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Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

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  • Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

    Ive just won a bid for a used gaggia classic, seller recommends a servicing, any thing to look out for when inspecting?

    In addition, what would the servicing includes?
    Hope everythings goes well, my first coffee machine! But I still need to hunt for a grinder ;D

  • #2
    Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

    I assume by that you mean that you are picking it up and want to know what things to check before handing over the cash and accepting the item as working.

    You almost certainly cant open it up to check internal components.

    Get the seller to show you it working, including steaming milk.

    Check that there is no water leaking around the portafilter when they pull a shot.
    check that there is a small dribble of water/coffee into the drip tray from the chrome tube on the left hand side (this is the three way valve operating) when they switch off the pump.
    When they turn the steam switch on, listen for any hissing indicating leaks, check there are no drips coming from the steam arm until it is turned on.

    Basically, as long as it heats up, pumps and doesnt leak, should be ok (may not be perfect, but these are pretty simple and robust machines).

    Chances are they will not have a blind  filter. Buy one and some cleaner, then learn how to backflush - a quick search should give you the info.

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    • #3
      Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

      Thanks for the info, im picking up tomorrow and Ill see how it goes!

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      • #4
        Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

        Just got the gaggia, it heats up pretty fast, everything seems ok but I guess it needs a pretty good washing.


        Also the shower head is like squirting stream of water in all direction (I guess it really needs cleaning)

        Just wondering since it is using aluminium boiler, what descaler is recommended so it will not attack the alu?

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        • #5
          Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

          Take off the shower screen with a phillips stubby screwdriver. Next take off the aluminium dispersion plate behind it- you will need a metric hex key for this. You may need to tap the plate to get it out. You can now check behind it for any sign of scale build up, which will give some idea of what is going on inside the boiler and whether a descale is needed, or in extreme cases a full rebuild.
          Clean the screen, dispersion plate and filter baskets with a good quality espresso machine cleaner such as caffetto. Obviously also clean the group head while everything is off.

          Citric acid is a good option for descaling, make sure to rinse well afterwards.

          Did you get a blind filter with it? If not, buy one and backflush. I dont know where in Melbourne you are, but most of the site sponsors and many other coffee equipment retailers would stock them.

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          • #6
            Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

            Im staying right smack in the CBD, just went to look for descaler, does the descaler work both ways for descaling and backflushing?

            Seems that cafetto has a "espresso clean" and "restore" for specific backflushing and descaling respectively, are they the same stuff? I guess ill order from coffee parts as they include the blind filter together.

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            • #7
              Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

              Backflushing uses a detergent mechanism, the descaler is different as it dissolves the scale, but has little effect on oil builup. I dont know which sponsors are nearest the cbd, but coffe-a-roma are camberwell, 9bar are Abbotsford, talk coffee are northcote. Of course coffee parts are good too and if you want to order for home delivery it doesnt matter where they are based.

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              • #8
                Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                Originally posted by 43626F6E0B0 link=1304926356/5#5 date=1305088826
                Im staying right smack in the CBD,
                Di Bartoli are a short drive or train ride from the CBD out at Bondi Junction. They stock everything for coffee including cleaners.

                Barry

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                • #9
                  Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                  Sorry im in Melbourne, but I will definitely go there if im in Sydney! (PS:Bondi junction have a great stall for sandwich which i had before ..)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                    Familiarise yourself with this:
                    http://www.bluebox.com.au/jcrayon/gaggia/

                    Also Cleano Cino liquid appears to be appearing in a few places as a cleaning fluid. Be aware that some places are only stocking the red coloured liquid which is labelled as "Cleaner" and their misinformed staff are referring to it is descaler, which it is not.

                    Cleano Cino has a blue liquid, clearly labelled as Descaler. I think its pretty pricy at $15 for single use. You are better off buying the sachets of Caffetto powder. I am not familiar with using Citric Acid as a descaler in the Gaggia but here are a collection of observations:

                    1. The Gaggic Classic has a 2-part boiler, with an upper aluminium section and a lower brass section.

                    2. Tartaric acid preferable to descaling an aluminium boiler than citric as citric will accelerate corrosion of aluminium. The corrosion by-product is Aluminium Oxide.

                    3. Good discussion of risks (or lack thereof) with regards to Aluminium Oxide, so I wouldnt sweat over point 2, above.
                    http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/480107#480107

                    4. Picture of what a corroded aluminium boiler looks like:
                    http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/july2002.html

                    However note from above, just because corrosion is occurring, there is nothing to suggest that any harm can come of it.

                    I think Ill go and look for some cheap powdered citric acid in the supermarket.

                    Cheers.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                      Ive actually splurged and ordered on cafetto their espresso clean and restore descaler ( which Im more worried as they made a hole in my pocket rather than my aluminium boiler )

                      Still waiting for them to arrive, which Ill do just a shower head wash first just to see if descaling is still actually required.


                      At the mean time I took off the shower dispersion screen and wow, the previous owners coffee is definitely caked on it which clog the holes and causing weird streams.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                        Still waiting for cafettos delivery. (Missed the first and rescheduled a re-delivery but somehow the courier didnt arrive at all)


                        At the mean time with a dirty machine Ive tried just an experimental cup with single basket and finest setting on my EM0450. It choked the machine as water run thru, the pump was near dead silent. Almost a while later then trickle/ fast drips of coffee comes out which is expected. This is just to test the extremes of the grinder setting.

                        Anyhow the coffee came out black with minimal brown (I think my stovetop had more brownish that that haha) But it tasted alright, no weird taste or anything. The puck came out soggy as hell but what the hell, just playing around with it ;D

                        And serious the plastic tamper is @#$%@ crap.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                          Cafetto package arrived finally. Gave the shower group a good clean and now the water dispersion is so much better.

                          The Cafetto Espresso Clean is one wicked stuff, I soak the PF into it, give it some scrubing with a steel wool and all the stain are gone.

                          Ive just noticed something about my basket, when I load the PF with an empty basket and flow water thru it, I unlodge the PF and there are still a puddle of water in the basket. Is this normal? Also the water defies physics as I add cold water from the tap, the water actually flows out completely!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                            mine does that too not sure why

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                            • #15
                              Re: Scored an used Gaggia Classic, what to look out for?

                              its because from tap there is no suction / restriction, the only way air can replace water coming out is via the drain to the drip tray. May also explain why some pucks are wet too.

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