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Thread: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

  1. #1
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    Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi All,

    Wow!! the information on this site is fantastic. Was up to 1 am last night reading and joined up today.

    I have been into coffee for some time and decided to step up my committement so bought a second hand Gaggia Classic which looks to be in good nick. I have been using one of those $99 krups machines and as I have been using it for some time, know exactly how to get the most out of it and make good coffee.

    This new machine is a completly different beast. Let me describe the problem....the coffee just does not seem thick and deep in colour. It does not make creama at all and tastes horrible. Undrinkable. It is almost transparent and seems to flow way to fast.

    Here is what I have tried.

    Firstly, I am using Vittoria standard in the gold and black package, pre-ground and stored in the freezer. I know, I know....but it is all I have and all I needed and I like it :)
    I have primed the GC and all seems to flow well. Pump pumps and makes a little bit of a racket. I have not run through a cleaning agent yet but will when I get home, however, from what I have read, this may not be the issue.
    I have let the GC heat for 20 mins with the same results. All components are well warm as I start brewing. Steam seems to work well.
    I have the standard plastic tamper (is that what its called?) and have pushed down as hard as I can and have added as much coffee as I can fit. At one stage it was so full and compressed I could not connect it to the machine.

    My questions are -

    what else should I try?
    I have read there is a place in Brisbane that will let you bring your own machine and grinder and they will teach you how to get the most out of it....and it was free. Does anyone know of a similar service here in Sydney?

    I hope to learn a whole lot from this site. There is so much to know. but first things first, I have to get this sorted...

    Cheers
    Catchy

  2. #2
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    You probably need to supply a little more info to get others to help you.

    How does the coffee in the GC look after the extraction? Is it wet, dry, clumped or runny?

    How old is the coffee? How long has it been in the freezer?

    It seems you might be trying to put too much coffee in the basket. I also think it is crazy to draw any conclusions before you clean and descale the machine. This may never have been done before! Get some coffee cleaning solutions from one of the sponsors here and run it through the machine.

    That is a start. The more tech stuff I will leave to those in the know!

  3. #3
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 73716473783D2222100 link=1235529476/0#0 date=1235529476
    Firstly, I am using Vittoria standard in the gold and black package, pre-ground....
    Theres your problem!


    Quote Originally Posted by 73716473783D2222100 link=1235529476/0#0 date=1235529476
    what else should I try?
    Get a grinder and some fresh roasted beans. The Vittoria isnt ground fine enough for the Gaggia. No doubt your Krups has a pressurised filter basket and thats why it gave you an acceptable result with pre-ground. The Gaggia on the other hand has proper filter baskets, like on commercial machines, so will need the correct grind to get a decent result.

  4. #4
    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Welcome Catchy

    If you had been reading the site, then the first advice you would have noted would be:

    1) Get the freshest beans you can - whole beans, not pre-ground
    2) Buy a good grinder. This is at least as important as the machine.
    3) Try to dose, distribute and tamp the double basket of the Gaggia with enough coffee that will produce roughly 30 mL in roughly 25 - 30 seconds.

    First step, get rid of the Vittoria you are currently drinking. Find a roaster in Bris from the list of Sponsors at the left. Buy some good beans and get them to do an espresso grind for you. Take this home as quickly as possible and *prepare a coffee.

    If you notice an improvement, then next step is to buy a decent grinder. Starting point would be the Sunbeam 0450 but try to spend at least $300 for an Iberatal or Rocky would be better.

    Also, buy a decent tamper. The plastic one is better than nothing but a good one does make a difference

  5. #5
    cc2
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Im pretty new to coffee too but have the same machine so thought I would chime in - correct me if im wrong anyone.

    I started off using the same coffee as you - as soon as I changed to grinding my own beans it made the world of difference, and thats just with my gaggia grinder - cant wait to see the difference when I get my rocky.

    Did you get the instruction manual with the machine? I didnt with mine but downloaded it from the net. You may be heating too much. I turn my gaggia on - wait a few minutes then fill a cup with just water from the machine, then wait about 5 minutes and then do my coffee.

    Also sounds like you are overfilling with the coffee. I fill it with coffee loosely and then use the back of a butter knife to get rid of the excess - after a while you wont have much excess and I can now grind what I need.

    And lastly get a new tamper - you can even pick up a stainless steel one for $25 which is so much better than that plastic thing, if you can spend more its worth it.

    As I said I am still learning too so please correct me if im wrong.
    :D

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Thanks for the advice.

    I will start by getting some fresh coffee from one of the site sponcers. The machine came with a grinder but it does look basic.

    Thanks for the Welcome Flynn. Some great advice too.

    cc2..good to hear of your experiance. Gives me some hope...

