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Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
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Jaspov
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Nov 24, 2013, 11:53am
Subject: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

]]Hello all,

I descale my Gaggia Classic every 2,5 months as we have very hard water. I started with the official Gaggia descaler and according to the addendum of the manual I used half a bottle of descaler each time.

However I find that when I tap hot water from the frother there are particles, see below pictures. The amount you see is found in an average tea-mug.
I bought new descaler based on citric acid and within a month of descaling I descaled again, but I still get these particles.

-Should I descale again and more aggresively (longer and less water) or not? What is holding me back are the added instructions added to my machine to use half a bottle instead of a full bottle, there must be some reason they recommend to use less yet I am about to use more descaler. Hope someone can help out

Also really curious what the black stuff is, calcium is usually white so what black stuff comes out of my frother?

regards

Click Here (i1223.photobucket.com)

Click Here (i1223.photobucket.com)
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IntrepidQ3
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Sep 2013
Posts: 45
Location: Tampa, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Vario
Roaster: West Bend Air Crazy
Posted Sat Nov 30, 2013, 8:09pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

Hey! welcome to the forum.

I really have no idea specifically what the black particles are. It does not sound like scale, as it is usually white.Your issue reminded me of another thread from the gaggiausergroup forum: http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/index.php/topic,174.0.html

She never identified what it was or where it came from but was able to get rid of it with a good cleaning and by running lots of water through.

For descaling, be careful using citric acid with the classic. The top half of the boiler is aluminum, a lot citric acid+aluminum are not friends.

Here is the preferred procedure for descaling with citric acid: Click Here (www.gaggiausersgroup.com)
This is what I follow and many others at the gaggia users group.

If you need any other help, seeking gaggia specific information, or just want to talk gaggia you should check out the group. I have found it extremely helpful for myself. Home page
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,681
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 Sat Nov 30, 2013, 8:32pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

Jaspov, tell us everything you know about your water.

Black grit seems to show up whenever someone is using water which is too acidic, i.e. with a pH below 7.  
If you are using a Brita filter, for example, or if you are using water that comes through a rerfigerator filter, your problem may be there.

One thing to try would be to flush and flush and flush and then to start adding a pinch of baking soda to each reservoir full of water.

Whatever it is, it's small and not harmful to you.
On the other hand, it may well be a sign of deterioration within the machine, so best to figure it out.
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Jaspov
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Nov 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Netherlands
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Dec 2, 2013, 4:24am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

Thanks for the replies! I read the other topic, might be similar although she had black particles coming from the portafilter, could (in theory) be some old coffee grains. I get the black particles from the steam wand. Weird thing is that I also have white stuff which I think can only be calcium. So kind of torn between another descaling session to get rid of white stuff or that might hurt the machine more and result in more black stuff..

Also thanks for pointing out the other site. Might also register there but don't want to crosspost this issue all over the web yet.

I live in the Netherlands, our water is pretty calcium rich here but I don't know about PH. I just use tap water so no filters or britta. Glad I asked here before using more citric acid. The acid I have comes from a well known online coffee retailer here. What would citric acid do to aliminium exactly?

Will try and flush some more still for now.
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SJM
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Nov 2004
Posts: 1,681
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 Mon Dec 2, 2013, 10:43am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

First of all, the Citric Acid will not harm your aluminum boiler as long as you use it as directed.  If you mix 2 Tbs of Citric Acid into a litre of warm water, that is a good dilution.  Then pull it through the boiler and through the steam wand, letting the solution sit inside for no more than about 15 minutes before flushing it and pulling in another batch.  

In your current situation, I would do one of two things:  either pull and open the boiler now, or see if you can flush it.   Then you will need to start a new water regimen.  If you want to avoid opening the boiler for now, source a quantity of distilled or R/O water and pull that through your system repeatedly (over and over and then again) until hopefully you will see no more black stuff coming out.  If that doesn't happen, you will still need to open the boiler, but it is probably worth a try.

Since the black stuff is almost certainly being precipitated out of your water,  you will then need to have a better water supply for when you start pulling shots again, so now is the time to do some research on the quality of the water you are using, and/or start using a bottled water until you have tamed your tap water.

You can read more than you ever wanted to know about water here:
Click Here (www.gaggiausersgroup.com)
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 1,897
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Preciso
Posted Mon Dec 2, 2013, 11:23am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic water not clean after descaling: white and black particles
 

Descalars in general are acidic. All of them will be used for very short term and then flushed completely. There are various acids used such as citric, acetic, tartaric, sulfamic and combinations. In general acids are not good for the aluminum. That is why they are used and flushed completely. As Susan has noted problem the problem with black particulate may be more related to water. Any amount of acidity in the water has long-term contact with the boiler. It is the more likely source of the black particulate probably an aluminum salt.

You can get a water analysis to see how hard the water is and how much buffering it has. You could switch to a known bottled water and research its hardness and composition. Some of those can still have significant scaling. You can play with mixtures of tap or bottled water with distilled water. As noted you may need to add a pinch of baking soda or bicarbonate to make sure that the water is not acidic.

I have seen stated in other threads that white particulate is scale and black particulate is aluminum. Black can also come from gaskets and O-rings. It is unlikely there is enough contact with the boiler O-ring to give that much particulate. It is likely from the aluminum.

As already noted if you do not solve the problem, cleaning the boiler chemically or mechanically will not be a solution. That is not to say that you may not need to clean the boiler one more time and get rid of all of the black particulate.

Here's a helpful de-scale thread

http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/index.php/topic,110.0.html

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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