My Gaggia Baby Class D, normally a Very Good Espresso Machine Indeed, developed a bit of a problem a while ago. And when I say “a bit of a problem”, I mean “a total failure to produce coffee”, which is not a Good Thing at all. The usual cure for this is to descale the machine to remove deposits left by minerals in the water supply. I used the approved Gaggia descaling stuff – a sachet of powder that you dissolve in water, add to the tank, then run through the machine. But this didn’t help at all – while all the lights and buttons worked, suitable noises were made, and all that, hardly a drop of water came from the head.
I didn’t have time to look into it further, much less contact Gaggia (now owned by Philips, I hear, and I also hear that their customer support isn’t what it was), so I reverted to my Gaggia Cubika, which isn’t bad, but is nowhere near as good as the Baby. But given the general wobbliness of its buttons, and the tendency of the head to get blocked with coffee grounds, this wasn’t an ideal solution.
So, I began to contemplate getting another machine. That is, until a bit of Amazon searching pointed me at something I hadn’t seen before – Gaggia liquid descaler. It was available from a reseller at a cost of about £11 including delivery, which is quite a lot for descaler, but a lot less than a new espresso machine, so I decided to give it a try.
It was delivered today, and this evening I gave it a try. All you have to do is pour the contents of the bottle into the water tank, then top it up with fresh water. First, I blasted a load of steam through the wand thingy, in accordance with the instructions. I don’t generally use that, as I have no need to froth milk, being a pure espresso drinker. Then I pressed the manual button, in the faint hope that it would clear the tubes and restore normal service. After a bit of rumbling and buzzing, a thin trickle of water started to flow, which soon turned into a proper flow. It worked!
I finished running the solution through the machine, then ran two full tanks of water through it, with no reduction in flow, or any other problems.
Having done that, I reassembled the machine’s head, which I’d stripped down when I worked on it a while ago. I’ve now disconnected the backup machine, and the Baby is ready to deliver some espresso tomorrow.
Update: The next morning’s first espresso was well up to standard, and it continues to work nicely.