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Help with Gaggia Classic and Sunbeam EM480

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  • Help with Gaggia Classic and Sunbeam EM480

    Hey All,
    I just bought myself a nice Classic and a sunbeam EM480 Grinder to go with it. For the past 3 days, I've been trying unsuccessfully to pour a shot!

    I've read the grinder produces fluffy grinds and it made no sense to me until I tried tamping the coffee into the portafilter. According to a few videos I saw on youtube, I put coffee upto the brim of the portafilter, took the excess away and tamped it, hard. But, the filter wouldn't fit into the coffee machine and so I had to take a little off, tamp again try stuffing it into the machine. I finally got a shot, albeit a little bitter. Any tips on how to make this more consistent? I'm using the grinder in its fine setting (3-6). Any help is greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    What beans are you using? it could be you're using stale beans.

    The Gaggia Classic should otherwise produce a great cup of coffee.


    • #3
      Hi Joe,
      The beans are something I picked up from woolies (I know) called Macro Organic Peruvian Coffee Beans to test the machine and pour some sample shots. The problem I'm facing is tamping the coffee enough so that the filter sits in the coffee machine, which i'm not able to do


      • #4
        It sounds like you're over-filling the basket, if you are having difficulty locking the group handle into place. Are you using the single or double basket? My experience was that with the single you had to be pretty precise with the dose.

        The double basket, on the other hand could take up to 18 grams no worries.

        The bitter taste you mentioned is almost certainly the stale beans you're using. Try some beans from a local roaster and see what you get.


        • #5
          There seem to be a variety of opinions on grinding, tapping, tamping. Its a case of finding which works best for you and your equipment.

          A good rule of thumb I came across was to adjust the grind setting to the point where your fingerprint is just visible when you press your finger hard into a small pile of grinds on a flat surface. Back off a little until a fingerprint isn't left and that's a good starting point.

          At the end of this review for a Compak K3 is a similar description of the fingerprint in the grinds with photos:

          When using the EM0480 I generally grind until a mound is formed which just starts to spill over the edges of the filter basket. I then gently sweep left to right, front to back with my finger to level the grinds. No need to tamp too heavily. Experiment with lighter tamps and slowly increase pressure.

          I would back off the grinder to 8-10 then try again. Experiment with fineness of grind and tamp pressure until you achieve the result you're after.

          Best results will be had with freshly roasted beans. Be aware that as beans age you may need to grind slightly finer to maintain a satisfactory result. Different varities of beans and different roasts wil require fine tuning of the grind also. Don't get stuck on using one setting on the grinder. Keep tweaking to get the best out of whatever you're using.

          As far as the bitter taste it may also be the brew temperature or grinding too fine. Search the forum for threads on "temperature surfing".

          This link may also help -

          Experiment with the length of time after the brew light comes on that you brew - 20, 30, 40 secs etc. The temperature varies and you can go from bitter to sour with the same grind/tamp I found. All part of the fun. Start with getting the grind right and go from there.

          Forgot to mention the usual extraction rate people try to achieve is 60ml in 25-30 secs. Above all let your taste buds guide you. If you're not happy experiment with the variables until you find something that suits you.
          Last edited by CafeLotta; 5 November 2012, 08:30 PM.


          • #6
            Thanks a lot guys. It does feel like like I tamp way too hard. In the video, the lady tamps pretty lightly and the coffee compresses enough for the portafilter to fit into the machine. I'm gonna play with the grinder settings to see a slightly coarser grind. Will post results. Thanks again!