Pulling a good shot with LaSpecialista + Smart Grinder Pro

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

#1: Post by Barstia92 »

Hey there!

I am quite new here and currently try to experiment making a well balanced espresso.
I'm using a DeLonghi LaSpecialista and as a grinder a Sage Smart Grinder Pro using grind settings 5-12 currently, resuling in too little pressure of the machine and the extraction being more watery and blonde than creamy. As a grind time i use 7seconds normally or 11,5 for the grind setting being 5 in order to fill the baskets doubleshot mark.
I got an non original bottomless portafilter since there's nothing professional having 51mm.
it fits the machine though since it's supposed to be made for it and comes with a doubleshot basket.
So far the pressure dial of the machine only gets enough pressure with the original pressurized doublewall baskets which I've heard ain't so good...
Maybe someone out there can help me?

Best regards


#2: Post by bgnome »

Grinding by volume or time is difficult to do consistently. Getting a scale and measuring the weight of coffee will make a big difference in consistency.

You may need to grind finer. Try to see if you can get a grind that chokes the machine and dial it back from there.

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#3: Post by Jeff »

The Smart Grinder Pro has been found by many not to be able to grind fine enough for espresso without adjusting the burr. There are several videos available that describe how to do this.

I agree that a scale that reads to 0.1 g is very important

Barstia92 (original poster)

#4: Post by Barstia92 (original poster) »

Hey guys and thanks for your replies!
I now have changed the inner grinder settings from 6 to 4 and then used the finest outer setting. That way I managed to increase the extraction time for a sinigle espresso to something around 27 seconds when before it was always way too fast having around 13 seconds.
I also filled the basket as much as possible resulting in really good pressure Ive never had before.
The extraction looked way creamier than before and overall better. But the taste was way too strong now.
I ordered a scale now and hope that will help

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#5: Post by Jeff »

If you're still using the finest setting on the outside, I'd adjust the inside a bit more so you've got some range.

When you reduce the dose, the ability of the puck to hold back the water will usually be less, as it is a thinner puck. Generally that would mean a little bit finer grind from where you are now.

I wouldn't get too worked up about pressure being exactly anything. Many people find that a pressure somewhere in the 6-8 or 6-9 bar range (depending on how your machine measures it) is OK. More pressure isn't always better and sometimes can be worse (especially over 9 bar or so).

Barstia92 (original poster)

#6: Post by Barstia92 (original poster) »

Hi Jeff,
Sorry, not sure I got you right (English not being my native tongue)
Do you mean I should adjust the inner setting even finer and decrease the dose overall?

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#7: Post by Jeff »

No worries!

If you leave the inner setting where it is now, it sounds like you can't set the grinder any finer than it already is. If that is the case, I would change that so that you can easily set "a little" finer and a little coarser from where you are. I would do that even if you don't change coffee or dose.

"Too strong" for espresso often means that a smaller dose would taste better to you, once all the other changes needed are made. If you go with a smaller dose of the same coffee in the same basket, usually that means a finer grind. I think that a smaller dose would be worth trying to see if you enjoy the taste better. You will probably have to adjust the grind finer when you do that.

Two, different things. Both reasons I would adjust the inner setting a bit finer.

Barstia92 (original poster)

#8: Post by Barstia92 (original poster) »

I now adjusted the inner burr to 3 out of 6 and did the grind on the finest outer setting possible while lowering the amount, extraction seemed way too fast having below 10 seconds but at least it tastes better 8)
I guess for best results, I will have to wait for the scale to arrive.
Do you think a leveler is necessary? Im currently using a normal tamper which is barely fitting the filter causing uneven tamping results during the shots.


#9: Post by bgnome »

Barstia92 wrote: Do you think a leveler is necessary? Im currently using a normal tamper which is barely fitting the filter causing uneven tamping results during the shots.
I use a WDT tool to even out the grounds prior to tamping.

A leveler is a fairly useless expenditure in my opinion. My Dose Pro, which is a similar but not "smart" grinder, came with a "razor" leveling tool in the removable tray. I would suspect yours does as well.

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#10: Post by Jeff »

It is possible you've gone too fine and the water "breaks through" the puck. You might try a coarser setting on the knob (leaving the inner setting where it is).

If the scale is still several days away, you might try grinding into the basket then swiping a knife or your finger across it the way some might measuring flour in a cup. (No shaking or pressing down first.) That might get you closer. Without repeatable weight, it may be hard to see the changes you make.