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old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
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shep236
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Joined: 7 Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Location: berkeley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 1:41pm
Subject: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

I was recently given an old Coffee Gaggia. I gave it a good cleaning and descaling, and replaced the head gasket. I am new to this machine, and so what follows is a puzzlement to me.

When I twist on an empty pf without basket, the pf gets tight when the handle is pointing directly at me in front of the machine.

When I do the same with an empty basket in the pf, the pf will not turn this far, but stops (from my pov) a little left of center.

Now I fill the basket and tamp. Coffee level is well below top of basket. The rim is clean. I insert the basket in the pf. Sometimes, I can't even get the pf to engage in its groove and turn. When I can get it to turn, it requires a lot of force and the handle winds up pointing well to my left.

After the shot, I remove pf, inspect puck. It seems tight and unmarred tho a little soupy (this model does not have the 3-way solenoid valve, so that's not unusual)

My question is: What is preventing the pf from turning as far as I believe it should? Why these differences in turnability for empty pf, pf+empty basket, and pf+ filled basket?

Any light shed on this puzzle will be much appreciated.
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D4F
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Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,981
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 2:25pm
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

From your description you are hitting the puck from a too full basket when it will not engage.  As best that I know your dispersion disk, 56, and screen and screw are the same as Classic.  

http://www.partsguru.com/user/ER0077-01.PDF

The empty PF, no basket, turns farther as the lip of the basket is not taking up room over the basket edge.  When you add coffee it should make no difference in the insertion until you hit the puck.  You may not see that on a soupy puck, but if you have trouble look at the dry puck for a central screw indent.  The dry pressed puck will be down about 3/8" and wet expanded about 1/4" not measured, I estimated. You need to weigh beans or find some way to set the amount to what fits and have that reproducible.  Assume a double non pressurized, perfect crema, basket and you will get about 17 gms.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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shep236
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Joined: 7 Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Location: berkeley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Aug 18, 2013, 3:04pm
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

Thanks for your quick response.

Do I understand correctly?

  1. It is normal for pf + empty basket to turn less far than the pf w/o basket?

  2. It is not normal to have the kinds of problems I described w/ a full coffee basket?

  3. By "hitting the puck" you refer to contact with the shower head itself, and thus the advice to look for screw indentation?
    (Should the shower head not come into contact with the puck at all, or just less than it's doing now?)

  4. It may be possible to solve the problem by using less coffee? (I am currently weighing out 18g for a double shot)

Again -- thanks for your help
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tracerbullet
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tracerbullet
Joined: 13 Feb 2012
Posts: 168
Location: Saint Paul
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 19, 2013, 11:54am
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

1) Yes, the material thickness of the basket makes the combo thicker, and since when you rotate it sort of "wedges" in there, it means you can't rotate as far.
2) Yes and no, it's normal if you're full enough to hit the screen and group head, it's not normal if you aren't hitting it. It sounds like you must be, though.
3) Correct, and shouldn't hit at all - you want just a little space in there to be sure the water can spread out uniformly and not channel through.
4) Yep. Try 17, 16, 15gms, etc. or invest in a "triple shot" basket which may require a "bottomless" portafilter, but start w/ lower dosing.

When you say you replaced the head gasket, are you referring to the thick black round (but square cross section) O-ring that goes up in the group head? Sounds like you installed one that's just a little thicker than it should be. Well, thicker than it "needs"to be, as long as it's sealing it's fine but do keep an eye on making sure the portafilter doesn't back out while brewing.
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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 Mon Aug 19, 2013, 12:45pm
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

Yep, agree with Tracerbullet.  At 17 gms well packed you will not hit the screen dry and the wet puck after use will probably have a minimal mark.  You cannot touch, much, dry and insert, that is the block. If you do touch and insert dry you will likely fracture the puck and channel.  Only the lightest touch center screw/screen after brew.  All that assumes a normal gasket thickness.  With a new or good gasket the PF with basket will tighten well enough to seal with the handle just L of center.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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shep236
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Joined: 7 Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Location: berkeley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 23, 2013, 3:01pm
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

Thanks to both of you. I've reduced the dose to 15g and things have definitely improved. Now I have (of course) another question. My Coffee Gaggia portafilter has 2 spouts which are an intgral part of the pf. Is there a device that will bring the 2 streams together before they enter my cup? A kind of Y- or T-shaped thing?
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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 Fri Aug 23, 2013, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

I can't think of any, and can't think of a reason why joining them in something other than the cup will matter.  It would also take up room in terms of height.  Is the PF heavy brass?  A brass PF would be an improvement if not already as the mass helps stabilize temperature.  Many use a bottomless PF with the bottom of the basket exposed.

If you want one stream, find a new style PF and remove the double spout.  I removed the spout to gain room for a cup.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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shep236
Senior Member


Joined: 7 Jan 2013
Posts: 10
Location: berkeley
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Aug 24, 2013, 12:18am
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

Reason for joining them: to get a double shot in one shot-sized glass. The glass I want to use holds 2 oz. but is too narrow in diameter to catch both streams. I know there are devices for turning a single spout into a double spout. I just thought there might be something for going the other way.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,672
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Sat Aug 24, 2013, 9:47am
Subject: Re: old Coffee Gaggia portafilter question
 

Commercial pfs mostly have screw on spouts, if yours is solid, there is nothing you can do but get a bigger cup.
You may want to consider modding it to bottomless, that will give you more room under the group head and let you actually see you your shot is progressing. Often though you will get multiple streams at the start of the shot and you still may need a bigger cup YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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