The Gaggia Classic has become a star of the home espresso scene by delivering professional quality coffee without having to leave your kitchen. You haven’t bought a cheap Mr. Coffee; this is an investment. The same way you wouldn’t drive your car for years without servicing it, you need to care for your Gaggia Classic.
You’re taking care of your machine’s daily maintenance by doing things like wiping down your steam wand, purging it regularly, and changing out your cleaning cloths frequently.
But are you backflushing your Gaggia Classic?
Why Backflush your Gaggia Classic
Backflushing is the act of forcing high-pressure water (and possibly cleaner) through your Gaggia Classic’s system. It helps remove the build-up of coffee oils and coffee particles that can lead to unwanted tastes in your espresso and expensive maintenance and replacement parts down the road.
Besides cleaning the shower screen and everything behind the portafilter, backflushing also cleans out the connections between the water injection point through the three-way valve and down to the drip tray. These areas can accumulate oils until they become clogged and damage your espresso machine.
If you want to familiarize yourself with how the three-way valve works and why it’s essential to ensure that it’s free from build-up, check out this step-by-step walkthrough.
What Supplies Will you Need to Backflush your Gaggia Classic
Backflushing is a simple process that you can perform daily or weekly, depending on your usage and maintenance habits. Some people choose to backflush with water daily and then use a chemical backflush such as Cafiza once a week. You can find Cafiza, along with other espresso machine cleaning tools, like a backflushing kit, in our handy accessory guide. Whichever schedule you choose, you’ll also need a backflushing disc.
How To Backflush your Gaggia Classic
With your backflush cleaning agents and disc in hand, you’re ready to start the process. It’s a straightforward task, and you’ll have it mastered in no time at all.
Insert the backflushing disc into the portafilter
The backflushing disc will simply prevent the water from flowing out and down by forcing it back through the three-way valve in your machine and out into the drip tray.
Add Cafiza to the backflushing disc
If you’re just backflushing with clean water, you can skip down to step 8. Add a scoop (teaspoon) of Cafiza. You don’t want to overdo it here, as the goal is to remove all traces of the cleaner from the machine.
Attach the portafilter
With the Cafiza in the backflushing disc, reattach the portafilter and make sure it’s firmly seated.
Turn on the Gaggia Classic and watch
Start the Gaggia Classic, and keep an eye on the drain tube. You should see the cleaner and possibly some sediment coming out in a few seconds. If the pump starts to sputter and nothing’s coming out, you’ll want to stop the process and not strain the pump.
Turn off the Gaggia Classic
At this point, you’ve completed a backflush. Go you! The water traveled to the portafilter, hit the backflush disc, mixed with the cleaner, then returned down the tube to the three-way valve. Since the line back to the reservoir was already full of water, the cleaner mix had nowhere to go but through the three-way valve and out the drain.
Repeat the On/Off process four more times
Now that the backflush process is complete, you’ll turn the switch on, wait for some sediment/cleaner to drain, then turn it off again for four more cycles.
Clean out the backflushing disc and reattach the portafilter
The problem now is that the tubing has cleaner in it. So you’ll need to pop out the portafilter, clean out the backflushing disc, and reattach.
Repeat the On/Off process five times
Five more cycles should be enough to remove the remaining Cafiza from the lines. You should see clear water coming out of the drain tube.
Make a cup of espresso and dump it
While the cleaner-free cycles should remove any trace of cleaner and coffee residue from the system, you may want to play it safe and run your Gaggia Classic through a brew cycle and dump out the espresso to ensure that there is no cleaner taste left.
Your machine should now be clean and ready to make you a lot of delicious, smooth, oh-so-necessary espresso. Here’s how to do that.