Gaggia G106: problems pulling an espresso - coffee leaks when lever in upward position

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#1: Post by Hoody »

Hi everyone!

First time on this forum, sifted through the topics and couldnt find anything, but feel free to redirect me to one if this issue has already been adressed:

I am now the proud owner of a G106 Gaggia (with the cute tin man/pinocchio hat!) which i found in a fleamarket in Naples for a steal. I took it to pieces and put it together again, checked seals, plumbing and electricity and things look quite healthy. Changed the plastic connector into which the rod connects into the grouphead and bought a filter.

I'm still very new at this, but when i try to pull a shot, here's what happens:
1) i let the boiler get to right temperature
2) evacuate "fake pressure" from the wand (ie: some air in the tank that isnt steam)
3) when the pressure is stable (it stops at 0.75 bar) i lift the lever up before connecting the portafilter. When the portafilter is connected, I then lift it a little bit more to let the water in before pressing down.

THIS is where things feel a little weird: theres way more resistance through suction as the lever goes up and none when i press it back down (the lever is actually quite hard to keep innuendo intended here ;-) ) and the coffee is already pouring before i have a chance to press downwards.
Ive watched videos where people wait for the coffee to start dripping with lever in upwards position before pressing their shot, but in my case it seems most of the shot is poured before i'm even pressing down!
The shot tastes a bit burnt as a result and i feel like the whole point of the lever is to add pressure to the coffee...

Anyway, i can upload a video if need be, but any advice or thoughts so far?

Thanks a million!


#2: Post by Marmot »

Hey Hoody

It sounds like your machine is working fine but the coffee is not building resistance.
What kind of grinder are you using? The coffee has to be fresh and ground pretty fine and you have to tamp it.



#3: Post by jtrops »

The La Pavoni levers are picky about the coffee, and the grind. That is where I would start.

What beans are you using? How old are they (what is the roast date)?

What grinder are you using?

If your coffee tastes burnt there's a good chance that your beans are burnt, and they will not perform well in the machine. When I use even slightly over roasted beans my pulls are fast, and watery. Try beans that are at full city, or thereabouts. Also, get fresh beans from a local roaster. Grind immediately before extraction.

No need to purge the air pressure from the boiler on the G106. It is the same machine as the La Pavoni Professional Romantica with a cone hat instead of a dome. These machines have an anti-vacuum valve in the boiler cap that solves the "air" problem. It's been years since I've bothered with purging pressure through the steam wand on mine.

Also, I don't use a tamper anymore. I found that light tamping produced more reliable results, and eventually just went with a leveler. Having a level bed in the portafilter seems to be a bigger factor on these machines.

Hoody (original poster)

#4: Post by Hoody (original poster) »

Thanks for the quick reactions!

Yes indeed; I am ashamed to say I bought pre-ground coffee, currently travelling (yes strangely, with my machine on board...) I don't yet have access to a local roaster nor my own grinder, which i am in the process of buying.
(Any reccomendations on that front? Something non electric would be appreciated)...

I will try with freshly and finely ground coffee and get back to you.
I also have a problem frothing milk; but that is a topic for another post ;-)

Thanks again!



#5: Post by RobAnybody »

Hoody wrote:(Any reccomendations on that front? Something non electric would be appreciated)...
I can reccommend the Izpresso JX-pro, I have used it now for a month or so and am quite impressed with the results so far. easy to adjust and clean and it also doesn't take a lot of effort to grind (and isn't very expensive). but there are several other options out there that could be worth buying.
LMWDP #647


#6: Post by jtrops »

There are a lot of good hand grinders on the market now. I have a Kinu m47 that is great, but it isn't the only kid in the playground.

If your Gaggia still has the plastic piston with a metal one you will want to change that. Your machine is 22 years old now, and that piston is probably brittle. It's a fast repair that you can do when you swap the piston seals.