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Thread: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

  1. #1
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    My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

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

    The Classic that I picked up on ebay for $207 just arrived. I was a bit worried that it would be a wreck, but a quick once over suggests that it might be okay. I dont really know what Im looking for, but there are no obvious leaks, the water and steam seem to go in the right direction without any complaint. So my question is... where do I start when it comes to setting it up, calibrating, modding, etc? It came with both single and double baskets and filters (are baskets and filters the same thing?), no "blind" filter (if thats the right word), and the steam arm is just a short tube with no attachment at all. I dont know how old the machine is, or if that makes much difference anyway.

    I havent bought my grinder yet (thats for this weekend), so I grabbed some supermarket pre-ground, just to confirm that the machine will, in fact, make coffee ;-) I imagine that this pre-ground stuff is way to coarse, because after about 10 seconds after pressing the button, the cup is half full and the stream is getting pale. No crema to speak of yet, but until I have some fresh-ground coffee, Im not too concerned.

    Anyway, I have read some stuff here about adjusting the pressure for some optimal flow-rate, calibrated using a "blind filter", which I imagine involves a basket with no holes, yes? Would one of those normally come with a new Classic? Ill have to get myself one of those, unless there is some alternative method you could suggest?

    But as you see, I dont have any idea what I am doing, but Im keen to learn. THis machine looks like a good simple one, suitable for doing some basic tinkering. My wife, for now, is pleased that it is so much smaller and more classy-looking than the rather vulgar Synchrony.

    btw, who is your favourite Gaggia parts dealer for SouthWest Sydney? I had terrible experiences with one I found in the Yellow Pages... they kept my Synchrony for over 2 months while they went off on holiday in Europe, leaving me hi and dry with no apology or replacement.

    Forgive the whining...
    THank heaps,
    LeeBB

  2. #2
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Congrats Lee. My advice is take this journey step by step.
    First - put the single filter basket in the cupboard - you wont need it.
    Secondly, get yourself some fresh coffee and start having fun with your new grinder this weekend. Be prepared to waste a little bit of coffee in calibration. The idea being that you need to start your grinder on a coarse setting, and then keep going finer and finer until you reach somewhere around 25-30mls in 25-30 seconds.
    Word of advice - this coffee business can get too technical. There are no concrete rules, all that matters is that you enjoy the coffee!

    Forget about adjusting the pressure - leave that job for a couple of months down the track. Its by no means an essential mod and you will only find a difference if you palate is up to it (if you know what I mean).

    Spend a good couple of weeks (at least) playing around with the steam arm you currently have, and by then if you are not happy - go and visit the silvia steam arm mod thread.

    In regards to a blind filter, get yourself one! They are basically used to force water down a path where coffee oils build up (and exit out of that silver tube you see in front of the water tank). You should also get yourself some back flushing detergent to use with the blind filter (perhaps once every 1-2 weeks).

    In terms of parts (like the blind filter and chemicals and shower screens etc), go visit Pedro at Coffee Parts in Pagewood - they are a site sponsor and offer sensational support.

    Otherwise, start reading the threads related to the gaggia classic (such as the silvia steam wand mod) as there is a lot of fantastic information on CS.

    Good luck with the grinder this weekend and enjoy the coffee!

    Cheers,
    Ben

  3. #3
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Thanks Ben!

    Well, for now, I have a Sunbean 0450 and some supermarket beans (Harris Gold). Im trying to get to 25ml/25sec, but that takes about the finest grind setting. At that setting, I get a powdery turkish taste. If I make it a few notches coarser grind (up to about 5 out of 25), then the powdery taste goes away, but the flow rate is very fast... 30ml/10sec, not at all the thick, slow flow that I am aiming for.

    So, would this flow rate be affected by the quality of my beans? I wouldnt have thought that would make much difference, at least in terms of flow. Or is this perhaps an indication that I am using too little coffee? Or tamping to loosely? Woohoo... a lot of things to think of ;-)

    For now, Im having fun experimenting. I have to remember not to drink each one of the experiments al the way to the bottom, because Im starting to get a little jumpy.

    Thanks again for you help.
    See ya,
    LeeBB

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Start Slowly.
    Buy some fresh coffee beans from a local roaster or one of the site sponsors (or even from Brown Bean Bay). The coffee beans from the supermarket are old and stale. You need beans that are no more than seven days old. Your Harris Gold beans will not produce a good shot as they could be months old. Coffee beans deteriorate very quickly.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Quote Originally Posted by 4168684F4F0D0 link=1260968495/2#2 date=1261089572
    flow rate be affected by the quality of my beans?
    Sure would, Harris not exactly known as a premium brand, get yourself some freshly roasted beans from one of the sponsors, you will be amazed at the difference. ;)

  6. #6
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Thanks heaps, guys. I wasnt expecting great taste from these beans, just something to play with, but its interesting to hear that the flow rate would also be affected by the quality of the beans.

