hippy 30 barcelona

A very close friend of mine turned 30 last weekend. Since he doesn’t really like birthday parties yet still wanted to do something to celebrate, he went to Barcelona with Malwina.

It was bloody fantastic.

The weather was only 10-15 degrees warmer than London but the sun was out for all 3 days and I’ve come back with a tan, sunburn even! We spent time sun-baking on the beach, eating Spanish food, drinking lots of cerveza and whisky con coca cola, wandering the town checking out Gaudi’s gaudy architecture and other random stuff. It’s amazing what some sun and a scenery change will do! Thanks Mal!

Fuck Ryanair

You’re not getting our money you scumbags. Trying to book a trip to Spain for my birthday.. online check-in this, ?30 for checking in bags, non-EU citizens have to pay extra..

Your procedures are a fucking shambles and I’d rather and now WILL spend my money elsewhere.

What am I ranting about? Read about Ryanair’s Online Check-in Scam.

Ryanair Sucks

UPDATE: Still not flown with these bastards since, don’t worry. Just thought this was worth adding:

YouTube – Cheap Flights

Aristarco EMA 75

Aristarco EMA 75 espresso grinder.jpg

My Aristarco EMA 75 coffee grinder is finally at home.

Professional coffee grinder with a 1 kg. hopper capacity, adjustable coffee doser from 4.5 gr. to 8 gr. Grinding production per hour up to 8 kg. It made of painted light alloy with grinding wheel in special steel of 64 mm of diameter. In the automatic model the grinder starts to restore automatically the grinded coffee level into the batch as soon the coffee fall to the minimum quantity.

Dimensions (W,D,H) W=200 D=400 H=550 mm

Input power 230V~50 Hz

Power 380 W

Revolutions per minute 1400 r/min.

Grinding flat blades diam. 64 mm.

Colour Metal gray

Total weight 12 Kg

Aristarco Spare Parts

Mark Thomas – Secret Map Of Britain (2002)

Activist comedian Mark Thomas draws up a map of Britain that reveals the places the government and the establishment do not want the public to know about, disproves the claim that the government is an ‘open’ institution, and looks at the secret democracy that Britain really is. (Channel4, 2002)

Gaggia Baby Class – Working!

Previous tale of Gaggia dismemberment here.

Happy Donkey sorted me out with a new 3-way solenoid valve (which didn’t look like it’d fit but it did) and the Gaggia machine was rebuilt..

Gaggia Baby Class - Internal parts view

Gaggia Baby Class - Water is finally appearing!

Gaggia Baby Class - Coffee!!

Wicked! I now have a Gaggia Baby D to sell and the Gaggia Classic arrived today except it has a smashed water container! Nooo! Will see if Happy Donkey has a spare..

Mal and I made coffees today. Can’t believe I held off on getting a machine for so long and now I have three..

Gaggia Baby Class

Gaggia Baby Class espresso coffee machine

VB from LFGSS kindly supplied me with his faulty Gaggia Baby Class coffee machine.

No water was coming from the group head(?) although everything else was working as expected. Forum chatter about this machine indicated it either needed a descale or it needed a new pump.

I read Robert Harmon’s information about Gaggia maintenance, bought my self a syringe from Boots and some citric acid-based descaler from Waitrose then descaled and cleaned the unit as much as I could with no change. Using the syringe I made sure the pump was correctly primed. No change.

So, I assumed it was a faulty pump and before Christmas I ordered a replacement Gaggia pump from Happy Donkey: – gaggia spares

It cost ?34.88 including postage.


I’ve worked out how to pull the unit apart and found the pump. It was a complete bitch to replace this pump!

With the new pump fitted I tested the unit and exactly the same thing happened – no water came out of the head but the steam wand still worked. DAMN!!! It wasn’t the pump. Waste of time and money.. but now I’m even more determined to fix the unit!


I’ve now stripped the Gaggia right down and think I’ve found a blockage.. the copper tube inside the boiler, that dumps into the head, doesn’t let air through. I can’t see any valving between the top of the tube and the head (under the screen) so methinks this is the blocked area. Now to try and clean it out..


Right.. this machine is in about 400 pieces.. there weren’t even that many in the Gaggia schematics. 😉

Anyway, it’s not the boiler’s copper pipe->grouphead arrangement, no, it’s more complex than that. The blockage appears to be in some kind of blue electronic valve thing which controls the water FROM the boiler TO the head and from the boiler to the drain pipe. Is this the OVP? The Over Pressure Valve? Help!

It looks like Part 27 – “DM1645/001 – solenoid valve” in here: – ER0182_Rev01.pdf

I’ve found spares here.. “DM1645/002 or 1152/002 Elektrovalve 120V” – gaggia classic DM1645/002 or 1152/002 Elektrovalve 120V

So, after completely pulling the machine down last night and doing a bit of testing and some internet reading I have a good idea of how they work now, I know how to customise the Over Pressure Valves to produce better shots and I now know which part has failed. All I need to do now is fix/replace the solenoid valve and then I will have two working machines (or I’ll ebay the fixed one to pay for a grinder :)).

The culprit.. C.E.M.E 3-way solenoid valve..

Gaggia 3 Way Valve – gaggia classic OPV issues – gaggia pressure – gaggia baby pressure adjustment with OPV valve

Grange Controls Ltd. are the sole UK importer for the Italian-made C.E.M.E solenoid valve (5316VN1) I need.

They don’t stock it though. They do stock the coil but not the valve itself. If I can find a multimeter to test the coil then I might buy one from them but they have a minimum order of ?20 (since they usual deal in bulk) + ?2.50 post + VAT.

Now I need a multimeter to be sure it’s the coil and not the valve itself.. In the meantime I’ve bought a Gaggia Classic off ebay and I’m waiting for it to arrive..


My workmate Chris wanted a multimeter so I walked to Maplins and bought a UNI-T 50II for him and then used it to test the solenoid coil.

It showed the coil has resistance, which, in my limited understanding of basic electronics, means that it’s not completely trashed. This in turn means the problem might be in the 3-way valve itself. So, citric acid bath for it tonight to see if that makes a difference.

The Gaggia store in House of Fraser on Oxford St. don’t answer their phone so I called Gaggia UK’s head office and I’m waiting for a call back from their service department. Kev here suggested they are all on a coffee break 😉

Similar issue with 3-Way Valve reported here

If all the vibration from your big fat UKLA pump shakes your machine around enough over the years, the little 14mm nut that holds the coil of your 3-way solenoid to the brass valve body will become loose. If it gets as loose as mine did, it is enough to prevent the 3-way valve from actuating fully. The solenoid just moves ever so slightly on the valve body. This slight movement is enough to screw up your shots.

Pull the reservoir filler funnel off, then take a wrench and lock that thing down and all your “clogged boiler” woes will be gone. No parts to order, no need to take apart your machine.

3-Way Valve Hows and Whys

How to Backflush

Sniff sniff.. cough.. cough.. feck.. 'rse!

I have a cold and a problem with trackback spammers. I have killed off the TrackBack spammers but the cold lingers.

South Beers and a Pendulum gig might kill it or me. One of us has to go though, that much is certain. Weekend Cycling = 10k. Balls.