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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need help with...  
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sputnik767
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Apr 2014
Posts: 18
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 9:44am
Subject: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

Hi everyone.

I bought a refurbished Gaggia Classic about 6 months ago, and I am having a problem with it. Not sure if this problem was there in the beginning, or if developed recently. Basically, if I am just making a shot for myself, I don't have any issues. I let the machine warm up for 10 minutes, load the PF, tamp, and I get a double-shot in about 30-35 seconds. Every time I make just one shot, everything is very consistent. The problem happens when I need to make a second shot right after. I do the exact same process, keeping the grind, dose, and tamp consistent, and run about a shot of water through the machine. But when I load the portaflter into the machine and try to pull a shot, it runs very slow. Like 2 minutes to pull what should be a 30 second shot. I have tried tamping lighter, grinding coarser, nothing helps. Despite the long time, the shot tastes fine. So I am not sure what's going on, but it seems to be a pressure issue. If I turn off the machine and let it cool down, it seems to work well. Unfortunately, I have no way to measure the pressure, so I can't rule anything in or out. If anyone can offer advise, I would really appreciate it.

My equipment:
Gaggia Classic
Gaggia MDF grinder (best results at grind setting of 3)
Paradise Roasters espresso blend coffee (fresh beans)

I grind right before pulling the shot, wasting a little of the initial ground coffee to keep it as fresh and consistent as possible. My tamper is 58 mm that I bought separately (not the one that came with the machine). Using the standard double-shot basket (non-pressurized).

I have taken apart the grouphead to clean (do this regularly) and also backflush with Cafiza regularly. I have also descaled the machine.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:37am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

Hi, welcome to CG.

Nice write up to describe your use and problem.  Group flow problems are often related to scale, but it seems that may not be the case since you get a good initial flow and poor on second shot.  When did you last descale?

What is the machine age of manufacture date?

You might scan the following thread and try a few simple tests.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/656355

It would be interesting to see the flow rates, no coffee, for a first pull, and then a second in a few minutes.  The pump could be overly temperature sensitive and having trouble as it heats from use.

If you have not done so, recently, fill the boiler by opening the steam valve/wand and turning on the pump.  If the boiler was full, there should be an immediate stream, no bubbles.

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


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,706
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA, Gaggia Classic
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:42am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

sputnik767 Said:

and run about a shot of water through the machine.

Posted April 22, 2014 link

Try eliminating this step.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

In addition to your stated flow issue, a few other points are worth mentioning.  Gaggia boiler holds only about 105 ml of water so any run of water is very cooling to the brew.  You need 5 minutes, at least, after a run or flush to re-equilibrate.  The reason to eliminate the run through.

You did not mention the weight of your double, what you are wanting in the about 30 seconds.

These issues may not directly affect your flow problem, however :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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sputnik767
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Apr 2014
Posts: 18
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 10:56am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

D4F Said:

Hi, welcome to CG.

Nice write up to describe your use and problem.  Group flow problems are often related to scale, but it seems that may not be the case since you get a good initial flow and poor on second shot.  When did you last descale?

What is the machine age of manufacture date?

You might scan the following thread and try a few simple tests.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/656355

It would be interesting to see the flow rates, no coffee, for a first pull, and then a second in a few minutes.  The pump could be overly temperature sensitive and having trouble as it heats from use.

If you have not done so, recently, fill the boiler by opening the steam valve/wand and turning on the pump.  If the boiler was full, there should be an immediate stream, no bubbles.

Posted April 22, 2014 link

Hmm, I never checked this before, but it looks like the machine is 4 years old. I got it refurbished recently, but I don't know what was replaced. I suppose this makes the pump more likely, especially if it was not serviced when refurbished. I last descaled 2 days ago, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I wonder if maybe it needs more, or a manual descaling. And I could be wrong, but I feel like this issue was not present when I just got the machine.

Looks like for most of those tests, I would need a pressure gauge, so it may not be a bad idea to rig one up. In the mean time, the pump noise does not seem to change when it works vs when it does not.

I have filled the boiler using the method you described, it didn't seem to make any difference though.

I will try the test in the thread you mentioned and report back.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 11:01am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

sputnik767 Said:

Looks like for most of those tests, I would need a pressure gauge, so it may not be a bad idea to rig one up. In the mean time, the pump noise does not seem to change when it works vs when it does not.

I have filled the boiler using the method you described, it didn't seem to make any difference though.

I will try the test in the thread you mentioned and report back.

Posted April 22, 2014 link


Flow tests can be done without a gauge as noted in the thread.  Did you get out any air or sputtering when you filled the boiler?

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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sputnik767
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Apr 2014
Posts: 18
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 11:01am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

That's an interesting point about the run-through, I didn't think of that. I will try to eliminate it and see what happens.

As far as the weight, I don't have a scale to measure, but I am using the included double shot basket. Basically, I fill the basket with a small mound, tap twice on the tines of the grinder, and use a knife-edge to distribute and level. Then I tamp down with probably less than 30 pounds of force, likely around 15 lbs. It fits under the grouphead with no interference. But like you said, I don't think that would affect the consistency from 1st to 2nd shot.
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sputnik767
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Apr 2014
Posts: 18
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 11:03am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

D4F Said:

Flow tests can be done without a gauge as noted in the thread.  Did you get out any air or sputtering when you filled the boiler?

Posted April 22, 2014 link

Generally speaking, I get maybe a half-second of sputtering consistently, when I do this. Just to clarify, I flip the steam switch, wait for the light to come back on, start the pump, and open the steam valve.
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 11:04am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

Since weight is out for now, brew your usual double and measure the total volume after crema dissipation and you will get the approximation of weight equivalent.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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sputnik767
Senior Member


Joined: 22 Apr 2014
Posts: 18
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 11:08am
Subject: Re: Need help with Gaggia Classic
 

I just want to say that I really appreciate all of your help. I am warming up my machine now, and I will do the flow test first. Then I will pull the double and let you know the volume in 30 seconds.
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