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question-circle Ideal water temperature from espresso machine?

  • Kevin R
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14 years 1 month ago #2480 by Kevin R
Before moving up to a higher quality machine, I'm practicing my espresso skills with an early 90's vintage Gran Gaggia. I have a question about the temperature of the water coming from the machine when in brew mode.

After letting things warm up for about 15 minutes (the instructions suggest only 6 minutes, but 15 seems to be the minimum to get that \"warm and toasty\" feeling on the outside of the machine), I've measured the temperature of the following: water taken from the steam wand, water from the brew group without the portafilter attached, and the temperature of a pulled shot of espresso. My temperature range is about 155 degrees F. (for the shot) to 165 degrees F. (for the water from the steam wand), which I think is significantly lower than it needs to be.

So -- my questions:

- What temperature should I be aiming for? Around 190 degrees F. sticks in my head, but I want to confirm that I'm correct in that assumption.

- What can I do to improve the temperature? I expect that perhaps the boiler heating element needs to be replaced, but maybe there are other solutions? I ran the machine through once with a decalcifer (Saeco liquid) when I received it; perhaps another cleaning (or more) is in order?

My apologies in advance if I haven't used the correct names for the various machine parts -- I'm still learning the lingo! Please feel free to ask for clarification.
14 years 1 month ago #2481 by colin
The ideal brew temperature is between 195 and 200 degrees (F) or about 98 degrees (C)

Here is the rub:
Virtually all boiler type machines might fall within this range for the first few seconds of the brew cycle, most of them fall off sharply after the first 5 to 7 seconds!

This means that your brew is not going to taste as good as it should.

How to fix your Gran Gaggia?
Change the boiler element? No. It is likely not at fault.

De-scale the unit a few times.
Consider checking the brew T-Stats or thermostats. Changing the brew thermostat is easy.
Also - make sure you are measuring the core temperature within the porta-filter. I know that sounds difficult - but you need to use a digital thermometer and a K-Type thermocouple to get a true picture of the actual temperature.

All this revealed, it does not solve the bigger problem about the \"range\" of the brew temperature over the duration of the brew period.

That is another discussion thread.
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