My improved Gaggia Baby does these things:
- Double the boiler power. This is crazy stuff, but rather fun. It speeds up the preheat, heating to steam temperature and, especially, milk steaming.
- Brew temperature control: to within a fraction of a degree, which is critical for the perfect crema (honestly, I’ve done a lot of experimentation). The bimetallic disc thermostat from the factory has a hysteresis of around 10°C!
- And fast! The controller goes straight to temperature with no oscillations in minimal time.
- Steam temperature control: again, the factory thermostat is rubbish and the temperature oscillates between about 125°C and 140°C, but you only get decent steam flow above about 135°C.
- Pulsing the pump in steam mode: so the boiler remains full. Straight from the factory, steam pressure rapidly drops off as the boiler empties, making frothing of any reasonable volume of milk tricky.
- Water flow rate control: also important for a good brew. Left to its own devices, the machine drives water through the puck too quickly. (The Baby Twin and Dose also have flow rate control from the factory, although the Gaggia algorithm hunts for the right flow rate sometimes whereas I have that problem that licked.)
- Measured shot volume: fire & forget brew. (Again, like the Twin and Dose).
- Single and double shot modes with different volume and flow settings.
- Automatic switch into steam mode after shot completes: even more fire & forget.
- Preheat routine to get the entire brew head up to temperature in minimal time.
- Soft-off at the end of a shot to keep the brewhead clean from coffee reflux.
- Automated backflush routine (to clean up such reflux as still manages to happen).
- Water level alarm – no more half-completed shots when the water runs out.
- Idle time-out with warning buzzer for when you forget to switch the machine off.
- USB interface: for diagnostics and programming. And, with suitable code, anything you like: how about a coffee machine which is internet connected via your PC?
- Way better steam wand than the factory version.
- Insulated boiler: lower power usage, faster warm-up, more steam.
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