimsthorpe
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Surrey
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Mar 24, 2014, 3:50pm
Subject: Re: Help! Just bought a Gaggia Coffee, etc.
 

I so appreciate your thoughtful reply. This is a wee bit above my pay grade. Valve #63? It should be removed and the port plugged? I understand the words... I am happy to undertake the job, but is there a schematic or even better pictures of this? I could use a walk through. There is definitely steam escaping through the group head, so I suspect there is a problem here.
Produced a nice hot cup of black liquid this morning sans crema. Same beans and grind that the Bezzerra produces a lovely crema.

If at first you don't succeed: brew brew brew again!
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