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Topic: Gaggia Espresso? (36 msgs / 1097 lines)
1) From: Edmund
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I am interested in purchasing my first espresso machine. I am a newbie at
home roasting (FR+8) and love it, but I would like to start a making
espresso. I see that SM has the Gaggia priced at $199 and wanted to know if
anyone has purchased the espresso maker and share there experiences with it,
or just as the impossible task that Larry as has posted, any recommendations
within this price range.
Thanks,
Ed

2) From: Ed Needham
You 'can' make good espresso with the Gaggia but you need a really high 
quality grinder and patience to get it right.  I retired mine a few years 
ago when I bought and refurbed a single group commercial machine and 
grinder.
I'd venture to say that shortly after buying the Gaggia Espresso you'll get 
upgrade fever.  If you splurged for a Silvia or better machine I think you'd 
be happier in the long run.
*********************
Ed Needham "two Ed's are better than one, right?"
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)
*********************

3) From: Barry Luterman
This is a multi-part message in MIME format.
I just went through the same experience. Mike McCoffee counseled me to =
bite the bullet and go for a Silvia. It has a three way valve, is =
stainless steel and has a non aluminum boiler. Am so glad I took his =
advice. It stopped my upgrade fever. Now to PID her and then maybe my =
upgrade fever will be quenched. No there is always a double boiler =
machine in my future and on and on.

4) From: Myron Joshua
Ed,
I have a used Gaggia Espresso..(so it cost only $80)..All the post at places
like alt.coffee and coffeegeek.com forums that sang its praises were right
on target.
Quick heat up time, heavy portafilter are two great pluses.
With proper grind (and fresh coffee) you can get a great shot.
The boiler has been known to be the weak point (tends to corrode) but then
many say if taken care of properly (issues of water used, periodic
maintenance) it can last for years.
I do not do milk drinks..so can not relate to steaming power and effect on
subsequent shots.
Best myron

5) From: Tara Kollas
I almost got the Silvia but was afraid I'd get upgrade fever too
quickly, wanting to PID - so I bought a used Gaggia and am very happy
with it.  I generally just drink espresso straight, sometimes steam
milk for friends, but if you think you'll upgrade, the Gaggia might be
the way to go - it's a great learning tool and it's $300 less than the
Silvia.  I do have upgrade fever, but I'm going to hold off until I
know exactly what machine I'm going to get (maybe the Andreja or the
dual boiler everyone has been talking about). I'm going to upgrade my
roaster first (I started with a FR about 1 1/2 years ago).  The Gaggia
does a very good job - easily better espresso than anything I've
bought in a coffee shop, which may not say as much about my espresso
brewing skills as it does the quality of the espresso in most coffee
shops.  I was somewhat intimidated about getting into espresso and
researching a machine can be a total nightmare.  The Gaggia has been
great for me.  I'm now an addict.  Another thing to think about is
that you go through coffee a lot more quickly with espresso - after a
few weeks of roasting 4-5 batches in the FR each day, I'm planning to
get something with a bigger capacity.
On 7/3/05, Edmund  wrote:
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ons
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6) From: =?ISO-8859-1?Q?Scott_Kou=E9?=
Your using over 1/2 a pound of coffee a day?  Wow you are an addict.  
How do you ever sleep.
Impressed on the coast
SK
On Jul 3, 2005, at 5:39 PM, Tara Kollas wrote:
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7) From: Tara Kollas
I do roast a lot of decaf, as well - I usually drink about a half pot
of decaf at night.  And my mom comes over on my days off - supposedly
to keep me company, but I think it's for the coffee and scones.  And
my mom can put away a lot of coffee.  Weirdly, caffeine doesn't bother
me early in the day - I can drink a double shot of espresso and take a
nap.  At night, though, it will keep me up, which makes me think the
effect is psychological, rather than psyiological.
On 7/4/05, Scott Koué  wrote:
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ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>

8) From: Tara Kollas
Oh - and I throw a lot of shots out because I'm still a newbie and
much of my espresso is awful - sometimes I'll go through a 1/4 pound
of coffee just trying to get a good shot.
On 7/4/05, Tara Kollas  wrote:
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9) From: Edmund
Thanks for the response, I am in no rush and want a machine that will spur
my espresso interests. Since I have never made one and all we have in Corpus
Christi is Starbucks, Krispy Kreme (Yes, they make espresso, but I asked
what type of machine they used and she did not know. I did not think it was
a good idea to buy one). I am just learning what is available and reading
about espresso right now. I just found out what crema is about three weeks
ago. So I have a great deal to learn. 
Regards,
Ed

