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  • Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

    Hi there,
    I am Italian, but I am living in the US. To overcome the lack of good coffee, I have recently bought my first espresso machine (a 2nd hand Gaggia Coffee) and brought sealed ground coffee from Italy.

    I have tried to pull some shots without much success: the extraction time for (what I consider) a well tamped single shot is around 9 seconds instead of the "traditional" ~20seconds.

    The coffee is weak and there is very little blond crema on it.

    I have read many threads and of course it may be the way the beans have been roasted and ground. But since the machine its used I started thinking that it may be pushing the water with too much pressure.

    Is there any easy way to test this?

    I have also found threads about installing an OPV (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1143118905/82). How can I understand if that is really needed?

    Any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance
    grg

  • #2
    Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

    The first and major problem, Im sorry to tell you, that your coffee is probably stale.

    Fresh roasted and freshly ground (as in immediately before you use it) coffee is what you need.

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    • #3
      Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

      YeeZa,
      thanks for the quick response. I understand that the coffee might be stale, but would that affect the extraction time as well?
      grg

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      • #4
        Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

        very much so.

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        • #5
          Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

          can I ask you why does stale coffee affect extraction time?

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          • #6
            Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

            Stale coffee is like grains of sand..... moisture (water) passes through easily.

            Fresh coffee is more like grains of clay..... they are moist and oily..... so they slow the flow of water (and you also extract the precious oils which make the espresso taste so good!

            With stale coffee, the oils (which are volatile) have long since "boiled off" or in other words - evaporated. As coffee ages this is a natural process which occurs - hence the need to constantly adjust the grinder as the coffee ages. However if really stale (supermarket coffee).... it has aged as far as it can! :P

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            • #7
              Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

              As stated by JavaB & Co stale coffee is a no-no. The grind could also be too course for your machine.
              Get yourself a good grinder and find a local specialty roaster to purchase your beans from and you will be on your way to coffee heaven!!!
              Im sure fellow CSers will steer you in the right direction.................

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              • #8
                Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                Thank you all for your comments/suggestions.

                I decided to test the "bad coffee" hypothesis. So I went to a coffee shop, bought some beans, and ground them at three different sizes (0, 2, and 5). The beans looked oily. I rushed home to finally pull a decent shot, but to my dismay nothing had changed. Even with the finest size I got the usual "waterfall". At max I was able to increase the extraction time from 9" to 13" and that was when I tamped with all my weight.

                Do you still think my problem is the coffee?

                The Gaggia Coffee pump is supposed to deliver about 14.5 bar. But, as far as I have understood, there is no way to reduce that pressure: there is no over pressure valve (OPV).
                That is why I started thinking that too high pressure was my problem.

                Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.
                thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                  Hi grgdll,

                  what are you using to grind the beans? The incriments on your grinder may still be too large, and even at the finest setting, may not be fine enough. Even on a really cheap machine that my friends has and the water shoots out, I managed to get a good flow with my grinder and fresh beans. I am almost certain it is your grinder. I dont know if its ideal, but can you get your coffee shop to grind some beans at the size they use for their machine (although this still wont be sufficient for your machine), but it can give you a better idea of what your problem is.

                  For what its worth, I change the grind size of my beans many times throughout a day, not to mention the fact it changes depending on how humid it is, what colour of the roast, etc, etc.

                  What type of grinder do you have?

                  Your machine, Im sure is capable of getting an acceptable pour. Most are, provided its fed with fresh ground beans (with the right grinder). Well get there mate; let us know how you go,

                  YeeZa

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                    Yes, the problem could very well be your grinder as YeeZa points out.
                    But it may also still be the coffee. Very oily beans could be an indication that theyre also stale (or a very dark roast). If the beans were oily and stale, even if youre grinding them with a decent grinder youll get very fast pours unless you grind extremely finely.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                      Hi guys,
                      we followed your suggestions. We got finely ground fresh coffee from a local coffee shop and the extraction time has definitely increased, the blonding (for what I can tell) is not there anymore and there is crema (although nothing as the movies I have seen on the web). Finally! Thank you for your help!

                      Now I have the next question. Do you have anything good to read about grinders? We are on a relatively tight budget. What is the best of the low cost grinders? What about manual grinders?

                      Again,
                      any suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

                      cheers
                      grg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                        Originally posted by grgdll link=1227509346/0#10 date=1227685751
                        Do you have anything good to read about grinders? We are on a relatively tight budget. What is the best of the low cost grinders? What about manual grinders?
                        Gday "grgdll"...

                        Probably seems a little obvious, but the place to find info on a wide range of grinders is in the, errr... Grinders section. This is a good thread to start on... http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1194680556

                        All the best,
                        Mal.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                          Thats great news grgdll!!!!

                          hmm as far as grinders available in the US, im not real sure. What kinda of budget are you on?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                            grg, do they sell Sunbeam in the US? If so you can pick up an EM450/480 fairly cheaply, they start at around $130aus. so they should be cheaper in the US..........

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                            • #15
                              Re: Fast extraction with Gaggia Coffee

                              If you can get hold of one, the cheapest I could recommend is a gaggia MDF or iberital challenge to go with your gaggia machine. I have a Gaggia MDF and a Gaggia Classic and get excellent coffee.

                              The other thing you need to do is to regularly clean an descale your machine too.

                              Greenman, sunbeam is not available in the US.

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