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Thread: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

  1. #1
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    Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Until recently, Ive been steaming milk quite sufficiently with the Carezza but recently, it seems to run out of steam before the milk hits the right temp. I might have done something differently in the whole process of preparing the latte too and I dont know if theres soemthing Im doing in that process thats depleting the boiler of water for the steam:
    1. I fill the reservoir with filtered water and switch on machine.
    2. I insert the portafilter into the grouphead to heat it up as well.
    3. After leaving it alone for 10 minutes or more (in "On" mode, I hit the brew button to run hot water into an empty cup (without coffee) to "prime" or heat up the whole thing.
    4. After I run about a latte glass full of water I remove the portafilter to dry excess water and add coffee ground.
    5. Pull a shot of espresso into the latte glass and I wait a few seconds before removing the portafilter. I also switch on the steam button.
    6. While waiting for green light to come on, I clean the brew head, basket, portafilter etc (Im a bit anal that way).
    7. Green light comes on and I open the steam knob to release moisture into empty glass for 3-5 seconds. Then i close the knob and pour milk into pitcher.
    8. Then i do the steaming thing with the wand (no turbo frother) first submerged deep before opening knob.
    9. As I open knob I hear the screeching noise upon which I lower the jug so the the wand tip is just below the milk to get a Sssss shhhsssss type sound and I monitor the thermometer.
    10. Jug starts to get hot in my hands as the temp shows 40 degrees and at that point I raise the jug so the wand is deep to steam the milk and hopefully get a whirlpool going.

    Heres where the problem starts. Previously, Ive had no problems to the point where if Im not careful Ill burn the milk. Now, shortly after, as i reach 55 degrees, a screeching sound starts up again, though softer than the initial one when I first start. I look at the thermometer and notice that the temperature either rises at a much slower rate or doesnt rise at all and all the while the screeching sound starts getting louder.
    When I remove the jug, I find that theres hardly any steam coming out at all.
    Is there something Im doing wrong in the lead up?
    Should I be releasing more moisture/steam at the beginning before inserting the jug? Or less?
    Should I wait longer from the time I release moisture to the time i steam the milk?

  2. #2
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Good ol Gaggia Too Small a Boiler Syndrome! Put simply, the Boiler is running out of puff, literally.

    One of the main reasons I dislike Gaggia machine is this! I used to have a Gaggia Espresso Deluxe and it would drive me mad all the time.. makes great espresso.. but the steaming is a shocker!

  3. #3
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I think you need to start steaming before the green light comes on when in Steaming mode... that way the boiler will reheat while steaming...

  4. #4
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Another question...

    Has the boiler been descaled recently? Scale build up on the heater element can reduce its efficiency and cause the machine to "run out of puff" in the steam department..... and this would me most noticeable on a machine which barely has enough to begin with (like the Gaggia).

  5. #5
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Thing is, until the last 2 days, I never had that problem before. Ive used this for about 2-3 weeks now. One other time I had that problem was 2 weeks ago when I attempted to froth milk for 8 people to make hot chocolate. It ran out of steam during the second jug of milk, but this time its my first jug.

  6. #6
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Dont wait for the green light to come on after activating the steam switch. Purge water after 10 to 15 sec and then start steaming. If done correctly, the green light should not come on the entire steaming process.

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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1181004219/0#3 date=1181004785
    Another question...

    Has the boiler been descaled recently? Scale build up on the heater element can reduce its efficiency and cause the machine to "run out of puff" in the steam department..... and this would me most noticeable o a machine which barely has enough to begin with (like the Gaggia).
    Ive just descaled it last weekend.

  8. #8
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Another variable is ambient temp... of late, the temp has dropped.... so the steam has to work harder to get the milk upto temp... thats my logic anyway ;-)

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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Quote Originally Posted by RonTheMan link=1181004219/0#5 date=1181005093
    Dont wait for the green light to come on after activating the steam switch. Purge water after 10 to 15 sec and then start steaming. If done correctly, the green light should not come on the entire steaming process.
    Doesnt the green light indicate that its ready to start steaming?

  10. #10
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Yes, but the Gaggia doesnt keep heating the water when the green light comes on... if you trick it into submission and it thinks its not heated yet.. itll continue heating and your steam supply is more continuous!

  11. #11
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Would it work the same if I open the knob at the start after the green light comes on and release a whole lot of moisture and steam until it switches off and then start the steaming thing?

  12. #12
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Can someone explain how this boiler thing works...
    When I first switch on the machine, I take it that it heats up the boiler, grouphead etc. At which point does it start pumping water into the boiler? Does it pump water into the boiler when I first switch the machine on or does it only fill the boiler when I hit the Brew button?

    In steam mode, does the boiler need to be full or empty for steam?

  13. #13
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    When you switch on the machine no water flows into the boiler until the brew switch is operated..... cold water is forced in which forces the hot water out.

    When you operate the brew switch with the steam valve open.... the same thing happens but water comes out of the steam wand.... and that is used to fill the boiler. This is also used to deliver hot water.

