Gaggia Classic Pro inconsistent

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#1: Post by sleepyfish »


I need some advice. I have been using Gaggia Classic Pro for about a year, with decent results. I can pull a good shot of espresso. It's very frustrating however the fact that I cannot get consistent results on the 2nd, 3rd shot. I am keeping everything the same, temperature surfing, run some fresh water through it... but the 2nd and 3rd shot are all ove the place. Some time identical to the 1st ine, some time significantly slower/faster.
I do not have any additional equipment to control temperature and I don't see myself going in that direction.
Here's what I need: is this something I just have to live with with any residential machine or is it more common with single boiler types? If I splurge on a dual boiler is there a chance I run into the same problem?
Basically I have eliminated (I think) most user errors from my workflow and I just want a machine that gets me consistent results with minimal fuss. Fully automatic machines are a no because of size. Any advice/opinion is greatly appreciated, thank you community!


#2: Post by BodieZoffa »

Assuming the machine workflow is as consistent as you can make it, what about things on the grinder side? Possibly anything left to stale from the previous use? Maybe slight changes in dose, distribution, etc. between extractions?

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#3: Post by Jeff »

Gaggia/Silvia-class machines are, in general, not consistent. Even with mods/hacks, they can be a challenge to get repeatable results from with anything but benign blends.

Working with what you've got, have you tried pulling an empty shot prior to those with coffee?

sleepyfish (original poster)

#4: Post by sleepyfish (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies. The grinder is not at fault I think, it's a manual one and I keep the same setting, I only grind small amounts. I never tried pulling an empty shot, I'll see if this makes a difference. Based on the community experience, at what level one can expect consistent results if there is no user error and one wants to pull say 4-5 shots in sequence?


#5: Post by freditoj »

You have to wait like 15 minutes for everything to stabilize. Try that and see if it's the same as your first shot.

The machine is not good for back to back drinks.

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#6: Post by bostonbuzz »

Everyone wants fuss free high quality espresso. That's why people have $$$ setups, and they are still fussy at that price point (ok the machines aren't fussy but the grinders are). It's better to live with a small machine as long as you can than go down the rabbit hole. I remember my lelit pl041 being great in most ways but a couple niggles here and there made me upgrade. Then it happens again and again.

Maybe it's as simple as lowering the temp because the later shots are hotter than the first because the first isn't fully heated?

I worked on a 3 group machine and I swear the first dozen shots were superior to the rest in the day. No amount of boiler temp changes or black flushing could fix this. It's unclear to me today why, possibly the grinder. It was a rocket machine, not a LM ;)

Maybe a minor upgrade is a good idea? Gagguino is neat if you're handy and it's all the mods in one. Maybe a cheap breville has better temp stability?
LMWDP #353


#7: Post by coyote-1 »

Some questions.

1. How many shots do you drink back-to-back that you'd notice such flagrant inconsistencies?

2. Is it possible, and perhaps even likely, that the experience of the first shot changed your perception - and that therefore, perhaps the shots themselves have not varied as wildly as you imagine?

3. If you draw a blind shot to warm up the whole mechanism, do the next few come out consistent?

4. If the issue is perhaps the grinder, are you drawing from a filled hopper? Or single dosing?

sleepyfish (original poster)

#8: Post by sleepyfish (original poster) »

Thank you all for the questions and advice.
I pull probably 4 shots back to back, we are 2 adults who love coffee. I turn on the machine automatically maybe 50 minutes before pulling the first shot. One of those smart plugs, very handy.
Yes, pretty much in any scenario the shots are inconsistent, I was just asking if this is a normal limitation of the machine, in this price range, and if this sort of thing tends to happen. This is my first machine and I agree that upgrades are not necessarily required, ultimately I can live with a little frustration :)
I have a manual grinder - jmax from 1zpresso. It has next to 0 retention, it's actually a great little grinder. When I started I was weighing the beans before and after grinding.
About changed perception - I guess it's true. I searched the forums and looks like it's a common issue. I have realistic expectations I hope, please keep me honest - 4 coffees should not be a stretch for these machines, right?
If I go down the rabbit hole, what would you suggest for first stop?


#9: Post by BodieZoffa »

You should be able to crank out consistent extractions without that much recovery time. Been there and done that with various single boiler machines. Many times I used a rather stock Silvia to do as many as 8 doubles and texture milk for one of those in maybe 20 mins total. Bit different than the Gaggia, but had one of those as well and got great results from it.

The manual grinder should have no retention issues, but definitely keep in mind the least bit of variation in grind speed/angle you hold it can affect feed rate and cause slight inconsistencies.