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Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008, 5:59am
Subject: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

I have some trouble with my Gaggia Titanium super auto, I cant make it do good tasting coffee. The crema is very pale, and has lots of bubbles which breakes down after just a few seconds leaving only the pale crema left. The coffee tastes weak,watery and bitter. Anyone has any advice how to improve the performance?

I have tried with different types of fresh espresso blends and different grinders.
I have tried with a KitchenAid pro line burr grinder, the built in gaggia titanium grinder, and the professional grinder at my local café. Both my grinders with finest grind give me only 15 seconds of extraction time (from the first drops of coffee to the last) and produce the same weak, watery coffee. The coffee comes out fast and bubbling from the machine.

The coffee grinded at the café give me a little better result.
The crema is still very pale. Maybe a little darker and some more taste in my shot, but not by much.
Maybe a second longer extraction. But still not good enough taste, its still to weak,watery and bitter.

How long should an extraction take with this machine?

The dispensed pucks produced is dry, compact and stay together.
I have descaled it, and cleaned the machine as much as possible.
I have not dissasembled the grinder and the brew group yet, maybe Im going to try that to see if there is anything to clean inside.

This is a very well used machine, it has been used at a company before and has run 27000 brew cycles.
Is this machine done? Is it any use to use money to repair a machine that is this well used?
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RapidCoffee
Senior Member
RapidCoffee
Joined: 4 Dec 2004
Posts: 1,930
Location: Rapid City, SD
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Spaziale S1
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Vac Pot: Yama
Drip: misc
Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008, 7:17am
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

jonny2 Said:

I have some trouble with my Gaggia Titanium super auto, I cant make it do good tasting coffee. The crema is very pale, and has lots of bubbles which breakes down after just a few seconds leaving only the pale crema left. The coffee tastes weak,watery and bitter. Anyone has any advice how to improve the performance?

Posted July 16, 2008 link

Welcome to the wonderful world of superautos. These machines are all about convenience, not taste. At best, you will get a drinkable coffee-flavored beverage. Dump in sugar and milk for best results. :-)

Home superautos feature crema-enhancing devices, so the "krema" will indeed be pale (although it should not break down quickly). Forget about the "golden rule"; optimal extraction time is generally far shorter than 25 seconds. You should be able to manipulate the coffee dose (higher) and beverage volume (lower) to get a reasonably strong shot, but the bitterness will probably not go away.

jonny2 Said:

This is a very well used machine, it has been used at a company before and has run 27000 brew cycles.

Posted July 16, 2008 link

That's a lot of coffee to run through a small conical grinder: almost 200 kg (well over 400 lb), assuming 7g single shots. The burrs may be quite dull. You might contact Gaggia and see if there's any chance of replacing the burrs.
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Wed Jul 16, 2008, 7:47am
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

RapidCoffee Said:

Welcome to the wonderful world of superautos. These machines are all about convenience, not taste. At best, you will get a drinkable coffee-flavored beverage. Dump in sugar and milk for best results. :-)

That's a lot of coffee to run through a small conical grinder: almost 200 kg (well over 400 lb), assuming 7g single shots. The burrs may be quite dull. You might contact Gaggia and see if there's any chance of replacing the burrs.

Posted July 16, 2008 link

Thanx for the feedback! Ill check out the burrs to see the condition.
Had hopes about this being an expensive enough super auto to do some decent tasting coffee, but maybe not after all.
Actually, I think the people that used this machine enjoyed strong coffee and used 9g dose, the largest of the machine settings.
For now it seems the best tasting shot is to use preground from my local café.
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pumpkinscastle
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2008
Posts: 247
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Quickmilll Vetrano
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Posted Thu Jul 17, 2008, 2:36pm
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

My last encounter with a super auto was when a friend proudly showed me her new espresso machine. It was some sort of Saeco super auto. The sounds it made were surely a show stopper for all the other people in the office that walked by her machine: the cranking of the grinder, the compressing of the grinds, the pulling of the shot. The sizzling hiss of the plastic steam nozzle. Unfortunately, the coffee this thing produced was a bitter, stale, and watery brew. Even dumping it into milk that she'd "foamed" to a nasty soapy something didn't help. Out of politeness I gulped it down. When asked how I liked this "cappuccino," I blushed and mumbled something like: "very good" But she knew that I lied... haha!
I think that spending so much money on a machine which makes only bitter strong coffee is a waste.

I don't want to claim that no super auto can produce a decent shot of espresso. Well, go to Starbucks and see what their super expensive super autos spit out... nothing that a coffee lover would love to drink straight.
Most of the super auto shots are just strong coffee with fake crema. Now, I don't want to talk down on your machine, but if even the preground (and quickly used) coffee from a commercial grinder at the store doesn't improve your shot considerably, I don't think that replacing the burrs will help much. If you like the strong coffee, you should replace them. If you're after some real espresso, you should sell that thing as quick as possible and get a real machine. Even a little home-grade machine with portafilter will - in conjunction with a really good grinder - give you results that surpass those of your super auto by far. Also, I think that Gaggia is owned by Saeco. I might be wrong, but if it is true, their customer service is one of the worst in the world of coffee machine manufacturers.

