RapidCoffee wrote:I don't believe the primary problem is puck prep. You probably don't want to hear this, but you are trying to make espresso with marginal equipment. Delonghi espresso machine? No comment. Baratza Virtuoso? Decent grinder for non-espresso brewing (I've used one for years), but not for espresso. As you have already found, the adjustment steps are too coarse. If you're serious about espresso, consider upgrading both your grinder and your espresso machine.
Another potential problem: coffee beans. Only two days rest? Is this a home roast?
I have to agree (about the "marginal equipment"). And with all due respect, I think WDT is at best, a workaround for grinders that produce clumpy grounds. It has helped a lot of users, but it's not a solution or even an improvement for everyone. I'd suggest trying to grind directly into the PF, and skip the WDT. Make sure you use a well fitted tamper. I saw a huge improvement when I got a tamper that fit more closely to my basket.