    When producing steam only the water in the boiler is heated (no water is added to the boiler).... so make sure it is full to get the maximum possible volume of steam. Bleed off excess moisture... and steam away.

    The machine only has a 100ml boiler - generally considered to be too small.

  14. #14
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    *BLINK!!!* *Light bulb above head lights up!!*

    Maybe thats what I will do. After pulling a shot, I will then hit the brew button again and release the steam/ moisture. After that I will off the brew switch, hit the steam switch and when it goes green, steam the milk.

    i was aware that the boiler is small on the carezza, but I never had problems with 1 latte before and now I seem to have. Was just getting concerned if I needed to get it checked out by the service centre or whether this is normal and I just need to work around it.

  15. #15
    maxrob200
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I am new to the Gaggia Deluxe as well, just had it two days, so all this steaming stuff is new to me too. However, I seem to get plenty of steam. Procedures are similar to what has been described so far. I pull the shot, fire up the steam switch, bleed a bit till dry steam comes out, close valce. stick SS jug under wand, and steam away, gradually opening valve till I get a good frothing action happening. Have not run out of steam when doing frothing small amounts of milk for one or two cups.

  16. #16
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I just had a thought. About filling the boiler, wont switching on the brew switch fill the boiler too whether or not the steam knob is opened or closed? So, if Ive pulled a shot, wont the boiler be full when I start the steaming process? What advabtage would it be to switch onthe brew button and open the stean knob?


  17. #17
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Im not sure on this machine....

    But on most, the water for the group is drawn off part the way down the boiler, where as the steam/hot water comes from the very top.

    So drawing from the group could leave an air space above the water, drawing from the steam wand wont.

  18. #18
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    This is going to sound like a dumb question.... OK, so Im supposed to open the steam knob 5 seconds or just before the green light comes on (in which the boiler stops heating), how do I know when the light is going to turn on before it actually turns on?

  19. #19
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Guess??... time it the first time, then youll know...

    Else, let it get to the green light stage, start steaming, while doing so, flick the switch to brew then back again on the steam setting to kick the boiler back into gear....

  20. #20
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Ive just found a previous thread that had someone modify his Carezza with a Silvia steam wand. the length of the Carezza one was too short. There was also mention of the Carezza running out of steam especially with the modded wand and the way around that was to open the knob before the green light comes on. One of the ways suggested was to count to 25 or 30 seconds from the time the switch was turned on. Id be trying that one tomorrow.

  21. #21
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Alls well again! Should have taken a photo of the finished product! I did a double whammy, made sure I filled the boiler by brewing with the steam wand open as well as counted down 25secs after switching on the steam switch and it worked a treat!!
    Add to that I almost pulled the perfect shot, no soggy pucks as I put in just the right amount of coffee to have the coffee flushed tight against the shower screen. No crema disk used and still managed to get lots of crema from what many here would consider stale beans. :) :) Cant wait to get my hands on good fresh beans this weekend!

  22. #22
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Thats great .... well done... when you get fresh beans, youll see "real" crema ;-)

  23. #23
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I said almost perfect and not perfect because Im still pulling the shots too quickly, nowhere near the 20-25 seconds recommended. Dont know what else to do differently now. Im using a s/s convex tamper instead of the plastic one that came with the machine, putting almost all my weight in the tamping, grinding the beans at finer end of espresso setting, the shot still comes up too fast. Cant complain about the crema or the look of it though. Its better coffee than Ive had the last few days. At least Ive got the amount and steam working down pat.

  24. #24
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Quote Originally Posted by NewToEspresso link=1181004219/15#17 date=1181018111
    This is going to sound like a dumb question.... OK, so Im supposed to open the steam knob 5 seconds or just before the green light comes on (in which the boiler stops heating), how do I know when the light is going to turn on before it actually turns on?
    To all those posting about timing the steaming process so the green light doesnt come on, it doesnt matter.

    Why? Because the Gaggia boilers are small and well heated enough that the boiler can go through a heat cycle while the steam valve is wide open. I have actually managed to BOIL a 1L jug of water with a Gaggia by steaming it continously (yes, it took a while). So the amount of water in the boiler doesnt matter that much either (unless you have run it low somehow).

    With a Sylvia wand, the greater size of the steam hole may not let this happen with with the standard arm and the plastic stump, the boiler will cycle in steam mode.

    To ensure you have a full boiler, the best way is to prime it during warmup so that it is full for the 1st brew.

    NewToEspresso, what grinder are you using? A good grinder should be able to choke the machine at its finest settings.

  25. #25
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Im using a Breville BCG450 grinder which is not up to scratch but I dont have the money to upgrade it at the moment. I used the finest settings for the supermarket beans I bought a while ago and it was still doing 7 second shots but I was probably putting in too little coffee in the basket so what has probably happened was that although i packed it in tight at the finest setting (Turkish), there was a lot of room in between the coffee and the shower screen so it basically washed through the coffee displacing it through the gap.

