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  • Gaggia Classic steam losing power

    Hi all, been reading the forum for a while but only now feel the need to post. I am a home coffee enthusiast, though of the fairly low-level obsessive variety. (Isn't the internet great, you think you're really quite into something and then realise that there are many many people with tons more knowledge/experience/money to spend on their interest.) Anyway.....

    I have a Gaggia Classic which has served us well making 3-4 coffees a day. Recently though the steam has been losing power. You start to steam and the pressure (sorry if not correct terminology) starts out ok but within about 5-10 seconds kind of peters out and sort of steams with a pulsing action if that makes sense. To be honest I always thought the machine was a bit weak on steaming anything more than about 2 lattes worth of milk at a time but this is on a whole other level of crummy.

    I have switched to drinking my coffee out of a smaller cup so even though I haven't measured it, I'm probably only steaming about 100ml. (wife is a long black drinker). The problem persists.

    I have regularly had the machine serviced and descale it myself about every 6 weeks. I use only filtered water, though in truth this has only been for the last two years or so.

    If I run water through the steam wand it comes out in a steady stream.

    Now, here is probably the crucial factor, my Gaggia classic is close to 10 years old. Is it worth trying to get this issue fixed or should I suck it up and drink (very) flat whites while I save for a silvia?

    Thank you all in advance for your consideration of my post. Have a delightful day.
    Pat

  • #2
    Originally posted by patanab View Post
    Hi all, been reading the forum for a while but only now feel the need to post. I am a home coffee enthusiast, though of the fairly low-level obsessive variety. (Isn't the internet great, you think you're really quite into something and then realise that there are many many people with tons more knowledge/experience/money to spend on their interest.) Anyway.....

    I have a Gaggia Classic which has served us well making 3-4 coffees a day. Recently though the steam has been losing power. You start to steam and the pressure (sorry if not correct terminology) starts out ok but within about 5-10 seconds kind of peters out and sort of steams with a pulsing action if that makes sense. To be honest I always thought the machine was a bit weak on steaming anything more than about 2 lattes worth of milk at a time but this is on a whole other level of crummy.

    I have switched to drinking my coffee out of a smaller cup so even though I haven't measured it, I'm probably only steaming about 100ml. (wife is a long black drinker). The problem persists.

    I have regularly had the machine serviced and descale it myself about every 6 weeks. I use only filtered water, though in truth this has only been for the last two years or so.

    If I run water through the steam wand it comes out in a steady stream.

    Now, here is probably the crucial factor, my Gaggia classic is close to 10 years old. Is it worth trying to get this issue fixed or should I suck it up and drink (very) flat whites while I save for a silvia?

    Thank you all in advance for your consideration of my post. Have a delightful day.
    Pat
    From what you have said, the first thing i would be doing is putting a new steam thermostat in.
    They cost about $17 and its a fairly easy and quick job, depending on how handy / mechanically minded you are.
    If that does not work, next step would be replace the steam valve assembly, easily available about $40, can be difficult to remove.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by patanab View Post
      Now, here is probably the crucial factor, my Gaggia classic is close to 10 years old. Is it worth trying to get this issue fixed or should I suck it up and drink (very) flat whites while I save for a silvia?

      Thank you all in advance for your consideration of my post. Have a delightful day.
      Pat
      Hi Pat, and welcome!
      That's a dangerous question to ask on this forum LOL!
      I've used a few gaggia machines over the years at friends homes, but can't really comment with any degree of insider knowledge on the problems you're facing. Sounds like a leaking seal or pump issue? But certainly a 10 year old machine is likely to start wearing out sometime. But from a purely 'modern appliance' point of view - how much are you willing to spend on it to get it fixed? An appliance store might be able to service / repair it - but I've had friends who seem to have their machines in every 12 months at $80 a hit. Is it worth it? That's entirely up to you really :-)

      But in answer to your question - personally I'd start saving. You would be blown away with the difference a machine of the calibre of a Silvia would make to your coffee experience both in the taste & steaming, once you'd learn to drive it properly. They are great little machines. And for what you actually get, you can pick them up new for a really reasonable price (or even better, keep an eye out for a second hand one here on this forum - get going even sooner!)

      That's my two bobs FWIW
      Happy pondering!
      Matt

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies folks. We have a Silvia at work as well as a couple of old expobar somethings so I feel like I drive the silvia ok...(not like I will once I have one at home.)

        I think I will start saving and maybe just take the Classic in for one more go at the repair place. They actually specialise in catering equipment so domestic coffee machines and other kitchen appliances are sort of a sideline, they're nice enough characters so if I go in telling them that it's a steam valve or pump related issue (thanks to this forum) they might do it without stinging me for a full service.

        My issue is that it will probably take me a while to save for a Silvia (still a part time student), and this steam issue is killing me. I'm not sure about the second hand thing though, if these machines are so great, (as the consensus seems to be) why would you sell one?

        Comment


        • #5
          My Gaggia Classic has the same problem. 1st occurred about 6 months ago and had it serviced, which 90% fixed it, but this week it is crook again, so on the search for a new machine, similar functionality for about $800-$1000 now.

          Comment


          • #6
            Reviving an old thread:

            My GC just did the same thing – I gave it a scale/clean on Friday, and today (Sunday) the steamer packed in, as per above.

            Think I will take it to Abbotsford for a repair.

            Btw, I hate this machine – my previous Novitalia was MUCH better.

            Comment


            • #7
              Looks like your descaling routine resurrected some boiler limescale that are big enough to clog the steam valve. Can you still pull descent shots?

              Comment


              • #8
                Gaggia Classics are awesome little machines if you use them right. It's probably better to try to avoid scale build up in the first place and just don't do any descaling is it often causes these sort of issues.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have a Gaggia Classic and the most important thing it needs is regular backflushing. With water after each session before turning the machine off and with espresso cleaner with the shower screen and dispersion plate removed at least every fortnight. Descaling frequency depends on water hardness in your area. I have been doing it bimonthly since 2012 when I got the machine brand new. I use filtered tap water. Many owners who find their way to GUG and other coffee forums with problems with their Gaggia Classic often have one thing in common. Lack of proper preventive maintenance.

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