Saeco Gran Baristo Class

From Whole Latte Love Support Library

The Saeco Gran Baristo Class is a super-automatic espresso machine that features a new VariPresso style brew unit.

Saeco Gran Baristo Class
Manufacturer: Saeco
Model Name: Gran Baristo Class
Model Number: HD8966/47
Type: Super-Automatic
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Basic Usage

Getting Started

Bypass Doser

If you plan on using the bypass doser function on the machine to brew with pre-ground coffee there are a few things to consider for the best brewing experience:

  1. The bypass doser will only accept 8-9 grams of coffee at a time. The scoop that comes with the machine is merely for transferring coffee grinds, it is not a measurement tool. To prevent overfilling the bypass doser we suggest using a level scoop, and then taking a large pinch out of it. A little bit less than a full scoop is the perfect amount.
  2. If the coffee is ground too coarsely the resulting shot is going to taste sour, weak or watery. Coffee ground for espresso should be slightly finer than table sugar or sand.
  3. Alternatively it is also possible to have coffee that is ground too fine. Extremely fine grinds can result in little or no flow from the machine, and very bitter shots. Coffee that is ground too finely can cause blockages in the system that can only be resolved through deep cleaning or a repair.

Do not add whole beans, or entire bags of preground coffee into this chamber. It will cause irreversible damage to the machine.

Cleaning & Maintenance

Machine Maintenance


Descaling the machine should be done on a bimonthly basis using the product recommended by the manufacturer. Descaling is still required even if reverse osmosis, distilled, or zero water is being used. Refer to your machine manual for specific instructions for this unit.

Brew Unit

The brew unit of the machine should be removed on a weekly basis and rinsed of with cold water. Cold water must be used because the brew unit has lubrication on it that will wash away with hot water. It is also important to use plain water, detergents and soaps should not be used. While the brew unit is removed the brew unit chamber should be wiped down with a moist cloth to remove excess grounds and coffee residues.

Your machine features a brew unit cleaning cycle. This should be done on a monthly basis; refer to your manual for instructions on how to run one.

A complete disassembly, cleaning, and lubrication of the brew unit should be done every 500 cups or every month, whichever comes first. A food safe silicon based lubricant should be used, such as food grade Petrol-Gel. Instructions for lubricating the brew unit can be found on pp. 84-85 of the machine manual.

Recommended Cleaning Products

The best descaling product for this machine is Durgol Swiss Espresso Descaler. The suggested tablets for running brew unit cleaning cycles are the Saeco Coffee Clean or Urnex Full Circle cleaning tablets.

Milk Carafe Maintenance

Automatic Cleaning Cycle

The automatic carafe cleaning cycle for this machine should be completed on a weekly basis. It is important to keep the carafe clean in order for the carafe to function properly and to be able to produce froth. Unsanitary milk residues can build up in the carafe if it is not maintained properly. Instructions for starting a full cleaning cycle of the Milk Carafe can be found on p.64 of the machine manual.

Manual Disassembly & Cleaning

While the automatic cleaning cycle does remove most residues it is not a complete cleaning of the carafe. The carafe should be pulled apart on a daily basis, after you are finished making latte drinks for the day, for more thorough cleaning. Instructions for manually disassembling and cleaning the milk carafe can be found on pp.70-73 of the machine manual.

Recommended Cleaning Products

The automated carafe cleaning cycle requires the use of a cleaning solution intended for removing milk residues. The recommended product for this unit is The recommended cleaning solution for the milk carafe is Urnex Rinza..


No Crema or Bad Tasting Shots

Typically, issues with crema or the flavor of the shot do not indicate a malfunction of the machine. Instead, this indicates that an adjustment needs to be made in the brewing process or that different beans need to be used.

The type of bean that is being used is particularly important for super-automatic machines, because the built in burr grinders only accept certain types of beans. Another consideration is the roast of the bean, which greatly influences how much crema can be produced, as well as the flavor of the shot. Super-automatic machines are not compatible with oily, caramelized, or flavored beans. Properly stored and recently roasted beans are best. You can find more information on why bean selection and storage is important for super-automatic machines by watching the video below.


5 Things New Super Automatic Espresso Machine Owners Should Know

Appropriately adjusting the grinder is also important. Poor shots can also be the result of incorrect grind settings.

