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Thread: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

  1. #1
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    OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Through a variety of circumstances, my new Gaggia Classic and MDF will arrive tomorrow. After Hours of reading this is my action plan.

    1. Follow the step by step guide at: http://www.coffeecrew.com/Articles/Tutorials/Gaggia-Classic---Step-by-step-2.html to setup and get best possible first results.

    2. Purchase some fresh roasted beans.

    3. Purchase some Bottled water so as to avoid increasing likelyhood of corrosion in boiler.

    4. Break open tamper, thermometer and timer to start the process.

    5. Get frustrated

    6. Keep practicing!

    Ok now the question, I have read so much about water and all that I am now thoroughly confused. I have chosen bottled over Brita water as I dont trust myself to replace the filter. I have I understood al the reading on water correctly? Or are all bottled waters not the same. Are some brands better (I am not a scientist) than others.

    Anyway I imagine I will have more q/s tomorrow.

    Cheers

    Glyn

  2. #2
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    How bad is the water in Newcastle?

    I know during previous water discussions NZ water was the best but most of Australia (errr.... Adelaide excluded) has pretty good water.

    Filtering your water is good for equipment longevity but bottled seems like such a pain (errr... unless you live in Adelaide :) ).

    Most tap water improves if you can let it get some air (or chill it), pipe sediment will settle and chlorine will disapate.

    I will prob get flamed by others but I would suggest just use your gear and enjoy it. Dont make it too hard on yourself when starting out else all your new shiny toys wont get used.

    Roast yourself some beans, throw em into the machine and enjoy the coffee from your Gaggia twins.

    There will be plenty of time to fiddle and tweak later. :D

    Andy.



  3. #3
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Hi mote,

    My understanding of the profile of most bottled water, is that they are filtered mains water. How well filtered I dont know exactly but there is probably some research information on the Web somewhere, I couldnt find any myself though.

    Some bottled water purports to originate from natural springs and no doubt some of it does. However, a lot of natural spring water has a lot of dissolved solids and salts too and some of these compounds will precipitate out and cause water circuit problems. Of course, some of these dissolved solids (salts) also improve the conductivity of the water and there-in lies the problem for Aluminium Components within the water circuit. Improved conductivity correlates directly with increased rates of Galvanic Corrosion. The irony of all this is, you need a certain quantity of dissolved minerals in the water in order for the coffee brews to taste anything like a great cup, so what to do? The short answer is, I dont really know.

    If you could somehow get hold of data for the available brands of bottled water available in your area, it might be possible to glean stated values for the conductivity of each of the various brands and types.... maybe? What you would need to do then is to simply choose the brand of water that states a compliance standard for conductance that is the lowest of all for which this information can be located. Since conductance is a function of how much dissolved salts are in the water, you could also check the labels on the bottles and choose water with the lowest levels of this critical item.

    Maybe another CS member with more experience and knowledge in this area would care to contribute some advice. Hope some of this helps you out. All the best,

    Mal.

  4. #4
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    My personal opinion:

    a) It is possible that when alls said and done, that our esteemed admin (Andy) could be correct in his observation that ..."...I will prob get flamed by others ;D but I would suggest just use your gear and enjoy it...." ie just use the tap water and run a descaler / cleaner through say...monthly and

    b) You could telephone the importer, melb company coffee mio and ask them what they recommend...

    With regard to domestic (home use) esp machine descaler and cleaner: There are more and "better?" products being released all the time. This week someone dropped in a sample of "reguler" descaler, a cleaner, and a descaler / cleaner combined in the one treatment.

    The problem, is for us deep thinkers to try & determine what relationship exists between scale build up / corrosion / aluminium boilers / heat and water in any particular area!

    Regardz,
    FC.

  5. #5
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Thanks all,

    Andy, I suppose I am a little paranoid after reading all the articles in Boiler corrosion in the Gaggia.

    I have a friend who works for the local water treatment plant as a water tester so I might try and get the chemical breakdown of the water! That way I can base my decision on facts.

    Mal, I will get some chemical breakdowns of bottled water as well. I am no scientist and that Ultra Long Water FAQ freaked me out!.

    I have already picked up some Cafetto Espresso Clean, (I had better check that it is suitable for the Gaggia) and will work out the best descaler.

    Either way this new machine and rinder will be a massive step up from my ld Krups and blade grinder so the excitement build!

    mote

  6. #6
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Without using de-ionised water, youll not be able to avoid galvanic corrosion. Nevertheless, you could probably minimise it by using filtered water. I have the same setup and was afraid of the Al boiler, but a great deal made me take the plunge. It makes superb espresso with practise, so should be a big step up. I run it with tap water and regular cleaning (monthly descaling using citric acid or tartaric acid). I also bought a blank filter basket to backflush once a week. Descaling and backflushing is a must to keep your machine running sweetly.

