All Stock Gaggia Classic Pro And Commercially Available Coffee - Page 2

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#11: Post by thefirstdrip »

I started using the stock Gaggia Classic Pro 2019 with a Baratza Sette 270 grinder setup, and VST 18g basket. Long story short, you can get good espresso, but it may not be very very consistent. But good enough for the price.

I've gone through 2 KG of beans now with this setup. So my experience with this machine is somewhat limited but I've been drinking espressos for over five years now.

Best advice I can give you is, devour all the content by James Hoffman on espressos. Then absorb some more from others content creators specific to the Gaggia Classic Pro. This will give you the foundation to brew a good cup of espresso.


You may not know what a good cup of espresso tastes like. Or more like, you don't know what espressos CAN taste like. So until you can identify the flavours of what a good espresso can have, it's quite difficult to actually pull a good shot.

I've been there before. It can be frustrating at times, but don't worry, it is a beautiful journey.

Take a cupping class (can be for hand drip coffee), this will teach you the spectrum of flavours, to discover knew ones and give words to flavours you already know but can't quite describe. You have to taste these flavours to be able to reference these notes. My teacher suggested I buy different nuts, fruits (fresh and dried), gummy bears (wide spectrum of flavours in one bag) to be able to train and upgrade my flavour dictionary. You could actually do this on your own too, but learning is always faster with a good teacher.

I was surprised to know that sweetness can fall into different categories, like...

Sweet: Can be artificial in flavour, like sugar, syrup. These are also very strong sweet flavours. Whereas a fruity sweet can described as red apple sweet, green apple sweet, peach, plum, stone fruit, e.t.c...

There's a huge flavour wheel to help with this, half of which I can't even associate with which is a disconnect on my part, and something I need to work on.

In short the things that will help you brew good espresso is:

1. Learn to identify and isolate flavours.
2. Have a good grinder
3. Have good, fresh beans (use once degassed after 7 days or more from roast date). Typically this means bought from a coffee roaster, or a coffee shop.
4. Know the technique to brewing well, and brew consistently. Also have a look at the pre-infusion tip / trick from Whole Latte Love
5. Have a good routine in keeping all your equipment clean on a daily, weekly, monthly basis (also worth noting, sediment can be trapped behind the shower screen on the grouphead too which can impact flavour)

Once dialled in the Gaggia Classic Pro can produce good espresso consistently. But it can only produce amazing shots occasionally. This, I literally just learned is likely due to the temperature variations of the boiled water.

I've taken 2 coffee classes and watched over 150 hours of coffee content, and some of James' videos I've rewatched 2-3 times. I am still learning, and its great! Hope this helps, enjoy.

Coffeecomrade (original poster)

#12: Post by Coffeecomrade (original poster) »

Hello and thank you @thefirstdrip. You are right on with your advice. When I began using the machine I did go to a good coffee shop and ordered what the barista there said was a good shot of espresso, along with a small cappuccino to compare. And I learned a lot from that one shot. I think a lot of us have really high expectations about espresso shots, but you really do need some kind of training to know the difference between a drinkable shot and a horrible one. To me that shot I tasted was still very strong, but I put that "strong" taste aside in my mind and tried to discern the other flavors. Once I had that in my mind I started aiming for something similar on my machine. But I finally was able to dial in great shots once I changed my spring to lower the stock pressure of the machine. I think it made the biggest difference so far in my espresso journey.


#13: Post by jrham12 »


I had a GCP for about a year and ran into many of the problems you have... Temperature isn't really that stable so as Quirquincho pointed out, you have to learn how to temperature surf with your machine to try to get it as consistent as possible. One other problem I ran into is that the brew pressure was quite high on mine (12 bar). As such, I think it forced me to grind finer to hit the "target" shot times which leads to a lot of over-extracted shots. I found that cutting the shot short at nearly a ristretto (say 1.5:1 ratio) helped to tame down some of that bitterness. Another option that I played with was grinding a little coarser and going for a longer shot (2.5:1 ratio or higher). Some owners would just snip a coil or two off their OPV spring to lower the brew pressure, but "MrShades" over in the UK sells a kit with different OPV springs that can be installed instead at a reasonable price. (I think this is the current link?? ... st-springs)

Part of my experimentation was to also find a blend that was forgiving enough to overcome the limitations of the machine. However I found many of those "forgiving" blends that were recommended in the coffee section here on HB were just too bright for my taste. I ended up settling on the "Nizza" blend from La Colombe as a favorite blend that worked well with my machine. I found a coffee shop locally that used Nizza as their house espresso so I went there and tried a shot and then bought some beans from them to get my machine dialed in. From then on, I just ordered the beans direct from La Colombe.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!!!

Coffeecomrade (original poster)

#14: Post by Coffeecomrade (original poster) »

Sorry for the late reply. Thank you jrham12 , I've gotten a lot better since I first posted here for help, thanks to everyone's help. What has made a big difference for me has been the 9 bar spring change, the shots were a lot smoother compared to stock. I also started logging all my shots like grams in and out, grind setting, and time. And I've been able to find the "sweet spot" for most coffees. I've even gotten incredible drinks from some grocery store brands. Thanks for the Nizza recommendation, I added it to my amazon list and will try it in the future. Next on my mind is Gaggiuino.


#15: Post by bean74 »

Of course you can get excellent espresso shots with a Classic. It didn't become one of (if not the) most popular home espresso machines of all time by brewing swill.

However, if you read between the lines of what Quirquincho already wrote so well, you'll see the problem: consistency. Most owners of a Classic will eventually start to realize that, despite doing the same thing 10 times, they maybe only get good results 6 or 7 of those 10 times, and perhaps really only nail it with an excellent shot 2 of those 10 tries. Why?

1. Brew temp, as already named. There is a ton of info on the web about temp surfing these machines. No need to repeat it all here. Google is your friend. A PID is an even bigger friend, but I'd not jump right into jamming a PID on your machine today, a lot can be learned by temp surfing.

2. Pressure. There are two issues, here. First, the standard pressure is set way high on the Classic. Most of us measure something around 12 bar on a stock machine. No need for a gimmicky OPV spring, just find a means to measure pressure, and dial down the spring that's already in the machine. Most find 3/4 turn out from stock setting pretty much nails 9 bars (some prefer to set 9.5 static, estimating they'll get 9.0 at brew head under dynamic condition). But beyond that, there's another problem. The boiler builds pressure sitting and heating, which can blast the puck if not relieved before brewing. Also, pump can take time to charge up the system, whether due to water lost in siphon tube from tank to pump or some other source, there's a very variable lag in the time required for the machine to build pressure. Both issues are resolved by simply purging the machine a second or two, until you see water flow, before installing your loaded portafilter. Make this purge part of your regular workflow.

With these simple items resolved, you can increase your consistency, and thus your odds at pulling the same shot every time.

Coffeecomrade (original poster)

#16: Post by Coffeecomrade (original poster) »

Hello Bean74, thank you for the info. It will be a year into the espresso journey next month for me. And thanks to all you guys posting here I can say I've gotten really great espresso shots and drinks. The biggest improvement for me was when I changed the spring for better pressure. At first I was getting extremely bitter shots, and everything was much smoother afterwards. As for temp surfing, what helped me the most was to put a probe thermometer on top of the boiler. It doesn't show me the water temp, it shows me the temp of the surface of the boiler. But that's good enough to know where I'm at as far as temp goes. It also helps tremendously when steaming milk.