New Gaggia machine user

Ben Leung

New member
Apr 15, 2004
Sydney Australia
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I bought a Gaggia Baby to replace my 2 years old low rank coffee machine. Unfortunately, I can't get a good crema by few different brand grinded coffee they are perfect at my old machine.

Gaggia's customer service asked me to buy fresh bean and fine grind in the shop by a commerical grinder. I did it but the result is just a thin layer of crema and vaporized within a minute.

Hoping someone can give me some idea or tips how to make a good cup by this machine. Many thanks!
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Thanks topher.
Before I go for grinder solution, still want to ask:
1. How fine the bean should be grinded? (The coffee shop can help me to grind as fine as Turkish coffee but warns me it may burn the coffee.)
2. For my situation, is it a problem of fineness or freshness?
3. Other than grinder solution, Gaggia customer service suggests grinded Illy or Lavazza coffee may good enough. Please advise.
Hello Ben, Topher is probably right. Most often lack of a good crema on an espresso produced by a home machine can be contributed to the grinder. To simplify the trouble-shooting process you can eliminate the other simple problems first- such as not using the correct amount of ground coffee, not tamping firmly enough. Once you are sure these are out of the way then it is most likely the grind is off. A very fine coffee (turkish) is not the solution. The pressure from the group head will force a good amount of coffee through the portafilter into the cup. You are looking for a grind just a little coarser than powder.

I believe the crema problem is not freshness, but the fineness..... the Lavazza's and Illy's even past the (long) 6 month expiry date will produce crema.... but the taste will not be so good :x !

As machines such as the Gaggia are pretty much designed to produce consistency in pressure etc... my feeling is get the grind (and TAMP)right and you will be satisfied.
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I did several experiments according to your advices. Suitable grind and hard tamp should be the critical issues in my case as I tried different coffee in which I got some thicker crema with some of them, so I believe the current setting could make home-level coffee. I will continue to try and find the best combination and skill. Thanks you all.

There is one more interesting question. There is an optional accessory, named "perfect crema device", came with the machine. The demo video and manual claims that it helps making perfect crema even the coffee is coarser. The accessory is a rubber plate with a pin hole at the center and fit into the coffee holder. I tried and found there is really making more "crema" like froth but the customer service of Gaggia said this froth is just a fake. The "crema" I made with this device got a bigger bubble. Please comment if you know something about this "Perfect crema device", thanks.
haha my boss dropped a Saeco espresso machine on my desk and said enjoy....I used it still sits on my desk....I will say heated up quick as a mofo!!! The reason I mention this that it had this little rubber "thingy" that fit in the port-a-filter...thought it was for back-flushing but there was a hole in the center....I didn't keep the instructions :roll: sue me..anyway...I guess it is supposed to be what you are speaking of "perfect crema"...I didn't need it though :grin: as guy and E.Os..said...practice on your tamp and correct amount of coffee..once you have perfected your tamp and amount of coffee adjust your grind in the grinder that you should have bought by now! :wink:
controlling variables

Wow there were a lot of good ideas here. Without sounding course, i wouldn't dunp the machine! Thats a BIG decision. Especially since it is a replacement for a former machine. I don't know if this is similar advice or different, but i would say the grind can be a CONTROLED variable. IF you get the grind where you want it LEAVE IT THERE :!: If you never change it then your grind is set and consistent (with a good grinder). Also you know your wieght or volume should be fixed if you always grind 9g and dispense 7-9g, or you always use exactly one scoop of the same grind. These are all controlled.

:x My personal sour point? the TAMP! Iv'e been doing espress for a long time, and i never seem to control a tamp that is repeateable. That is just human limitation i guess. Eihter too much or too litle pressure. (ANY HELP :? ) For me its tough. But most the other stuff if controlled will help. Time is also somewhat controalable. I always count 1001, 1003, up to about 17 or 23 depending on how the shot actually looks in my glass.

Sounds like most the other suggestions were good too. I notice the date of this post, so more than likely you already have a a grinder. Hope it is working out for you. The gaggia's a re areally good home machine. Also the Lavazza and Illy are great imports. I would suggest trying some fresh roasted beans (hint hint).

Which Gaggia Machine did you buy? They are nice. MAtter of fact we are putting one in our home to replace a different (unnamed brand).

topher said:
The reason I mention this that it had this little rubber "thingy" that fit in the port-a-filter...thought it was for back-flushing but there was a hole in the center....I didn't keep the instructions :roll: sue me..anyway...I guess it is supposed to be what you are speaking of "perfect crema"


The rubber thingy as you call it was because the portafilter is not pressurized itself. The rubber top is to provide the pressure for brewing. We call these NPF, or non pressurized portafilters. They can work well, but are not as good as pressurized filters seen in commercial brew groups. The crema enhancer may be this device, but I would say it is a requirement, not an option. Save those instructions!
Crema problem solution in the grind type

Well I can tell you from having tried everything from cleaning to descalling that the answer to your problem is very much the BURR GRINDER.

I personally have a Rancilio Rocker which I purchased 1 year ago. Having all kinds of crema issues I started experimenting and reading all I could find on the net. TODAY I have found the solution to my problem. It turns out that my grind was too coarse. I adjusted the Rocker to 3 which is quite fine and the crema magically appeared and lots of it! WOW am I happy!

I could not stop wondering why my neighbour could get such great results with MY coffee using a BREVILLE which is designed to work with pretty much any grocery type pre-ground coffee. Today the mystery is resolved!

So spend the money on the grinder and experiment with various grinds from coarse to fine and you should solve your CREMA ISSUE.

As a previous post suggested spend the money on the grinder as the key to great espresso is in the grind quality followed closely by the coffee quality and then by the machine.