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Scott-Westy
06-12-10, 07:36
Alreet guys n gals

Ive drank and loved drinking coffee for years most notably on my many spanish holiday trips, but recently thought I'd like to have a go myself and set about getting some gear (on a meagre budget!).

Like many others I guess, I have gone for what appears to be a decent entry level machine - the Gaggia Classic. I got it for 89 quid off ebay and I'm (impatiently) waiting for DHL to deliver it through all the snow we have in Durham. Its got a plastic steam wand but I really want it for espresso, although our lass will like it with milk.

Ive also scored for a grinder bought off a local cafe which was selling its equipment off - I bought a Cunill Space (branded Fracino) for 80. Its a doser and aye its got static but I can live with that. Its also got a huge hopper (which is too big for me so Im not planning on using it - grinding only when needed seems best).

Finally, I'm also waiting for a delivery from happydonkey with a couple of measured shot glasses, tamper, descaler, general machine cleaner (for backflushing), blank PF basket, and new head gasket. From reading the forums, including this one which has been really helpful, I will probably need most of this to get me going.

The question is what should I do when the machine eventually arrives or what would you check on a machine for which you have no idea about its history? Also what is your advice about buying beans, little and often, buy local, online, storing them etc...?

Any help would be great as I really dont know much about this game yet!

Cheers

Scott :)

Glenn
06-12-10, 07:50
Welcome Scott

Not a bad setup for under 200 - well done!

When you receive the machine pull a shot (and discard) for proof that it works, then turn the machine off.

Remove the shower screen and give the area a good clean
Check the gaskets (if okay and no water spraying from around the top of the portafilter then leave for the time being)

Run descaler through the machine (from cold) and then after flushing out with plenty of cold water let the machine heat up, pull a shot and discard

Next, backflush the machine (after reassembling the shower screen)

Pull a shot and discard

Then, pull a shot and taste

Re: Beans
Buy freshly roasted beans - online is usually better than local shops have unless you have a local roaster
Store in a cool dry place in their bag with a one-way valve and ensure no air gets into them.

I'm sure there will be more advice coming along soon

vintagecigarman
06-12-10, 07:54
Welcome Scott, nice to have another from the North-East on the forum.

In terms of beans, before I started roasting at home, I found HasBean to be a great supplier. Roasted on day of posting, in vented bags, great variety and good prices.

But there are many other good suppliers, and I'm sure others will chip in.

Scott-Westy
06-12-10, 08:09
Thanks fellas, this is sort of practical advice I was after, champion.

btw vintagecigarman I work in Newcastle everyday and have access to Pumphreys coffee roasters in the Grainger Market - have you (or anyone else) any experience of them?

Cheers guys

Glenn
06-12-10, 08:32
Pop in and see Stuart at Pumphreys. He'll look after you. Tell him you are a Coffee Forums UK member too

DonRJ
06-12-10, 08:39
Great start there Scott, a bit of fettling as Glenn suggests and you will be away. Pumphrey`s are a coffee roaster so should be selling nice fresh beans.

sandykt
06-12-10, 11:40
Welcome to Coffee Forums Scott, when your kit is set up don't forget to post pics

Scott-Westy
07-12-10, 06:31
Well according to DHL my machine arrives tomorrow. More updates thereafter :-)

Dotty
08-12-10, 10:42
Scott hope you enjoy your machine when it arrives

Scott-Westy
08-12-10, 05:57
Well it arrived today!

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAxOTUuanBn.jpg

BUT it leaks from the boiler. Gutted!

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAxOTEuanBn.jpg

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAxOTMuanBn.jpg

Ive spoken to the ebay seller (nice guy) who is gonna send me another boiler and some extra spares which he has (he thinks its the same type). It looks a relatively easy job to swap them out. One step forward and all that...!

BanishInstant
09-12-10, 02:13
Shame. At least you can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

sandykt
09-12-10, 02:34
That's frustrating. Finger's crossed the parts arrive soon.

standard issue
09-12-10, 02:53
Ouch, that's a pretty nasty crack!

