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Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Gaggia Classic...  
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JaxMyers
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 10
Location: houston TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 5:59pm
Subject: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

I just got a Gaggia Classic. An upgrade from a $95 DeLonghi machine that I had for quite some time. The Gaggia is my first "real" espresso machine but I've been a bit disappointed because I haven't pulled a good shot yet. All of my shots are pulling super fast, like 10-15 seconds for 2 oz, and the coffee tastes sour (but not too bitter).

Here's what I've already tried.

First I tried setting my grinder to the finest setting, but didn't notice a big improvement. Then I tried tamping harder but that didn't seem to help either. I used a bathroom scale and tried tamping at 30 pounds, 40 pounds, even 50 pounds but no difference in the brew time.

I checked my dose, I've tried 14-17 grams without much difference.

Then I read about adjusting the over pressure valve (OPV) and made a homemade portafilter pressure measuring device with a gauge from a hardware store. I used the technique I read about in this forum to decrease the brew pressure to about 9 bars.... actually mine seems to be a little lower, like 8.5 or so, but I'll leave it there for now. The first shot I pulled after adjusting the pressure took about 25 seconds but all subsequent shots seemed to go back to ~10 seconds again.

Then I thought maybe it was my grinder. Maybe something was wrong with the way my fine grind was coming out, so I walked to a cafe down the street, chatted with the barista, and then she ground my some beans on her own (this is a good coffee shot which makes an excellent espresso, not a Starbucks). I tried her coffee and it came out exactly like mine. Same brew time, same taste.

Now I'm about out of ideas. Can anybody tell me what to try next?
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 8:31pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

What grinder are you trying?  If you can't grind fine enough to choke the machine, then you will not have a starting point.  Set the grind finer until you choke the machine and then work back slowly.  You need a grinder with small steps, very small, or stepless.

Read here

http://www.espressomyespresso.com/


  "How to"  12 - EASY GUIDE TO BETTER ESPRESSO AT HOME

Grinder is very important, you will not make espresso without a proper grinder.  You may have that, just checking.

 
D4F also at
http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
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 Fri Dec 13, 2013, 8:56pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

follow Fred's advice and read that guide...and please do tell us what grinder you're using.

My first thought is your coffee is stale or you didn't grind it fine enough.  Did you buy it locally, if so where?  The stuff that was ground for you was stale by the time you used it (it only takes about 15 minutes once the beans are ground).  What shop was it?  As you can see, I'm in Houston too...more precisely, Bellaire.  There are several of us here who frequent the board.  Perhaps you need some hands on help?

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


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 10
Location: houston TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 10:01pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

I live in Montrose. I got one bag of beans at southside espresso (my fav espresso place) and one at sweet cup (they sell the same beans Catalina uses). So beans are not the problem. Then I got them to grind some for me and I tried it 2 min after grinding (I live across the street from sweet cup) and compared that to my own grind and didn't notice a difference. That's why I'm so confused and running out of ideas. It seems like I might eventually need some hands on help... Glad to know there are some fellow Houstonians on here!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,113
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 Sat Dec 14, 2013, 6:22am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

Hmmmm! I have to agree that freshness is not the problem.  Southside freakin' rocks! Catalina uses Amaya beans, and I've had good experiences there too, but I haven't been to sweet cup.  However, if you frequent Southside and Catalina, one can only assume sweet cup is good as well.  My concern is that the grind may not be correct for your setup. One still has to dial in for their own machine and dose. Given your issue, I would suggest updosing from where you are now. And you haven't mentioned your grinder yet. It could still be part of the issue.

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


Joined: 25 Jun 2013
Posts: 298
Location: Americas
Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 9:06am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

JaxMyers Said:

First I tried setting my grinder to the finest setting, but didn't notice a big improvement.

Posted December 13, 2013 link

As D4F suggests, if your grinder can't go fine enough to choke off the machine (ie, be far too slow), then you have a grinder issue.  You could ask the local cafe to grind as fine as they can (ie, not their normal grind which is what I would guess you got).  If that doesn't slow it down, then it must be channeling.
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frcn
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frcn
Joined: 23 Dec 2001
Posts: 3,404
Location: Northern California
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Vibiemme Domobar Double
Grinder: Mazzer Kony, Baratza...
Vac Pot: Hario, 2 Cory pots, 1 Cory...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Bunn A10 mod...
Roaster: computer controlled Hottop,...
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 9:47am
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

JaxMyers Said:

...Then I got them to grind some for me and I tried it 2 min after grinding

Posted December 13, 2013 link

   

hmmm.....

 
Visit My Website
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 1:36pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

One other comment.  I did not notice what/how you are tamping, just pressure.  You have a new machine, new tamper also?  If you do not use a tamper fitted to the 58mm basket, uneven tamping and then channeling may occur.  You may need a bottomless PF to see what is going on through the puck.

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


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 10
Location: houston TX
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 3:10pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

I am using this crappy tamper: Click Here (www.amazon.com)

It says it's 50&60 mm but I measured it and it's more like 50 & 55 mm. I thought it was close enough. You said my Gaggia uses a 58mm? Maybe I'll have to borrow one of those from someone and try it. Maybe I should try the plastic tamper that came with the machine as well. If my tamper is just slightly too small would I get channeling around the edges? I didn't think it would make such a difference but maybe it does.

Also I can't grind the beans enough to choke the machine with my burr grinder. It doesn't go any finer than what I am using unfortunately. I'm not about to invest in a more expensive grinder until I figure it out for sure though, so hopefully I can find a good one to try it with if nothing else works.

Thanks for your advice everyone. I'll post my results back here soon...
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D4F
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Mar 2012
Posts: 2,015
Location: USA
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic PID
Grinder: Baratza Forte-AP
Posted Sat Dec 14, 2013, 3:50pm
Subject: Re: Gaggia Classic pulling shots too fast/sour and I've tried everything...
 

A fitted tamper allows the tamp with one firm pressure and covers the puck.  If you do not cover the puck the edges are missed and if you try to compensate with multiple tamps you will have a non-uniform tamp and allow channeling.  It is possible to grind fine and then channel because of poor distribution and tamp, and not choke.  You might not distinguish which is happening and a bottomless PF can help that.

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