• This topic has 41 replies, 18 voices, and was last updated 1 month ago by IHN.
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  • Gaggia classic owners
  • Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Anything I need to be aware of for a S/H purchase? I’ll probably not be able to turn it on and make a cup – it’s a 2012 model that looks to be in decent shape from the outside.

    I usually shy away from buying electronics S/H though and it’s not super cheap

    Realise mist parts are available, just trying to save myself some faff from the off

    Premier Icon redmex
    Free Member

    Buy a grinder as coffee ground for you will either fly out too quick or spray coffee everywhere
    They do tend to drip a bit but make pretty good coffee

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    The grinder I have at the moment is the cheap delonghi bur grinder, it’ll do for now but I’ll grab a Wilfa or possibly iberital MC2 when funds allow

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Had mine since 2010, have the same burr grinder as you, works fine. Put up with the dripping steam wand for years, finally got round to paying the guy on the bay to modify mine, should’ve done it years ago.

    I use silicon group head gaskets now, much better.

    Bomb proof bit of kit, it just keeps going….

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Ah the listing states it’s had a rancilio wand upgrade so hopefully the drips been sorted!

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    I’d be descaling it before I did anything with it and if you have hard water were you live, either run it on bottled, filter it or be prepared to descale it every couple of months dependent on use.

    Don’t neglect it because “it’s working fine” – the flow channels from the boiler to the head are very small and if they draw in limescale and it clogs, it can be VERY difficult to get it going again.

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Thanks Daffy! Just checked, moderate to soft on the local water suppliers website, I’ll keep an eye on it though

    Premier Icon walowiz
    Full Member

    Gaggia classic ! this is a blast from the past.
    My first big boy espresso machine, loved the process involved in using it, they make great coffee. If I recall correctly (and I may be wrong) weren’t these fitted with some of the gaggia commercial range components, brass boiler etc – which is one of the reasons you can swap out to the commercial steam wand.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve still got mine in the loft, did the wand upgrade very long time ago and it makes a big difference, haven’t used mine for quite a few years now.

    Descale them regularly and they will last for years.

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    I use silicon group head gaskets now, much better.

    I need to change mine (it leaks badly and appears to be severely pitted and corroded) but I cannot get [22 DY0036/A ALUM.SHOWER HOLDER ASSY.] to bloody well come off – I can unscrew the screws that hold it in place but it is completely bonded in place – any ideas on how I can remove?

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Full Member

    ^ Give it a tap with a brass drift and it’ll loosen, i’ve owned three of them over the past 20 odd years.

    Gaggia classics are a pain in the arse, they leak, poor steam efficiency, wide variation in boiler temperature and extraction, and the solenoid blocks up very easy.

    Premier Icon Klunk
    Free Member

    the other thing to get is some cafiza powder and a back flushing blind filter.

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Ah the listing states it’s had a rancilio wand upgrade so hopefully the drips been sorted!

    This won’t stop the drip, it’s an internal bit (the name escapes me) that needs re-seating that stops the drip. Chappy on eBay will do it, you send him your bit, he sends you a fixed bit, he mends your bit and sells it to someone else.

    What the rancilio wand will do is make better froth, mainly, it would seem, through the application of A LOT OF NOISE. It’s like a jet fighter taking off in your kitchen.

    Premier Icon johndoh
    Free Member

    Give it a tap with a brass drift

    Where do I tap?

    Chappy on eBay will do it

    And how do I find said chappy?

    My machine leaks like an incontinent pensioner. 🙁

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    I have a 2011 (I think) model, it’s my first espresso machine. Rock solid, fairly reliable and cheap to maintain, as well as there being a wealth of info out there on them.

    I’d suggest immediately getting a silicone gasket and a VST (or similar) non-pressurised basket with a well sized tamper. Beyond that, you could get a brass block but you won’t need much else.

    I’ll be going for a bottomless portafilter next, because it’s sexy.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Full Member

    Give it a gentle tap on the edge of the grouphead working around it, not a swing from a lump hammer.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    Ah the listing states it’s had a rancilio wand upgrade so hopefully the drips been sorted!

    It’s the steam valve that leaks, not the wand.

    In 11 years of use, never had a blocked solenoid either.

    Premier Icon ransos
    Free Member

    I’ve had one for 13 years. A backflush with pulycaff, followed by a descale usually fixes any problems. Grouphead gaskets are available on ebay and the Rancilio steam wand is far better than the original.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    I’ve got a Classic in everyday use and 3 in the garage that I really must get round to fixing. I agree with all the tips above on descaling, backflushing, silicone gasket. I’ve never had a steam wand problem. A new solenoid is occasionally required – when the machine sounds constipated.

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Thanks all, it’s coming with a non-pressurised basket and bottomless porter filter…I should actually watch a few videos on how to use and clean it!

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    Buy something else. I’ve had one. Descaled it religiously and it failed several times. Not worth the effort.