  1. If the shot is too bitter:
    1. The grind is set too fine. Try adjusting the grind to a coarser setting, typically indicated by a large dot symbol or higher number.
    2. If applicable, the aroma setting is set too high. Lower the aroma setting so that less coffee is ground per shot.
    3. The beans being used are over-roasted, and a lighter roast is needed.
  2. If the shot is too sour or weak tasting:
    1. The grind is set too coarse. Try adjusting the grind to a finer setting, indicated by a lower number. Whenever moving the grind to a finer setting it is important to make minor adjustments, and to only adjust the grinder while in operation.
  3. If there is little crema:
    1. The beans are probably stale and fresher beans need to be used.
    2. The grind setting does not match the drink that is being made. Smaller drinks such as an espresso require finer grind size; larger drinks such as a longo require a coarser grind.
    3. Oily or dark roasted beans are being used. These beans are not compatible with the unit, and are not suitable for espresso brewing. The oils and chemicals that are needed to produce a rich crema have been roasted out of the bean. Switch to a drier/lighter roast.
  4. Keep the machine properly cleaned and maintained for good tasting shots. Your grinder may need to be cleaned or calibrated, or you may need to descale your machine to remove any unwanted residues or flavors.

Difficulty Frothing

Before going through the following steps make sure to try all of the recommended cleaning and maintenance has been done.

  1. If there is nothing coming out of the carafe at all:
    1. Check the carafe to make sure it is securely attached to the machine and that the machine recognizes the carafe is in place.
    2. Make sure the carafe is properly assembled. Inspect the parts to make sure none of them appear broken, damaged, or missing. Instructions for disassembling the carafe can be found on pp. 70-73 of the machine manual.
    3. The machine may not be producing steam because of a thermostat issue. If the machine gives an E15 error code, or it gets stuck heating up the steam circuit, then the machine will need to be repaired.
  2. If the carafe is spitting or not producing foam:
    1. The machine is set to a low froth setting. Check the machine settings to make sure it is set to the maximum froth. There is also a milk setting, which should also be set to max.
    2. A non-compatible milk is being used. The machine is designed for use with whole or 2% milk, so the best results will be achieved by using these milks.
    3. Make sure the carafe is properly assembled. Inspect the parts to make sure none of them appear broken, damaged, or missing. Instructions for disassembling the carafe can be found on pp. 70-73 of the machine manual.

Flow Issues

The first place to start with any flow issue is cleaning the machine. Before going through these steps please make sure the machine is cleaned according to the Cleaning & Maintenance section of this article.

Poor Or No Flow Or E05 Error

If you are not able to get water to flow through the machine at all, or if the machine displays an E05 code, then something is blocking water flow through the machine. This issue typically indicates the machine is not being cleaned on a regular basis. Review the cleaning & maintenance schedule for this machine, and make sure the cleanings are being done at the suggested interval with the recommended product. Once flow is restored, even if it is minimal flow, a descaling should be done immediately.

  1. The water tank is not seating properly. Please remove the tank and reinsert it firmly. Make sure there are no beans or debris beneath the water tank preventing it from seating flush with the machine.
  2. If you are using a Mavea water filter in the machine then it might be blocking the flow of water. Try removing the water filter and using the machine without it. If the machine works without the water filter, then the filter was blocking the flow of water. Keep the filter out of the machine for the remaining steps.
  3. Press on the check valve on the bottom of the water tank to make sure water is able to pass through. Sometimes the checkvalve can get stuck shut from scale buildup.
  4. The machine may require a manual prime.

No Flow From Steam Wand

Once the flow issue has been resolved the machine should be immediately descaled with the recommended product. Flow issues and blockages are typically due to lack of maintenance or excessive scale buildup.

  1. First set the machine to hot water mode.
  2. If the machine displays an E15 error code, or the machine gets stuck on the heating up screen, then there is a thermostat issue and the machine will need to be repaired.
  3. You should hear the pump start to vibrate. Once the pump is activated hot water should begin to flow through the wand.
    1. If hot water does flow through the wand stop the machine from dispensing hot water and switch to steam mode. There may have been a piece of debris in the steam wand blocking the flow.
    2. If water does not flow through the wand then there may be a more severe blockage.
  4. Soak the wand in a mixture of descaler and hot water. Test flow using the hot water function again.
  5. Use a pipe cleaner to manually clean the inside of the wand. Only use a pipe cleaner with synthetic or plastic bristles; do not use one with metal bristles as it can damage the wand. Test the flow again.

