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Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 443
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 3:52pm
Subject: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

The machine appears to be probably no more that 4-5 years old and is in full working order. What is the typical life span of these machines?

What are the first things that I should do to it or replace? I have descaled the machine and have cleaned the portafilter and baskets. Not to mention I have ordered a bottomless portafilter and a new basket. I was thinking about maybe replacing the gasket in the group head? I plan to lower the pressure to the recommended 9 bars.

I would also be interested to know of anyones routine on working with the ideal temperature. I have read that up until about 30 minutes warmup it works well be approaching a hour and it gets a little too hot. However, I have read contradicting things on blank flushing before the shot and releasing the steam valve before a shot.

I am not an expert in the field and thought I'd ask here.

thanks again!
Brian

EDIT: I figured that I would piggy back off this topic instead of making a new one. I'll leave the original stuff in tack.

I picked up an used Gaggia Classic and during my cleaning I removed the shower screens and noted that there are two of them. During my reviews of the forum I have never seen a mention of two shower screens. Is it best to use the two shower screens how it was or should I only have one?

thanks,
Brian
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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 Tue Jan 1, 2013, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Does Gaggia Classic have two shower screens?
 

One!

Click Here (www.partsguru.com)

I think that two screens would not work well and be fairly obstructive unless the holes were aligned, and can't think of a good reason for two.

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


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 443
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 4:53pm
Subject: Re: Does Gaggia Classic have two shower screens?
 

I thought that maybe the shower screen consisted of two parts, or maybe the older/newer models differed, but after reviewing that parts diagram that does not appear to be so. thanks!
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 443
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 10:50am
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

I updated the thread Subject. Please let me know if you have any advice!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,027
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:38am
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

brianl Said:

The machine appears to be probably no more that 4-5 years old and is in full working order. What is the typical life span of these machines?

Posted January 1, 2013 link

should last you at least double that...maybe you'll have some repairs along the way.

brianl Said:

What are the first things that I should do to it or replace?

Posted January 1, 2013 link

I think many people have changed the steam wand to the Rancilio Silvia wand (there are several threads on that here that you can find through the search tool), and you might also want to add a PID, at least for the brew group.

It's not clear to me whether you have pressurized or non-pressurized baskets...except for the bottomless one you have on order, which will be non-pressurized.

brianl Said:

I was thinking about maybe replacing the gasket in the group head?

Posted January 1, 2013 link

not a bad idea, especially if you don't know if it's been replaced within the past year.  new gaskets run less than $10 and it's a couple of minutes to change it out if you do it before it gets hardened and caked on to the group (when it will take a couple of hours).

brianl Said:

I plan to lower the pressure to the recommended 9 bars.

Posted January 1, 2013 link



advertisers like to mouth-off about 15 bar pressure, partly because Nespresso does that and so they feel the need to "not be outclassed". It's all hype about boiler pressure.  I actually got into an argument once with a Nespresso rep at a WS store because he was feeding bs to the masses and it pissed me off the way they were googooing at his sales magic. The guy was freakin' clueless - though he did admit that all he knew was what Nespresso taught him.  Anyhow, back on track...what matters is pressure at the group, which you probably already have at or near 9 bar.  I wouldn't fiddle with it unless you're having problems and you've measured group pressure with a scace or similar device.

Last thing, first upgrade item will be your grinder...start saving your loose change in a cup by the machine (credit for this suggestion goes to CoffeeNoobie!)

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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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 Thu Jan 3, 2013, 11:45am
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

brianl Said:

The machine appears to be probably no more that 4-5 years old and is in full working order. What is the typical life span of these machines?

What are the first things that I should do to it or replace? I have descaled the machine and have cleaned the portafilter and baskets. Not to mention I have ordered a bottomless portafilter and a new basket. I was thinking about maybe replacing the gasket in the group head? I plan to lower the pressure to the recommended 9 bars.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Sounds like you have done some searching and reading if you are considering lowering the pressure.  Of course it could have been lowered by the previous owner, so I would not try it "blind."  It is a great mod as the Gaggia is more grind tolerant after.  Life span should mimic your car, your lawn mower and tools.  It is about your maintenance and could easy go another 5+.

The other easy mod is the Rancilio steam wand if you are going to do much milk.
http://www.espressoparts.com/R_1054?&search_id=1978309

You may not need to replace the group gasket if no leaks and if it feels compliant and the PF handle is not over rotated.  No harm in going ahead and doing it, but does not sound urgent.

The best thing is to learn to use what you have well, and get a good supply of beans only a couple days past roast.  Learn the grinder and adjustments to get good flow, double of about 45 - 60 ml in 25 seconds consistently.  You also need a way to get consistent bean weight into your shot, scale to 0.1 gm is easiest.  It seems that if we get all of the mods then the espresso will be great and it will still come down to you the operator, fresh beans freshly ground, and consistency in dose and technique.