    Thanks again... Id better run off and grab me some real beans!
    LBB

  7. #7
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Hey, Im down between Campbelltown and Picton, south west of Sydney. *Does anyone know somewhere close by that I can go and buy decent beans? *I would hate to have to wait for mail order ;-)

    THanks,
    LBB

  8. #8
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Quote Originally Posted by 0A23230404460 link=1260968495/6#6 date=1261091185
    Hey, Im down between Campbelltown and Picton, south west of Sydney. *Does anyone know somewhere close by that I can go and buy decent beans? *I would hate to have to wait for mail order ;-)

    THanks,
    LBB
    cuppacoffee

    Dennis Wells
    Phone: 0404 049 812

    55 Princes Highway
    Sylvania NSW 2224
    If heading toward the City, were on the left hand side of the road, just before Tom Uglys Bridge

  9. #9
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Thanks Dennis, I have been thinking of stopping by at your place for a while now... I want to grab one of those Aero thingies for my brother for Christmas, but is there anyone closer than 80kms?

    Thanks again,
    L.

  10. #10
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Hey LeeBB,

    If you find a good supplier of fresh beans, you may be able to get them to grind them for you initially. The reason I say that is I had a Gaggia Baby for a few years (same internals as a Classic) and I could never slow the pour up enough until I got my Rocky. Even a Solis would not grind fine enough

  11. #11
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Hi Strato,

    Im pretty sure that my 0450 grinds fine enough, because I can get slow flow down on 0 or 1 out of 25, and the resulting drink is noticably dusty, like a turkish. Ill hold off judgement until I have some quality beans, but Im wondering right now if the problem is that this grinder does not grind to a uniform size, so that even when I deliberately grind rather coarse (eg 10/25), there are still some particles of very fine dust created. The result then would be fast flow (as most of the coffee is ground too coarse), while still getting some dusty turkish taste (from the 5% of the cffee that inconsistently gets ground very fine).

    Anyway, Ill see if I can make ot to Sylvania tomorrow, to cuppacoffee, and grab me a sampling of good quality beans, and then see what happens. I can report that I already have a better cup of coffee than I ever did from my Gaggia Synchrony.

    With luck, I wont need to step up t to a Rocky immediately. Id be pretty unpopular ;-)

    Thanks heaps,
    Ill let you know I go.
    LBB

  12. #12
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    So I found my way to Cuppacoffee in Sylvania today, and met Dennis. He made me a beautiful flat white, sold me some yesterday-roasted beans, demonstrated the AeroPress, SOLD me the AeroPress, and then shouted me the flat white. A very nice bloke. Thanks, Dennis!

    So I finally got my fresh beans home, and what a difference! Yes, I now get a nice slow flow of coffee, and buckets of crema that hangs around. Im still homing in on the correct dose/grind/tamp, but its all looking like it should work out well. The taste is already miles better.

    Thanks again everyone (and Dennis especially), for all your help.
    LBBB

  13. #13
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Quote Originally Posted by 7059597E7E3C0 link=1260968495/11#11 date=1261572257
    So I found my way to Cuppacoffee in Sylvania today, and met Dennis. *He made me a beautiful flat white, sold me some yesterday-roasted beans, demonstrated the AeroPress, SOLD me the AeroPress, and then shouted me the flat white. *A very nice bloke. *Thanks, Dennis!

    So I finally got my fresh beans home, and what a difference! Yes, I now get a nice slow flow of coffee, and buckets of crema that hangs around. *Im still homing in on the correct dose/grind/tamp, but its all looking like it should work out well. *The taste is already miles better.

    Thanks again everyone (and Dennis especially), for all your help.
    LBBB
    Thanks Lee, it was nice to meet you too.

    Glad to hear theres been a marked improvement - the coffee will get better if you can hang onto it for a few more days. ;)

    Cheers!

  14. #14
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    Re: My "new" Gaggia Classic just arrived!

    Ooh, just made my best coffee ever... a double for my wife and me... nice 30 second pull... then full cream milk with a dash of water foams beautifully. *

    Ill see if I can make the beans last a few days to see how they change.
    Thanks again,
    Lee.



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