Where Coffee Happens

Where Coffee Happens

 I have owned a Gaggia Coffee espresso machine for about 5 years now.  After about a year, I noticed it gradually began to take longer and longer to pull my shots.  It eventually started burning the shots and ruining the taste.  Being a new espresso machine owner, I read up and found that I was supposed to de-scale on a regular basis.  After trying several batches of different de-scaling brands, my wife found an article that traced a similar problem to a clogged orifice.  I cleaned mine out and it worked a good as new.  I have had to periodically do this.  So, I thought, there must be others out there with the same problem and I might lessen their learning curve by sharing my experience.  So if you are having a similar problem with your Gaggia Coffee espresso machine, try this:

Tools You'll Need

Tools You'll Need

You’ll need a 5mm allen wrench, a Phillips screwdriver, a 12mm socket and a 12mm open end wrench (or a pair of channel locks will do).
Step 0 Safety

Step 0 Safety

Next, unplug the machine and remove the cord from the back.
Step 1 lay machine on back

Step 1 lay machine on back

Now, remove the drip tray, reservoir and cover.  Then, place the machine on its back.

Step 2 brewgroup shower screen

Step 2 brewgroup shower screen

This group of parts is referred to as the brew group.  Remove the Phillips screw from the shower screen.
Step 3 remove shower screen

Step 3 remove shower screen

This will expose the shower holding plate.

Step 4 remove screws from shower holding plate

Step 4 remove screws from shower holding plate

Use a 5mm allen wrench to remove the two screws holding the shower holding plate in place.  These can be snug.  If you don’t use the correct size wrench, you will strip the heads – very bad!

step 5 remove shower holding plate from brewgroup

step 5 remove shower holding plate from brewgroup

You might need to use your allen wrench to help remove/pry the plate from the brew group.
Step 6 inside the brewgroup

Step 6 inside the brewgroup

You are now inside the brew group.  You’ll probably notice lots of scale here but this isn’t the real problem.  We are after the orifice housing located in the middle of the brew group.

Step 7 Orifice housing

Step 7 Orifice housing

You’ll need your 12mm socket to remove the orifice housing from the center of brew group.
Step 8 Remove orifice housing

Step 8 Remove orifice housing

This can be snug as well.
Step 9 Orifice housing

Step 9 Orifice housing

This is the culprit – the orifice housing.
Step 10 Open the orifice housing

Step 10 Open the orifice housing

Use the 12mm socket and 12mm open end wrench to separate the orifice housing into its two parts.  I didn’t have a 12mm wrench handy so I used a pair of channel locks.  However, this could round the corners of the soft metal so be very careful.

Step 11 Unscrew orifice housing

Step 11 Unscrew orifice housing

This is where the two halves separate.
Step 12 Orifice housing, spring and seal

Step 12 Orifice housing, spring and seal

Inside here is our problem.  The scale builds up and restricts the water passing through the orifice.
Step 13 Clean parts

Step 13 Clean parts

Clean the parts with soap and water, vinegar or some citric acid if available.  I use a paper clip to unclog the orifice.
Step 14 Replace orifice housing and Align holes on shower plate

Step 14 Replace orifice housing and Align holes on shower plate

 Now you’ll need to reassemble the orifice housing.  Then replace it and the shower holding plate – be sure to align the holes in the plate to the holes in the brew group.  With all of these items you’ll need to merely snug the pieces back together.  The metals are very soft and will strip easily.  If you over tighten, it will also make it very difficult the next time you have to do this.

Step 15 Replace shower plate screws

Step 15 Replace shower plate screws

Make sure to tighten the shower plate screws gradually working back and forth between the screws so as not to bind the plate into the brew group.
Step 16 Finished and clean!

Step 16 Finished and clean!

All done!  Replace your reservoir and drip tray and you back in business!  You should notice a big difference in the flow of your water as you brew espresso.  Enjoy!