Stockfleths Move for Dummies [video]

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by HB »

More than likely you've seen the famous Stockfleth's Move video, a redistribution technique that evens out the coffee grounds dosed into the portafilter basket:
Watching it several times over, I still find it difficult to figure out what they're trying to demonstrate. Even the slow motion video obscures key details. Discussions of the motion are equally daunting:
another_jim wrote:PF in your left hand, bring it to your chest, and put your elbow up. Put the fleshy part below your right thumb into the basket, and put your right elbow out too. Now extend both hands away from your chest, bringing the elbows in. This gives a 180 degree rotation of you thumb pad over the grounds, and levels the puck.

From Please describe the Stockfleth's Move
With all due respect to the pros who frequent this board, mastering the Stockfleths Move as described is difficult without first-hand instruction. The last few months, I've worked on a modified version that caters to the mechanically challenged, dubbed the Stockfleths Move for Dummies. My apologizes for the quality of the video, it was a a spur of the moment, one take only session; I didn't bother with extra lighting.
As you see in the video, rather than using my palm, I used my index finger to redistribute. If you dose very evenly, little redistribution is necessary, but it's easy to miss a turn and leave a dead spot. This method will correct for uneven dosing. The graphic below shows the motion of the modified Stockfleths Move:

  • Begin with your index finger near the top of the basket, pointing a bit upward (assuming you are right handed like me).
  • As you rotate the basket clockwise, slowly trace your index finger downward. At this point the goal is to move the coffee grounds to the dead spots with no compression because the distribution is uneven and you don't want to compress the already dense spots more than the lighter spots.
  • Once your index finger has pushed the growing pile of grounds along one full revolution, it's time to decide if you're leaving the dose as-is, updosing, or downdosing.

    As-is: Sweep the top off to level, slight compression along the perimeter. That is, the slow finger sweep starts near the top as before with no compression and increases once your finger nears the bottom of the sweep.

    Updosing: If you've updosed correctly, the dose will be slightly above the rim of the basket. You haven't compressed, you've only redistributed. To updose, move the pile while rotating the basket with modest compression, increase the compression as your finger nears the perimeter. This extra compression near the edges compensates for the dose's center-weighted tendency. If you want to updose even more, redistribute in one rotation (grounds well above the rim), tap to settle the grounds even with the rim, then redistribute in one rotation again.

    Downdosing: This is tricky; instead of resting your finger lightly on the rim of the basket, press down firmly so the bottom flat of your finger rides below the basket's edge. The curve of your finger will scrape off grounds as you rotate the basket. It's fairly easy to dose to 16 grams with a standard Faema-style basket using this technique; with practice, you can dose to 15 grams or less (the dose in the video was 15.5 grams). For extreme downdosing of less than 14 grams, place your finger across the basket with the tip of your finger riding below the inner rim while rotating the basket, scraping off grounds to the desired level.
  • If you've finished redistributing and there's still some grounds above the rim you wish to discard, a quick level sweep without compression will do. Tamp as usual.
Dan Kehn

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#2: Post by Jasonian »


It seems more complicated and more difficult than just the normal Stockfleth's move to me.

I'm not sure what it is, but something about it bothers me. It's not the speed or anything, there's just something about the resulting distribution that doesn't sit right for some odd reason.

Stockfleth's really isn't that complicated to me. :?
"Pro" coffee roaster. Ex barista trainer, competitor, consultant.

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#3: Post by k7qz »

I never could get the Stockfleth's to work well using my thumb given my particular thumb has anatomic curvature (as most of us do) which in conjunction with my real big hands (matching the 6'6" body they're attached to) never seemed to produce an acceptable distribution.

Dan, the method you delineate here makes a lot more sense to me. It's probably the most easily grasped rendition of this technique that I've seen. I know it's frowned upon but you might consider cross-posting it on the CG board.

Jasonian, you didn't mention but I'd suspect you Stockfleth with the basket loaded in the PF? Might that be the difference for you?

Also, Dan I've watched the video a couple of times now and I'd swear you're rotating the basket CW rather than CCW as the directions stipulate. Is CCW on the east coast backwards than it is here on the west coast or am I just directionally challenged? :lol: :wink:

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#4: Post by bassoon1024 »

Awesome tutorial. That video and set of instructions makes it so much easier to understand.

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#5: Post by HB (original poster) »

k7qz wrote:Dan, the method you delineate here makes a lot more sense to me. It's probably the most easily grasped rendition of this technique that I've seen. I know it's frowned upon but you might consider cross-posting it on the CG board.
I'm glad you found it useful and have cross-posted it to CG (link). Recently I've upgraded my espresso workspace and plan to do more videos once I get some lighting gear.

Understandably this sort of low-level instruction isn't for everyone, hence the title and my comment about "those who are mechanically challenged"; on the other hand, I've trained a few newbies and they did well with prescriptive instruction. I don't expect they'll continue with such rigor, but easily reproducible steps like these may reduce the initial learning curve and encourage them to keep at it.
Dan Kehn

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#6: Post by Ozark_61 »

Thanks Dan - I could never understand that Oslo video. Maybe it's european hands... but I looked like a pug in a tutu trying to use my palm to distribute the mound. I gave up with the Oslo technique and did something like your move, just using my finger to sweep while curved around in a circle rather than moving the filter itself.


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#7: Post by OlywaDave »

Man great video Dan. I've seen the videos, I've seen it in person, but until you remove the portafilter from view the technique becomes a lot more clear.

Man keep this stuff a coming.
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#8: Post by HunkaBurninLove »

Agreed...this video makes it easier for me to understand how to perform that move. I could never quite get everything on the original video instruction.

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#9: Post by petje »

Nice vid, clear and understandable (even for an euro newbie)

Till now i did roughly the same with my distribution (working with my gear since a month now), but only using a plastic straightlined kind of ruler instead of my finger.
Is there anything against using something else then a finger or hand? Or is that not the barista way?

Besides that, i still need to develop a lot of skill, my pucks are never evenly pressed, i would be scared to use a naked PF, my pucks are looking that bad after a shot and cups won't ever fill evenly in my situation. Making good espresso is truly a skill, but already the coffee is better then anything else i made in my life.

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#10: Post by HB (original poster) »

petje wrote:Is there anything against using something else then a finger or hand?
The baristas at Intelligentsia advocate the Chicago Chop for barista-to-barista consistency and it uses a flat edged implement. I prefer "au naturel" because I can feel and adjust for the slightest change in resistance, differences so small that you can't see them.
Dan Kehn