La Marzocco Linea Mini 18g versus 21g basket

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by Damobravo »

Hi there!

I am currently using the LMLM and Niche zero and have been using for some time now.

One thing that has always caught my attention is the condition of my puck after I've made my espresso.

I initially used 18g of grounds in a 21g VST basket. The shots were tasting great although the puck was always completely drenched afterwards. After reading some forums it was recommended that I try use the same dose in a 18g VST basket instead. So I've been using the 18g basket for around 2 weeks now. I've found the puck has a small layer of water on top and the puck is still completely soaked. The shots I've been getting with the 18g basket don't taste nearly as good as they did with the 21g basket. Does the condition of the puck even matter if the espresso tastes nice? Is it criminal to use a 21g basket to extract with 18g of grounds?

Has anyone else with a Linea Mini had similar discoveries? I'd love to hear solutions!

Thanks in advance, Damien!

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#2: Post by TomC »

Many years ago when the VST baskets hit the market, the standard advice was to match dose to the basket spec, i.e. 18g VST for 18g dose.

In the world of less than ideally developed coffees roasted for espresso, I've steered towards using a larger basket with a smaller dose. There's some interesting observational data that suggests a larger gap between shower screen and puck depth yields better pre-infusion with less channeling. I'm not interested in debating that in this thread, but it's worth noting.

I have no hesitancy to dose lower and grind finer with a light roast coffee that is being pulled for espresso using a larger basket and lower dose. Perhaps, some of these results are due to a better quality grinder, but I won't speculate on that.

When I was testing out the very first release of the Decent Espresso machine, I focused my efforts on using a 15g VST basket and a super-fine grind for light roast coffee, paired with the amazing feedback and control of the DE1. Light roasted coffee isn't my ultimate experience in terms of coffee, but I appreciate the ability to make non-sour, non-tongue burning acidity shots of fine quality light roasted coffee.

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#3: Post by Jeff »

I agree with Tom's comments on dose vs advertised basket size.

On "soupy pucks", I can't get worked up over them. During extraction, I'd hope that puck is completely filled with water. Soupy to the max. What it looks like after then seems to just be related to how much water goes out the exhaust and how much hides itself into the puck. All that is after extraction is done. Coffee, grind, pressure profile, headspace probably effect it. I use those to get tasty espresso, which I value over the look of the puck.


#4: Post by Damobravo »

Ok great!

I've gone back to using the 21g basket and immediately the espresso is tasting much better.

As for the soupy pucks... will try and not let them bother me :lol:


#5: Post by DiminishedSeventh »

I try to stay within a gram of the basket size but do err on the side of a larger basket usually. Would be interested to hear if others have experimented with this and if/how it affects taste.