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Yeah you do need a good grinder that will grind fine enough and consistent enough. Then you must have fresh beans... not supermarket fresh, but something that is roasted within 1-2 weeks tops. The Classic is a fine machine that is tried and true and with the proper bean freshness and grind it will give you superb results.

    There is a great site that is Gaggia only. Check it out at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gaggia/ You will learn alot there from Gaggia lovers. Later!

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    hey there

    he gaggia classic is a good entry level machine with the capability of brewing a nice espresso. its been said in the previous responses but ill say it again, vittoria....supermarket....?? once you get a grinder buy some fresh beans, no more thean 4-7days old. only buy enough to last you approx 7-10days. i usually buy 250gm but it depends on how much you drink? on the dosing side of things, only ever fill your basket enough so you can easily lock the handle into the group head with minimal effort. your puck should have a light imprint of the screen once you have pulled the shot, this indicats the screen is siting just on top of the coffee.

    hope this helps

    CE

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Certainly does help.

    Thanks all

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Actually, I still have not got it right. Still cant get top crema and the milk is near impossible to get silky. Even trying to get it to move around a bit is hard. The old machine was certainly a lot easier and so far, it had better results.

    I have sent an email to JetBlack to attend one of their courses but I have not heard back yet.

    Is a lot harder than I thought...

    Cheers

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    dont give up just yet, i think everyone has a bit of trouble making good coffee when they first get a new machine. just keep pouring shot after shot trying different combinations each time (eg vary dosing levels and extraction time etc) until you find the sweet spot. a lot of people get hung up on how the perfect espresso should be made, just play around with it and most importantly have fun doing, if you get frustrated (like me >:() just take 5 and come back to it. taking the course will probably be beneficial.

    inregards to crema and milk, have you got fresh grinds yet? and are you opening the steam wand fully and stretching the milk from the centre of the jug?also storing your jug in the freezer can help increase the time you have to strech the milk.

    CE

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Thanks CE.

    Yeah I bought some fresh beans yesterday. As I knew I was going to be experimenting I had them grind an espresso grind for me. I have a feeling they are not fine enough, however, as I have packed the grind in as hard as I can and still it seems to flow just a little too quick. The double scoop is a little slower.

    As long as I have old faithful while I am learning, then no problemo..

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    OK, I am pretty sure there is something wrong with the machine. I have let it heat for some time and dont seem to be able to get the steam to stir/push the milk. It heats the milk no problems but the milk doesnt get pushed around at all. There are no leaks that I can see of here. The wand is the standard metal with the plastic surround.

    I have run triple action liquid cleaner through a few times now and let it really heat between flushes.

    Any sugestions?

    BTW - I can still make a better coffee with my 80 buck Krups...just no creama on either....but I am ok with that as long as it tastes good (I have a coffee class booked).

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    No need to reply. I am selling the unit.

    My Krups makes deep black coffee that I love....

    Cheers all....

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Selling the Gaggia for your $99 KR*A*PS machine?!? Now that is just a tragedy. The Gaggia is a truly magnificent machine (for its price) if you persevere. Your only problem with the milk steaming was that it sounded like you still had the useless plastic thing on the end of the wand. It should be removed and thrown away so youre steaming only with the little plastic nub. Secondly, only use the double basket to brew.

    Its kind of like learning to drive in a souped up racing car when youve been used to a Datsun 180! Its a completely different experience and you need to acknowledge that youre starting from scratch.

    The only creama from your Krups is the fake kind anyway. PLEASE persevere. For me, the coffee-making ritual fills me with a sense of continual learning and is a beautiful process that is both calming and anticipatory at the same time. :)

  16. #16
    TC
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C4651080E070F3F0 link=1235529476/14#14 date=1236378884
    Selling the Gaggia for your $99 KR*A*PS machine?!? Now that is just a tragedy. The Gaggia is a truly magnificent machine (for its price) if you persevere. Your only problem with the milk steaming was that it sounded like you still had the useless plastic thing on the end of the wand. It should be removed and thrown away so youre steaming only with the little plastic nub. Secondly, only use the double basket to brew.

    Its kind of like learning to drive in a souped up racing car when youve been used to a Datsun 180! Its a completely different experience and you need to acknowledge that youre starting from scratch.

    The only creama from your Krups is the fake kind anyway. PLEASE persevere. For me, the coffee-making ritual fills me with a sense of continual learning and is a beautiful process that is both calming and anticipatory at the same time. :)
    Ahh catch-22....seems like youre in a catch 22... :-?

