Question about Gaggia Titanium Espresso Machine

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Gaggia Titanium - can't get it to move beyond 'Ventilate.' This started as a problem with extremely slow coffee output. We've been good about de-scaling but brought it into a repair place who cleaned it out additionally. Still low flow. Repair shop replaced the pump. Still low flow and now it won't get beyond 'ventilate' and I'm getting no flow. I've cleaned the check ball, have taken apart, cleaned and re-lubed the brew group, I've checked to make sure that the water reservoir is sealing correctly. Machine has ~6000 cycles. Is it time for the dump or is there something else I can try?

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  • d2reese Oct 10, 2010

    At this point, I've tried everything. In the past, it's cleared in a few seconds but now the motor keeps running and only a few drops come out periodically. I've tried cycling it, have checked and re-checked the connection between the water tank and the main machine, ...



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Select "Hot Water" and open the steam valve. Let it pump water out the steamer for awhile. It usually clears right away but may need to pump a lot of water to clear the error.

If you aren't able to get any water coming out the steam nozzle, you may need to prime the pump with the little squeezy tool they gave you with the machine - or you can use a turkey baster. Mainly you are trying to get water up into the pump to prime it (get the air out of the pump) so it can pump water instead air.

Posted on Oct 10, 2010

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  • d2reese Oct 10, 2010

    Good advice which I already did as this should be all that's needed to clear the 'ventilate' message. Unfortunately, this isn't working.

  • AndyPanda2 Oct 10, 2010

    I have read posts from other owners who say it sometimes takes a whole tank of water pumped through the steam wand to clear the error. It always clears in a few seconds for me.

    Do you actually get water coming out of the steam wand when you select "hot water" and open the valve? Or do you get nothing? Do you hear the pump running?

  • AndyPanda2 Oct 14, 2010

    By any chance is your machine a Titanium PLUS? If you have the E Plus System then I think I know what the problem may be.

    If it's what I'm thinking, you would be able to get water out the steam wand but not be able to get water out coffee spout.

    Actually, if you can get water out the steam wand but not out the coffee spout it could even be as simple as a plugged filter disc - but I assume you would have already checked this.

  • gschalk Apr 02, 2011

    I have exactly this problem. Water comes out of the steamer wand, but not the coffee spout. Stupid question: what/where is the filter disc?

  • AndyPanda2 Apr 16, 2011

    When you pull out the brew chamber to clean it, there is a section where a piston slides UP to compress the ground coffee against this filter disc. The hot water then comes in from the bottom, goes UP through the compressed coffee grinds and passes through the filter disc at the top of the chamber and then out to the spout on the front. There is a "thumbscrew" that holds the disc in place - you probably need an allen wrench to losen this thumbscrew (there is one supplied with the Titanium but that tool gets lost, I misplaced mine). Then you clean all the grounds from the metal disc and clean the chamber behind the disc as it is probably filthy with old coffee oils if you don't clean this once a week or so as you should. The disc is metal with microfine holes. DO NOT poke the holes with a needle as this will enlarge the holes. Instead you can brush the disc with a toothbrush until you can see through all the holes. If the disc is extremely plugged up, you can use a flame to burn away the caked in coffee goo - but it would be safer to patiently brush the disc. You can also soak it in Urnex coffee solvent which is made to clean coffee oils away safely.


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The ventilate error message is a very strong reminder that water is not flowing normally through the hydraulic system. This is a stubborn error and difficult to eliminate. Coffee machines are used until the last drop of coffee is dispensed. When coffee dispensing stops, panic sets in.
Here are some common causes why ventilate error is displayed:
1- The machine was not descaled or it was descaled using unscrupulous products that are ineffective. Reliable Descaler is not available in a neighborhood Hardware or a Convenience store.
2- Pump pressure is lower than normal because Calcium deposits cause back pressure and reduce the pumping pressure.
3- It is possible that the connection of water tank is not tight and allowing air to slip in with water. With reduced water mixed with air does not let pump maintain its full function.
4- The Pump is drawing air at its water inlet end and cause reduced pumping pressure. The elbow connector at the pump inlet becomes hardened over the years of use and allows air to be sucked in. One cannot notice this being a cause, until the old elbow is replaced with a new wlbow connector. It is unheard of that a new elbow is replaced by the operator or installed by a technician. Almost always the pump gets the blame and is replaced.
When we sell a pump, we include a new elbow inlet connector and make sure that new pump is not installed using the old connector.
5- Flow meter inlet may be clogged and sending a wrong message to the mother board of a blocked or reduced flow of water. The flow meter inlet is a narrow hole that can easily clog with a fine particle of coffee or deposits of free floating Calcium particles in water.
5- Hydraulic system in a coffee maker may be clogged at any location past the flow meter and the pump. The back pressure due to Calcium deposits throughout the water passage is a frequent cause of reduced pressure. The message of slow flow of water in the system is registered by the flow meter and triggers the error code: 'Flush water system' in some Brands or 'Ventilate' in some other Brands.

The best solution and effort should be to keep the water tank full with descaling solution and try by any method, to let some solution be injected in the machine. Open close the steam knob or any other lucky step that will feed some water (even one ounce of descaling solution will help.
If machine allows to enter programming mode (one will be lucky to to do so) while the Ventilate error is on, go straight the automatic descaling and start it.
Ventilate error is a serious impasse and operator has to use most of patience available while not losing patience or skills.
Please order the Best descaler using the following link and try:

If any of the above does not work, then the machine has to be taken apart and descaled part by part, dipped in descaling solution.
Dumping the machine is a knee jerk solution. Lack of maintenance will repeat the whole process for the new machine, all over again.
Due to the lack of maintenance the machine could dump the operator! It did not. Give the machine some slack.
Titanium is a well designed machine made by Saeco ( as a Gaggia label). The other cousins of Titanium model are Incanto line (Sirius, Rondo, Deluxe), Starbucks Italia, Italia Digital and Vspresso.The new machines unfortunately are not so.

Posted on Mar 03, 2015


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1 Answer

Ventilate message is constant

Here is the manual for the Gaggia Titanium. The page talks about ventilate. but references a button to press that you may have to look back a few pages to find a diagram showing which button it is

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Make sure to descale your machine often.

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