10) From: Ed Needham
In that case, I'd look for a thrift store or yard sale find and try not to 
spend more than a few bucks.  If you get the hang of making drinkable 
espresso using a lesser machine, you'll pull some dandy shots on a decent 
machine.  Look for one that doesn't have the screw on top for the water 
reservoir.  Those make espresso using steam pressure and usually can't make 
really good espresso for a number of reasons.  Pressure and temperature 
control are primary.
I got my Gaggia Espresso for $90 at a Big Lots store.  They had three and I 
almost bought all three knowing that they were selling for much more 
elsewhere.  Big Lots didn't know what they were selling.
*********************
Ed Needham
"to absurdity and beyond!"
ed at homeroaster dot com
(include [FRIEND] somewhere in the subject line of any email correspondence)
*********************

11) From: Lynne
Well, a couple of yard sale signs tempted me this morning (I am truly 
trying to LESSEN the amount of stuff I own...sigh...I have no will 
power). Couldn't resist this for $5, and was wondering if it was worth 
my fiver.
Can't find any of the exact model online, and I don't even know how to 
operate it, but since it was only $5...
Photo here:http://tinyurl.com/loa8wLynne

12) From: Steve Hay
That site requires a login to view the image...
On 10/7/06, Lynne  wrote:
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-- 
Steven Hay
hay.steve -AT- gmail.com
Barry Paradox: Consider k to be the greatest element of the set of
natural numbers whose description require maximum of 50 words: "(k+1)
is a natural number which requires more than 50 words to describe it."

13) From: Lynne
Oh, I forgot. Try 'friends' as the password. I couldn't find any photo 
service that didn't require a password. Been awhile since I used it & 
when I did - took me a whole day.
Lynne
On Oct 7, 2006, at 12:11 PM, Steve Hay wrote:
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14) From: Eddie Dove
Can't get to it.
Eddie
On 10/7/06, Lynne  wrote:
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15) From: jim gundlach
One of my early espresso machines was a Gaggia Espresso.  It had an  
aluminum boiler that sprung a leak.  I bought a replacement boiler  
but before I got around to replacing it I bought a Solis SL-90.  I  
eventually put the new boiler in and passed it on to one of my kids.   
The boiler went out again after about six years of usage and they  
tossed it.  Give it a try and if the boiler does not leak I'd say you  
got a good buy but if it leaks, I probably would not bother fixing  
it.  I managed to pull some fairly nice shots with some temperature  
surfing.
     Pecan Jim
On Oct 7, 2006, at 11:02 AM, Lynne wrote:'
d
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16) From: Alchemist John
Have you tried flickr.com?  Aside from that, if it is working, it is worth it.
At 09:11 10/7/2006, you wrote:
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John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

17) From: Lynne
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O.K., since I've had my fill of trying to post photos, I figured it was 
time to start a blog.
Tom, see what you started!http://coffeenectar.blogspot.com/Scroll down to the bottom, and you'll see my new/old Espresso machine.
Now to see if it works...
Lynne
On Oct 7, 2006, at 12:24 PM, Eddie Dove wrote:
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O.K., since I've had my fill of trying to post photos, I figured it
was time to start a blog. 
Tom, see what you started!http://coffeenectar.blogspot.com/Scroll down to the bottom, and you'll see my new/old Espresso machine. 
Now to see if it works...
Lynne
On Oct 7, 2006, at 12:24 PM, Eddie Dove wrote:
Can't get to it.
Eddie
On 10/7/06, Lynne
<<0000,0000,EEEElynnebiz>
wrote:
service that didn't require a password. Been awhile since I
used it &
when I did - took me a whole day.
Lynne
On Oct 7, 2006, at 12:11 PM, Steve Hay wrote: 
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truly 
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homeroast mailing list
0000,0000,EEEhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo change your personal list settings (digest options, vacations,
unsvbscribes) go to
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18) From: Lynne
Had problems w/Flickr before. Can't remember what it was...
L.
On Oct 7, 2006, at 1:26 PM, Alchemist John wrote:
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19) From: Lynne
O.K., I took another look at my yard sale Espresso machine find. It's 
missing the little basket and handle thing to put the coffee in. : > (
Anyone know where I might find a source that might have this?
Thanks -
Lynne

20) From: Alchemist John
Our hosts might well carry those spare parts.  You need the 
portafilter and basket.
At 15:26 10/7/2006, you wrote:
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John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

