View Full Version : To backflush a Gaggia or not....?

09-08-10, 11:59
Was suprised to see there is no mention of a solenoid OR backflushing in the Classic manual.

So did a Google search on "backflush Gaggia Classic" and came up with this (http://www.home-barista.com/tips/why-wouldnt-gaggia-recommend-backflushing-t6719.html) link that basically says NOT TO backflush Gaggias with 3-way valves?

Anyone care to make me a little wiser?

Glenn, you're not allowed to answer this one - I know what you're gonna say.

10-08-10, 07:30
Repost with extra info, tried to edit my post but it would not save.

I see no problem flushing the Gaggia Classic as part of your maintenance routine, I always did with mine, a Baby dose which is similar. As long as you do not allow the pump to run for too long under full load when doing it you should be fine. My method was to listen as the pump sound changed over a few seconds as the load on it maxed out then flick the switch off and whoosh through the 3 way solenoid watching the result as it ran into the drip tray, repeat a few times until clean, also do the portafilter wiggle which is where you loosen the portafilter slghtly so it gan be wiggled agout gently in the brew head allowing the cleaning solution to flow around the gasket area, rinse through a couple of times and wipe the shower head down and done. Use about a quarter teaspoon of Puly Caff or Cafiza in the blind filter basket when doing it. As long as the pump is not straining for ages the backflush is little different from when pouring a normal espresso in terms of pump load. It is the only way to remove the old oils and gunge from the pipes properly.

The advice online about not doing it is probably to do with folks overdoing it and overstraining the pump leading to pump failure and consequent warranty claims, Rancilio for example used to say no backflushing but now advise to do it. Anyway the pump is one of the easiest parts to replace and it does lose performance very gradually over time in normal use.

Hope this helps unlike the Dettol comment, lol.


10-08-10, 12:13
That's sound advice, Don. Pretty much my thoughts. After how much usage do you see a deterioration of the pump?

BTW, does the Mukka give good results?

12-09-10, 05:44
Sufficient time has passed ... By all means backflush. It clears the rubbish that you cannot see and does no harm at all.

You would be surprised just how much gunk comes out after a couple of weeks of extractions.

12-09-10, 07:12
Osh, missed replying to this post when you made it.

The Mukka is an odd beast, I found it pretty rubbish when used as per instructions with milk in the top part ( the result never tasted particularly good) but worked very well if I used it more like the Brikka with no milk in the top part. My advice get a Brikka instead, I will when one comes up at the right price.

As for life span of the vibe pump my comment was based on some web reading which suggested around a couple of years use would see performance begin to drop off gradually. Personally I will replace mine if and when I see this happen, my Gaggia Baby did not seem to lose performance in three years of use that I could detect in normal use.

12-09-10, 08:27
Sorry to continue in the slightly OT theme, but I've used both the Mukka and Brikka. I could never get away with the Mukka. The phoney capus that it makes are just too terrible for words, and my machine is now consigned to the back of a very dark cupboard.

The Brikka is a totally different beast, and imho, the very best of the Mokka pots. Makes closer to espresso than any other stove-top method I've used (though I've hinted very strongly that I would love Santa to bring me a Bacchi this Xmas). We regularly rent self-catering places, and the Brikka gets regular work outs. Well worth trying.

13-09-10, 09:09
The old posts coming back to haunt me.....

Thanks for the advice on the Mukka and Brikka.

Regarding the backflushing - now that I own the Classic and understand the inner workings, I can't understand why one couldn't backflush. You would need to leave the pump running for a good minute to do any damage. As I discovered when doing the pressure test for the OPV, if there's a build-up of pressure, it will just go back via the return pipe. The pump starts to get warm after 30 seconds continuous load but not dangerously so.

And Glenn is right, the colour of the water and pieces of coffee after the first flush from 6-7 espressos makes you cringe when you think that it could end up in your cup.