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Sad Day
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Discussions > Espresso > General > Sad Day  
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MochaJoe
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Omaha, NE
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 1:09pm
Subject: Sad Day
 

Well, after playing with my Gaggia Classic for a bit, it got sent back to WLL. I was really loving it, but my steam wand would leak and drip as soon as my machine was turned on. After checking that the steam valve was closed and all was fitted as well as I could I bought a Silvia wand to compare. After the mod, nothing changed. Dripping from the wand tip constantly. Not to mention that I couldn't even get enough steam to get my 20oz milk pitcher to temp before "wet steam". Anyway, I blame this on the machine (refurb) as much as I do my technique. To there credit, WLL sent me a return label very quickly and were more than pleasant to deal with.

So now Im back to using my Moka Pots and my Nespresso. I know the latter is somewhat of a taboo on this forum, but until I figure out what to do it better than drive troughs...That, and I still have over 100 pods lol.

Now I faced with almost the exact same dilemma that I started with except now my confidence is shaken. Do I go cheaper and get a pressurized and pod machine like the Seaco's? or do I save and wait until God knows when for either a super auto (another curse word) or something else. The "something else" range is so far reaching I wont even start haha. Sadly the grinder went back at the same time as WLL created a package deal for me.
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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 Wed Dec 19, 2012, 1:52pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

Sorry to hear that experience with the Gaggia, but good that WLL took care of you.  I have read that most Gaggias develop steam wand drips from a leaking of the steam needle valve.  The leak is above the wand and the wand is only a conduit.  When I got my machine new, I was disappointed to find a very slight drip and almost sent it back.  I decided to keep it and wait and see; I have been fortunate and the drip has not increased in about a year.  Sounds like yours dripped a lot more.  Mine is very occasional/minimal, but definite.

I would have expected a refurb to have been fixed and checked.  

I am curious as to your steam experience. 20oz of milk or a few oz in a 20oz pitcher?  Wet steam after dry?

It will be difficult to go back to pods once you have had good espresso from fresh roast and grind :(

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


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Omaha, NE
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

D4F, it was a 20oz pitcher filled up to right before the spout. I used a milk thermometer as well as touch to test for temp.

I say wet steam as in when I was noticing my milk was coming out "runny", I ran a little test. I started frothing, then I removed the pitcher and continued running steam into another mug and very moist, watery steam would be shooting out. Unlike the steam I would observe after purging the wand right before steaming. This happened both pre/post Silvia retro fit. I think maybe only 15-20secs into my froth.

Thankfully, I never perfected my technique enough with fresh roast that the pods are unpalatable ;)
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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 Wed Dec 19, 2012, 3:03pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

I allow for about doubling of the volume with stretching and microfoaming of the milk, and some water volume.  I have never found it watered or thin.  So, 10 oz could get close to the top of a 20 oz pitcher.  In practice, I am good with 4 - 6 oz and it does not take long.

Interesting video demonstrates the steaming available with Gaggia.  This is into water and not expanding, nor is temperature measured, but you get the idea on how much steam power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o_2zaHHazw

Steam pressure vs temperature shown below gives an idea of the importance of temperature.  That is part of why I like a PID.  The temperature band is not as wide as the OEM bimetal thermostat and keeps the temperature up.  Also perhaps drier steam.  

Click Here (www.jgbhose.com)

Possible helpful info for any future machine, not Gaggia specific except the video.  The Gaggia is almost like a large thermoblock and can produce decent steam, just not for a real long time.

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


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Omaha, NE
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Dec 19, 2012, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

That's quite the video. This leads me to believe that the Classic had a malfunction of the thermostat, and would not keep the temp up long enough once in steam mode. I tried practicing my technique with soapy water, and would do back to back jugs and would never have that much steam. But, like you said mine wasn't PID'd. Im just going to chalk this up to a learning experience and a lemon of a machine.

Ill keep a look out for post-xmas sales, on ebay and the buy/sell boards here maybe "my" machine is still out there.
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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 Wed Dec 19, 2012, 10:11pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

You can also learn to surf the temperature for steam. If you put a digital thermometer thermistor bead on the boiler you can keep track of the temperature and flip the steam switch on and off to keep it at high temperature. That applies to most SBDU machines.  My guess is that the video would have gone on about as long using the steam thermostat without a PID but the temperature and steam pressure would have varied more.

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


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Omaha, NE
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:00pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

I know I sound really lazy, but I think I just want it to work. I have been looking at Super-Autos, but want to find one with a traditional steam wand. Seems these babies run into the $1,500-3,000 range. That is just so much money. Then I look back at what I could by for under $1000 in a SBDU+Grinder, and while it sounds good it just seems like there are too many variables and not enough time in the day.

I mean, if I were to continue to use the auto tamp I have, and get a machine with a PID, my only variable would be my grind correct?
There is a guy on here selling a PID Silvia thats a few years old and in located right here in my town.....
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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 Thu Dec 20, 2012, 10:55pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

The PID sets the idle or resting temperature. You will still have to flush to adjust heat in the boiler and group. There is an art to making espresso unless you go to a super automatic were you push one button. You will also need to learn a little bit about what you like, and taste, to adjust the temperature on the PID.  Is the PID also on steam? If not, you will still need to keep the steam temperature up with flip switching or surfing.  There will be some learning curve with any type of espresso machine.

There also is experience needed in proper setting of a grinder.

I think most of the people who use this forum enjoy the journey, the art, of making espresso.

You might want to read some threads on the reliability, or lack thereof, on the home Super-Autos.

Perhaps if you buy Silvia, the owner can demonstrate, and teach you how to use it. That would certainly shorten your learning curve.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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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 Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:05pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

I looked up the offer in  B S T. I would definitely go look at that machine. I'm sure the owner can show you how to use it and then you can decide whether you are willing to learn. It will give you a better idea of how long it takes to brew an espresso. You can also see how well the steam works. Certainly no harm in looking and it gives you a good place to start.

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


Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 66
Location: Omaha, NE
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Dec 20, 2012, 11:47pm
Subject: Re: Sad Day
 

In reality, the super-auto thoughts are just me going back to that child-like state of "It didnt work out like I had hoped, lets pout and give up". I dont think that I could actually ever get one for a majority of reasons ranging from sheer size to price, to only being able to the issue of beans just sitting there....

Before my current profession, I had aspired to go to culinary school. I love to create "cuisine" from it's parts. Espresso is more than the sum of its parts, just like pastry cream is more than hot cream and eggs. This is a hobby I so want to to enjoy, and had started to before my purchase soured me on the experience.

Reading more about PID's and what they are aiming to accomplish, I think I should just continue to put money away and save for a machine like the CC1 instead of a PID'd Silvia.  From what I gather one can control both the steam and the brew temp, no flipping switches or surfing, and it has a traditional steam wand instead of a turbo frother.  

So ill suck it up, use up the pods I have for the Nespresso and sell it, then move on.
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