GAGGIA CLASSIC VALVE ISSUES – OLD AND NEW VERSIONS COMPARED

The Gaggia Classic, is just that a classic, they have a following of users who just love them. And for good reason they are a reliable little machine that lasts. They are similar but cheaper than the classic Rancillio Silvia single boiler machine, both machines require the user to purge the boiler to make room for steam which annoys some of us. But considering the Gaggia Classic used to last almost a decade, at $600 bucks they were a great option.

But recently Ive heard bad things about them and when I saw them for sale ridiculously cheaply at Costco I thought should I buy a few for stock. So when two units came into the workshop an old one and a new one, both with valve related issues, I thought it was a good opportunity to compare the new and old version. And just see what’s the go with this classic.

The new version on the left next to the faithful old one

There is only really one difference (there are other less relevant changes) between the old and new Gaggia Classics and its an important difference. it’s the valve. See pics below. The new valve is a much thinner (cheaper) valve and it appears to be prone to blockages. Well I might be joining a few dots here but I can tell you that the new Gaggia Classic machine pictured came in with a blockage in the valve jet. It was quickly fixed with some compressed air and a pick but this issue may well be why the new Gaggia Classic is getting a bad wrap.
The older machine also had an issue with the coffee valve but it was just worn out after making thousands of coffees and looked to be years old. The old valve was a commercial grade quality component made by Parker. And I replaced it with a Parker valve that we use in the commercial machines. This is not an option with the new Gaggia Classic as you will see from the pics below.

The new style Gaggia Classic Coffee Valve
The old Style Gaggia Classic Coffee Solenoid on the right, on the left is the Parker valve I intend to replace the stem and plunger of the old valve with. A good quality valve that lasts for years and does not seem to block up as readily
Cleaning the jet of the new valve, this is what was blocked solid with coffee particles and oils
To get at the valve in the new Gaggia, remove the screws holding the pump mounting and flip the pump out of the way. You can then easily get at the valve to unbolt it without removing any wires or the complete boiler. It makes cleaning the valve quick, because I think you will be doing it a lot.
Here is the new Parker valve fitted to the older Gaggia Classic

In summary, the Gaggia Classic is a simple little machine that has no controller just a couple of thermostats and switches. It makes an ok cup of coffee and is famous for lasting years despite its cheap price tag. However it appears the new version utilises a cheaper valve that appears to be prone to blocking up. So be prepared to get in there and remove it every now and then to clean.
There may be other differences with the boiler construction etc and you can see from the pics in this post the new version is missing an OPV valve but I did not dissect the machines, I just made a quick show and tell. If you are one of those members of the fan club who thinks this article is misleading fake news, or if you are one of them that makes mods to this classic machine, please do tell, the comments section is open. I’m just reporting what happened you can make you own conclusions. And don’t worry we are located just up the road from Costco. I think it’s a basic truth that appliances get cheaper and less reliable over time, even the classics.

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