Single Boiler Espresso Machines: Temperature Surfing & Steaming

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Gail talks to us about the importance of temperature surfing on any single boiler espresso machine — it not only makes for an improved shot, but it also mea…


3marxje says:

do you burn the boiler if you first brew and than steam?

MrFlyduckfly says:

Love these videos. They have been helpful in reintroducing me into the
world of (modern) espresso machines. I may have to quibble with this one a
bit though. What you are describing is more about priming the pump/boiler,
which is standard operating procedure for single boiler machines.
Prime-steam-prime-brew-prime again. Isn’t temperature surfing more to do
with timing your shot to the point on the heating curve where the
temperature is optimal? My older Saeco has a hard time getting up to
195-200 for brew temp so I have to trick it into getting there by catching
it somewhere between the “brew” and “steam” functions, which is the
“surfing” part.

shesdoinit says:

If you don’t plan to use the steamer, should you still temperature surf for
just brewing?

Bruno Rigo says:

may i ask why you are not selling Gaggia anymore?

FaranGitty says:

excellent info.

faithlan22 says:

hi!!just want to ask what is the temperature of single shot espresso?thank

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@giuseppes04 It’s a great choice! Hope you are enjoying it so far 🙂 – Kat

oafaloaf says:

I am trying to figure out how this coresponds to the starbucks sirena, I’ll
probably be calling you guys

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

Steve – thanks for the tip! We are going to experiment with plugging up the
air induction hole to see if we can get better results, because without the
sleeve the wand is so short! Perhaps there will be a how-to video on here
in the near future 🙂 Thanks for the feedback on the videos – glad you’ve
been enjoying them! – Kat

demchinsky says:

Hi Gail and Kat! Love you videos… been spending hours going through them
all… just want to say thanks and to give a little tip for Gaggia/Saeco
users who have the same turbo frother nozzle as shown on this machine.. the
milk texturing is MUCH much better if you take the turbo frother extention
OFF and just leave the little bit of black plastic with narrow nozzle on.
Thanks again for your time and effort in producing these excellent videos!

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

I might release some of the steam first, though, through the wand then pull
water through the brew head. But, yes, you could go that route — anything
to actively engage the pump. – Kat

Mark Ramos says:

With a single boiler then, does it always make more sense to steam first
and brew second?

ersia87 says:

How do I know wether there is water in my boiler or not?

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@oafaloaf The Sirena is different since it uses a thermoblock on the steam
side; not sure if you can do this same functionality on that machine – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

You’re welcome! Yeah, keep in mind those are translated over and not done
in the best way …. 🙁 – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

If it’s an actual boiler, then yes; if it’s using a thermoblock, it really
doesn’t matter. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@kragier I great way to understand it is to watch our video on bi-metal
thermostats; that will give you an idea of the technical side of what
you’re working with/against while temperature surfing. Let me know if you
need more explanation, etc. 🙂 – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

Nope; the CC1 pulls water from the reservoir through the boiler and into
the steaming thermoblock the whole time you’re steaming, so it’s actively
refilling the brew boiler for you. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

We haven’t sold Gaggia in a few years and, sadly, I’m not familiar with how
they function any more, so can’t provide any guidance on this. Sorry! – Kat

txshavers says:

Would this be the same process on the Starbucks Barista?

CoughEGuy says:

I love the videos and have been very helpful; is it possible to pull a shot
on a Breville Cafe Modena? And, use grounds from a Jura Capresso Infinity?
The reason I ask is that I own these pieces and want to know if I’m pulling
shots the correct way. Also, do you need to tamp with this machine?
Anything you can do would help tremendously.

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

Haha – thank you (I think!) 😉 – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@ersia87 If you pull water through the steam wand, you’re good to go. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

You run it out until you see the coffee cup light go off, then hear the
pump kick in. Then close up the wand and let it heat up until the coffee
light comes back on. How long this takes will depend on where it’s at in
its temperature cycle — if you’re doing right after steaming, it will be a
fair amount of time (15 or so seconds maybe) and if you’re just temperature
surfing to pull a shot independent of steaming, it would vary. – Kat

ZweiZylSVS says:

Would running the hot water out of the shower head (instead of the steam
wand) accomplish the same thing? I’m thinking you could maybe preheat the
portafiltre this way before pulling your shot?

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

We shoot and process the same way each time; I think the quality issues
might be due to how YouTube processes it on their side, unfortunately. I
also notice that they’re a little choppier for the first few hours and then
seem to get better. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@faithlan22 You want to brew somewhere between 195F – 205F, that is idea
for coffee. The sweet spot for different coffees will vary, but will be
somewhere in that range. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@shesdoinit You need to temp surf whenever the machine has been sitting on
for awhile; this is not about switching temps but ensuring you have a good
idea of where the temp is at in its heating cycle. – Kat

AAdaajzaboravicupass says:

I’m about to buy Gaggia Evolution that uses single boiler, could you tell
me how to get it to the right temperature for brewing?(which is about 95
degrees C If I’m not mistaken?) Is it possible without using the steam
wand? And If you can do it, please make a video doing that on the machine I
mentioned. Thanks in advance! 🙂

MrAirshot says:

hey kat gail . so eventually i bought the gaggia new baby she looks like
the one on the other video here so can you make a video for this action
with the gaggia new baby . thanks

getshawn says:

Gotcha. That makes sense. Maybe I shouldn’t jump the gun to watch your
videos and give youtube a little time to process. Thanks for the reply.

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

Yes, the Barista is almost identical to a Saeco Via Venezia. ~ sam

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

If we have one in the store, I will do one for this. It’s going to be the
same process with your machine, just watch for the ready lights going
on/off according to your user manual. I’ll post something up here if we
have a model we can demo. Thanks! – Kat

J Burks says:

Very interesting….nowhere in the manual does it mention to do this.
Saeco, you bad! But this seems like an integral step to maintaining the
functionality and performance of the machine. As always, thank for the

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

It’s the process you use to game bi-metal thermostats, basically. Kicking
it on and off so you have a better idea of where the boiler’s temperature
is during its heating cycle. There can be up to a 20F degree differential
… many smaller single boiler machines benefit from this. – Kat

giuseppes04 says:

You guys are great. I just purchased a VIA venezia and watch your videos to
learn how to make good use of it. It is my first espresso machine so
hopefully it will be good.

kragier says:

I need to watch this video again, it is 1 AM, and I am impaired from being
tired. I never really understood temperature surfing the whole way. When I
wake up, hopefully I will be able to comprehend information…

getshawn says:

You two make a great video crew and entertaining to watch. Just one come the video quality is inconsistent b/w the videos? Anyways,
thanks for the vid’s – Very educational and interesting at the same time!

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

Sure, we can try it out for you — I will put it on our to-do list for this
week. I am still experimenting with the Brevilles so hopefully we’ll have
more answers soon. – Kat

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

@FaranGitty Thanks!

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

The happiest place on earth!!! At least the perkiest, anyway 😉 – Kat

CoughEGuy says:

That would be greatly appreciated. I can’t wait to see it for I love
watching your videos; for me, its like visiting disneyland.

Seattle Coffee Gear says:

It’s good to know you can’t wait to watch them! 🙂 Thanks for your feedback
and I am glad you’re enjoying the videos. Let us know if you have any
suggestions for videos that you’d like to see – Kat

rufusmcd12 says:

I shouldn’t have to worry about this with a CC1, should i?

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