Reduced Or No Flow During Brewing

If there is no flow during the brewing function specifically then something is blocked along the brew circuit.

  1. Begin by running a descale of the machine using the recommended product. Scale buildup is the biggest cause of flow issues and descaling is the most likely maintenance to resolve the issue.
  2. If the machine is set to a really fine grind the grinds can block the flow. Move the grind to a coarser setting and see if flow is restored. Leave the grind on the coarse setting for the remainder of flow testing.
  3. Remove the unit and rinse it off with cold water. Do not use any sort of detergent to rinse it off or necessary lubrication will be removed.
  4. Wipe down the brew unit chamber with a damp cloth to remove all of the grounds. Reinsert the brew unit and test for flow.
  5. This machine allows beverage length to be reprogrammed. Make sure it isn't set to the minimum brew length; if the machine is programmed to the minimum beverage length the machine may not dispense any coffee, or it may only dispense a few drops. Try reprogramming the machine to a longer length drink to see if it resolves the no flow issue.
  6. If you are noticing a lot of brewed coffee or coffee sprayed inside the brew unit chamber then the brew unit o-ring may be damaged or out of place.
  7. Remove the brew unit and inspect the large red o-ring attached to the tamping assembly. Make sure it is clean, properly positioned, and not damaged. If the o-ring is broken or damaged it should be replaced.
  8. The dispensing spout may be blocked. Try very gently cleaning the dispensing spout holes with a toothpick to remove any blockages.

Have Flow But Getting No Flow Error

In some situations you will be able to get flow through the machine for all of the functions, but the machine thinks there is no water flowing through. There is a device in the machine called a flow meter, and it tells the machine when water is flowing through or not. The device operates by having small fan-like blades spin when water passes through it. If those blades get stuck from excessive scale buildup or a foreign body getting lodged into them then they will not spin. As a result, even though water is flowing through the machine, you will get a flow error.

If your machine uses a water filter temporarily remove it from the water tank and add the recommended descaling product to the water tank. The descaler needs to work its way into the system to start dissolving the scale buildup in the flow meter. You may have to keep restarting the machine so that it can keep attempting to prime, which will draw the descaler/water solution into the system. If at any point you are able to clear the flow message then you will want to do an immediate descale of the machine. After you have descaled run 4-5 tanks of plain water through the hot water function for the wand in order to ensure the system is completely free of debris.

Leaking From The Bottom

  1. Check the internal drip tray to make sure it isn't cracked or overflowing. If the drip tray is overflowing it may be because the drip tray was removed but not emptied. Anytime the drip tray is removed from the machine while the machine is powered on the drip tray sensor will reset to zero. To prevent overflowing make sure the drip tray and grounds drawer are emptied any time they are removed from the machine.
  2. Open the front door of the machine and check the back side of it. There should be a flared tube sticking out of back side of the door towards the top. This tube mates with the injector nozzle from the brew unit. If this tube is broken or missing coffee will spray on the back of the door, which can possibly result in fully brewed coffee leaking from the bottom front of the machine.
  3. If the water tank is not positioned properly it can cause water to continuously drain from the tank, even while the machine is turned off. This happens when the water tank is inserted far enough to open the release valve, but not far enough to seal with the intake line. Excess water in the water tank chamber is redirected to the internal drip tray through a separate drain hole. The internal drip tray being filled with a lot of clear water and overflowing while the machine off is the typical symptom that is seen when this happens. Make sure there isn't anything, such as coffee beans, which could be blocking the tank from seating properly and then firmly reinsert the tank into the machine and press down on it to make sure it creates a good seal.
  4. If the machine is leaking from the back left, especially when one of the functions is drawing water through the system, then the intake line is broken or disconnected. This will require a repair.

