All Gaggia semi-automatic espresso machines made for the U.S. Market are the same Big Bad Wolf wearing sheep's clothing. The pumps, boilers, brew groups, portafilters, filter baskets, & miscellaneous accessories for the Espresso model to the Classic are identical.
Gaggia Classic - Step by step. Click on the steam switch and wait for the red 'ready light' to come on. Start steaming by opening up the black steam knob. You will notice the red light will go off after a short time indicating that the boiler heating elements are on and are actively heating the water. Jan 24, 2005 - The Gaggia Classic - A beginner's introduction. Despite what the manual says, there will not be a crema enhancing disk or any tool to. One of the prime reasons for equipment failure is due to calcium and mineral deposits.
The only exceptions to this are; 1) for the models equipped with three-way solenoid valves, there is a difference in the lower half of the boiler to accommodate the mounting of the valve, 2) while the non-solenoid equipped machines have a pressure-valve in the bottom of the group.And that's the TRUE beauty of a Gaggia home espresso machine. A home barista capable of making a 'killer' shot with a Classic will make the same 'killer' shot on an Espresso. Likewise the home technician who's opened an Espresso & replaced an oscillating pump or scraped the scale build up out of the boiler, will be on familiar grounds when they crack open a Classic, Carezza, Evolution, or Coffee.THE FACTS OF LIFE (about regular maintenance)So, let's get down to cases about the care & feeding of your Gaggia home espresso machines. Keeping up the aesthetic appearance of these machines is fairly straight forward; wipe them down after each use, empty drip trays, wash and/or wipe down parts that come into contact with coffee & milk with a towel soaked in a weak bleach solution of 1 part household bleach to 100 parts water. Pay close attention to drying the metal surfaces, especially under the water reservoir & drip tray as these are the areas most prone to rust. Here's a secret: Use a bit of charcoal lighter on a paper towel to remove stubborn stains and label & tape residue.
Here's another secret: Windex is the best general cleanser for the external parts of the machine. Here's yet another secret: If it touches coffee (portafilter, filter basket, group head, 3-way valve, etc.) clean it with detergent; If it's only in contact with water (pump, boiler, OPV, etc.) then descale it. Priming Pump Espresso machinesIt is imperative that the very first thing to do to a new home espresso machine is prime it. This is because the machine is shipped without water in the boiler. The heating element can be quickly damaged from heat stress without water (or sufficient water) in the boiler.
Fill the water reservoir up with fresh, cold water. Make sure all hoses are submerged and free of kinks or other obstructions. Make sure all switches are in the OFF position. Plug machine in. Turn steam knob open. Place container under steam wand.
Turn machine on. IMMEDIATELY turn coffee/brew switch on. The pump will sound noisy initially but should quieten within 10 sec. The water level should start to drop in the reservoir. Close the steam valve once water starts to flow out.
Turn the coffee/brew switch off once water flows out of brew head. The espresso machine is now primed. Continue to run about a cup of water through the boiler to thoroughly flush the system prior to using the first time. VERY IMPORTANT! Shut machine off after 1 minute if water does not appear.
Wait 10 minutes. Check for leaks (water under machine).
If the espresso machine won't prime, contact us for further instructions.It is always good practice (but not a requirement) to prime espresso machines after steaming milk. Anytime the machine has not been used for some time it is also advisable to quick prime the machine. Just open the steam valve and turn the coffee switch on until water flows out.
Alternatively, turn on the coffee switch and let water flow through the brew head (this has the benefit of rinsing the showerhead).We know people who have an espresso machine but don't drink coffee. However, they do use the machine for making great hot chocolate or chai tea drinks.
For these folks, it is vital that they prime the machine often, because steaming uses water from the boiler, but does not replace it. Only making espresso (or priming) keeps the boiler fully charged with water.Espresso Machine Maintenance & CleanlinessThe purpose of cleaning your espresso equipment is to achieve better control of the brewing process and to obtain the freshest taste in coffee. By cleaning your equipment on a regular basis, you can help save on replacement parts and increase the life expectancy of your equipment. The following procedures should be followed on a regular basis:.
Give the steam wand a quick 'shot of steam' after frothing your milk (use a clean moist washcloth over the hole to prevent a mess). Then use the moist cloth to clean the steam wand immediately. If the milk has dried, use a plastic pot scrubber to clean the wand.
Or soak the steam wand in hot water to remove any caked-on milk. Use of steel wool scouring pads will eventually remove the chrome plating. Clean the steam jet hole with a pin, paper clip or a similar tool. Flush the group head by turning on the pump for a few seconds, without the portafilter in place, after the last coffee session of the day (this has the added benefit of always ensuring the machine is fully primed).
Remove drip trays and clean them. (They can be put in the dishwasher, occasionally, top rack only if plastic, otherwise they may morph into interesting but unusable shapes from the heating element).The cleanliness of the Espresso machine portafilter and brew baskets is one of the most overlooked cleaning rituals regarding home espresso machines (commercial establishments too; - we have seen way too many restaurants where the only time the handles are cleaned is when we do it after the machines break down - sometimes years!). The reason to clean is obvious - all that beautiful fresh espresso and crema flows through the group assembly before it lands in the cup! Popping the filter basket out of the portafilter handle occasionally will tell you how often to clean - if it looks dirty, clean it!Espresso Machine BackflushingCaution: DO NOT, we repeat, do not backflush espresso machines that don't have a 3-way valve. Cleaning solution may enter the boiler and possibly damage it or 'contaminate' the water. Besides that, there is no benefit to backflushing a non 3-way valve machine.
