After a lot of use with your Delonghi La Specialista, you may find the grinder may not work as expected anymore.
You’re probably grumpy because your coffee machine is broken and you have no coffee. I’m a Coffee Grump too because people have awesome machines and don’t read the manual to know how it works or how to clean it properly so they get frustrated and come to me. I’m here to help you fix your Delonghi grinder!
Problem: Your Delonghi La Specialista grinder isn’t grinding but it’s still making noise and seems like it is working properly. Additionally, your ground coffee might no be dispensing into your portafilter properly.
Let’s start by unplugging your coffee maker.
The first job is to clean out the grinder. You probably have had the hopper off at this point, I’m sure. Clean the beans out – it is suggested that you vacuum them out. Once you have cleared the beans out you should be staring at the grinding burrs. You’ll notice the outer burr has a small silver flip handle on it. Flip it up and pull out the burr.
If you can, pull the outer burr out (in this case the burr will not be locked in position – this is why you aren’t getting grinds out). If the burr isn’t easy to pull out here is what you do.
Turn the coarseness adjustment ring past the coarse setting and all the way (counter-clockwise). Once it is all the way you will be able to pull the burr out easily. Leave the dial in this position. You might have to twist the silver handle on the burr one way or the other but you will be able to get it out.
Once the burr is out clean any leftover coffee beans or grinds on the inner burr and in the grinder (all this should be done without power to the machine). Do not use water to clean any part of the grinder or its parts. Only dry clean grinder parts, no water or moisture.
There is a small push door on the top of the machine in front of the grinder. Push down on the right side of it and pull it up so it opens the grind chute. This is why Delonghi sent you a long cleaning brush. Clear any ground coffee that might be clogging the chute. This should be done periodically to prevent future grinder jams.
So now you have a clean start, there are really 3 components to putting the burr back in and being ready to grind:
The burr is designed to come out so you can clean and reinstall it easily, so this is something you’ll want to understand for periodical cleaning and maintaining of your La Specialista.
Next, Make sure the coarseness adjustment ring is turned all the way counter-clockwise, it should face an “unlock” symbol directly facing you.
Next, set the burr into the grinder, (some models even have an arrow on the plastic components) and line up arrows on the rim of the burr and the grinder housing. Gently push the burr down into position.
Once you have your burr in place you can turn the coarseness gauge to 5, the mid-way point on the grind coarseness adjustment ring. When you turned your coarseness adjustment ring with the burr set in place your burr is actually locking in its place. Like a screw, it is threading the two tabs or flanges into the grinder. You can actually see the flanges on the removable burr catch under the adjustment ring on the grinder if you turn the adjustment ring slowly.
Check the burr is locked in place by simply flipping the silver handle up and gently tugging on the burr, if it feels locked in evenly then you can move to the next step – the hopper.
If the burr pulls out you must go back to the beginning of this article and start over again. Don’t skip steps! This might be what got you into this mess. You need to learn this process, not just fix it one time, as this is part of the La Specialista maintenance.
Most people think the hopper is the most important part of reassembly but it is just the last step of the process. You have to perform all very important previous steps prior to this, otherwise installing the hopper is futile.
The hopper has a lock and unlocks picture on the side of it so you will use this to guide you into the right fitting position. Gently line up and place your hopper into the grind adjustment collar and it should easily fit snug with the unlock label (on the hopper) and the arrow (on the machine panel).
Having the hopper in place you can twist it to the lock position, you should be able to feel the hopper click in place. Then add a few beans, (small handful) don’t fill it up until you have confirmed the job is done correctly.
At this point, you can plug the La Specialista to power and power ON. Test your grind by doing the process of making espresso. If you have done everything correctly you will be drinking espresso in no time.
Remember you had your grind setting on 5 when you reassembled and locked in your burr. After you test brew the grinder and you see it has worked you can now dial in the grind setting one at a time then make an espresso.
Do this over and over again until you have dialed in your grind. I usually find I sit around 2-3 coarseness for my perfect espresso. I look for the gauge in the espresso zone, a two-tone caramel crème and then of course the taste. Caution – Don’t change your grind more than one coarseness at a time as you can damage your grinder. Patience is key.
If you find that your burr is too dull or broken, you may want to consider getting a replacement off of Amazon.
This happens when the grinder adjustment ring disengages from the grinder and in all cases leaves the adjustment on course even though you turn the adjustment ring, and nothing changes. A quick check to see if this is your problem will be to turn the silver adjustment ring and listen. If you hear the adjustment ring clicking, then this isn’t your issue, and you can move on to the next problem.
If the ring turns easily and doesn’t click along the way, then you have a separation from the adjustment ring and the grinder. Here is what you need to do. Make sure you unplug your La Specialista before you begin!
Follow these steps or watch the video above to fix your grinder:
With the palm of your hand mildly tap each corner of the top panel and it will click right into place. Replace the 2 screws, the top burr, and the hopper.
If you are only getting a rough course grind even after adjustments, one cause can be the above problem (try watching the video above too). Another cause can be the burr is not in place properly.
This could be that the burr hasn’t engaged and is not adjusting but just “floating” in the grinder area. You will need to remove the hopper and burr then clean out the area from all the beans.
At this point, you want to make sure the adjustment ring is in the remove position and then can reseat the burr in and give it a gentle push down. Turn the adjustment ring to about 3 on the grind selector and lightly pull up on the burr silver handle to see if it is locked in place. If you are good and locked in, then install the hopper and beans.
Words to live by, find your manual and make sure you are performing all the maintenance required including descaling. Descaling is very easy and can be viewed in my other post, La Specialista Machine Maintenance.
You’ll also want to clean the machine periodically, which I made a Delonghi La Specialista cleaning guide here.
To sum the article, you’ll want to clean and descale your machine every 2-3 months depending on how much use your machine. When descaling you’ll want to avoid using vinegar, and instead use Delonghi’s cheap descaler liquid found on Amazon.
The La Specialista is a solid machine but it does have to be cared for and maintained. I could sum it up by saying it is a great machine for the user who wants to have a barista feel with less fuss.
Lost your manual? No problem, here’s the page where you can find the manual on the official website. It doesn’t take a lot of time to learn the basics of your coffee machine. But when things go wrong you might not know what to ask or what to do. Read your manuals. Be patient!
If you have done this correctly you are no longer a Coffee Grump.
I’m the Coffee Grump. I’m a tech guy, not a sales guy. I love coffee, and I service the equipment that grinds and brews it for you. I have more than 25 years of experience in technical and customer service in coffee machinery, and I hope to share some of that experience with you with this website!