    Premier Icon batfink
    Full Member

    Thanks all, it’s coming with a non-pressurised basket and bottomless porter filter… I should actually watch a few videos on how to use and clean it!

    Gird your loins – Home espresso is a deeeeeeeep and expensive wormhole.

    My finding from becoming a raging coffee snob is that the “upgrade path” needs to be managed carefully, otherwise you end up buying something one day, then it immediately becoming a limiting factor, and traded-in for something else the next.

    It’s better to buy a cheap setup and live with it for a while as a proof-of-concept, and then just buy the best kit you can afford that fits your needs (when you’re happy that you are going to continue with the hobby). Logic being that you are going to end up there anyway – so better to just jump all the middle steps and save yourself a lot of faffing around.

    Slightly more practical advice:

    Consistency across all variables is the name of the game here – so that you are then just able to change one thing at a time, and being able to attribute any change in outcome (coffee quality) to the thing that you just adjusted.

    Everyone will tell you this, but the grinder is the most important part of your setup. My advice is to just by a niche zero, they are amazing value given the quality that they allow you to produce.

    Puck-prep is hugely important. What seems to work for me is “WDT” – which is basically stirring the ground coffee with a straightened paper clip (or similar) to break-up any clumps, and then to get an even distribution of grounds in the basket before tamping. This is where the naked portafilter is useful, as it lets you see whether the coffee is extracting evenly across the puck.

    James hoffman’s latest video on how to properly steam milk is very good, and helped me hugely.

    Get some scales – again, consistency is the name of the game.

    Premier Icon inkster
    Free Member

    Had 3 in 20 years. They don’t like hard water, I’ve done the back flush and cleaned the solenoid etc but they have all eventually given up the ghost.

    Friend had the same experience and ended up getting a Leaf machine and reckons it’s miles better.

    Premier Icon redmex
    Free Member

    Once you admit to using scales rather than volume you are classed as a coffee nerd, I used to take a wee videos of amazing pours from the Gaggia
    I’m off coffee now due to aspirated pneumonia while under general anesthesia six months ago, saving me a few quid no more £3 flat whites

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Blinkin flip that Niche Zero is £499 + import! 🙂

    I’ve just bought a refurbished fridge freezer and washing machine for £198!
    I’ll go the MC2 route in due course! They come up on the bay every so often

    Noted the negative issues but think I’m still going to go ahead, water hardness shouldn’t be to much of a problem here and with the accessories it’s got I can out it back on the bay in due course and not lose to much, half if wanting one is the tinkering element, just don’t want to be tinkering at 6am on the rush to work!

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Consistency across all variables is the name of the game here – so that you are then just able to change one thing at a time, and being able to attribute any change in outcome (coffee quality) to the thing that you just adjusted.

    Everyone will tell you this, but the grinder is the most important part of your setup. My advice is to just by a niche zero, they are amazing value given the quality that they allow you to produce.

    Puck-prep is hugely important. What seems to work for me is “WDT” – which is basically stirring the ground coffee with a straightened paper clip (or similar) to break-up any clumps, and then to get an even distribution of grounds in the basket before tamping. This is where the naked portafilter is useful, as it lets you see whether the coffee is extracting evenly across the puck.

    James hoffman’s latest video on how to properly steam milk is very good, and helped me hugely.

    Get some scales – again, consistency is the name of the game.

    Or, buy a bag of Lavazza coffee (I like the Crema y Gusto), fill basket, tamp, put basket in machine, press button. Works for me

    Premier Icon batfink
    Full Member

    Or just stick to instant – easier still.

    Horses for courses

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    Horses for courses indeed, you have to find your own sweet spot.

    I’m at a reasonable degree of snobbery but am very happy with the shots I’m pulling with a Porlex hand grinder, my Classic, good local beans and a bit of patience.

    Save the scales and £500+ grinders for those who care more than I do!

    Premier Icon mocha
    Free Member

    So, those who have given up on the Classic, what do you move on to? I’m a bit tempted by the Ruby but is it really a step up?

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    Gotta be a La Pavoni if you’re going anywhere from a Classic!

    Premier Icon dc1988
    Free Member

    I like my Classic Pro, it’s better than a cheap basic machine and makes coffee as good as most decent cafés I’ve tried(I drink latte’s, never espresso). I find it pretty consistent and rarely have a bad drink. I buy decent freshly roasted beans which I find makes the most difference. I have a Sage grinder which some people criticize but I find perfectly good. I think a lot of coffee enthusiasts find the urge to keep upgrading but I don’t think it’s necessary, I’ve got the SLX of coffee setups and I don’t need XTR.

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Ha I was looking about for a Pavoni after that Hoffman review! They look quite intriguing but the Gaggia came up first.

    Premier Icon abingham
    Full Member

    They are super sexy, like the Alfa Romeo of coffee machines, where the Gaggia is the humble VW Golf.

    Other options are straightforward manual lever machine like a Rok. Quite fancy one myself!