Scott-Westy
09-12-10, 07:22
stripped it down last night in readiness for the replacement boiler coming. It was pretty scaled up and I had to go in the workshop and improvise to get the various parts apart!

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMDQuanBn.jpg

Anyway I got it all apart and took the boiler out to find this (see if you can spot the problem):

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMDUuanBn.jpg

That will be the problem then! At least its give me a chance to give it a proper service and replace all the gaskets etc... Boiler replacement in the post so Im told so hopefully I will get it this weekend and get brewin. Bought some Has Bean xmas blend today from a great little coffee shop in the Grainger Mkt (Piccolo) and it needs grindin!

DonRJ
09-12-10, 07:29
Go on fella, love the get in there and sort it approach. That is one helluva crack in that boiler, hope you get the little beauty fettled. We will have to change your forum handle to "Gaggia Ninja" when it`s done

Don

Scott-Westy
09-12-10, 11:07
hehe Cheers for the encouragement Don!

Cleaning continued with a spare hour tonight. Group was pretty cruddy when I got it:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAxODguanBn.jpg

So cleaned it up, stuck new main seal in and re-assembled ready for new boiler top:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMDguanBn.jpg

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMTAuanBn.jpg

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMTEuanBn.jpg

gaggia bean
11-12-10, 01:10
lovin the improv work in your workshop.
I know its a bit off toppic but what are the hubcaps off anything nice?

old cars a coffee love them both!

Scott-Westy
11-12-10, 12:56
lovin the improv work in your workshop.
I know its a bit off toppic but what are the hubcaps off anything nice?

old cars a coffee love them both!

Me too. They come off either this one:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/DSC00177.jpg

or this one:

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/DSCF0362.jpg

now, back to the coffee!:)

dirge
15-12-10, 04:04
loving this thread please keep it updated :)

Scott-Westy
15-12-10, 10:34
loving this thread please keep it updated :)

would love to mate - but royal mail are STILL delivering my replacement boiler according to their tracking service - it was posted on the 9th!

Scott-Westy
16-12-10, 09:00
Its here!!!

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMTUuanBn.jpg

The boiler arrived today so when I got in tonight from work I unpacked it and stuck it to work! The seller had included the group head too, plus a spare solenoid valve, t-stats and few other bits - so a nice few spares on the shelf already.

I descaled it out of the machine first then using a bit of 400 flatted the mating surface down a tad to ensure a good seal, threw another o ring in, and bolted her in.

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMTYuanBn.jpg

a quick backflush later and my first ever 23 second home brewed espresso:)

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMTguanBn.jpg

Come to daddy! Now the hard work starts!!!

DonRJ
16-12-10, 09:19
Good work dude, into the unknown now - bean selecting, grinding, dosing, tamping, pouring and most importantly savouring

Glenn
16-12-10, 09:55
Thanks for the photos and workflow

Try grinding a little finer as the crema looks a bit thin (it could also have been a relatively cool shot, if the machine wasn't left to warm up that will have this effect too)

I can only echo what Don says and look forward to following your journey

Scott-Westy
16-12-10, 10:00
Good work dude, into the unknown now - bean selecting, grinding, dosing, tamping, pouring and most importantly savouring

you know how it is Don.

Cant stop playing with it now!

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e313/Scott-Westy/utf-8BSU1BRzAyMjAuanBn.jpg

Scott-Westy
16-12-10, 10:03
Thanks for the photos and workflow

Try grinding a little finer as the crema looks a bit thin (it could also have been a relatively cool shot, if the machine wasn't left to warm up that will have this effect too)

I can only echo what Don says and look forward to following your journey

Thanks for the tip Glenn, I agree the crema was thin on the first one, the second was however better when we had warmed up, and the difference between beans was staggering actually, even on same grind setting and tamp pressure the shots took totally different length of time - so lots of variables to play with.

I will no doubt be coming back for more helpful advice - thanks all.