Author Topic: Classic Day 3 & Americano  (Read 6771 times)

pricewool

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Classic Day 3 & Americano
« on: March 08, 2017, 01:06:47 PM »
Hi everyone.  Now in day 3 with my new Gaggia Classic. 
Pulled a couple of decent tasting shots yesterday and one drinkable one today.
I think I'm getting better extractions by preheating the portafilter in the brew group.
Is this a part of your procedure?

Just beginning the temperature surfing experiment, and my first nice shots were with a 15 minute warm up, NO pre flush, other than at first power on.  Then 5-6 secs of steam ON, then OFF, hesitate and brew.
Realizing everybody's machine and secret sauce is different, do you have a surf routine that really works for you?

And finally, I like my Americano HOT.  But first attempts with water from the Gaggia have been disappointing.  I may start getting my water from my nice electric kettle.  My first attempts to get water from the steam wand were awkward to draw, and water continues to stream from the group head while dispensing from the wand.  Is this normal?  There's a lot of water loss there, and the boiler is so small, I feel that may be a cause for the lower temp.  Should the group head shower cut off when the wand is opened?

All in all, loving being back in the espresso business at home!
Appreciate your comments and experience.

Offline The Big L

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2017, 01:50:42 PM »
I think I'm getting better extractions by preheating the portafilter in the brew group.  Is this a part of your procedure?

Nope.  I find that there's usually initial burst of steam coming out of the group head when turning on the brew switch, and I don't want that hitting the puck.  Unless you find a way to cut power to the pump while the brew switch is on (I use a dimmer switch), the best way to reduce the steam buildup is to open the steam wand a bit just before you start the brew.  Regardless, I don't preheat my portafilter.

Quote
Realizing everybody's machine and secret sauce is different, do you have a surf routine that really works for you?

In my case it's a simple, 2-step process:  1) give up, 2) install a PID   ;D

Quote
My first attempts to get water from the steam wand were awkward to draw, and water continues to stream from the group head while dispensing from the wand.  Is this normal?  There's a lot of water loss there, and the boiler is so small, I feel that may be a cause for the lower temp.  Should the group head shower cut off when the wand is opened?

It's normal.  The machine doesn't know that the steam knob is opened.  It just blindly sends water forth when you turn on the brew switch.  Some possible solutions:

1) You could blip the steam switch before dispensing hot water, just like you do for brewing -- that would likely make the water plenty hot enough for your Americano.

2) You could also insert a PF with a blind basket into the group head when dispensing water through the steam valve.  Then all the water would be forced to travel out of the steam valve.

3) You could re-wire the switches so that you can turn the pump on while the steam switch is on.  Then you can dispense water while it's heating and the temp drop should be negligible or even negative.

I don't mean to be a nag, but here's a PSA in case you weren't aware: that hot americano could be doing a number on your throat.  Drinking scalding hot beverages is increasingly implicated in throat cancer.  Be careful out there.

pricewool

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2017, 02:44:39 PM »
Thank you!
No PID for now...to be continued.
Way too much finagling to get water for an American from the wand and not see so much of my nice filtered water go into the drip tray.  Most likely I'll just pore from my electric kettle.
Appreciate your feedback.

Offline D4F

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2017, 03:46:43 PM »
I always have the PF locked in, when in use.  Very lightly locked unless for brew.  It keeps the PF and basket hot, and keeps the group gasket moist/soft.  I now have a silicone gasket so it is soft, but my original OEM was changed out after 4 years, still working.

My PID controller is set at 212°F, but that is the reading in the boiler well for the sensor and the elements surround it. I figure the water is a bit cooler.  It is possible to get a flash of steam with the sudden pressure drop as the solenoid is open, in practice, hasn't been a problem.

If you want hot water out the wand, flip the steam switch on, then open the valve, then hit brew switch.  IIRC, the steam switch uses the solenoid to shut off the group as a secondary function to the steam temperature.  Remember to turn off the steam switch when done:)

Just curious, what "nice filtered water?"


« Last Edit: March 08, 2017, 03:49:19 PM by D4F »

pricewool

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2017, 05:07:39 PM »
Thanks for your comments.
I use a ZeroWater pitcher and filters.  Beware, filters are expensive, relative to some others, but I've seen lab numbers that show their superior filtration.  Tastes great too.

Offline D4F

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2017, 06:00:32 PM »
I asked about the water because any acidity is hard on the boiler.  Just wanted to make sure that you weren't using distilled or RO water without adjusting the ph.


Offline The Big L

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2017, 07:36:34 AM »
I always have the PF locked in, when in use.  Very lightly locked unless for brew.  It keeps the PF and basket hot, and keeps the group gasket moist/soft.  I now have a silicone gasket so it is soft, but my original OEM was changed out after 4 years, still working.

I should clarify: I always keep my 2nd portafilter (blind, filled with water) locked in...except just before I pull a shot.  I do this to keep the gasket wet, and also to keep the shower screen from drying out and clogging the holes with scale (my water is very hard).

I think I once dabbled in locking the regular PF in the group until I was ready to prepare the basket, but the PF was hot enough to burn my hand when handling it, so I gave up on that.  I just keep the PF on the top of the machine until it's time to load it up, and it's fairly warm by then.

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It is possible to get a flash of steam with the sudden pressure drop as the solenoid is open, in practice, hasn't been a problem.

