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Bevocaffe
Senior Member
Bevocaffe
Joined: 9 Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 4:52pm
Subject: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

Greetings, geeks,

I've had my Gaggia Classic almost a month now and have been pulling shots 5-6 times/week. (I'm still so slow at it that I don't have time on most workday mornings) For several weeks, I've noticed that the flow is uneven, coming faster out of the left side of the portafilter. I thought the problem might be my distribution and tamping, especially since the blank shot pulled evenly from both sides. So I've tried various ways of making sure the distribution was even (with guidance from posts and videos). This hasn't resolved the issue. When, on my first attempt to pull shots this morning, nothing came out after more than 10 seconds (the blank shots had been fine), I thought I had tamped too firmly, tossed the coffee and tried again with a gentler tamp. Still nothing. The coffee inside the basket was dry, which leads me to believe that the problem is somewhere in the mechanism. So I recycled the coffee into the French press and tried another blank shot. Nothing this time.

I've wondered if I need to clean the grouphead, but it seems early for that. Descaling? Backflushing? I'd very much appreciate some newbie-friendly guidance on diagnosing the problem and how to's--useful links, videos, anything--on cleaning the machine.

Thanks for being here!
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slofox
Senior Member


Joined: 28 Nov 2012
Posts: 32
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

Have you tried pumping water through the steam wand - as you would to prime the machine?

have you tried pumping water without the portafilter in place?

If that fails, I'd probably take off the shower screen thingy and see if that is OK and try pumping without the screen (or portafilter) in place. That at least would tell you if the pump is working OK.

I've had a Gaggia Classic about the same time as yourself. No probs so far. Although I do get slight differences in flow between the left and right sides of the portafilter as well. I figure it's because I can't tamp straight...
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 7:26pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

As suggested, when problems with water flow try opening the steam wand and turning on the brew switch.  This will help to confirm that the pump is working and that the boiler is full/primed.  If you do not use the steam switch, it affects the 3 way, then when the tank is full, some water should also come out of the group as well, and I shut the wand with the pump running, and then turn off the brew switch.  Now fully primed.

I backflush with water daily at the end of a session.  Chemical backflush with chemical designed for aluminum/Gaggia perhaps monthly or weekly, depending on use.  Remove the screen with a chemical backflush and clean it.  It can get quite dirty on the back side.

The shower screen should be taken off sooner than later.  That screw can become very difficult to turn the first time.  It may have been tightened, not just snugged at the factory, and sealed with coffee residue.

The Classics that I am familiar with have a PF with a central outlet and then a double outlet spout.  Some early Gaggias had PF with 2 outlets but IIRC, not the Classic.  Seems not so likely that distribution and channeling could always make the same spout get more, though you did not specify that.  Is the machine level, probably, as you do not have problem with just water through the PF.

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


Joined: 2 Dec 2010
Posts: 128
Location: Long Beach
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: gaggia baby twin, mini...
Grinder: fiorenzato pietro 63mm,...
Roaster: weber grill with rk drum,...
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 7:41pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

I clean my Gaggia shower screen weekly and do a chemical backflush weekly.  Check out the Gaggia user group on Yahoo.  Lots of helpful info. there.

 
Bean2friends
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

RichardCoffee Said:

 Check out the Gaggia user group on Yahoo.  Lots of helpful info. there.

Posted February 1, 2013 link

Or we can use the help and information on this group.  Hopefully enough of us contribute here to help, and to develop the expertise.  Something attracted us to this site :)

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,297
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Feb 2, 2013, 8:21am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

For the last five years I deep clean mine every six months. I would run clean caf through steam wand and boiler. I would then back flush with Pallo Joe-Glo or Cafiza. Grinders get
Urnex Grindz. I remove dispersion screen and soak and clean plus the shower holding plate. I use just bottled water in my Gaggia. Its really pretty straight forward. I also wipe my grouphead
gasket pretty clean after daily use with a folded up wet paper towel which if folded right gets up in there. My first grouphead gasket lasted four years with everyday use of machine.So far Ive replaced one grouphead gasket,
one steam valve, and I just last night replaced a Rancillio Silvia version 1/2 from 1st line with one hole and put that on. Oh yeah I also just found a Gaggia decalcifier Ive been using,also at WLL.
I love my little Gaggia and with a little TLC this is one tough hombre.