    I didnt understand the bit about the Silvia wand causing the boiler to cycle in steam mode, please elaborate. Is it then recommended to mod the Carezza with the Silvia arm?

  26. #26
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Some people prefer the Sylvia arm as it is much longer but I just tilt the jug to get the milk to reach. I was saying that the Sylvia arm might not allow the boiler to be able to cycle, as it would release more steam than the Gaggia one (so the heating elements may not be powerful enough to heat the boiler more than the steam loss cools it).

    Dosing is as critical as tamping so you need to establish a technique to be consistent with this. I knock the tangs on the PF with my tamper until the grinds stop settling and add more grinds and repeat until the grinds are at my calibration level.

    A friend of mine had the same grinder and was able to mod it by adding washers under the burrs to decrease the minimum gap but it led to the death of the grinder (he replaced it with a EM480C and couldnt be happier).

  27. #27
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Because I make at most 2 cups only (but mostly only one for myself) I dont have too many issues with the arm length as I use either a 600ml jug for 2 cups or the 300ml ceramic creamer for myself. Im just tempted to do the mod out of interest. I like tinkering around with stuff and modifying stuff but I might hold off on this one.

    Another question, how do you fill the boiler to the full and how do you know its full? As for priming the thing, thats what i do everyday anyway, I switch on the brew button after 10 minutes of leaving it on and run a latte glass full through the PF to warm up the PF as well. Thats what I did the last 2 days too when the machine ran out of steam in the middle of steaming the milk. When it runs out of steam, it doesnt totally go dry but a lot less steam comes out and that causes a screeching sound when steaming and its quite disconcerting. Add to that the milk was pretty flat and it ruined my coffee the last 2 days.

  28. #28
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    NewToEspresso....

    To ensure the boiler is full (as detailed earlier in this thread ;)).....

    Draw hot water from the steam wand (using the brew switch after opening the steam wand).... when a steady stream of water comes out without any air.... the boiler is full.

    This is the same procedure as used for priming a boiler when the machine is first used.

  29. #29
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Thanks. Something must have gotten lost in the translation when they wrote the English manual. The manual said that to prime the pump, all I need to do is switch on the brew button and run a cup of water through the brew head. No mention of running the water through the steam wand UNLESS no water comes out of the brew head when the brew switch is on (due to some airlock thing).

  30. #30
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Sad when RTFM is misleading... but typically Italian too

  31. #31
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Looks like my good run of decent lattes continues.. Making a decent looking glass of latte is almost as satisfying as actually drinking it....

    Reduced image size down to 640 x 480 pixels to make it easier to view in most browsers,
    Mal.



  32. #32
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Looking good!!!

    Do you swirl the millk in the jug a bit and tap it on the bench to get rid of a few bubbles?

  33. #33
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I did. Trying to constantly find the "sweet spot" while steaming is a bit of a challenge. I was told by an experienced espresso hand (hes done heaps of latte art at Gloria Jeans), that the right way to get consistent latte art quality milk is to steam milk with a soft hissing sound rather than a shhhh shhh type sound. I tried that in the 2 days that my steamer ran out of steam and it was a shocker of a failure. Of course, it could have been the steamer running out of steam too that contributed to a flat milk but when I went back to a more shhh shhh type sound, I got much better milk. A few slightly bigger bubbles got dealt with with a solid knock of the jug on the benchtop, followed by swirls in an attempt to "fold" the milk but I dont think I did it too well.
    Still, the end result was satisfying enough. About the hissing sound versus the shhh shhh sound, is the advice I got good or may it be machine specific? Hes mainly made his stuff on Gloria Jeans Commercial machine and that might not work on entry level domestic machines.

  34. #34
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Its the right approach but due to the piss weak steaming of the domestic Gaggias (Im a fan but a realist), you need to do a bit of the shhhh shhh shhhh for the first 5 seconds to get enough air into the milk and then lower the tip further so the steam breaks up the bubbles into microfoam without letting more air in. Once you get the hang of it, its not hard.

  35. #35
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I hear ya... When I pour the milk into the espresso, the milk cuts through the crema pretty much all the way until its almost full. After that a blob of white will form on the top which really cannot be shaped by the jug. In latte art videos, the milk cuts through the espresso in the first half of the cup, then after that the white bit takes over and theres where manipulating the jug helps form whatever shape the end result.
    Is it the milk that I need to get more microfoamed to achieve this? Or is it amount of milk I use (theres leftover usually, not enough for another glass of latte, probably enough for half)?

  36. #36
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Youll need to experiment - getting that blob to rise quickly is the central mystery to latte art - but the mouth texture will be fine even if its late surfacing.

  37. #37
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    I suppose... thats why there are the artists, and there are the wannabes (like me) *resigned*

  38. #38
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Yeah, you should have seen Marika Pluta at the old Maltitude - she could pour DOUBLE rossettas with both hands at the same time within 6 weeks of getting to a coffee machine.

  39. #39
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    Re: Gaggia Carezza running out of steam

    Freaks... Like those guys in school, uni, who party all year and still come out with top results.... and the rest of us struggle just to make it through....



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