Still need to WDT?! I'm clearly missing something. - Page 2

Beginner or pro barista, all are invited to share.
jonny
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Postby jonny » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:24 pm

Yes, with any grinder, a filled hopper requires the user to adjust coarser. This caused me stress the first time I took my setup to a party. The added weight makes a difference in average particle size as well as particle distribution. Average particle size decreases, which leads to the adjustment. Particle distribution gets "better" (in my belief, based on experience), which leads to less manipulation of the ground coffee, and also may contribute to the necessity for adjustment if this distribution change favors finer particles. Bulk grinders are great at coarse brewing methods because of their tight particle distribution, but they are not good at espresso for the same reason. Similarly, I theorize that, with an espresso grinder, there are more fine particles using the hopper than with single dosing, since a good espresso shot requires more fines and because a single dosed shot at the same grind setting as a hopper fed shot, both looks and acts coarser. Just my theories based on my experiences, though.

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Postby Spitz.me » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:52 pm

Before you start trying things that make no sense - like trying to use a hopper full of beans instead of single-dosing to get a more evenly distributed pile of grinds in your basket - please go read this thread with an experiment done to test any difference in outcome from single-dosing vs. hopper-fed dosing.

Single dose versus hopper grinding: an experiment

"LaDan" had it right. WDT is used to break up dense areas in the basket. For instance, if you have a doser that shoots the grinds to the left, you'll get a pile of grinds on the left hand side of the basket.

If you can get your grinder to neatly pile the grinds in a more distributed manner into your basket - WITH an adequate grinder (larger flat-burrs and titan conicals) - then your need to WDT will be eliminated. However, there are those, like Mitch236 who has a doserless Robur and he continues to use WDT as part of his basket prep.

Mostly, I'd say, what you're missing is understanding that WDT isn't something YOU MUST eliminate from your prep, as long as it helps. Also, don't assume - myself included - that anyone giving you pointers is actually doing a better job at pulling shots than you are.

My K10 forces me to WDT most of the time because I lazily bash the grinds out of the doser as fast as I can and then worry about distribution. Other k10 owners carefully manipulate the basket to get the doser to drop the grinds in a way that is better distributed.

WHATEVER WORKS! :lol: As long as you understand the shortcomings of the equipment you're using and can use methods to eliminate it, I'd say there's nothing wrong with that.
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.

jonny
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Postby jonny » Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:13 am

Spitz.me wrote:Before you start trying things that make no sense - like trying to use a hopper full of beans instead of single-dosing to get a more evenly distributed pile of grinds in your basket


Come on, Tony, I'm trying to help the guy! I'm not sure why you think you need to interject and shoot my suggestion down as if just trying to change something, let alone suggesting to operate the grinder exactly as it was intended (with a hopper of beans), is going to cause irreversible effects and should not be tried. Have you tried it? And, I don't know where you got the idea that the hopper full of beans would provide better distribution. I claimed that the hopper full of beans would provide better, more consistent shots without WDT. I think the cause is deeper than visible distribution, hence my theory about particle distribution. I stress "theory" so people don't get all heated about a claim. Again I theorize: I think WDT is necessary for a lot of single dosed grinders because the particle distribution is less forgiving and a more perfect distribution is necessary. I do not claim that a hopper fed grinder distributes better, and that is why I made it clear that good distribution is still important.

Spitz.me wrote:Also, don't assume - myself included - that anyone giving you pointers is actually doing a better job at pulling shots than you are.


Yes, assumptions are bad, so let me be explicit. Tom has channeling, I do not. Tom and I have similar equipment (quality 64 mm flat burr grinder, e-61 machine), I offered a legitimate suggestion that I honestly believe can solve his issue of channeling shots if his skill set is up to snuff. No offense to you personally, Tony, but I think it's ironic that the guy with the $1400 grinder who needs WDT for consistent shots is nay-saying the guy with a grinder that costs half that and gets good, consistent results with nothing fancy.

