Coffee Facts

Troubleshooting Gaggia Espresso Machines: Common Problems

From sour tasting coffee to no water flow, we walk through the solutions to the common problems with the Gaggia Classic espresso machine

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No one wants to be in this situation – you wake up to make your morning espresso only to find your machine isn’t working.

While the Gaggia Classic is a highly reliable espresso machine, you may encounter some problems with it.

Troubleshooting Gaggia Espresso Machines

We’ll explain some of the common issues you might experience while using your Gaggia machine and walk you through the steps to get your brewer working properly.

Gaggia Troubleshooting Guide

Gaggia provides a basic troubleshooting guide in the user manual. Check the troubleshooting Gaggia espresso machines guide to see if there is an easy fix for the problem you are encountering.

Gaggia Troubleshooting Guide

If you can’t find your problem there, don’t worry. We’ll walk through some solutions that the user manual doesn’t provide.

Coffee Tastes Sour, Bitter, or No Crema

Lack of crema or bad-tasting shots are usually due to an improper brewing process.

You might want to adjust your tamping technique or your coffee grind size. Make sure you are using fresh quality coffee for the best results.

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Aside from proper brewing, poor-tasting coffee can be caused by improper cleaning and maintenance. If you are not descaling your machine, limescale buildup can affect the taste of your coffee. Make sure you are following a regular cleaning schedule to keep your brewer working.

No Power

If you’re not getting power to your espresso maker, it could be an issue with your power source. First, ensure the outlet you’re plugging into has power by testing it with another appliance. If the outlet is working fine, you’ll need to check some machine connections.

If your machine has shipped recently, it may have a disconnected wire from transport. Remove the two Phillips head screws from the back of the machine and lift off the housing. Check that the two wires are connected where the power cords meet the machine.

If reconnecting these wires doesn’t fix your problem, try using another power cord. If your machine has been working for years and suddenly loses power, you likely have blown a fuse.

Not Heating

The thermostat controls heating in the Gaggia Classic. If water comes out of the group head at a lukewarm temperature, you may need to replace it.

Remove the housing and find the thermostat next to the boiler. If there are no loose connections, your thermostat needs to be replaced.

If you’re getting hot water from the group head and your espresso is still cold, you can preheat your cups with warm water. A cold coffee cup can quickly cool down your espresso drink temperature.

No Water Flow

If you’re not getting water flow through your group head, check if the machine has been primed. Press all three buttons, and water should come out of the steam wand. If no water comes out, your brewer must be primed.

To prime your machine, fill your water tank and place a cup under the brew group and one under the steam wand. Turn on your espresso maker and hit the espresso button. Open the steam wand until you see a steady stream of water. Close the steam wand, and water should come out of the group head.

If your machine is primed and still not pouring water, listen to see if your pump is working. If you can’t hear your pump, it will need to be replaced.

If water flows through the machine with the portafilter removed, it’s possible that you just need to make adjustments to your coffee grind or tamp. You can also clean your filter basket to ensure it isn’t clogged.

If water doesn’t flow even without the portafilter, you need to clean your solenoid valve. If water isn’t flowing through the steam wand or group head but dispenses through the decompression pipe, your solenoid valve needs to be replaced.

Consider cleaning or replacing your boiler if this doesn’t fix your problem.

No Steam Power

The proper frothing technique is hard to achieve and takes practice. Check out our guide and make sure you are avoiding common frothing mistakes before you start troubleshooting your wand.

If your steam function still isn’t working correctly, your wand may be clogged.

Remove the Pannarello attachment and check for steam wand blockages. Milk residues may build up and clog your wand over time. If there are no blockages and you still aren’t getting water flowing through your steam wand, it may need to be primed.

The steam and brewing temperatures are controlled by the same thermostat on the Gaggia Classic. If cold water is coming from the brew head, you’ll need to replace your thermostat.

Loud Pump

A noisy pump could be caused by your steam wand assembly. If you hear a loud pinging noise during steaming, your Panarello assembly is out of place. Make sure your wand is properly inserted into your machine.

If you hear knocking or metallic banging in your machine when the pump is on, the pump is not in the proper position. You’ll have to open your brewer and remount the pump.

Machine is Leaking

There are a few potential causes for water leaking from your Gaggia Machine.

If water leaks from the back of the machine, it’s most likely from your water tank chamber. It is possible you spilled water while you were moving the water tank. To prevent further leaks, ensure both tubes are inside the fresh water tank once it is in position.

If your machine leaks from the brew group, the group gasket needs to be replaced. Remove the shower screen to access the group gasket. Pry out the group gasket by hand or drive a screw into the gasket to easily remove it.

If you are leaking from your steam wand, remove the knob on the steam valve assembly. Pull it straight off and try to close the steam valve using a pair of pliers. If the valve closes and the leak stops, check your steam knob for any cracks or wear.

You’ll need to replace your steam knob if it is damaged. If it doesn’t close, you’ll need to replace the steam valve. A leak in the steam wand can also be caused by limescale buildup.

The final place to check for a leak is at the pump. Check the pump connection and use Teflon tape to cover any leaks.

Gaggia and Espresso


No machine will last forever, but hopefully, you can resolve these common issues.

Remember, proper cleaning and maintenance can help keep your machine brewing and avoid major issues in the first place.

Before you start any major repairs on your machine, check if your brewer is under warranty. Gaggia machines are protected for two years. If your machine has any major malfunctions, call Gaggia’s support team and have your machine sent to their service center.

Happy Caffeinating!

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