Gaggia Syncrony Digital - anyone else using one? Opinions? ideas?

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

#1: Post by luc »

Hello fellow espresso drinkers,

I spend a big amount of time running out to get a good cup of coffee. Yet I have an espresso maker at home and have recently tried to become more disciplined at making a espresso at home. While it's not the same animal as having a good espresso outside where I can people watch... it does have some advantages (not bleeding my wallet dry being one of them). I've not quite figured out how to rig up an intravenous feed direct to my bedside just yet... but give me some time. :D

Ok seriously...

Is there anyone else using this machine here?

Or anyone with experience using it?

I'd like to here you thoughts on it.
Are there any modifications you've made to help it to produce a better espresso?

Are there any things about the machine that bug you?


One thing I've noticed:

1) If you hit the steam button and it heats up to the proper temperature - you have to then bleed off all the steam before you make another espresso as the LED readout reads 'OVER TEMPERATURE'. Which is a hassle as it's not plumbed direct - it's got a refillable water reservoir.

Anyone else have this sort of frustration?
I'd be curious to hear from any other owners or users of the Gaggia Syncrony Digital.

Best regards,
Luc

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jesawdy

#2: Post by jesawdy »

luc wrote:Hello fellow espresso drinkers,

I spend a big amount of time running out to get a good cup of coffee. Yet I have an espresso maker at home and have recently tried to become more disciplined at making a espresso at home. While it's not the same animal as having a good espresso outside where I can people watch... it does have some advantages (not bleeding my wallet dry being one of them). I've not quite figured out how to rig up an intravenous feed direct to my bedside just yet... but give me some time. :D

Ok seriously...

Is there anyone else using this machine here?

Or anyone with experience using it?
Lucas-

The Gaggia Syncrony Digital is a superautomatic machine, and not many folks here have one. You might get more input on CoffeGeek or another forum

That said, I do have a Saeco Vienna Superautomatica which is similar to your machine but with less features. My recommendations: use fresh whole-bean coffees, try to avoid beans that have significant surface oils as it dirties the hopper and interferes with the grinds path, adjust your grind as fine as it will go without straining the machine too bad (the Saeco only pulls singles and 15-17 seconds is a long shot, my best guess never timed it), remove and wash the grinds bin and drip tray daily, remove and rinse the brew group daily (I avoid using any soap on the brew group most of the time), remove and clean the screen from brew group on a periodic basis, lube the o-rings on the brew group periodically and keep some spares handy, clean the grinder periodically (link to an article about how to do that), descale the boiler a few times per year, if your machine supports using superauto cleaning tabs do this as recommended by the manufacturer.

Here are several previous discussions about superautomatics from the FAQs and Favorites Digest:
1) If you hit the steam button and it heats up to the proper temperature - you have to then bleed off all the steam before you make another espresso as the LED readout reads 'OVER TEMPERATURE'. Which is a hassle as it's not plumbed direct - it's got a refillable water reservoir.
On the Saeco Vienna, you flush water out the steam wand to cool the boiler back down to reasonable temperatures. Some other superautos have a a second thermoblock (on the Saeco line, they used to call this RapidSteam) to steam with no waiting and I don't think the boiler goes over temperature on these machines.
Jeff Sawdy

luc (original poster)

#3: Post by luc (original poster) »

Hi Jeff,
Thanks for taking the time to post. It's much appreciated. As I suspected... not many people here are into the super-automatics... no worries. I can understand where they're coming from.

I think I've found out the hard way about using coffee beans that are too oily as my grinder has stopped working - I suspect due to oily coffee beans. I've disassembled it once and attempted to clean it out... primarily by taking it to pieces carefully... not that hard actually and then carefully blowing it out with a can of compressed air (good or bad?) and then reassembling.

The problem is that it's started to grind the coffee intermittently and even when it does it doesn't move the grinds past the small little holding area. I suspect that either a sensor (that tells the machine the coffee is ground and ready to dump) is gunked up... or the mechanical bit or lever that moves the grounds is gunked up. The coffee beans sit in a hopper that gravity feeds into the grinder... but at a certain point they just didn't get ground and didn't go down into the hopper anymore. Not even with pressure applied to them... which isn't what should have to happen at any rate.

So... in that case I think I need to go back in and clean it a bit thoroughly. A pain because there are all the little switches that need to be flipped in order for the machine to work... eg. dredge drawer in place, drip tray in place, brew group door shut. All of which need to be out and away from the machine in order for me to have an idea of what's going on. Grrrrr....

*reaches for a roll of duct tape and a some chop sticks to keep all those switches tricked into thinking everything is in place. :roll:

Given that I'm in Hong Kong I dread the thought of bringing it back to the agent to fix this as Hong Kong is notorious for piss poor after sales service for just about every industry. Surely espresso machines aren't any different. :x

Ok... thanks for the tips on the maintenance... I'll go over them carefully and see if I can get it running with the grinder. At the moment I'm having to use ground coffee (I don't have a separate grinder off the machine) and the the missus is forever making an espresso and leaving the bag open. :evil:

Sigh... :P

Thanks again.

Best regards,
Luc