21) From: Barry Luterman
Lynne before you buy anything check that the boiler does not leak.Then tryhttp://espressoparts.com/c=scw0xvV6mrxh6I8qAUeWhtqyQ/

22) From: Lynne
I just tried using this. Not really sure of what I am doing!
Boy, am I green.
L.
On Oct 7, 2006, at 6:43 PM, Barry Luterman wrote:
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23) From: Lynne
They have the basket, which, if this machine does turn out to work, I'd 
order from them, but I can't find the portafilter anywhere on the site.
Except for the information about halfway down, on this page:http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.gaggia.shtmlLynne
On Oct 7, 2006, at 6:41 PM, Alchemist John wrote:
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24) From: dsobcz716
www.wholelattelove.com  sells portafilters for gaggia home units.  $45.  you'll need a double basket too.  you also may want to search ebay.  I've seen gaggia portafilters there too.

25) From: raymanowen
Your blog is neat, Lynne.
Do you realize just how much effort and time has been expended to get to
this point?
This is the beginning. (For me.)
Maybe actually Stage 12, and 6 years from the very start.
If the Gaggia has a boiler leak, and you can actually get the Missing Parts,
check the tool stores for a Wire Welder. With some fluxed aluminum wire,
you're back on four wheels every time a new leak pops up.
Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 10/9/06, dsobcz716  wrote:
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-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

26) From: Lynne
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Thank you for the compliment! First try (w/the blog that is - coffee 
roasting is increasing, because I can't resist these heavenly flavors - =
and I must add, thank God for decaf!)
There doesn't seem to be a leak. May need descaling, so I will order 
some descaler soon.
Got the online manual, and making another attempt at operating it (when =
I should be doing school work!)
Lynne
On Oct 9, 2006, at 1:40 PM, raymanowen wrote:
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Thank you for the compliment! First try (w/the blog that is - coffee
roasting is increasing, because I can't resist these heavenly flavors
- and I must add, thank God for decaf!)
There doesn't seem to be a leak. May need descaling, so I will order
some descaler soon. 
Got the online manual, and making another attempt at operating it
(when I should be doing school work!)
Lynne
On Oct 9, 2006, at 1:40 PM, raymanowen wrote:
Your blog is neat, Lynne. 
Do you realize just how much effort and time has been expended to get
to this point?
<
This is the beginning. (For me.)
Maybe actually Stage 12, and 6 years from the very start. 
If the Gaggia has a boiler leak, and you can actually get the Missing
Parts, check the tool stores for a Wire Welder. With some fluxed
aluminum wire, you're back on four wheels every time a new leak pops
up.
 Cheers -RayO, aka Opa!
On 10/9/06,
=
0000,0000,EEEEdsobcz716=
 <<0000,0000,EEEEdsobcz716
>
=
wrote:0000,0000,EEEEwww.wholelattelove.com =
sells portafilters for gaggia home units.  $45.  you'll need a =
double
basket too.  you also may want to search ebay.  I've seen gaggia
portafilters there too.
 
  

27) From: Brian Kamnetz
Lynne,
Apparently there is some difference in the cleaning materials that you
should use because the boiler is aluminum. Not sure whether that
includes descaling products or not.
Brian
On 10/9/06, Lynne  wrote:
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28) From: Lynne
Thanks for the info. I think I'll try to contact the Gaggia USA rep, 
just to be sure.
Lynne
On Oct 9, 2006, at 2:26 PM, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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29) From: Lynne
Glad you mentioned aluminum. I decided to begin to take the machine 
apart. Just removed the screen (that's attached to the body).
One reg. screw & four allen screws later - UGH! Solid black mess.
Figured the screen might be aluminum, so was careful (remembering some 
aluminum kitchen pots I once ruined). Tried soaking in vinegar (yeah, 
like I have a month to wait...) first, then used some baking soda. Made 
some headway, but I'm too impatient.
I have some orange deodorizer spray (the kind with real orange oil) 
that I found is very good at cleaning stuff. Used some of that w/a 
cheapo wire brush & dish soap.
Came off in a couple of minutes. There's still some black in the screen 
(if the unit works & I can't get the whole thing clean, I'll def. see 
about replacing it.) For now, I've got it soaking in the vinegar for 
one last shot at cleaning before I put it back together & try the unit 
again.
Lynne
On Oct 9, 2006, at 2:26 PM, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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30) From: Brian Kamnetz
That's interesting, Lynne. Sounds like you are making progress.
Brian
On 10/9/06, Lynne  wrote:
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31) From: Brian Kamnetz
This unit sounds well-used. I wonder if it was available because the
previous owner upgraded...??? Of course, in a way, that would be kind
of sad, to think how the previous owner might treat a nice new
machine, based on the condition of this one (missing portafilter,
inside looks like it has never been cleaned...).
Brian
On 10/9/06, Lynne  wrote:
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32) From: Lynne
My guess was that, whoever had it, used it til it was so clogged it 
wouldn't work anymore.
But I tried it again - still no water coming out.
I'm wondering if there is anything else missing - there is one plastic 
tube that leads from the machine to empty into the reservoir,  but 
looks like there may be a need for one or two more.
Lynne
On Oct 9, 2006, at 4:11 PM, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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33) From: Brian Kamnetz
On 10/9/06, Lynne  wrote:
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Sorry, I can't help you there... I've already told you 1.5 of what I know....
Brian