Interesting.  I prepare my basket, remove the blind-basket-PF, turn on the brew switch (with the pump off via dimmer switch), and wait several seconds for the steam to dissipate before locking in my loaded PF and starting to pull the shot.  I wouldn't say that there's a flash of steam exactly, but the steam does issue forth for a good 10s, along with a slight dripping of water.  Maybe keeping the water-filled blind-basket PF in place while heating up causes a good amount of steam buildup in the group area?  Tomorrow I'll try removing the blind-basket PF right when I turn the machine on to warm up, and see if there's less steam.

Quote
If you want hot water out the wand, flip the steam switch on, then open the valve, then hit brew switch.  IIRC, the steam switch uses the solenoid to shut off the group as a secondary function to the steam temperature.  Remember to turn off the steam switch when done:)

My memory might be faulty -- it's been a long time since I had an unmodified machine.  But I thought that turning on the steam switch disables the pump?  Or maybe that's only true in my machine due to the way I have it wired.   :o

pricewool

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2017, 02:04:47 PM »
Thanks for your comments.  I've stopped putting the portafilter in the group during warm up, because as you say, it's way dang hot.
 
Well, after pulling a few really tasty shots and feeling pretty good about myself, I pulled three horribly bitter, throw away shots this morning.  Gave up, turned the machine off and left.  About the ONLY thing different, the machine had been on near an hour.  Came back this afternoon, pulled a shot after 15 minute warm up, and got a decent, drinkable shot.  I'm going to keep trying to get consistently decent shots, but too many bitter throw always, and a PID may be closer than I want.  Ugh.

Offline The Big L

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2017, 03:45:02 PM »
Well, after pulling a few really tasty shots and feeling pretty good about myself, I pulled three horribly bitter, throw away shots this morning.

Just throwing this out there in case it applies: sometimes if I brush my teeth right before coffee, the coffee tastes horrible.  Same is true if I eat certain foods first.

Also, even a really bad shot can sometimes become tolerable as a cappuccino.  Not sure if that's an option for you, but I've rescued many a sinker that way before.  :D

Quote
I'm going to keep trying to get consistently decent shots, but too many bitter throw always, and a PID may be closer than I want.  Ugh.

Consistency can be quite difficult without a PID.  You can do it if you're motivated and very careful with your technique, but it's a challenge.  Give yourself a little more time to work on your technique.  Of course this assumes you have an adequate grinder and good, fresh beans.  Espresso is not easy.   :-\

Offline D4F

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2017, 04:40:40 PM »
Curious, what are you doing with the PF that you are concerned that it is hot?  I don't want to lose heat to the PF in the brew, though in reality, the basket only contacts the PF around the lip.  I keep, the PF and basket hot and damp in the group.

pricewool

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2017, 05:42:03 PM »
Regarding a hot portafilter, I tried parking in the group during warm up, only pulling it to dose it.  Doing this, the portafilter is way hot when dosing and tamping.  Please offer how you approach this.  I've pulled two decent shots this afternoon, not doing anything other than letting it warm slightly on the top. 
My horribly bitter shots this morning have caused me to try and not get things too hot in my routine.  More experience needed, but given the caffeine, it will take days when I'm only pulling a couple of shots and an Americano a day.  No problem.  I'm patient.

Thanks for the tip to take a poor shot and do a cappacino.  Right now I'm just not doing milk drinks, but a good option. 

Offline D4F

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2017, 06:19:09 PM »
Good thing I have pictures to help recall how I dosed the Preciso.  I used a yogurt container "funnel" as on this thread

http://www.gaggiausersgroup.com/index.php/topic,209.msg1686.html#msg1686

That funnel worked well in a hot PF.  I had the funnel just under the Preciso outlet and ground directly into the basket/PF.  No actual hot contact.  I took the basket and PF off of the group, wipe dry as it was beaded with moisture/condensate inside, and then inserted the funnel.

Just one way of doing it, and you have found another.

pricewool

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2017, 07:14:13 PM »
Thanks for this funnel idea.  I'm going to experiment more with a warm/hot portafilter so I'll brainstorm this idea.

Offline The Big L

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2017, 07:27:52 PM »
Curious, what are you doing with the PF that you are concerned that it is hot?  I don't want to lose heat to the PF in the brew, though in reality, the basket only contacts the PF around the lip.  I keep, the PF and basket hot and damp in the group.

Speaking only for myself, I hold the PF by the metal part (not the handle) and do the stockfleths move to even and level the grounds in the basket.  I can't dose evenly into my basket using the Pharos, so I find that the stockfleths move helps assure an even distribution.

BilgeRat

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Re: Classic Day 3 & Americano
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2017, 01:15:55 PM »
Pricewool,
A comment and a question? I do Americanos almost exclusively for me and my wife, and don't have a problem with water coming out of the group. When you try to draw hot water from the steam wand, are you opening the steam valve and depressing both the steam switch and the pump switch, or are you simply depressing the pump switch?

On my old style Classic, if I depress both the steam switch and the pump switch at the same time with the steam valve open, it turns on the heating elements and flows a decent amount of water from the wand, with no water flow from the group. If I open the steam valve and only depress the pump switch, I get a meager flow from the wand and hot water out of the group. Have you tried this?

 

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