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Please help: Gaggia Evolution steam issues

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  • Please help: Gaggia Evolution steam issues

    Hi guys, just registered and my first post here, I have just bought a 2nd hand Gaggia Evolution, everything works fine except that when i switch on the steam function, waited for it to heat up properly, and when i turn the steam knob, it produces steam for about 15-20 seconds, then no more steam comes out of it, just hot air. I'm not sure if this is normal since i used to have a cheap Breville Cafe Roma that can keep producing steam until the reservoir runs out.

    I've opened the case and checked the internals, i can still make hot water come out from the steam wand no problems when the brew function is turned on, but when i switch it to the steam function, it doesn't seem to suck up water from the reservoir as well, that might be why it runs out of steam really quickly and just spits hot air out. Also during the heat up process when i switch on the steam button, i see a lot of steam coming out from the brew head as well.

    I did a bit of research, it might be that i just have to descale the machine, but i have taken out the steam wand and soaked it in warm vinegar water to clean it, and the hot water does come out from the steam wand without any problems.

    Another possibility i've come across was that i have to change the thermostat for the steam wand, but as mentioned earlier water doesn't seem to be sucked from the reservoir through the pipes and into the steam valve when i switch the steam button on and turn the steam knob.

    I'd appreciate greatly if you guys can help. Thank you.

  • #2
    Hi Ryan, welcome to CS.

    It sounds like what you're experiencing is the operational difference between a steam thermoblock (breville) and steam boiler (gaggia).

    Thermoblocks produce steam by the pump 'pulsing' small volumes of cold water through channels in a heated metal block, which flashes the water to steam instantly allowing more or less continuous steam.

    The Gaggia however heats a larger volume of water inside the boiler to produce steam, which is then gradually exhausted when you open the steam valve. The important part here is that the pump doesn't run to re-fill the boiler during steaming, so sooner or later all the water will be expelled and you'll be left with hot air until there is more water brought in from running the pump.

    Now, 20 seconds of steam sounds a bit extreme. One thing to make sure is that the boiler is full before you start steaming, by running the pump as if you were making coffee, till a steady stream of water flows from the group. You should then get enough to easily heat up a small jug of milk, let's say 2 minutes. One more thing to try is to open the wand while the machine is still heating up in steam mode (say when you get some steam come out of the group). That way you trick the thermostat into staying on longer, giving you more steam pressure.

    If this doesn't improve the situation, there may be an issue with the thermostat. You should get very powerful steam in the first few seconds after you open the valve. I would leave descaling to a last resort and suggest it might be just a different technique required to get good steam from the Gaggia.


    • #3
      Hi coffee_machinist, thanks for the quick and very informational reply, I do get very powerful steam during the first few seconds of opening the valve. I will play around with my coffee machine to find the best way to get more steam. As I have only been using this machine for 2 days and I'm still quite new with this new found interest in coffee making.