I know I struck a nerve with you recently, so I'm not here to start an argument with you, but it's not appreciated when someone swoops in and thinks he/she has the authority to fully discredit everything suggested previously. I'd understand you chiming in if I had offered malicious/careless/uneducated advice, but I offered good, sound advice, that I honestly think will help Tom. Additional suggestions are good, and Tom, you should definitely try them first if they are easier and more sensible for you, or try them next if my suggestion doesn't work for you, but I'd place money on my suggestion and it's not your place, Tony, to call it nonesense. Please read my posts thoroughly to avoid misunderstanding my words or mistaking me for ignorant.

Tom, I apologize in advance, how this is about to make your thread messy :roll:

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Postby Spitz.me » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:30 am

There will be no thread hijack, I have nothing else to say.

Have fun. :mrgreen:
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.

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Postby RapidCoffee » Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:44 am

jonny wrote:Yes, with any grinder, a filled hopper requires the user to adjust coarser. This caused me stress the first time I took my setup to a party. The added weight makes a difference in average particle size as well as particle distribution. Average particle size decreases, which leads to the adjustment. Particle distribution gets "better" (in my belief, based on experience), which leads to less manipulation of the ground coffee, and also may contribute to the necessity for adjustment if this distribution change favors finer particles. Bulk grinders are great at coarse brewing methods because of their tight particle distribution, but they are not good at espresso for the same reason. Similarly, I theorize that, with an espresso grinder, there are more fine particles using the hopper than with single dosing, since a good espresso shot requires more fines and because a single dosed shot at the same grind setting as a hopper fed shot, both looks and acts coarser. Just my theories based on my experiences, though.

Jim Schulman has demonstrated that your theories are false:
Single dose versus hopper grinding: an experiment

In light of his results, you may wish to run your own series of experiments before posting more unsupported theories about particle distribution, fines, etc.

jonny wrote:... I think it's ironic that the guy with the $1400 grinder who needs WDT for consistent shots is nay-saying the guy with a grinder that costs half that and gets good, consistent results with nothing fancy.

Nobody is claiming that WDT is needed. For excellent espresso, you need several things: high quality coffee beans, a properly adjusted grinder, the correct dose, an even distribution of grinds in the basket, correct temperature and pressure brew water, etc. The WDT cannot help with most of that. But it can guarantee an even distribution of grinds in the basket.

Obviously there are other approaches to achieving this. IMHO, none are as simple and consistent as the WDT, which is why I still use it. But of course I may be biased. :-)
John

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Postby da gino » Thu Dec 27, 2012 10:34 am

There is no question that great shots can be pulled consistently without single dosing from flat burr grinders like the Super Jolly. WDT fixes some shortcomings of barista training and/or equipment, but again it is important to recognize that with a good grinder and with practice you can pull very good shots without it whether you single dose or not. (Perhaps not single dosing gives you extra room for error? It would be hard to test as it would vary from one barista to the next, based on your technique, preferred doses, etc.)

After years of not using the WDT I started trying it again on the occasional shot when I saw a post by John saying he uses it with his Robur. I confess I don't notice it making shots better or worse for me although there was no question that it made a dramatic difference for me years ago when I was starting out (I don't know if that should be attributed to technique or equipment both of which have changed over the years).

One drawback I have rarely see mentioned is the possibility of fines migration from an overly vigorous WDT (the main place I did see it introduced was in the Pro Barista's Handbook - but it wasn't conclusive one way or the other if I recall correctly). I can't imagine this is a problem if you do a minor WDT, like the one John said he does in the thread I mention above and I have no idea if it is really an issue even with a vigorous one.

As an aside please keep the discussions civil and about coffee and not as snippy as some of the posts above seem to be. It shouldn't be too hard to disagree but to do so politely.