Finally, you may want to consider a PID to control temperature.  I suggest that you use the machine and not spend this money initially. A little mod reading

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

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


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 443
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:32pm
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

emradguy:

The previous owner added a single tip to the end (instead of the plastic panarella wand). It appears to be the original upper part of the wand though. Thanks for the tip on the silvia wand.

I should have mentioned more about my knowledge so far. I use a non-pressurized baskets and have been for awhile. I used to have a delonghi ec155, which i quickly grew out off. In which I put a la pavoni nonpressurized basket.

As for the 9 bar pressure, I currently have an order out for a gauge that I can stick to the thread that normally hold the double spout on the portafilter. This mod seems to help people gauge the pressure. After that i'll determine whether it needs to be adjusted.

I am familiar with the grinder being important and I have heard that my Gaggia MDF is marginably acceptable. I am unsure which grinder to actually save for and probably wont decide until i can get acceptable results with the current set up to give me some motivation. I was originally interested in the Le'lit PL53, but my significant other does pour over and I needed something changeable. Maybe it's time for a separate grinder, ha.

D4F:

I use a scale for the beans and a scale for the tamper and usually get stuff roasted within a week.

I have considered the PID, but like you said, maybe get a feel for the machine first. I am not an expert at electronics but I'm definitely not shyed away by it. I've taken a sodering iron to many items before. I'll have to see if I can get a good guide from scratch to work on.


Thanks for the comments and hints! I also just wanted to toss out some background information to help people with comments and the such. I would also be interested to know of anyones routine on working with the ideal temperature. I have read that up until about 30 minutes warmup it works well be approaching a hour and it gets a little too hot. However, I have read contradicting things on blank flushing before the shot and releasing the steam valve before a shot.
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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 Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:49pm
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

I allow about 15 -30 minutes for warmup with PID with PF locked on.  The group is the bottom of the boiler so is hot.  Gaggia only had 105 ml, so a flush can cool the boiler.  Surfing may call for different technique.  I would get an instant digital thermometer and take it out of the steel sheath and but the thermistor bead on the boiler to know the temperature.  AndyPanda discussed this in the thread where he surfed and I was trying to adapt the PID.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

This thermometer is easy to get out of the sheath and can help learn consistent surfing.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16921963

Let me know if/when you want info on PID and putting together supplies :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,027
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 12:53pm
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

great!

For the grinder, once you're ready to get another one, you could just keep the Gaggia for your sig other to use, no?  If you must sell it to put the money towards another (when you're ready) the Baratzas are adjustable pretty easily between espresso and pourover.  Again, when you're ready.  Nobody wants to rush you into things...and when you're ready, you'll probably appreciate the upgrade more than before you're ready. For me, it's better to save up for the inevitable upgrade ahead of time, so then when I want something...maybe I'll have the money already.  So far, it's just served as a quick "atm"...though when I'm sure my wife won't go ballistic on me for it, I'll put in my order for a HG one grinder.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 443
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: chemex
Posted Thu Jan 3, 2013, 8:12pm
Subject: Re: Got a used Gaggia Classic, whats next?
 

D4F Said:

I allow about 15 -30 minutes for warmup with PID with PF locked on.  The group is the bottom of the boiler so is hot.  Gaggia only had 105 ml, so a flush can cool the boiler.  Surfing may call for different technique.  I would get an instant digital thermometer and take it out of the steel sheath and but the thermistor bead on the boiler to know the temperature.  AndyPanda discussed this in the thread where he surfed and I was trying to adapt the PID.

http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/571792

This thermometer is easy to get out of the sheath and can help learn consistent surfing.

http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/product.asp?SKU=16921963

Let me know if/when you want info on PID and putting together supplies :)

Posted January 3, 2013 link

I'm sorry, I really did look at this topic before I responded asking about temperature surfing. I am really interested in adding the thermometer. Are you talking about removing the metal tip/rod on one and taking whatever is underneath (probably a thermocouple?) and attaching it directly to the broiler (somewhere in the middle) with tape or glue? I can image the tape letting go of it when it heats? I've heard about people putting one in the portafilter but this seems a lot better. Is the relevant information you're referring to at the end of page 4? So is the temperature of the boiler the important factor here, over the actual water temperature?

Sorry again if i sound ignorant, I just like to make sure i'm understanding a project before I start :).


emradguy: What would be a grinder that you'd recommend? You know, so I can consider saving appropriately, ;). I assume the le'lit, while an improvement for espresso over the gaggia, wouldn't be worth the trouble. Especially since i'm considering that gaggia stepless mod. I've heard good things about mazzers and Mahlkönigs, Even the Vario.

I am intrigued by that HG one grinder that you mentioned and it seems a lot easier to use that the pharos is terms of hand grinders. Albeit, the price points are different.
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