Just give the group screen, baskets and handle a good cleaning as described below.Note: All espresso machines with 3-way valves will have some sort of drain into the drip tray.Once every couple of hundred shots of espresso (1 - 3 months) or so, it is recommended to backflush the system to ensure optimum tasting espresso and to prolong the efficient operation of the 3-way valve system. The 3-way valve itself will survive several years of non-cleaning abuse before it decides it has had enough. For the VERY particular minded a weekly cleaning may be OK, but generally a monthly or longer schedule is perfectly adequate.
Descale Gaggia Classic
It is much more practical and important to keep the screen and portafilter clean (see below).So why backflush? Because the 3-way valve allows left over coffee to drain 'backwards' from the 'coffee puck', through the valve and out into the drip tray. This relieves pressure and makes for a drier coffee puck (less dripping). But that fresh espresso dries onto the inside of the screen area and the valve itself and soon becomes old stale espresso. By cleaning on a regular basis you will ensure that your lovely fresh espresso is not tainted by last seasons (or worse, last years) flavors!Materials required: Urnex Cafiza, S/S blind filter basket or backflush disk, group cleaning brush, plastic bowl or cup, sink and running water.
Start with a warm or hot espresso machine (product works better when warm). Pop out the single or double basket from the portafilter handle, and pop the stainless steel blind filter basket in. If you have the rubber backflush insert, place it into the bottom of the double portafilter basket so that it makes a good seal (rubber disk must be used with the double basket). Using Urnex Cafiza (or similar espresso machine detergent), place a 1/2 teaspoon in portafilter. If you wish make up a slurry or paste with a bit of warm water first.
Insert portafilter in machine then cycle pump 10 seconds on, 5 seconds off, 5 seconds on. Turn machine off.
Wait 10 minutes or longer. Drain tray should show some foamy, dirty detergent mixture. This is normal and good. Note: If backflushing has not been performed for a very long time, repeat entire operation again with fresh cleaning solution. You may also wish to remove the screen and soak it separately, since the screen may be partially or fully plugged up, preventing efficient backflushing. Now put a bit more cleaning solution in your basket and replace it loosely in the grouphead so that it will leak out around the sides when the pump is turned on.
Run the pump while loosely wiggling the handle around to clean out the area around the rubber seal. This can be a bit messy, so make sure you have a old tea towel handy.
Using the group brush, give a quick scrub around the sealing area and repeat the procedure. Now rinse the solution from the portafilter, re-insert into machine. Run pump once more for 10 seconds on. Now turn off. Remove portafilter and run pump for 5 seconds or more into plastic bowl or cup to rinse out screen and group area. Thoroughly rinse the portafilter under warm water and rinse the drain tray. Using some old stale coffee you just happen to have hanging around, make up an espresso shot and then discard it, to complete the cleaning process and to ensure that no cleaning agent ends up in a shot meant to be consumed.Cleaning the group screen, handle & basketsOnce every 50-100 shots of espresso or so we recommend cleaning the group screen, handle and baskets.
The screen will often look clean from the visible, down side, but rest assured that the coffee oils collect on the upper, unseen side. A dirty screen adversely affects the taste of your espresso and can diminish the efficiency of your machine. Remove the portafilter screen with a stubby screwdriver and the shower screen plate with a 5mm allen wrench (Sometimes the plate is stuck on pretty tight and a bit of force is necessary to remove it. Using a suitable container, such as a plastic 1 liter yogurt container, put in a teaspoon of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and one-third fill with hot water.
Put the filter baskets, shower screw, shower screen plate, shower screen, and portafilter in the mixture and let sit overnight or until clean. Stir occasionally to speed things up if very dirty. Caked on screens may need a second application. Occasionally it may be more prudent to just replace the screen. Rinse all items thoroughly and replace. Note: Do not run the pump with the screen removed, since hot boiler water can shoot out in unexpected directions (often forward) and possibly cause a scald.Descaling Single Boiler Home espresso machinesIn hard water areas, minerals found in the water (such as calcium) will accumulate, and over time affect operation of the espresso machine.
Approximately every 3 months (depending on your use and the water hardness), clean the machine with a citric acid based decalcifying agent. Add two tablespoons citric acid into the water reservoir. Mix thoroughly to dissolve (use warm water for better results). Remove the portafilter and place a cup under the group head and another cup, or other container, under the steam wand to catch cleaning solution. Power up the espresso machine, turn coffee pump on and run approximately 8 oz.
Of solution through the brew head. Turn machine off and let the machine sit for 15 minutes. Run approximately 8 oz. Through the steam wand, and again, turn machine off and let sit for 15 minutes. Repeat by allowing solution to run alternately through the steam wand and brew head. Turn espresso machine off after each cycle. Repeat process until solution has been run through.
Do not leave espresso machine on. Do not allow reservoir to run empty!. Rinse reservoir thoroughly with fresh water. Refill reservoir with fresh water.
Run half a tank of fresh water through group head, alternating between group head and steam wand. I f this process doesn't clean the boiler it will be necessary to manually descale the boiler.