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Postby RapidCoffee » Thu Dec 27, 2012 11:43 am

da gino wrote:One drawback I have rarely see mentioned is the possibility of fines migration from an overly vigorous WDT...

Fines migration is a theory that has never been adequately tested. Experimental evidence for fines migration would be helpful in advancing our understanding of the espresso percolation process. But to my knowledge, nobody has ever demonstrated that fines migration occurs.

Conditions in the puck during the brewing process are completely different from stirring dry coffee grinds during puck prep. Even the most vigorous WDT is nothing like hitting the puck with near boiling water under 9 bars of pressure.
John

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Postby Spitz.me » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:08 pm

da gino wrote:
After years of not using the WDT I started trying it again on the occasional shot when I saw a post by John saying he uses it with his Robur. I confess I don't notice it making shots better or worse for me although there was no question that it made a dramatic difference for me years ago when I was starting out (I don't know if that should be attributed to technique or equipment both of which have changed over the years).



If the grinds are badly distributed, regardless of the dollar value of the grinder, YOU WILL get bad results in the cup. If you didn't NEED to do anything other than what you have been doing, you will not see a change that is out of the ordinary in your pull. I've seen John answer those who question why he WDTs and I've seen him just simply answer that he does it all the time, regardless of equipment. However, I have seen Dan mention that using WDT makes the outcome taste differently, in a bad way. (correct me if I'm wrong).

I missed something so I'll reply...

Yes, Jonny, the irony of someone who uses a "1400" grinder that throws hard to the left if you thwack harder than silently. What a loser I must be for using WDT to correct this issue, but, sure, no offense taken... :lol:

Those professional baristas that you covet, Jonny, don't tend to worry about distribution because they overdose and skim the top. That's a great way of wasting 2g of coffee per shot and getting great distribution to boot.

I want to make something clear just because it might not be. I'm not here because of why Jonny thinks I'm here or because I need everyone in the world to use WDT to make me feel less insecure. I don't think it's right that someone tries to help another user by asking them to try to eliminate WDT by doing something THAT DOES NOT CAUSE PROPER DISTRIBUTION. As well, single-dosing DOES NOT CAUSE IMPROPER DISTRIBUTION. Why would one user ask another user to change their whole routine for something that doesn't make sense?
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.

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Postby deshi135 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 12:56 pm

Good morning all. Thank you all so much for your advice. Clearly we are all passionate about this process of espresso.

So, this morning my first attempt was to grind my usual single dose worth. Tried to be conscious of grounds hitting the middle of the basket. leveled, tapped, added the rest of the grounds. Tried the nutation move to assure evenness. The pull looked horrible. One sided, quickly blonding and so on.

Second attempt was I put the remainder of my beans in the hopper, approximately 4 double shots worth. I will say I am as far out from a roast date with my current patch of beans as I have ever been since finding a roaster about a year ago. 15 days today. I do keep my beans in a vacuum container when stored. Just a matter of missing the roast date last time by 5 days. I am usually making minor grinder adjustments at 10-11 days or so. Tried to prepare basket again as above, trying to make the only change a fuller hopper. Pull was only slightly better. At this point I should say I did see clumping in the basket, as I have always, with either my Rocky or the E7. So my one thought was, well the clumping is there right out of the doser. Thus what got me started with the WDT to fix in the first place. Is the clumping a matter of too fine a grind? Even with vigorous thwacking, I've always had some clumping.

Will be making a bean run either today or tomorrow to fix that variable.

Thanks
Tom
I drink espresso because I am incapable of hibernating.

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Postby Spitz.me » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:29 pm

Keep in mind, Tom, that when you add weight to the beans they create more fines when being crushed. So, you may have seen a slight difference in your pull mainly due to the fact that you had more fines at the same grind level. I'm not sure you adjusted, but you mentioned that the only thing you changed was adding weight to the beans by slightly filling the hopper.
I know I've pulled a great shot when the flavour is 'like a beany taste that tastes like a bean'.