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Thread: GAGGIA GX Lever - Steam ahead

  1. #1
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    GAGGIA GX Lever - Steam ahead

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Folks,

    I previously asked for help/advice regarding my recent purchase. It is located here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post568245

    This amazing lever machine has given me lots of fun and insights into espresso history, the technology behind it and that there are different ways of arriving at great results. My other machine is a Rocket EvoII, which is also a wonderful machine. It is much faster to start up of course, the boiler is smaller.

    The reason I like the GAGGIA is that it is 'analog' with almost no moving parts. We live in Cyprus and when we get back to Australia it will live in a solar powered house. Being able to run on gas, or the 1250W element is important. 10 Amps are a lot on solar. Right now it takes 35min to fire up and for the group to get to temperature. Then it cycles. I really like the way the pressure is held by a weight, rather than electric valve. And compared with the Rocket there is no water waste from the OPV and no backwashing.

    This is really nice about the lever machine:
    -dosing is much easier, the puck is always perfect - something about the pressure build up I think
    -it just looks so magical - you let the lever go when the slush indicates the water is in - and then no sound as the lever moves up and the rat's tail emerges
    -at parties people gather and admire/talk/appreciate the sheer beauty of the lever group
    -after visiting Venice this spring I began to experiment with Italian 7/14g single/doubles - eye opening c/w the 14/21 baskets I had in my Rocket
    -somehow (I may be deluded) my roasting has become better - it just seems that get more flavour out of the Gaggia

    And, actually, all told this amazing baby cost a lot less than my Rocket and will probably last longer and require less maintenance.

    The steam wand has 4 holes but even opening the steam a little there is no end of steam. A 600ml jug with 250ml of milk takes no time to get to temperature. Low fat milk frothed like hell, full cream here is 3% and is ok but you have to really take care to stretch it as it should be.

    What to do? How, for example, to best do just enough milk for one coffee?

    Advice anyone?
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  2. #2
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    Good to see that you're doing so well with the Gaggia lever - not that I expect otherwise! Agreed with you that the shot pulling (literally) experience on a spring lever machine felt very much like a magical moment.

    For steaming single cups - if you're not adversed to this idea , you can plug the holes (leaving one) on the steam tip with bamboo toothpicks. Works great but some people might cringe at the idea. Alternatively, you can measure the steam tip thread size and swap out for a proper tip with lesser holes (for more control).

  3. #3
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    Great idea. I tried plugging 2 holes with some stainless wire but that did not work too well. The bamboo should swell, I will try that.

    Not knowing what element was fitted I bought a 1000W element, see photo. It turned out that the element in the boiler was 1250W. That's only 5A, and yet there is no sign that I could pull enough shots or steam enough to make the element struggle. I guess the large boiler has a large thermal reserve once at temperature.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by colombiasmoothbean View Post
    Great idea. I tried plugging 2 holes with some stainless wire but that did not work too well. The bamboo should swell, I will try that.

    Not knowing what element was fitted I bought a 1000W element, see photo. It turned out that the element in the boiler was 1250W. That's only 5A, and yet there is no sign that I could pull enough shots or steam enough to make the element struggle. I guess the large boiler has a large thermal reserve once at temperature.
    I use round toothpicks. It is quite effective, but gets annoying after a while.

    It's not a "thermal reserve" that is beneficial in a large boiler - it's the large mass of steam (and water). If you start with a large mass of steam, removing the small mass of steam required to steam 200mL of milk, doesn't have much impact on the pressure - with a small boiler, the amount of steam lost is proportionally much greater.

    On the flipside, they take longer to get up to pressure for much the same reason - more steam must be produced.

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Even with that being said, a 1250W element for that boiler volume, sounds a bit light on to me...
    Even with the overriding necessity of managing the Solar System output capacity.

    Mal.

  6. #6
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    I was thinking the same that at first. The boiler takes 30-35 minutes to come up to temperature, with the boiler 50-60% filled. From then on I cannot get it to run out of steam or heat to pull shots. Seems that Mr Gaggia knew a thing or two about this. Who am I to argue? I will over coming weeks connect a gas bottle and try it that way. Even better for the solar because all I would use electricity for is the Floret pump for filling the boiler from the 15 lit bottle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Even with that being said, a 1250W element for that boiler volume, sounds a bit light on to me...
    Even with the overriding necessity of managing the Solar System output capacity.

    Mal.
    Dimal likes this.

  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    If it works, it works...

    Shows how good the design must be...

    Mal.



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