34) From: Woody DeCasere
try running some descaler through it, can you see if it takes any water
in???
On 10/9/06, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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-- 
"And we'd better not risk another frontal assault, that rabbit's dynamite!!"
www.onthisjourney.typepad.com

35) From: Douglas Shetler
HI,
The gaggia is a great machine that will make excellent espresso once you get
it running.  I would also suggest a PID on it as that will make a big
difference.  These machines like yours in good condition sell for $100- $150
on ebay depending on the condition.  They are equivalent to the later
machines that sell for $250-$300 on ebay.
I have had the good fortune of repairing several gaggia's. The one you have
is the old Gaggia Classic which has been revamped several times into now the
"Gaggia Coffee" and the "Gaggia Classic".  The boiler on yours was
downsized with the new "Gaggia Classic" but is still basically the same
machine as yours.  One person who knows about these is athttp://www.partsguru.com/. He has all the parts that you would need, once
you identify the machine to him.
He carries a descaler that is very good for these machines.  I was using
Urnex's Cleancaf but switched to the descaler sold by the "partsguru"
specially designed for aluminum. I had another machine that I bought on
Ebay, a newer  "Gaggia Classic" that completely died after I got it.
I dissassembled it and scrubed it out using the descaler.  It was in quite
bad shape and took a lot of work with a wire brush.  Here are issues that
you may have:
1. Make sure that the water pump works.  Sometimes they need to be primed.
Pull the hose off the front of the pump or if you want to be "neat" pull the
hose off of the inlet to the boiler and direct the water into a rag to soak
it up so that you don't make a mess.  Turn on the machine and press the
switch with the coffee icon.  If it pumps you can continue. (You will need a
metric set of wrenches to do much work on these. I  would pull the leads off
of the boiler heater elements (on  top) of boiler while diagnosing things so
that you don't overheat the boiler without any water.)
2. Hook the hose back to the boiler and see if you can now pump water
through the group head.  If it doesn't you have a problem, should remove
boiler and the solenoid group that is attached to the boiler and do a
thorough cleaning.  Make sure you make a diagram of the wiring before
pulling it out.
3. Turn the unit on and open the steam valve.  Now press in the steam button
and then press the coffee switch.  Water should come out the steam wand.  If
it doesn't you will have to do further investigation. Do what is recommened
in step 2.
4.  If you can get water through the group head and the steam wand, now use
the descaler as directed.
Feel free to ask questions.
Good luck!!
On 10/10/06, Woody DeCasere  wrote:
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-- 
Doug Shetler

36) From: Peter Zulkowski
The first Espresso pump machine I got from a thrift store for about 
$5.00 would not flow water either.
Ben was with me because I was shy about buying it, but we brought it 
home and he helped me take it apart and get it working.
The pump had so much scale in it that it would not pump!
I think it had set too long, and the hard water here jammed it as it 
evaporated.
We took the pump out and forced the piston to move with a dowel, a 
pencil I think.
Prior to this it would make a vibration noise, but after the piston 
started moving it really sang loud!
It works great now, still makes espresso.
Since then I have bought several others, and the pumps were similarly 
frozen on more than half of them.
They all freed up with some mechanical persuasion.
Each of these machines had something else wrong with them, as is the 
case with machines that cost less than $400 or so new.
One would not heat hot enough to make good steam, another had a kind of 
weak pump, only one had a three way valve to release the pressure.
Good starter machines though, and once in a while they even make a great 
shot.
Used espresso machines are pretty cheap in a thrift store or yard sale, 
but you get what you pay for.
Ymmv.
All the best,
PeterZ
Woody DeCasere wrote:
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