Good luck nonetheless and let us know what you'll do!
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Wed Jul 23, 2008, 8:04am
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

I think my current plan is to use this machine with preground coffee till it stops completely and then get a rancilio silvia.
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aribica59
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Feb 2008
Posts: 53
Location: Mexico
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Brewtus III-R,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Wed Jul 23, 2008, 12:42pm
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

There's no reason you shouldn't get longer extraction times or better-tasting brew. It's true: The espresso from a super can't compete with dedicated units, but it shouldn't be that bad! If you've never cleaned the hopper/burrs, there's undoubtedly some nasty tasting gunk in there. The burr assembly is easy to take apart; I have directions of you need 'em. Taking apart the brew group and re-greasing the tracks might help, too; buildup might inhibit full piston tamp (guessing on that one). The fact that the water is rushing through suggests it isn't grinding fine enough or tamping hard enough. - matthew
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Wed Jul 23, 2008, 2:04pm
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

aribica59 Said:

The fact that the water is rushing through suggests it isn't grinding fine enough or tamping hard enough. - matthew

Posted July 23, 2008 link

I think the burrs are worn out, grinding not fine enough and not cleaned for a long time, its going to be fun to open that up and see whats inside of the grinder. :)

But in addition, it must be something else strange with the machine, because with preground, very fine ground coffee, its still only 15 seconds extraction time.
I searched for brew group dissasembly and found this with google of the brew group.
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aribica59
Senior Member


Joined: 6 Feb 2008
Posts: 53
Location: Mexico
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Pavoni, Brewtus III-R,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Roaster: Gene Cafe
Posted Sat Jul 26, 2008, 3:52pm
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

A 15 second extraction with the bypass doser isn't all that bad. The preground you're using probably isn't as fine as what folks usually use for espresso. I ran some beans through my Mazzer, then used them in the bypass doser. Extraction was close to 30 seconds...but pretty foul tasting.

If you decide to disassemble the brew group, you'll need some food-grade grease to lubricate the tracks. Here are some step-by-steps from Whole Latte Love. The brew group in the Titanium is very slightly different, but the instructions are pretty much the same. The pictures aren't showing up here. The tech folks at www.wholelattelove.com will happily send them...or e-mail me off-list and I can pass them on.

Complete cleaning of the central unit.


Note: the central unit is also known as the “brew group”.

Tools: a medium sized Phillips head screw driver, a small Phillips head screwdriver and paper toweling. Optional tools – a small flat bladed screwdriver or toothpicks.

STEP 1:
Remove the central unit from the machine.

STEP 2:
Start with the side that says, “press” facing you. Remove the three Phillips head screws that are located in the picture below.



STEP 3:
Locate the tabs that hold the upper piston on. Push in the tabs and at the same time push down the upper piston. (Tabs shown below labeled as Tab #1 & Tab #2.)
Lift the handled side of the central unit away and set it aside.





STEP 4:
Remove the small screw shown in the picture below.



Remove the boiler connection, by pulling straight out. Set the boiler connection aside.
The center section will be loose.
Rip the paper toweling into smaller pieces. Wipe away all the coffee grounds that have stuck to the edible grease.

REASSEMBLY

STEP 5:
Put some lubricate on the pivot points of the sides shown by the areas highlighted in red in the picture below.




STEP 6:
Set the center assembly into the back piece and slide the boiler connection in. The boiler connection is highlighted in red in the below photo. Now, install the small-headed screw from STEP 3.



STEP 7:
Taking the top of the “press” side of the brew group – slide the top of it into the upper piston.



STEP 8:
Align the center assembly pivot into the hole on the press side and check the connection from the hopper to the slide piece.



NOTE:
Make sure the two sides of the central unit meet. Reinstall the 3 Phillips head screws from STEP 2.
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Sun Jul 27, 2008, 10:42am
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

aribica59 Said:

A 15 second extraction with the bypass doser isn't all that bad. The preground you're using probably isn't as fine as what folks usually use for espresso. I ran some beans through my Mazzer, then used them in the bypass doser. Extraction was close to 30 seconds...but pretty foul tasting.

Posted July 26, 2008 link

The coffee I used was ground for espresso machines. I have tried to grind the coffee both very fine, espresso style, and coarse enough for a coarse drip coffee but nothing alters the extraction time very much. It always takes about 15 second.. strange.. The only difference is in taste, finer ground taste more and coarse taste nothing.

My plan is to open the brew group and clean it properly and apply some fresh grease, and to open up the grinder and clean it too.  Hope this is enough to get the machine back on track.

The machine was on service in april and they cleaned out some clogged water feeding tubes that caused trouble with dosing the water to each brew cycle. With this service and cleaning the grinder and brew group I hope the machine is in good condition again to produce some good coffee again!
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jonny2
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Jul 2008
Posts: 47
Location: Oslo
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea
Grinder: Macap m5
Posted Tue Jul 29, 2008, 1:22pm
Subject: Re: Trouble with my Gaggia Titanium, coffee tastes bad.
 

I asked whole latte love , "For a espresso, the pump works for 15 seconds and the volume is about correct I think.
For a normal coffee it takes nearly 30 seconds and the volume is about twice the espresso.

The problem is that I get very weak tasting coffee and the size or quality of the grind doesnt affect the brewing time very much, just the taste, but not enough. It is still very weak. I have used both the internal grinder, a consumer grinder and a professional grinder to do various kinds of size of grind."

and got this response,

"The Titanium is designed to pressure brew small amounts of espresso.  Super automatic machines are very convenient but you do lose a bit of coffee quality in the process.  Since you can not adjust the tamping pressure on this machine the brewing time will always be the same.  On a semi-automatic machine, you can tamp harder to allow the coffee to come out more slowly, increasing the strength greatly.  The machine is operating as it should, but we don't think it is up to your standard of espresso.  You can always brew 2 espresso shots by hitting the espresso button twice in rapid succession. The machine will then do the entire brewing action twice.  This will make a double shot small coffee. "
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