Grouphead Disassembly Recap

A review of the procedure for disassembling the Gaggia domestic grouphead. As with many things, having done it once you realize just how simple it is.

Grouphead Disassembly Recap

Earlier in the guestbook, we discussed the disassembly of the Gaggia group. This is required to change a worn gasket, or partially required when performing regular maintenance and cleaning. Disassembly is straight-forward, though years of unattended coffee grime could cause the parts to fuse together, making them more difficult to pull apart.

The shower screen is connected to the shower holder plate, is connected to the gasket and the grouphead. A clean group should disassemble with minimal fuss [the separated parts are shown to the upper right], though I ran across some very tight allen bolts when taking mine apart. You might find it easier to access the grouphead if you carefully lay Gaggia on her back; remember to cool off the machine and remove the water reservoir first!

In addition to daily cleaning of the portafilter and basket, you should regularly pay attention to the shower screen. This too can become smothered and plugged by coffee grinds and oils. Remove the shower disc by loosening the central screw with a (clean) standard Phillips screw driver. Also scrub the bottom of the shower holder plate while you are in there. It goes without saying that you should be wiping down the locking mechanism and gasket ring as part of your regular routine.

If you need access to the gasket, or want to pull out the whole plate [shown right] for a thorough cleaning, you'll need to remove the two additional allen bolts (~5mm hex heads). A fat IKEA wrench will work in a pinch. Mine were very tight and required some decent torque to dislodge. Once these bolts are removed, the plate should fall or pull right out. If it does not, you might need to de-scale your machine or soak it with some light detergent (externally only).

The gasket ring sits on the side of the shower holder plate and slides up into an indentation within the grouphead. You must remove the shower plate to change the gasket. Instructions for removing a very tenacious gasket can be found at WholeLatteLove, where they suggest screwing some short screws into the old gasket to pull it off.

To avoid being remiss, I should also include a reminder to de-scale your machine occasionally (more frequently if you have harder water). Be sure to use the appropriate cleaner, such as Urnex, Melitta, ClearCaf, PurCaf, or an appropriate mix of citric acid diluted in water. It is not recommended to use Cafiza on the interior of machines with aluminum boilers, though nothing is stopping you from using it on the exterior for soaking or scrubbing. Flush your machine with plenty of clean water following, and for heaven's sake do not use vinegar! When daily topping up your tank, consider using filtered water if not already doing so.

That's it for now!

Dave Anderson works in the nation's Capital, Ottawa for you Southern folks, and is a regular at the CoffeeCrew.