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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Roaster: West Bend Air Crazy
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 2:41pm
Subject: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

I just recently purchased a Gaggia Classic yesterday. While I wait for my first  machine to arrive I have been doing some reading up on how to properly take care of it and have been getting mixed messages on what to do. I am hoping that someone could clear up some questions for me.

This is my first machine so these questions maybe fundamental but I do not want to ruin it on a stupid mistake. If you have any other advice for maintenance I am welcome them!

1) What is the best product for descaling? I have heard citric acid, Urnex Cafiza, or Gaggia's product.
2) To backflush or not to backflush? I have heard it is OK and good to backflush since there is a solenoid valve. I have also heard that it will void the warranty if I do...
3) Do I use a cleaning product for backflushing or is it just water?
4) How often should descaling and backflushing be done? After reading much about this it seems to be a personal choice but I would still like to hear from the coffeegeek community.


Thank you in advanced!
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,706
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA, Gaggia Classic
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 3:39pm
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

Citric Acid is the simplest, cheapest and best for descaling.
YES Backflush;  backflush regularly with water;  backflush regularly but less frequently with a detergent like Cafiza.
The correct answer to how often to descale will depend on the hardness of your water.
The correct answer to how often to backflush?  Hmmmm....Depends a bit on just how clean you need to keep the taste of your coffee.  Some of us are better than others at keeping what we can't see clean....A somewhat overly ambitious schedule would be to backflush with water after ever session with your machine, and weekly with detergent.

That stuff about it voiding the warrantee makes no sense at all since what you are doing when you are backflushing is putting no more strain on your system than pulling a shot.  But it is a decision only you can make or one only you will tell the truth about if you are confronted.
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Roaster: West Bend Air Crazy
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 3:51pm
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

Thank you for your input. I am personally interested in using citrus acid because it is essentially a natural/organic option for cleaning. I currently use it as an additive to my own dishwasher detergent so this would be perfect. I was just really unsure on how effective it is with espresso machines.

I agree with you about the warranty. I have read in several places Gaggia does not recommend backflushing their classic machine. Thus, if it is backflushed warranty will be voided... Though learning the purpose of backflushing this does not make sense to me. I am wondering if this is a rumor being spread.

SJM Said:

That stuff about it voiding the warrantee makes no sense at all since what you are doing when you are backflushing is putting no more strain on your system than pulling a shot.  But it is a decision only you can make or one only you will tell the truth about if you are confronted.

Posted October 10, 2013 link

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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,706
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA, Gaggia Classic
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Thu Oct 10, 2013, 4:24pm
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

You are looking for CitriC acid, not Citrus acid.
Dilute it 2 Tbs/Quart of warm water.
It is readily sourced in any beer making supply store.

I have no comment on the ban on backflushing except that it makes no sense if you want to keep your (3-way valve equipped) Gaggia clean.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,021
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 1:07am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

SJM Said:

Citric Acid is the simplest, cheapest and best for descaling.

Posted October 10, 2013 link

BEWARE! The Gaggia Classic has an aluminium boiler. Do not use citric or acetic acid on that, which is the main ingredient of many descaling agents, because it will corrode the boiler. You should use Gaggia's own stuff or Durgol Swiss Espresso.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 474
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 3:57am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

IntrepidQ3 Said:

1) What is the best product for descaling? I have heard citric acid, Urnex Cafiza, or Gaggia's product.
2) To backflush or not to backflush? I have heard it is OK and good to backflush since there is a solenoid valve. I have also heard that it will void the warranty if I do...
3) Do I use a cleaning product for backflushing or is it just water?
4) How often should descaling and backflushing be done? After reading much about this it seems to be a personal choice but I would still like to hear from the coffeegeek community.

Posted October 10, 2013 link

1)Gaggia's product would be fine. It is designed to leave the boiler behind while taking out minerals.
2)Make sure your relief valve is set somewhere between 8.5 and 11 Bar and backflushing won't hurt.
3)Cafiza is a decent detergent for backflushing at the end of the day. And backflushing with water is a good rinse.
4)Descaling frequency depends on your water. Descale as infrequently as possible as you'll be degrading the boiler each time. If you don't think you have a calcium build up and have no symptoms of trouble, don't bother descaling.
Backflush all the time.  If you do 10, 15 or more espressos a day you'll want to backflush everytime you prepare to shut the machine down, if the first flush comes out brown, you're not doing it too often. If it comes out perfectly white, maybe you're doing it too often.
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Roaster: West Bend Air Crazy
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 5:19am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

NobbyR Said:

BEWARE! The Gaggia Classic has an aluminium boiler. Do not use citric or acetic acid on that, which is the main ingredient of many descaling agents, because it will corrode the boiler. You should use Gaggia's own stuff or Durgol Swiss Espresso.

Posted October 11, 2013 link

Thank you! I am looking at Urnex Full Circle Descaling Powder. This is Urnex's environmentally friendly descaling product. Has anyone heard of this corroding aluminum?

Would citric acid be OK to backflush with?
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,021
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 5:38am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

IntrepidQ3 Said:

I am looking at Urnex Full Circle Descaling Powder.

Posted October 11, 2013 link

As far as I know the main ingredient of Urnex Full Circle descaler is citric acid.

IntrepidQ3 Said:

Would citric acid be OK to backflush with?

Posted October 11, 2013 link

No, it wouldn't. For that purpose you'll need a backflush detergent (like JoeGlo or Cafiza, for example) that dissolves coffee oil resídues. An acid only works as descaling agent, because it dissolves scale, i.e. calcifications.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 50
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Roaster: West Bend Air Crazy
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

NobbyR,

Thank you again for clearing this up for me. I still have much to figure out.
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,706
Location: CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: SAMA, Gaggia Classic
Grinder: K-10PB, Rancilio MD-50
Vac Pot: no like
Drip: no like
Roaster: HotTop
Posted Fri Oct 11, 2013, 8:48am
Subject: Re: Cleaning and General Maintence for Gaggia Classic
 

CafeTom, NobbyR is right that the boiler (or at least the top half of the boiler) is aluminum.  However, he is incorrect that a mild solution of citric acid will damage it.  It is most probably true that citric acid in some concentrations could damage and does damage aluminum, but in this application it is the perfect and cheapest and best cleaner.  Buying any fancy name brand descalers is simply a waste of money.  

This is an argument that arises often, and I have no idea where the anti-citric acid argument gets its fuel, but since they tend to have more interest than I do in furthering the discussion, they will probably continue to argue here.  I won't bother, but I thought I should mention that Citric Acid is all you need for descaling and it will not damage the boiler of your Classic if you use it correctly.

For more information or discussion, you could also ask at the group in my signature.
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