Machine Not Heating Or Powering On

No Power

  1. Make sure the machine is plugged into an appropriate power source.
    1. Do not use the machine on a surge protector. This machine has a high power draw, more than a typical kitchen appliance such as a refrigerator or a microwave. Surge protectors are typically not rated to handle the amperage this machine requires.
    2. Make sure the power cord is firmly inserted into the power socket on the machine.
    3. Try using the machine on a different outlet, and make sure the machine is the only appliance plugged into that outlet.
    4. Try testing another appliance on the same outlet.
  2. The power cord of the machine can be removed from the back of the machine as well as from the outlet. Check to make sure the cord is firmly secured in its corresponding socket on the machine. Check the cord for any damage. If the cord is secure and the machine is still not powering on then it may be the cord itself causing the issue. The cord is a standard computer power cord. Swap the cord out with another 3-prong computer power cord and see if the machine powers on. If it does then the machine needs a new power cord.
  3. Make sure the power switches are functioning properly and not broken. If the machine isn't powering on try pressing and holding the power button in the on position to see if the machine turns on. If you are able to power the machine on this way then the power switch needs to be replaced.
  4. If the machine recently had a leak, had water spilled on it, or any other exposure to moisture then the machine may be shorting out. Try letting the machine sit unplugged for 48 hours to make sure there isn't a short caused by moisture.

No Steam Or E15 Error

  1. If the carafe works, but the steam wand does not, then do the recommended steam wand cleanings.
  2. If the steam wand works, but the carafe does not, then do the recommended milk carafe cleanings.
  3. If the machine gives an E15 error or is stuck on the heating up screen, then the machine has a broken thermostat and will require repair.
  4. If temperatures are not hot enough for the carafe there are a few things to try.
    1. First the carafe may be operating properly. The carafe was designed for use with a room temperature boxed milk. The machine is programmed to produce a temperature rise of 50-70 F°. Typical ending temperatures are around 125-135 F°. This is completely dependent on the starting temperature of the milk though. If the milk is stored in a very cold refrigerator, e.g. a 33 F° refrigerator, the resulting temperature will only be about 100-110 F°.
    2. There are a few programming options which can be changed in order to increase the amount of steam that is injected into the carafe during frothing. Make sure the milk drink options are programmed to the highest temperature.

Cold Shots Or E14 Error

If the machine is producing shots that are hot, but you would like them to be hotter, check the beverage programming menu. Make sure all of the drinks are set to brew at the highest temperature.

Make sure you are using a preheated cup. Ceramic cups will sap a lot of heat from the shot resulting in a colder shot. Preheating the cups using the machine's hot water function is suggested, or you can brew into a paper, styrofoam, or other well insulated cup. This video explains the importance of a pre-heated cup during espresso brewing:
If the shots are completely cold, or the machine is displaying an E14 error code then there is a thermostat issue. Try restarting the machine to resolve the issue. If error code continues to appear then the thermostat is broken and the machine will need to be repaired.

No Beans, Grinder Blocked, Or E01

All three of these issues share the same root cause. The grinder has become jammed with grounds or coffee residues. These issues are typically a result of incorrect beans being used in the machine. This machine is not compatible with oily, dark roasted, caramelized, or flavored beans. Use of these beans can cause permanent damage to the machine that is not covered under warranty. These beans can be identified easily. They will be shiny and feel slippery or sticky. Dry beans that are appropriate for the machine will look dull and feel rough. This machine does not have a user serviceable grinder so it is very important that the correct beans are used. Follow these steps to fix the behavior:

  1. Remove all of the beans and set them aside.
  2. Move the grinder adjustment knob all the way to the coarsest setting.
  3. Use a vacuum to thoroughly clean out the grinder. In particular vacuum down in the chute where the beans feed into the inside of the machine.
  4. Clean out the dosing chute using the following instructions:
    Dosing Chute Cleaning Instructions
  5. Add beans back into the machine. The beans must be dry beans, do not add incompatible beans back into the unit. Make sure the grinder is still set to the coarsest setting.
  6. Test the machine to see if it can successfully brew a shot. If it successfully brews run 2-3 more shots on this grind setting so that we can be sure the system is free of the old coffee grounds.
  7. Once the machine is functional on this setting you can begin moving the grind to the normally used setting. Make small 1 tick adjustments, making sure to brew shots in between. This will prevent the machine from jamming again.