    Enjoy it and dont worry... Besides replacement boilers are apparently not too expensive anyway.

  7. #7
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Well,

    I have the machine and all is good. I phoned Gaggia/Shriro about a small octagonal, black plastic plate that I had no idea where it went. He mentioned it went under the drip plate. Havent sorted that yet though.

    I then asked about water quality.

    A VERY helpful Steve mentioned the use of descaling agent every 3-4 months if using tap water, but more importantly he sent me some post manaul files that he had made up for getting better results from the machine. Things like a recommendation against the crema device and methods for getting correct shot extraction.

    This is the kind of stuff spoken about here all the time, but it is great that Shriro are making attempts to communicate this wealth of knowledge to all buyers who are not as discerning as us!

    In the next couple of days I will PDF them and put them up on my server, if anyone wants look.

    Mote

  8. #8
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    I think that we have covered all this before. However, the following is a few paragraphs from a soon to be printed book on espresso, that takes into account water isues. The material is copyright of Coffee Training Centre.

    Typical water-quality problems

    Sediment: Typical types of sediment that can be found in the feed water are sand, dirt and rust.

    Unpleasant taste and odour: These are usually caused by chlorine, chloramines and other dissolved organics in the feed water.

    Water hardness: This is due to the level of dissolved calcium and magnesium compounds in the feed water. When water is heated, as in the espresso machine boiler, these minerals can form scale, which reduces the heating efficiency of the boiler element. Scale can also accumulate in pipes and on valve seats, greatly reducing the efficiency of the espresso machine and possibly resulting in unscheduled maintenance.

    Total dissolved solids (TDS): TDS is a measure of the amount of dissolved matter in solution (water). A high TDS level might cause scale build-up and consequent reduction in the machines thermal efficiency.

    Cryptosporidium and Giardia: These parasites can be found in water supplies and will not necessarily be killed in the espresso machine’s boiler or heat-exchange unit. They vary in size from 3 to 15 microns (one micron is one-thousandth of a millimetre). They can be removed by mechanical filtration in the form of either a sediment cartridge or a carbon-block cartridge that has a rating of 0.5 micron. However, if you have any specific concerns, you should call your water-treatment specialist.

    Some common water-treatment methods

    Mechanical filters: These are used to trap sediment and particles such as dirt, rust and sand. They are usually used in combination with other types of media, typically as pre-filters in multi-stage systems. Mechanical filtration is an effective method for removing Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts.

    Activated carbon: This is the most common treatment method for reducing chlorine, chloramines, tastes and odours.

    Water softeners: These are used for removing hardness from the water — that is, when the level of calcium and magnesium compounds in the water is high. Water hardness can be measured, so call your water-treatment specialist to measure the hardness of your water supply.

    Ultraviolet (UV) systems: These can be used as a disinfection method when bacteria are a suspected problem. UV systems are generally used as part of a water-treatment system. A typical UV system consists of a flow chamber, UV lamp and ballast, and can be used as part of a system to treat questionable tank water.

    Scale inhibitors: These are usually slow-dissolving, tasteless and odourless food-grade phosphates that will prevent or inhibit scale build-up and corrosion. Available in cartridges, they can be used to control corrosion and accumulation of lime or scale in water systems. As the phosphates dissolve, they form a thin, protective layer on the metal surfaces they come into contact with. The phosphates will continue to dissolve, regardless of the amount of water used.
    The protective coating formed by the phosphates is not permanent and will protect the equipment against corrosion and scale build-up only while the phosphates are present in the water. It is therefore important to change the scale-inhibiting cartridge every six months or as instructed. Note that the scale inhibitor does not remove hardness; it helps to prevent scale from forming in the water. It is not recommended that you install the cartridge near a heat source, because its life will be reduced. A suggested flow rate for this type of cartridge is up to 4 litres per minute.

    Minimum water-treatment requirements

    The minimum requirements are use of a sediment cartridge (pre-filter), followed by use of a carbon cartridge; in most areas it would also be advisable to use a suitable scale-inhibiting cartridge. This triple combination is also available in a single cartridge, but this might require servicing or changing more frequently because it may contain a lower volume of filter media and be exhausted more quickly. Better filtration performance and less maintenance are usually provided by a multi-stage system. In this system, a pre-filter, a carbon cartridge and a scale-inhibiting cartridge are used, in that sequence. Although the cost of the initial installation might be slightly higher, over time the system will be more economical and will produce better quality water.
    If you use a scale-inhibiting cartridge, you will theoretically add life to the parts of your espresso machine that come into contact with water. The scale-inhibiting cartridge is a ‘sacrificial’ cartridge, and its life might be affected by a number of factors, including time, volume of water used, water hardness, quantity of dissolved minerals and feed-water temperature.

