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Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Steamer problems...  
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mynameisjoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: idaho
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Apr 24, 2010, 5:49am
Subject: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

We've had a Gaggia Baby Twin for about 6-8 months now.  Bought it new.  It makes coffee just fine...no complaints with that, but I've been having frustrating issues with the steamer.

When I turn it on, I need to flush the water out before it starts to steam (I assume this is normal). The problem comes shortly after the steam starts.  Everything will be going fine, then the sound of the steamer starts to change and then it stops steaming for about 20 seconds.  Before it starts steaming again, it dumps some water through the wand, then starts steaming again for about 20-30 seconds.  This cycle happens about 6-8 times before make a sufficiently heated/foamed cup of milk.  So, I end up with a bunch of watered down milk that tastes terrible and usually isn't heated enough because I get frustrated and give up early.

Anybody have an idea of what might be causing this???  Is there some kind of maintenance I could do to remedy the problem??  Should I just go buy one of those milk frother/heater things from Williams Sonoma?

Thanks!!!!!
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Terry_L
Senior Member
Terry_L
Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 107
Location: Louisville-KY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: MDF, Solis Scala 166
Vac Pot: French-Press(s)-Love 'em
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: SC/TO - Air Popper
Posted Sat Apr 24, 2010, 6:39am
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

Hmmm, Can't say I've seen/heard of this before....or maybe I'm just not understanding it correctly.  Typically, one hits the steam switch (pump is off) and it heats up (very quickly in the case of Gaggia's).  Within about 20-30 sec's or so, one purges the steam wand, as there will be some accumulation of water.  A quick open/close of the steam knob will do the trick....just a short burst.  Then steam away.....

The "trick" with Gaggia's (which due to the small boiler) is to never allow the steam thermostat to turn off.  You allow the boiler to heat up for 20 secs or so, purge and start steaming before it comes up to full temp (indicator light will still be off).  You can whirlpool a large container of milk before it runs out of horsepower this way.

Typically, most steam issues with Gaggia's relate to descaling.  Have you descaled it?  I don't know about the water in your area, but in mine, I have to descale every other month to keep things running smooth.
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mynameisjoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: idaho
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Sat Apr 24, 2010, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

Descaling....That has something to do with removing hard water buildups right?  no, I haven't done this yet and I probably should.  I will start with that and see if it helps out.  If not, I'll jump back on here and look for more advice!
Thanks...
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Terry_L
Senior Member
Terry_L
Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 107
Location: Louisville-KY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Coffee
Grinder: MDF, Solis Scala 166
Vac Pot: French-Press(s)-Love 'em
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: SC/TO - Air Popper
Posted Sat Apr 24, 2010, 8:42am
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

Yes, removing calcium deposits.  I'll bet you a $1 that you'll be good as new afterwards.  Try this link for instructions and general Gaggia knowledge.  

Gaggia Maintenance Info

Good luck, and please give us an update when complete.  Hopefully, it'll be good news!

Peace-Terry
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mynameisjoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: idaho
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon May 3, 2010, 8:03am
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

So, I had to order the descaler stuff on the internet.....just got it the other day and give it a try.  The coffee brewing portion of the espresso machine is definitely working better, but there was no improvement on my steamer issue.

While I was waiting for the descaler stuff to show up in the mail, I was going to try to take the machine/boiler apart and clean it myself.  BAD IDEA!!  These machines are far more complicated than I thought they'd be!  My patience wouldn't allow me to take the time to be as methodical as I'd have needed to be to do a good job.

Any other suggestions to fix the steamer problem??
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mynameisjoe
Senior Member


Joined: 16 Nov 2009
Posts: 18
Location: idaho
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue May 4, 2010, 7:44am
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

Ya, I haven't been impressed with the steamer on this machine at all.  It makes great coffee, but the steamer sucks.

Anyone have any experience with those automatic milk heater/frothers?? I'm considering getting one of those but don't know anything about them.
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ElvisVoltare
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Nov 2012
Posts: 23
Location: Boulder City, NV
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Nov 26, 2012, 3:09pm
Subject: Re: Steamer problems w/Gaggia Baby Twin...help!
 

I wish I had an answer, but I've got a baby twin and I've just developed the same problem as you described. What I can tell you it's not:
Not scale ( I use only RO water in may machine and descale regularly).
Not the steam knob (valve).

I'm not sure if you're seeing the same thing, but the elctronics seem to be acting up a bit on mine as well; sometimes it will keep brewing after it's already hit the programmed amount.  It also has all the keypad lights blinking, which I believe indicates a lack of water in the machine (but the reservoir is full and I make sure to prime so that there's no vapor lock). It does this blinking when the steamer is behaving like you described as well.

I'm guessing that it's elctronic, since the pump seems to be working well enough to brew decent coffee.  Anyone have any other ideas?  This thing has been frought with problem from the begining.  This may be the final straw for me...

EV
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