Donut extraction with La Pavoni Millennium

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#1: Post by gestalted2 »

I bought my La Pavoni 16 brand new back in March. Since then, I've been making espresso shots daily, sometimes multiple times day. No matter what I do, there is ALWAYS a donut that shows up before the middle fills out. I've tried everything but the donut always shows up first. I use a Kinu grinder and have tried multiple degrees of fine grind. My beans are always within 10 days of roast date. I use a wire tool to de-clump. I use a distribution tool and have tested multiple height settings, tall to short. Tested both tamping after distribution and not tamping. No difference. Always a donut.

Here's a video I posted back in July showing the donut.
Then I came across this guy's blog where we basically claims that certain shower heads and/or baskets can actually be the cause of the donut. After months of testing, I'm wondering if this is the case with me?

Blog: ... d7e602468d

Is there anyone else out there with a La Pavoni who can confirm this? Or who has figured out how to not get a donut extraction with a La Pavoni? Am I chasing a ghost?



#2: Post by Rickpatbrown »

What kind of grinder are you using. Looks like poor grind. Can you grind finer?

Sorry. I see. Kinu should be good.

I'd worry less about the donut than the watery, blond shot that you pull. It should be rich, syrupy and dark, dark dark

If your basket has a narrowing instead of straight sides, I could see that having an effect.

Are you controlling water temp? Too hot or too cold can change the way a shot flows.


#3: Post by jtrops »

I don't know enough about the specifics to say it is the grind, but the blonde pull is certainly the thing I'm more interested in. The way the shot starts on the bottom of the basket doesn't look bad to me.

How does the shot taste? Sour?

gestalted2 (original poster)

#4: Post by gestalted2 (original poster) »

The taste of the shots I pull are good overall. There's sweetness for sure. Never on the sour side. Of course I'm always striving for perfection. That's where I'm starting to wonder if the donut extraction a result of the shower head or basket. Should I just accept that's how it is with a La Pavoni. I'd love to hear from other La Pavoni owners on the donut effect.

Regarding the temp, I have a temp gauge on the grouphead. I make my shots around 203 degrees. Give or take a degree.


#5: Post by Rickpatbrown »

Here's some random video of a decent shot. I agree with a lot of this guys technique, except the Felleni (I think you should lower dose, instead of trying to multipump). Also, I raise the lever until water is about to come out, before I load the portafilter. This helps protect the puck (in my mind). Also, go really slow when raising the lever to fill the headspace.

You see how thick and rich the shot looks. That's what good tasting shots look like (not that all that look like that, taste good).

If you are measuring 200F on the outside of the group head/bell, your machine is WAAAAYYYY too hot. I measure 80-85C (~175F). Everyone is diffenet depending on where the probe is, but you are definitely too hot.

Try cooler temps and a finer grind. If you almost choke the Euro ... it will still taste pretty good.

Does your tamper fit well? If the outside isnt getting compressed equally, I could see donuts... but again ... I would worry about the other problem before donuts.


#6: Post by ojt »

Seemingly random idea: take the OEM plastic tamper and sand down the larger part to fit tightly into the basket. Tamp with that and see how it goes.

Point being that the tamper is a bit convex just as the basket is. Might help. Or not.

Good luck!


#7: Post by Rustic39 »

Hello OP, I've experienced this phenomenon you are struggling with as well, with my Elektra Microcasa lever machine. I have read someplace here that it's not rare, and some have the opinion that the water is simply finding an easier path to follow around the puck edge boundary of the of the basket. I generally am using a bottomless portafilter in order to evaluate preinfusion, so I'm also monitoring for this as well. Something I developed in my routine which seems to have all but completely eliminated this donut phenomenon from occurring on my machine, is how I build the puck. Considering that I want the edges to be homogeneous and tightened up some to reduce the chances of outer edge flow outrunning the central area of the puck, I evenly fill the basket around the outside first. In this way it forms like a funnel shape of grounds in the basket. Once I've reached the top of the basket rim this way, I then disperse the remaining dose into the center of the basket. I am using a purpose made dosing funnel to help with preventing spillage though. After I've filled the basket this way, I hold it level and gently swirl it to level off the top. Then I gently tap basket onto the countertop to settle the grounds. Next I use a mechanical leveling tool (spin leveler/tampering tool) to do a finish leveling of the puck, but do not let the tool compress the puck any. Lastly I tamp as normal. All of this takes me at least twice as long to ready the basket, than the traditional filling methods, but when I combine this with proper preinfusion, I'm seeing far less donuts and spritzers.


#8: Post by Rickpatbrown »

[quote="gestalted2"who has figured out how to not get a donut extraction with a La Pavoni? Am I chasing a ghost?


Have you made any progress on this? I've been delving into the LP more and an starting ti wonder about the basket. The sides taper and I wonder if a straight sided basket would prevent this.

I also tried a paper filter on top of my puck this morning and it really helped get a full bottomless flow. Still with some initial donuting, though.

Have you tried cooler shots with a finer grind?