Gaggia Dispersion Plate Stuck

Equipment doesn't work? Troubleshooting? If you're handy, members can help.

#1: Post by jimlewis1126 »

HELP! First time on this forum... I hope someone has a solution. I'm trying to do a routine cleaning/descaling of my Gaggia Coffee (now called the "Classic", but mine is 15 years old), and I can't remove the dispersion plate to save my life. I've been all over the internet for solutions -- I've tried the prying, the gentle hammering, the slightly more than gentle hammering, the sharp objects under the lip, the soaking upside down with Dezcal, and heating the machine.

Any other remedies? Ammonium nitrate? Weapons-grade plutonium? A large dog with a destructive disposition? Or, do I throw in the towel and just run it into the ground because it's already 15 years old? Any suggestions are appreciated.



#2: Post by SJM »

So, you took the boiler out and soaked it upside down? Good so far.
But Dezcal was the wrong choice of things to soak it in.
What is gluing your dispersion plate on is old coffee goo, not scale.
You need to soak it in detergent not descaler.


#3: Post by nahau »

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#4: Post by Marcelnl »

use (hot) Triphosphate cleaner, loads of patience and moderate force, you may have to interchange the force, moderate Triphosfate cleaner etc...
I have battled with a solidly gunked up GC dispersion plate once, and it was not nice, the lucky part is they can be bought new so the plate can be sacrificed (and I had to).
LMWDP #483


#5: Post by jimlewis1126 »

Many thanks to all for your feedback. Yes, I had seen the thread about the plate with the frozen bolts - it was helpful to read it again. I haven't actually removed the boiler - I simply unplugged the power cord and removed the reservoir before inverting the whole machine. This
morning I soaked the plate in really hot water and regular dish detergent.... pretty mild stuff, and to no avail.

I'll see if I have any TSP, although I read it's pretty toxic stuff. Can anyone tell me if any of the recommended TSP substitutes (Borax, Simple Green - both of which I already have at home) are sufficiently safe for my machine?

- Jim

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#6: Post by Marcelnl » replying to jimlewis1126 »

TSP is not that toxic, it's aiding algea growth in natural water and banned for that reason as main stream detergent, Cafiza is a brand for coffee machines containing TSP. Amazon has it, Home Depot sells it, brewers use it...
Borax is something else, simple green too.
LMWDP #483


#7: Post by SJM »

Right, dish detergent is gentle enough for your hands.....not gonna do the job of dissolving 15 years of coffee sludge.
Cafiza is a good idea, but you really will have to soak it for a while.

You say you have a "Coffee that is now called a Classic". Does it have the steam knob on the front?*

Edit: I just went and read that thread on the stuck dispersion plate, and you should pay attention to the fact that that guy said it took 3 soaks in Pulycaf to make any inroads on the gunk at all. You really need to take the boiler out of the machine and turn it upside down in a detergent bath and expect to replenish that bath multiple times.

Another Edit: *This might seem trivial, but the Coffee which did predate the Classic (affectionately called the Old White Coffee with the Steam Knob on the Front), had a 3-way solenoid and an adjustable OPV, AND the dispersion plate was an integral part of the boiler itself. ( ... 147.0.html).


#8: Post by Jeff »

Cafiza / Puro Caff in hot water is probably a relatively safe choice for both you and the machine.

It doesn't contain TSP (trisodium phosphate). ... _U0320.pdf ... _U1218.pdf


#9: Post by SJM »

Gaggia Coffee (now called the "Classic", but mine is 15 years old)

For a bit of history, the Old White Coffee with the Steam Knob on the Front had two progeny. One was the Classic (which kept the 3-way solenoid and the adjustable OPV); the other was the Coffee (which kept nothing but the name)....


#10: Post by jimlewis1126 »

"SJM" -- Not trivial at all! And "nahau", here's the boiler from that OWC...

... and by saying the plate is integral to the boiler, I assume you mean that it can't be removed. No, my steam knob is not in front -- it's on the side -- and I assure you I've removed the plate many times when descaling the machine, but with greater difficulty over time. In fact, the plate that's stuck is relatively new. So, it's not all 15-year-old gunk, but I clearly have a well-seasoned layer that has finally lived up to its potential. I had very low expectations for the dish detergent, so I'll don the face mask and run out to Home Depot for some Cafiza...

My last question (I hope) is about moving forward. Assuming I can pry this sucker loose, I'll replace it... BUT NOT WITH ANOTHER ALUMINUM PLATE. Must I go to the highest end with brass, or will stainless steel suffice?

-- Jim