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Topic: My "New" Gaggia Coffee (6 msgs / 179 lines)
1) From: Larry English
 I've just picked up (on eBay) a "Coffee Gaggia" which the owner/seller say=
s 
is 15 yrs old. This is my first espresso machine, and I sure could use 
pointers and suggestions for bringing this machine up to good working 
condition. I don't really have much info on this model, other than the 
rather sketchy original owner's manual. Also could use some pointers to 
sources for parts. The first "fix" will be a new group head gasket, but 
after 15 yrs I'm sure there will be more. Once this machine is up and 
running, I'll be digging through the list archives for advice on actually=
 
using it.
Thanks in advance for any help,
Larry

2) From: miKe mcKoffee
Don't have a Gaggia so don't readily know best source for gasket, order 3 or 
so since you'll want to replace it every 6 to 12 months anyway. Might need 
grouphead screen too. Beyond that no way to know what'll be needed 'till you 
know what kind of shape it's actually in. Also, get some Urnex Cafiza 
Espresso Machine Cleaner and Urnex Dezcal Activated Descaler, Tom carries 
both.http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.coffeecleaner.shtmlPlan to give the boiler a good Dezcal flush or two and grouphead Cafiza 
backflush. (Atleast, I think the older Gaggia has three-way valve, if not 
you'll need CleanCaf for through the tank cleaning since if no three-way 
can't backflush.)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htmUltimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path traveled by many. 
To know I must first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal 
enlightenment found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who 
have gone before.
From: "Larry English" 
Sent: Friday, September 02, 2005 6:40 PM
I've just picked up (on eBay) a "Coffee Gaggia" which the owner/seller says
is 15 yrs old. This is my first espresso machine, and I sure could use
pointers and suggestions for bringing this machine up to good working
condition. I don't really have much info on this model, other than the
rather sketchy original owner's manual. Also could use some pointers to
sources for parts. The first "fix" will be a new group head gasket, but
after 15 yrs I'm sure there will be more. Once this machine is up and
running, I'll be digging through the list archives for advice on actually
using it.
Thanks in advance for any help,
Larry

3) From: jim-seaman
Larry,
Welcome!  Hopefully you will find the used Gaggia to be as good of a bargain as I have found them to be.  The group head gasket needs to be replaced when it leaks...  I've found that if you get a group head brush or just wipe off the shower head and channel where the gasket resides - ground coffee is a bit abrasive - after you use the machine, the gasket will last a long time...  Like 15 years...  
To determine if yours is the "Older Coffee" model (pretty much the current model Classic) check to see if there is a small metal tube that goes from near the group head (but back near the front of the water container) down into the drip tray.  If so, then you have a 3-way-valve and can backflush. If you don't have the tube, *don't backflush* since the easiest place for the scalding hot water to go is through the group head gasket and onto you and anyone else in range.  Gaggia does not recommend backflushing.  That being said, one of their authorized service centers said "Of course you should backflush!?!"
With that in mind, everything Mike said is great advice.  I posted a site with some detailed, exploaded drawings of the Gaggia Baby and it also has some of the Coffee model as well.  I'm on a different computer right now than the one I have the link on, so I don't have it handy but if you search on "Baby" for the last month or so of posts, you'll be able to find it.  You should also soak the group head screen (comes off with a single philip's head screw), portafilter (metal part only) and baskets in a mixture of the Cafiza for about 20 minutes. (Then you can pour the liquid in anything stainless steel or glass that you want to clean the coffee stains out of - cups, carafs, etc.) If you have one with the 3 way valve you can backflush ( you will need a standard 58mm "Blank Insert" or a rubber piece to block the holes in your double filter basket) .  (Just follow the directions on the Cafiza container.)
These older Gaggia's seem to be great deal.  Most people seem to buy these new on an expensive impulse and then don't get a good grinder which is both good and bad for you.  (Bad if you don't have a good grinder since you will need one to get good shots.  Good because the prior owners most likely had their coffee ground too course - which produced sub-standard espresso which made them not use it much AND when they did use it they didn't put much strain on the pump.)  A good, reasonably cheap grinder is the Gaggia MDF.  New, they can be found just under $200 and used they can be a terrific bargan.  Mine's still going strong after 15 years on the original burrs.  A friend just found a complete kit - older coffee, mdf and tray for $50!  He brought coffee to try it out and adjusted the grinder down to a setting of 3 (they had never gone lower than 11...) and pulled the best shot that the prior owner's had ever had...
Good luck with the new Gaggia!
Jim
Larry,
 
Welcome!  Hopefully you will find the used Gaggia to be as good of a bargain as I have found them to be.  The group head gasket needs to be replaced when it leaks...  I've found that if you get a group head brush or just wipe off the shower head and channel where the gasket resides - ground coffee is a bit abrasive - after you use the machine, the gasket will last a long time...  Like 15 years...  
 
