Help! La Marzocco Linea Mini + Mazzer Major V + fresh beans = runny shots

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by RJB83 »

Ran through a whole bag got nothing but sink shots no matter the grind adjustment. Every time filled up two shot glasses in 4-5 seconds.

What am I doing wrong?

Read through this thread to try to diagnose myself to no avail

Roast date on the beans was 1/6
Same results with a different bag/brand (Counter Culture) with a roast date of 1/3

RJB83 (original poster)

#2: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

I think my grind is too coarse, but when I try to go finer, the grinder won't grind the beans. images are of 18g in a 17g basket


#3: Post by Marmot »

That is without a doubt too coarse. Your problem is the grinder.
Did you try to adjust grind size finer while the grinder was running, preferably empty? If you can hear the burrs touching and still have this coarse grind size the burrs are either worn out or seriously out of alignment.
You also have to consider that such a large grinder has a lot of retention so you have to grind out 5 to 10 grams until the new grind size is coming out.

RJB83 (original poster)

#4: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

I adjusted until I could hear the burrs scraping a bit, and dialed it back a little from there and it wouldn't grind the beans, and when I dial it back to where it would dial the beans, that picture is the output.

any idea how I can get it to grind finer?

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#5: Post by HB »

It's rare that a photo of coffee grounds for espresso captures enough detail to guess the grind setting, but I'm with Marmot - that's way, way too coarse.

You should empty the hopper / grind chamber and "zero" the grinder by moving the grind setting finer and finer until the burrs touch (no, it can't damage the burrs and the burrs will "chirp" when they touch). For a Mazzer grinder, IIRC, the starting espresso zone is about 1/3rd turn coarser from the zero point. Yours looks about twice that.

If this doesn't help, it's time to remove the grind setting adjustment collar and check the burrs for alignment, clogging, or really bad wear.
Dan Kehn

RJB83 (original poster)

#6: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

I was finally able to get it the grinder dialed in to a setting that choked the machine.

Now I just have to dial it back :D .


#7: Post by Marmot »

I'm glad it worked out.
When you clean the grinder you have to be very careful to get rid of all the coffee residues, especially under the burrs, should you take them out as well. Mazzer grinders also have a large thread for the upper burr assembly which can get clogged with coffee powder.

RJB83 (original poster)

#8: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

Yeah so far I've only removed the upper burr to clean the grind chamber. On the major V basically the top comes off as one piece with the top burr so you don't lose the grind setting.

I'm pretty scared to remove the burrs themselves because I don't want to mess up the burr alignment

I must say, anyone thinking of going with La Marzocco/Mazzer, they have a support team on standby that will jump on a zoom call with you whenever you run into trouble. The vendor I purchased the grinder from was not nearly as responsive.

Also note for any future HB'ers that are having a similar issue with the Mazzer Major V, grind adjustments have to be made in very small increments (one notch at a time, slow and controlled) . This thing is super sensitive and will choke when making large adjustments.


#9: Post by emradguy »

I had a Major as my primary grinder for about a decade. You can make even smaller adjustments than one notch, that will significantly impact the flavor profile of your shot. You should strive for that each time you do make an adjustment, now that you've got it in a useable range.

As was mentioned, the retention in that grinder is very high. The problem with that, in the home environment, is that 1) the amount of bean waste is very high, and 2) it makes dialing in very difficult and frustrating. There are ways to use the Major as a single dose grinder, if you desire to do so, and this will help with both problems. Assuming you got yours new, the hopper assembly is permanently attached to a collar that fits into the upper burr/adjustment assembly. It has a tab in the back that fits into a slot which is necessary to make the grinder run. In other words, if you break that tab or remove the collar/hopper your grinder will not run. Your options are to open the grinder and modify the wiring, completely remove the collar/hopper and stuff something in that tab, or to chop off the hopper from the collar. I didn't want to modify my wiring, and went with both of the other options.

I used a coping saw to remove the hopper right where it comes out of the collar, essentially making a tall straight chute. Having the collar in place allows you to retain the bean stop, which conveniently prevents beans from "popcorning" out of the burr chamber. This method also allows you to drop one dose into the burr chamber, slide the bean stop back into position, and then put a second pre-weighed dose in the top of the collar. After you grind each shot, turning the motor off and back on once or twice will help clear any retention. We call this "bumping" the grinder.

I also used a piece of oven-bake modeling clay to fabricate a "tab" to stuff in the slot for when the collar is removed. This allowed me to run the grinder without the collar. It's helpful if you want to use a bellows to blow out any residual loose particles with the grinder running, or if you want to use a small hopper for parties. The Mazzer Mini hopper kind of fits...I think I had to wrap the bottom of it with electrical tape (iirc)...but even better, imho, is a Ball canning funnel, which fits almost perfectly and is much smaller. Come to think of it, I can't recall if I put this in the collar or the throat of the grinder with the collar removed...I didn't use it much at all, and it's been almost 2 years since I took it off my bar (and it's now been sold).

RJB83 (original poster)

#10: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

Update. I was out of town most of last week and just made my first attempt at a latte this morning. The grinder ground fine enough to pull 36 grams in over 40 seconds (took over 10 seconds for the first drops to appear), so I have to dial it back a tiny bit more with this grinder. Surprisingly the latte still tasted fine.

Once I get this grinder dialed in the next steps will be to learn how to properly steam milk.