Help Me Restore Gaggia Syncrony Compact

CDLehner

New member
Mar 26, 2011
2
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As you can see, I am a first-time poster. Here is my situation:

My wife and I are coffee enthusiasts, and about 5 years ago we decided to decrease our coffee-out bill and invest in a Gaggia Syncrony Compact machine. Now here is where I hang my head in shame...lol

While I started off with plans of amazing pulls, and weekends of cupping...this machine turned more into my wifes 6 parts steamed milk, to 2 shots of espresso, twice daily Latte dispenser. I don't basterdize my cup quite so bad, but we hardly ever drink espresso or even good cappu from it.

So...what's the problem? Well...because it just gets banged on daily, and the flavor of the coffee is hidden by all that milk usually...we haven't done a very good job of staying on top of the cleaning and maintenance. In fact, that's probably a gross understatement. We dump the grounds box, of course...and clean the drip tray; and I've pulled the brew group out, and cleaned off the ground filter maybe a handful of times; but I don't know that I've ever descaled (and probably, if even that, no more than once...in our defense, the descaling light has never come on that I know off), and I know we have never taken the grinders out and cleaned them.

Well, I want ALL of that to change. I'd love to really give the machine a once over, a thorough cleaning and scrubbing, to try and get it as close to "new" as possible; and start drinking better coffee, and observing better habits going forward. Problem is, I'm not sure how to go about it.

I have the manual, and a little RTFM goes a long way here...lol; and I found an article which seems to cover the daunting (?) task of removing, cleaning, and re-installing the grinders. But can I get some advice on some of the other cleaning and maintenance tips, and maybe even suggestions for how to wring the best cups out of this machine?

For example, what descaler do owners recommend, and is there anything to remove the oil-stains from some of the gray plastic parts?

TIA for any help,

CD
 
Last edited:

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
1
Des Moines, Iowa
What I might suggest doing is looking into your owners manual and see if they have a return policy. It might be possible to send your unit it for a nominal fee and have the factory basically recondition your machine for you. I have sent Capresso's back for that very reason. Just called them up and said its making poor shots and I would rather have it cleaned and reconditioned if anything is broken or dying.
 

alphawave7

New member
Mar 23, 2011
137
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Should you still want to tinker on it at home, get some 'GRINDZ' grinder 'cleaner' and run a load or two through the grinder. Simply dump the fines after cleaning, and run some fresh coffee through to complete the cleaning. I would also do the descaling, but it's difficult to know how aggressive without knowing your water hardness, boiler size, etc. So perhaps a round of descaling for now, then follow up with another round a few weeks later, examining your results. Using bottled or filtered water will also improve your spro, while reducing the frequency of descalings and repairs in the future. :) HTH, G'Luck!

edit OH! And Welcome to Coffeeforums! Glad to have you! :D
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
1
Des Moines, Iowa
Here's the thing you don't want to use that type of stuff on a home superauto as its not made for it. Grindz is really hard to clean up. Even after you waste a pound of trash beans you'll still find Grindz powder lingering in the grinding chamber. To top that off I really no longer recommend using Grindz for grinder cleaning unless your trying to clean up a grinder that has had flavored coffee ran through it. I've done quite a bit of testing with Grindz and I haven't seen it prolong the life of any burr. I've used it on some of the oiliest coffee and can't say I can see much of a difference on the burrs for the before and after pictures.

If u do want to descale it you can try some Durgol for sale on Amazon. As with all cleaning products read the instructions and follow them precisely. As for alphawave7's last suggestion of water I would highly recommend the latter. Bottled water has its place if you know exactly how it was processed. If not then you could be getting water stripped of its mineral content which would be a detriment to your espresso.
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,592
4
Central North Carolina
Why not get cleaning/descaling tablets specifically designed for super-autos?

Personally I'd recommend taking apart/cleaning the grinding mechanism/brew group manually to really get things spotless.

Something like diluted JoeGlo, Cafiza works great for cleaning the toughest stains/oil buildup on pretty much any surface. It's easy to use, relatively safe and works fast.
 
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CDLehner

New member
Mar 26, 2011
2
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  • Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the feedback guys. I realize with something this personal, there are bound to be some conflicting opinions and suggestions, but it's all good; I just take it all in and try to decide the best course of action.

So...it seems like JoeGlo or Cafiza for cleaning the stained parts, and a descaler for super-autos...like Durgol...for the descaling? Now I just need to decide what to do about the grinders.

I have to admit, part of me wants to pull them out and really give it a good once over. The other part of me is scared of screwing something up...lol. I guess what I'm asking is, just how tough is it to do...take out and get back in correctly...and is it even worth it? In other words, do they make products (like this Grindz, although maybe not Grindz itself, because it might not be the best choice for my consumer super-auto) that will do just as good a job...without having to pull the grinders out?

Thanks again,
CD
 

shadow745

Active member
Aug 15, 2005
1,592
4
Central North Carolina
I'm a fan of hands-on cleaning/preventive maintenance. There is no magical solution to fix wear/tear/oil buildup.

Your machine should have only 1 grinder, probably a simple conical burr setup. I think the problem with using Grindz or rice is the residue left behind. I think a brush and vacuum does a great job of cleaning. If I want to get burrs like new I remove them from the grinder and soak in JoeGlo or Cafiza for 15-20 mins. then rinse well and blow dry with compressed air. Contrary to popular belief this will not lead to rusting as long as the burrs are dried properly. And of course the oils from grinding coffee will coat them once again to further aid in protection.

If you're just not comfortable giving your machine a rebuild I'm sure there are places that will do it for you.
 

alphawave7

New member
Mar 23, 2011
137
0
I would prefer manual cleaning of any burrset..I just wasn't sure how accessible it was on a Synchrony. It should be noted Grindz is completely foodsafe, and neutral flavor should a bit get in your coffee grind, which is made up of similar cellulose anyway. Here's its MSDS if you're interested: http://www.urnex.com/msds/MSDSGrindzGrinderCleanerw.pdf
I've used it several times in small quantity to clean visibly fouled burrs in my Mazzer Minis and my Mahlkonig, short of removing the burrs to do so manually (which carries risks of its own-offsets/recalibration/stripped screws,etc.). A few tablespoons at most, like a double-shots worth. :)
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,557
1
Des Moines, Iowa
I have to admit, part of me wants to pull them out and really give it a good once over. The other part of me is scared of screwing something up...lol. I guess what I'm asking is, just how tough is it to do...take out and get back in correctly...and is it even worth it? In other words, do they make products (like this Grindz, although maybe not Grindz itself, because it might not be the best choice for my consumer super-auto) that will do just as good a job...without having to pull the grinders out?

I think if you don't feel comfortable doing this then you shouldn't. If you want to explore and have small wrenches, screwdrivers, and other tools that you fell confident will repair the machine then you might give it a shot.

I think firstly you may want to contact the manufacture and see how easy it is just to return your unit for repair as well as to get a quote for a hypothetical repair. Do that first because if you do break it then you'll already know what you'll have to do and how much it will cost you to fix your mistake.

You may even want to tell them your going to try to clean/fix yourself. Sometimes they'll give you a warning and tell you that any unauthorized repair may lead to them not even accepting your machine for repair. If that's the case I wouldn't even bother cracking it open. Nothing worse then breaking your own machine and having a new paperweight.
 

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