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Parts Guru is managed by a team of technicians with over 26 years of experience in fixing home and commercial espresso machines, granita slush machines, juice dipensers of all brands and models. Our web site is a comprehensive source of information about coffee, espresso machines, parts and technical guidance for self repairs. Pictures of machines, parts diagrams, owner's manuals, and illustrated instructions are included. There is enough information and repair kits made available for a handy person to fix most of the malfunctions. About 60% malfunctions in the espresso machines are due to lack of maintenance and about 15% are because the owners have not spent time to know how the machine is used for best performance.

 

 How to find information on this site

Due to  the large variety of brands and dispensers we deal in, we have separated Category links by the brand.

A single page "Saeco" displays pictures of all Saeco models. So is a page each for Gaggia, LaPavoni, UNIC and so on. For more information on a particular model, click the picture or "More info" link. On the page for each model, the Manual, Exploded parts diagram, Wiring diagram and other maintenance information is available as a "Download file". 

Inquiries

During business hours, we answer the phones with a human  voice. Our e-mail address: sales@partsguru.com is displayed on every single page of this website because we welcome inquiries. Please e-mail inquiries with as many details as possible (leave nothing for us to guess). Let us know if you are in the USA or outside of the USA. Incomplete and anonymous e-mails are a waste of time. We request you to identify the make, model, part number and the electric current used (110V or 230V). If you are protecting your identity from us for whatever reason, then please do not send any e-mails. Make sure that our reply e-mail is not blocked.

 

 Gaggia parts situation

The Gaggia Exlusive dealer in USA is a typical example of a dealer who does not care for after sale service. There is always a long list of parts on back order and their repair service is extremely frustrating. We find Gaggia parts from alternate sources in Italy. Our prices are somewhat higher, yet parts are available. All fully automatic machines of Gaggia are made by Saeco. Titanium is identical to Starbucks Italia Digital and Incanto line; Syncrony Logic is same as Saeco Vienna line; Syncrony Digital is a duplicate of Saeco Magic Deluxe and the latest Platinum 2006 models are same as Saeco's Talea Go, Ring, Touch plus etc. It makes sense to buy Saeco models Talea for better warranty protection and after sales service. We do not recommend or sell Gaggia espresso machines as the after sale service is almost not available and parts are always on back order from 6 weeks to 6 months. There is a lot of hoopla about the New Generation models designed by BMW.  These machines are bad design and made with cheap materials. Stay away from the BMW designed model. BMW is good for making cars. 

The Best Espresso Machine

Espresso machines are simply a tool for hot water and steam with controls for temperature and pressure. The operator should  know how to use the tool right and more importantly, must know all variable factors that are essential for making good espresso. Get to know the variable factors for good espresso and how to change the settings. Make the first few cups using the factory settings and make notes of those settings as the starting point before changing any factory settings. Change settings only when necessary and adjust only one grade or notch at a time. Note the change in the quality and taste of espresso with one type of change in each setting. For example, a change in fineness of grind and quantity of beans per single cup espresso will not show what change made the difference. After making several espressos, mark the setting that made the espresso that tasted the best for you.

Ask not, what the espresso machine can do for you...ask, what you know about making espresso and operating the espresso machine? 

 

Energy Saving Mode

Almost all manufacturers and dealers highlight the convenience of leaving a fully automatic home espresso machine "ON" as the machine will automatically switch to its "Energy Saving Mode". This feature may be good for a lazy owner of the machine, but it is harmful to the electronic components in the control board of the machine. Brew group functions fail, o-rings and gaskets lose sealing ability and internal leakage from hoses and heat exchanger starts. Both parts are expensive to replace. 

We strongly recommend that all home espresso machines should always be turned off when coffee making is done!

 

 The Best Grinder

Grinders with conical burrs are the best. Conical burrs grind beans at a slow speed (650 RPM) and grade the coffee for uniform grain. Conical burrs have longer blades and their lower spin speed generates less heat and does not alter the quality of ground coffee. The flat burrs spin at 1600 RPM and just crush the beans without uniform grading. Grinders with flat disc burrs (Mazzer, Rocky, MDF etc.) do the job but are not the best grinders nor are they recommended by us for home use.

 

 The Ceramic Burr

There is a lot of discussion about ceramic burr grinders. The claim is that ceramic is harder than steel and lasts longer. Ceramic burrs may last for 20,000 grinds but the plastic gear that spins the ceramic burrs wears after only 2000 grinds! Conical burrs on the other hand have longer blades, spin at 1/3 speed of flat disc burrs and grinds and grades the grounds to a uniform grain size output. Conical burrs are, therefore, better than flat disc burrs. Ceramic burrs are a disadvantage.

 

 Extended Warranty

  Every dealer sells machines because it is the easiest way to make profits (pick up a box and hand it over to the carrier). For warranty service during the first year, customers are asked to contact the manufacturer. When the extended warranty becomes due, there will be fine print of exclusions that apply. The most common exclusion is: "Warranty will be void if maintenance is not done as recommended" (90% of all warranty is voided for this reason).

The standard turn around time for warranty repairs is six to eight weeks. The worst turn around is on Gaggia espresso machines because the parts are not available. No one likes to be without their machine for extended period of several weeks and months. This is another way to circumvent the warranty when a frustrated customer would decide to buy another machine or go to another paid servcie facility.