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Full Member

    So, those who have given up on the Classic, what do you move on to?

    Started off with a cheap Kenwood thingy 20 odd years ago, then 2 Gaggia classics and finally Gaggia Baby before I bought a Kitchenaid Artisan which was basically two gaggia classics for internals wrapped up in a fancy package so it was beset with same issues then 4/5 years ago bought a Sage Duo Temp which has been faultless and pulls better espresso.

    Premier Icon toby1
    Full Member

    So, those who have given up on the Classic, what do you move on to?

    Flair 58? When it’s finally available in the UK properly of course.

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    what do you move on to?

    Delonghi bean to cup. On the grounds (sorry) that their grinder is very good – I have one for cafetière use. Bean (sorry) very pleased for the money. Before that I had a used Jura which also leaked (was very cheap).

    Premier Icon batfink
    Full Member

    Take a look at Lelit as well – they do some really good options that would make a good upgrade from the classic – the “Elizabeth” (I think?) is a compact dual-boiler machine that’s priced to compete with the Sage DB, but is a bit less plasticy.

    I feel like I need to defend my advice to buy a (relatively) expensive grinder! It was in the context of this:

    the “upgrade path” needs to be managed carefully, otherwise you end up buying something one day, then it immediately becoming a limiting factor, and traded-in for something else the next.

    It’s better to buy a cheap setup and live with it for a while as a proof-of-concept, and then just buy the best kit you can afford that fits your needs (when you’re happy that you are going to continue with the hobby). Logic being that you are going to end up there anyway – so better to just jump all the middle steps and save yourself a lot of faffing around.

    My initial coffee setup was a 20 year old commercial Faema machine, bought for 50 quid on Gumtree, descaled, powder coated and re-furbished by me, and (in a similar vein) a 20 year old Mazzer Super Jolly – again for 50 quid on Gumtree and refurbed by me

    I only upgraded once I know that I was going to continue making my own coffee, and had a clear idea of what I wanted. The reason I recommended the Niche was that it was a very significant step up in terms of the quality of coffee it produced – not an incremental improvement, a huge leap over the mazzer. Which was the gist of my message above: I could have gone for a Eureka Mignon grinder for 3-400 (a very popular mid-range grinder) – but in hindsight it was certainly worth spending a bit more on the niche.

    But I also stand-by my “horses for courses” comment – everybody’s cost/benefit equation is different – lots of love on here for manual lever machines like the flair and the robot for instance – but those wouldn’t suit me.

    Premier Icon walowiz
    Full Member

    So, those who have given up on the Classic, what do you move on to? I’m a bit tempted by the Ruby but is it really a step up?

    Bought my Gaggia Classic new. Absolutely loved it, it was a revelation and I (still) love the ritual of making coffee with it. Used it for 3-4 years or so.

    My wife loved it less so, as she always wanted her coffee quickly, and always wanted a coffee machine she could just push a button and it would make her The same coffee every time with minimal fuss and input.

    So I caved and down graded to a De Longhi Nespresso Lattissima Pro, which to be fair is a pretty good machine and makes a half decent coffee. Initially I believed the coffee was pretty fair from the nespresso capsules, mainly using the genuine ones, and the strong Italian range.

    Fast forward 2 years and I’d had enough, the capsules are expensive and I never really loved the coffee, it was overly bitter and nowhere near as good as coffee was from the Gaggia. But it was quick to get a black coffee out of it, I’ll just ignore any environmental impact of the capsules for a moment.

    So last I went for it (for me) and after looking at many many brands – bought a De Longhi PrimaDonna S Evo. I did manage to find one discounted, which helped. Must say the grinder is better than I expected and the coffee is as good as I’ve ever had. I don’t have milky coffee and I can really taste the difference moving back to fresh ground from nespresso. I’ll never use nespresso again.

    Note to self, I should do something about the Gaggia.

    Premier Icon batfink
    Full Member

    I’m a bit tempted by the Ruby but is it really a step up?

    I’ve just had a look at the Ruby – to be honest, I wouldn’t say so, no. It’s basically a heat exchange e61 grouphead machine (of which there are heaps to choose from), but overpriced and wrapped in a massive, nasty looking plastic body.
    It has volumetric controls, but (like the Faema machine that I started with) you are compromising on domestic friendliness/usability and gaining a level of commercial robustness etc that you don’t really need/want.

    All of the following are cheaper than the Ruby, and are (IMO) better for home use:

    Lelit Elizabeth or Mara

    ECM Mechanika slim

    Profitec pro 300 or 500

    there are loads more too: Rocket, Exobar, Bezzerra, Ascaso, Isomac, Rancillio, La Spaziale….. they all do machine in that kind of (Ruby) range. All of which I’d have over the ruby.

    Premier Icon scratch
    Free Member

    Newb question here Batfink but the more £££ in grinder is giving you a more even grind throughout I’m guessing?

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