QTY       1
SKU       10-049-046
PRODUCT   Rancilio Steam Wand - 1 hole tip - Silvia V1/V2 - B08 22

QTY       2
SKU       36-402-001
PRODUCT   Rancilio High Temp O-Rings - Silvia Steam/Solenoid Valve - C05 19



D4F Said:

Or we can use the help and information on this group.  Hopefully enough of us contribute here to help, and to develop the expertise.  Something attracted us to this site :)

Posted February 1, 2013 link



Iluvdabean: 11511330.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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Bevocaffe
Senior Member
Bevocaffe
Joined: 9 Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 8:53pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

Thanks so much, everyone, for the helpful suggestions. I've ordered the Cafiza, the backflush insert and the cleaning brush and will get down to it when they arrive. But do I need to descale AND backflush? And there's yet another product needed for descaling?
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,038
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 9:19pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

Backflush is for the group, screen, PF and will go back through the 3 way and clean it.  Descale goes through the machine.  The Gaggia descale/decalcifier is in the prior post and is aluminum safe.  Some use other descale such as citric acid, but research before you use it on aluminum.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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Iluvdabean
Senior Member
Iluvdabean
Joined: 7 Mar 2005
Posts: 1,297
Location: Kentucky
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra/Gaggia...
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/K-A Pro...
Drip: Bonavita BV 1800 TH
Roaster: Nesco 1010/Behmor 1600
Posted Sun Feb 3, 2013, 9:43pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

Make sure there is water in reservoir. Then turn on and with an empty portafilter run water through it,if water comes out its probably ok. Then run water through steam arm. I doubt its dirty
to the pont of being plugged. Your going to have to find the grind that, from fresh ground beans where you start to get a 20 second shot,then work your way up to 30 for a double basket. There are lots of ways to
learn tamping and distribution. I can often times just fill a double,hit the PF against the palm of my hand and get the grind distributed good enough.. Then tamp it down to 30 lbs. Use a scale if you have to learn what
30 lbs is.


Bevocaffe Said:

Greetings, geeks,

I've had my Gaggia Classic almost a month now and have been pulling shots 5-6 times/week. (I'm still so slow at it that I don't have time on most workday mornings) For several weeks, I've noticed that the flow is uneven, coming faster out of the left side of the portafilter. I thought the problem might be my distribution and tamping, especially since the blank shot pulled evenly from both sides. So I've tried various ways of making sure the distribution was even (with guidance from posts and videos). This hasn't resolved the issue. When, on my first attempt to pull shots this morning, nothing came out after more than 10 seconds (the blank shots had been fine), I thought I had tamped too firmly, tossed the coffee and tried again with a gentler tamp. Still nothing. The coffee inside the basket was dry, which leads me to believe that the problem is somewhere in the mechanism. So I recycled the coffee into the French press and tried another blank shot. Nothing this time.

I've wondered if I need to clean the grouphead, but it seems early for that. Descaling? Backflushing? I'd very much appreciate some newbie-friendly guidance on diagnosing the problem and how to's--useful links, videos, anything--on cleaning the machine.

Thanks for being here!

Posted February 1, 2013 link

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Bevocaffe
Senior Member
Bevocaffe
Joined: 9 Jan 2013
Posts: 6
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Baratza Encore
Posted Mon Feb 11, 2013, 9:27pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic cleaning questions
 

I've followed the directions above posted by helpful geeks. When I first turned on the machine and brew switch again--without portafilter in place--water flowed through the grouphead fine. The machine seemed to prime fine, water flowing nicely through the steam wand. I backflushed with no apparent problem, removed and cleaned the shower screen and holding plate (which were not dirty or clogged at all), reassembled and tried again with portafilter in place. Again--no water through the portafilter, none through group head without portafilter. A little bit through the steam wand, but not as much as there should have been. I'm really stumped now and not sure how to troubleshoot this. The Gaggia instructions that come with the machine say that an airlock can be created that will result in no water flow. But that issue should be resolved by priming through the steam wand, right? My sense is that the pump is okay--at least I hope so. What else could be causing this?
SOS and thanks in advance!
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