To determine if yours is the "Older Coffee" model (pretty much the current model Classic) check to see if there is a small metal tube that goes from near the group head (but back near the front of the water container) down into the drip tray.  If so, then you have a 3-way-valve and can backflush. If you don't have the tube, *don't backflush* since the easiest place for the scalding hot water to go is through the group head gasket and onto you and anyone else in range.  Gaggia does not recommend backflushing.  That being said, one of their authorized service centers said "Of course you should backflush!?!"
 
With that in mind, everything Mike said is great advice.  I posted a site with some detailed, exploaded drawings of the Gaggia Baby and it also has some of the Coffee model as well.  I'm on a different computer right now than the one I have the link on, so I don't have it handy but if you search on "Baby" for the last month or so of posts, you'll be able to find it.  You should also soak the group head screen (comes off with a single philip's head screw), portafilter (metal part only) and baskets in a mixture of the Cafiza for about 20 minutes. (Then you can pour the liquid in anything stainless steel or glass that you want to clean the coffee stains out of - cups, carafs, etc.) If you have one with the 3 way valve you can backflush ( you will need a standard 58mm "Blank Insert" or a rubber piece to block the holes in your double filter basket) .  (Just follow the directions on the Cafiza container.)
 
These older Gaggia's seem to be great deal.  Most people seem to buy these new on an expensive impulse and then don't get a good grinder which is both good and bad for you.  (Bad if you don't have a good grinder since you will need one to get good shots.  Good because the prior owners most likely had their coffee ground too course - which produced sub-standard espresso which made them not use it much AND when they did use it they didn't put much strain on the pump.)  A good, reasonably cheap grinder is the Gaggia MDF.  New, they can be found just under $200 and used they can be a terrific bargan.  Mine's still going strong after 15 years on the original burrs.  A friend just found a complete kit - older coffee, mdf and tray for $50!  He brought coffee to try it out and adjusted the grinder down to a setting of 3 (they had never gone lower than 11...) and pulled the best shot that the prior owner's had ever had...
 
Good luck with the new Gaggia!
 
Jim
 
 
 

4) From: Larry English
Thanks for the comments, miKe. I've now fired up the Gaggia and pulled a fe=
w 
shots using Illy preground. Seems to be working great (the Gaggia, not my=
 
tamping style - need to work on that). No leaks anywhere! It did require a=
 
lot of cleaning, of course, but that only took a few hours :-)
Don't have a Gaggia so don't readily know best source for gasket, order 3 o=
r
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d
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I think the gasket is different from what is currently being used - one 
source said that the blue one needs to be "special-ordered" and mine is "th=
e 
blue one". Had to clean the screen manually, even after a couple of Cafiza=
 
soaks, but it seems to be fine now. 
Plan to give the boiler a good Dezcal flush or two and grouphead Cafiza
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t
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Haven't flushed the boiler yet. This is a three-way valve machine (yay!) so=
 
backflushing will be done, as soon as I can get a blank filter.
Larry

5) From: Robert Avery
Larry .... check this site out for a gasket ... Not sure if it's the same 
style, but it is Gaggiahttp://www.wholelattelove.com/Gaggia/gaggia_gasket.cfmGood Luck, Bob
<Snip>

6) From: Larry English
Thanks for the comments, Jim. I've fired up the Gaggia and pulled a few Ill=
y 
shots - one or two were pretty good, but my tamping technique needs work.=
 
I've ordered a good tamper from Tom and Maria.
The group head gasket needs to be replaced when it leaks... I've found that=
 
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l 
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e 
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That's good news - the gasket is not leaking now, and care will be taken.=
 
I'm not sure where to get new gaskets for this machine anyway.
To determine if yours is the "Older Coffee" model (pretty much the current=
 
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Yep, this machine is backflushable, but I need to get a blank filter insert=
.
I posted a site with some detailed, exploaded drawings of the Gaggia Baby=
 
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Found it - very helpful!
 These older Gaggia's seem to be great deal. Most people seem to buy these=
 
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th 
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I use a Solis Maestro Plus for brewed coffee. I'll see how well it works fo=
r 
espresso grinds. And the deal on this machine was amazing - I think the 
"15-year-old" tag on the eBay description scared off some bidders. It did=
 
need some cleanup but seems to be in good shape - probably was stored for=
 
quite a while, and doesn't seem to have been cleaned much - screen and 
grouphead were caked!
 
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Thanks! I love it already. 
Larry


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