 

The Best Espresso Bean

The taste of coffee in a cup is a very personal choice. Do not let anyone tell you to accept what they like. Coffee tasting is like wine tasting: it is an acquired taste. Experiment different blends, different roasting grades and extraction methods. When it comes to the choice of espresso beans, keep in mind that dark and oily roast is not the best espresso roast. It is best to not let oil come out on the surface of the roasted bean because the oil is the nectar of coffee. Once it is on the surface, it reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air and turns rancid within 10 seconds. For storing roasted beans, avoid refrigeration or freezing since this is unnecessary for the beans that have gone through roasting temperature of 300C to 450C. Store in air tight containers. Zip lock bags are ideal. Portion coffee beans enough for one or two days consumption. Open one bag at a time for freshness.

Variable Factors in Making Good Espresso

  • Make sure to grind beans fresh, one cup at a time. This is not possible if there is no grinder next to or built into the espresso machine.
  • Espresso water should be instantly heated to 98C (not possible in Lever models by Olympia LaPavoni and Gaggia).
  • Use pre-infusion method for extraction. Pre-infusion is a pause of 3 to 8 seconds, allowing coffee grounds to soak, swell and dissolve the aromatic ingredients for extraction.
  • Focus on extraction of espresso at 9 Bar (135.p.s.i.) pump pressure at the point of extraction. A 15 Bar pump is more than enough to make 9 Bar extraction.
  • When using fully automatic machines or when using semi-automatic machines with pressurized portafilters, use coarser grind (like the table salt grain) and do not tamp the coffee grounds. Level the grounds in the filter basket and hook it up in the group; it will tamp lightly as the filter holder is twist locked into the goup right. 
  • Maximum coffee extract should be 2 oz.; for larger sizes of espresso, use two shots of 2-Oz. each and add another 4-6 Oz. hot water from the same machine, to dilute coffee.

 

Micro Foaming with a Frother

Frothers are for normal frothing and steaming with convenience and speed. Micro foaming is a skill: It is a training which requires essential elements like maximum and sustained steam pressure, a steady hand and technique and patience. These elements are beyond the scope of home models. Competing and winning a micro foaming contest means a lot to career seekers and hobbyists. Excellent microfoaming is possible easily with Saeco Cappuccinatiore automatic frother. One should know how to use the frother correctly. Very reasonable micro foaming is possible with use of Pannarello frother for making one or two morning coffees. Again, one should learn how to use Pannarello frothers correctly.

 

 Frothing Milk and Large Bubbles

To generate foam, milk is heated with a carefully adjusted quantity of air to mix with the jet of steam. The wider the difference bewteen steam and the starting temperature of milk, the better froth is generated. Steaming and frothing of milk directly with steam wand needs practice and patience. A three hole nozzle tip of steam pipe does a better job than a single hole tip. Frothers are devices that generate froth without any training. Pannarello frothers allow mixing of air through a tiny hole in the upper end of the outer sleeve. Just dip the frother about an inch deep in the milk and let full jet of steam do the frothing. Large bubbles are generated when too much air mixes with steam jet. This can be due to the frother being not dipped deep enough. Frothing devices should not be used like steam wand, starting at the surface to generate froth first and the deep steaming to raise the temperature of milk. 

If the Pannarello frother generates large bubbles, then check:

  • The frother is properly installed and its outer sleeve is properly pushed up on the o-ring seal.
  • The frother hole in the outer sleeve is not tampered and large due to use of metal pins to clean it. Try steaming milk by dipping frother deep into the milk. If larger bubbles continue, then dip the frother deep until the hole is immersed in milk to preven air mixing with steam. This method will generate somewhat less foam but it will be microfoam quality. Please use the following link to see the anatomy of Pannarello frother:

 

 Pressurized Portafilters

Pressurized portafilters are a simple and convenient tool to eliminate the need for precision powder like grinding and tamping. These portafilters have a valve that helps pre-infusion and helps build extraction pressure to 9 Bars before allowing water to pass through the coffee grounds. There are a few critics of these portafilters, because they have not used the pressurized portafilters correctly.

 

   Instant Heating of Water for Espresso

One of the requirements for espresso is to use freshly heated water. In the commercial machines the water for espresso is instantly heated by allowing it to pass through a tube across the boiler from bottom to the top or side to side. Cold water heats up to the temperature level of hot water in the boiler (1/2 level). The temperature of water increases further as it passes through the steam chamber in the boiler. The water level in the boiler is maintained using a level probe in such a way that the water passage through the water and steam chambers inside the boiler heat it up instantly to the desired level at 98C. It is critical to adjust the water level and steam chamber in the boiler very accurately because if the water level is higher than necessary, the steam chamber will be smaller and temperature of instantly heated water for espresso will be below the 98C required. If the water level is too low, then espresso water will come out almost boiling at 102C or 105C. There are some home espresso machines that have similar water heating systems with a small heat exchanger tube. Such models include LaPavoni's Nepolitana and Saeco's Espresso Classico Rapid steam and Lelit models PL51 and PL046.  Almost all other home espresso models use a boiler where hot water is drawn from pre-heated water stagnant in the boilers. 

Almost all fully automatic machines use heat exchangers that heat water instantly during passage through narrow channels inside the block. A picture of Saeco heat exchanger is included as download file below. The two half pieces of the block have been separated to show the narrow water channels.   

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 Guru's Choice (12 oz. bag): 95% Arabica blend, medium roast, non-oily espresso beans; buy three bags, get one free. Free shipping in the USA.

Caffe Bella (2.2 lbs. bag): 100% Arabica blend; free shipping in the USA.

 Sampler Pack: Includes two 12 oz. bags of Guru's Choise and one 2.2 lbs. bag of Caffe Bella espresso beans; free shipping in the USA.

Caffe Bella (Six 2.2 lbs. bags): 100% Arabica blend; buy six bags and get one free. Free shipping in the USA. 

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Download File 


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