    Other water-quality issues

    Unfiltered water: When unfiltered water is being used, the water can have an unpleasant taste. Unfiltered water may also cause problems for the espresso machine, such as the need for premature maintenance as well as problems related to the pump, boiler, heating element, heat-exchange unit, thermostat, water-level probe, hot-water valves and seats, steam valves and seats, water-metering devices, solenoids, and group heads.

    Water hardness: In areas where the water is very hard as a result of dissolved calcium and magnesium compounds, it is advisable to install a water softener at the point where the water-supply enters the enterprise. This will have the added advantage of protecting all the pieces of equipment and appliances that are connected to the water supply; for example, the espresso machine, the ice machine, the hot-water system and the dishwasher. It might be necessary to also fit a pre-filter in front of the softener to protect the softener from contamination and its injectors from blocking. A carbon cartridge should then be installed in front of the espresso machine and the ice maker to remove objectionable tastes and odours.

    In a typical water softener, ion exchange is used to remove the hardness from the water. As the water passes through the bed of ion-exchange resin, which is charged with sodium ions, the calcium and magnesium (hardness) are attracted to the resin and are retained. At the same time, an exchange takes place and an equivalent amount of sodium is released into the water. When the ion-exchange resin becomes exhausted (no longer supplies softened water), the resin bed has to be regenerated. Consult your water-treatment specialist for your specific requirements.

    Reverse osmosis (RO) and tank water: These types of water should not be used in espresso machines, because they might have a low level of conductivity. They can cause problems with the readings obtained from the water-level probe. If you are using tank water, it is advisable to consult your water-treatment specialist, because you might need to have calcite added in order to raise the pH level (the level of acidity or alkalinity) and the conductivity level. Due to their low TDS level, these types of water are corrosive, and any copper or brass machine parts may corrode prematurely.

    Trust it was worth the read.
    John


  9. #9
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Wow Pinot,

    Thats about the best and most informative shake-down on all matters pertaining to water that I have read. Terrific info and thank you kindly,

    Cheers,
    Mal.

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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Mal
    Many thanks.
    That was just a snippet from my very soon to be printed book, Barista Techniques. It went to the printers on Friday. Ready in about 3 weeks and will be available from www.coffeetraining.com (website up next week)

    Unfortunately, most persons know very little about water and how it not only has an impact on the espresso but what it can do the the equipment.

    Consider that an espresso is over 92% water. It should make sense to use half decent water. Then there is the equipment, untreated or the use of the wrong water can have an adverse effect on the equipment.

    Glad to see that you got a bit from the words.

    Regards
    John

  11. #11
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Me too!

    I thought it was a great read too, esp since I had considered using RO water. I am glad I didnt now :)

    clarexican

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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Thanks from me as well Pinot. A great coverage. Perhaps you can answer this one for me. I have been using home distilled water which we use for drinking as well as tea and coffee making. I find it superior to tap water and I have presumed it to be kinder to my Silvia. After reading your article this may not be the case. Can you advise?

    Cheers

    Louis

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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Louis
    To the best of my knowledge, distilled water could also be agressive and might cause problems with the metalic parts of the machine.

    I will consult with a colleague and get back to you.
    Regards
    John

  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Quote Originally Posted by pinot link=1115279764/0#9 date=1115421566
    Mal
    Many thanks.
    That was just a snippet from my very soon to be printed book, Barista Techniques. It went to the printers on Friday. Ready in about 3 weeks and will be available from www.coffeetraining.com (website up next week)

    Glad to see that you got a bit from the words.

    Regards
    John
    Hi again Pinot,

    I take it from what you say here, that the book will be available commercially soon? Or is it to form part of an overall course that you are putting together? If it will be available separately, I would definitley like to purchase a copy and would appreciate your advice on how I might do this.

    Hear from you soon,
    Mal.

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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Mal
    The book will be available as a stand alone resource. It is primarily directed at the commercial barista market, but coffee interested persons would definitely get something from it.
    I will advise CS when it is printed.
    Regards

  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: OK the Gaggia Classic will be here tomorrow!

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    No Worries Pinot,

    Will keep an eye out for your notice of availability. Cant wait to get my copy,

    Cheers,
    Mal.



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