Brew Unit Max Pressure, Stuck, or E03 or E04 Error Codes

The machine is sensing that the brew unit motor is working too hard to engage the brew unit. There is a fail-safe built into the machine to prevent itself from damaging the brew unit; instead it will stop and give display an error. This issue is typically resolved through normal maintenance.

  1. First restart the machine to clear the error message and reset the brew unit back to the home position so that it can be removed. If the machine is in an active rinse cycle do not try to remove the brew unit. The rinse cycle must be completed before the brew unit can be removed.
  2. If this happened when you were using the bypass function specifically then you may have added too much preground coffee.
    1. Try running a blank bypass shot. To do this just run a normal bypass shot but do not add any coffee. You should just have plain water come out of the spouts. If the machine successfully completes this cycle then too much coffee was added to the bypass doser previously. The machine only accepts about a maximum of 8-9 grams per shot. The scoop that comes with the machine doses more than this. To make sure you are adding the appropriate amount take one level scoop of preground coffee and remove a large pinch from it. This should about about 8 grams of coffee and should work in the machine.
    2. If the blank bypass shot also throws an error code restart the machine again and proceed to the next step.
  3. When the machine indicates that it is ready for use open the door to the brew unit chamber.
    1. Try removing the brew unit. If the brew unit does not readily come out do not force it out. The brew unit is stuck in an engaged position and will need to be properly reset. Forcing it out of the machine can break the brew unit and possibly cause damage other parts. Do the instructions in the following video to get the brew unit properly reset before moving on to the next step. If the brew unit won't reset to the home position the machine may require a repair.
    2. If the brew unit is easily removed then rinse it off with cold water and let it dry.
  4. The brew unit will need to be cleaned and lubricated.
  5. Reinsert the brew unit into the machine and try brewing a shot.

Diagrams & Manuals

Saeco Gran Baristo Class
Electrical Diagram: Not Available
Hydraulic Diagram: Not Available
Machine Manual:
GRAN BARISTO CLASS Machine Manual.pdf
Parts Diagram:
GRAN BARISTO CLASS Parts Diagram.pdf
Service Manual Not Available
Startup Guide: Not Available
Milk Carafe Diagram: Included In Parts Diagram


Basic Specs
Width: 8.25 in.
Height: 14 in.
Depth: 18 in.
Wattage: 1400
Voltage: 120
Housing Materials: ABS Thermoplastic
Drip Tray Materials: ABS Thermoplastic
Drip Tray Cover Materials: Stainless Steel
Removable Hopper: Yes
Easy To Rotate: No
Tall Legs: No
Cup Height
Adjustable Height: Yes
Max Height: 6.5 in.
One Touch Cappuccino
One Touch Cappuccino: Yes
One Touch System: Milk Carafe
Adjustable Froth Quality: Yes
Height: 3-6.5 in.
Separate Manual Wand: No
Programmable: Yes
Dishwasher Safe: Yes
Water Source
Source Type: Reservoir
Water Filter Type: Mavea
Reservoir Capacity: 57 oz.
Reservoir_Material: Plastic
Reservoir Access: Top
Reservoir Removable: Yes
Type Of Controls: Push Button
Display Type: LCD
Programmable Brewing: Yes
Temperature Control: Yes
Adjustable Coffee Dosage: Yes
Digital Display: Yes
Cup Volume Control: Yes
Flow Control: Yes
Auto Shut Off: Yes
Bypass Doser: Yes
Pre-Infusion: Yes
Low Water Warning: Yes
Energy Savings: Yes
Multiple Drink Programmability: Yes
Pressure Gauges: No
Brew Group
Material: Plastic
Type: VariPresso
Removable: Yes
Boiler Data
Number Of Boilers: 1
Brew And Steam Simultaneously: No
Rapid Steam: Yes
Brew Boiler Data
Type: Thermoblock
Materials: Stainless Steel
Boiler Element Location: External
Pump Data
Type: Vibration
Maximum Pressure: 15
Self-Priming: Yes
Grinder Data
Number Of Grind Settings: 5
Hopper Capacity: 9.5 oz.
Burr Tpe: Flat
Burr Material: Ceramic
Freshness Lid: Yes
Country Of Manufacture: Italy
NSF Certified: No
Recommended Applications: Home Use