    You have a machine which requires training and without investing in training and really learning about coffee, youll have to put up with kraps espresso! *;D

    2mcm

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    I think the fact youre missing a grinder is a big part of the problem. The grind youre getting from the people that sell the beans mustnt be right for your machine. Each machine has different characteristics and as such, require a different grind.......then to complicate the issue more, each type of bean likes a different grind. Its all part of the fun.

    I had a similar problem when I first got my EM6910.....I was getting espresso grind coffee from Belaroma that was recommended by Sunbeam (even had the Sunbeam logo on the bag) and no matter how hard I tamped, the shot ran like there was gravel in the basket.....tasted the same too. I picked up the EM0480 grinder and some fresh Campos beans and saw immediate results......far from perfect, but infinitely better than what I had before.

    That was about 12 months ago......im still searching for "perfection", but im happy with the shots im producing to the point where im concentrating more on milk texturing.

    To summarise, dont give up.

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Thanks willsy01..

    ...well, I have my 1 on 1 training session tomorrow and will buy a real grinder whilst there, IF I can taste the difference.


    My journey has begun.....

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 747663747F3A2525170 link=1235529476/17#17 date=1236674897
    ...well, I have my 1 on 1 training session tomorrow and will buy a real grinder whilst there, IF I can taste the difference.
    Hey Catch 22, howd your training sess go??

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by 011B0C55535A52620 link=1235529476/18#18 date=1236854886
    Hey Catch 22, howd your training sess go??
    Ssshhhhh, hes busy making coffee *;)

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    ;D

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Well the training went well. Great people at JetBlack (Debbie and Charlie). They spent WAY longer than what I was scheduled for. It was important to them that I got it right before I left.

    I found that the Classic doesnt really build up enough pressure to do milk all that well. Then it runs out of steam and has to build back up which is somewhat annoying but worse still, it can wreck your milk.

    I also found out that I do not like the taste of straght, un-sugared espresso. Give me sugar and milk and Im a happy camper.

    So....buying a grinder. You can NOT make anywhere near what could be considered decent coffee without one. A Rocky will do me for now. Charlie put on a Silvia steamer and that did the trick....just the running out of steam issue is, well, an issue.

    After the grinder, then I need to find a blend I like. I want to try all different coffees......will have to keep my eye out on a cupping session in Sydney.

    Cheers
    Catchy

  23. #23
    mjs
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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Why dont you try a steaming technique that has been reported here previously and which I now use exclusively with my Classic/Silvia wand combo.

    1. Put milk in the jug then in the fridge
    2. Draw the shot
    3. Bleed the steam wand without turning on the steam button (open the steam valve)
    4. Turn the steam button on, retrieve the milk from the fridge
    5. Start steaming after 10secs have elapsed (from 3)
    6. I find keeping the jug tilted quite a bit helps
    7. Keep the Silivia tip just at the suface of the milk right at the edge of the jug so you get the chh..chh sound and a good swirl
    8. Keep the tip at the surface as the milk expands
    9. Plunge the steam tip after the milk gets a fair bit hotter (I do this at about 50deg - others may vary) and keep going until you get to about 65deg (or until you can hardly hold the jug)
    10. Stop, clean the tip, purging some steam for a few seconds
    11. Swirl the jug and bang on the bench a couple of times
    12. Voila, micro-foam milk with a paint like appearance

    Plenty of steam pressure and works for me! *;D *;D

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Dont give up. They make a good cup. I use a fairly cheap grinder and can get it to do ok. Found getting a decent Tamper made a huge difference over the plastic crap one. As for milk, the trick is like described above.

    Make the coffee, then flick the steam switch, get jug and milk from fridge, wait about 20 seconds and purge the steam (turn the knob on and off quickly), then wait about 5 more seconds and start steaming the milk as describe above. The trick is to get the steaming started before the red light comes on. If light comes on, then the thermo state turns off and no more steam gets produced until it goes off and then some wait before the boiler cuts in again (hence runs out of good strong steam flow). Steaming before red light comes on means boiler keeps trying to get to the full pressure, so keeps on producing steam.

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    OK Just a quick update. Bought me a Rocky and tamper....and fresh coffee. Spent 200g of the coffee getting the grinder right and it probably needs another 200g to test levels and tamp pressure......for this batch of coffee, anyway.

    The Milk advice above worked PERFECTLY :) :) :) Thankyou very very much.

    BTW - how many coffees do you drink a day?? I am scared of ODing

    Cheers and thanks again
    Catchy

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    Re: Gaggia Classic - newbie near clear coffee

    Glad to see that you got your classic figured out. Ive got a Gaggia Baby and until I can get a grinder, I get mine from the Starbucks store here in Wilmington, NC. and get them to grind it for me. Its ok for now :( good to see that you got rid of the plastic toy they call a tamper and got a real one



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