Underdosed Stockfleth - When your dose is below the basket rim

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#1: Post by LaDan »

Underdosed Stockfleth - When your dose is below the basket rim

Background: Earlier today I responded to Jon Kulpa's ("Tag Team Jesus") post about distributing and leveling a dose that does not fill up a basket. I said that I have the same issue and developed some kind of a technique, and he asked me to post a video showing it.

Well, I only have two hands and for the life of me could never find a cell phone holder that would be wide enough to hold my phone (HTC EVO) to attach it to a tripod. If anyone knows of any please let me know! Instead, I took a number of pictures. I hope it will still be clear.

The conversation earlier today: (the bold is mine)
VST/ Strada Basket for Silvia

Jon: "Because the Versalab grinder has it's donut distribution in the basket, I find it works best to overfill the grounds so they can easily be redistributed into the middle where the donut hole is. That being said, I could really use a better basket that will get overfilled for my 18 gram shots. 18 grams often looks a little skimpy in the double basket. So, I think I'll order that 14 gram HQ basket.

Me: "I have the same issue with the 18g basket. I developed some kind of Stockfleth with my finger going down into the basket to distribute and level at about 3mm below the rim.

If I fill up the basket to level to the rim then it would not tamp low enough.

Jon: "18 grams yields skimpiness in my HQ double basket. Just ordered a HQ 14 gram ridgeless. NeatO. If you can level 3mm below the rim, I am impressed. Post a video! I never understood how to distribute a coffee if the dose couldn't level with the rim.

OK. So I am grinding 17g into an 18g VST. 18g will still be below the rim, so it doesn't matter that I underdosed a little.

1. After grinding. Untreated grind.
I try my best to move and turn the PF around to load the basket as evenly as I can. You can see that there's not enough grind to just level off normally, right? The PF in on the scale and is exactly 17.0 grams.

2. Started to push the mound north to fill up the top section. I stopped to take a picture and you can see that there's no way to just level that dose. I normally push toward a section of the PF that needs to be filled. Doesn't have to be north. All I want is to have some grind at the rim so that I can start moving it around like in a Stockfleth. I don't care where in the PF it starts.

3. After the "Underdose Stockfleth".
I made about 2-3 rounds of leveling. The center is about 3mm below the rim, and curves up towards the end of the rim. Hope you can see that in the picture.


4. This is how the finger is positioned to go into the basket. I don't start like that. I start with a regular gentle Stockfleth and move the grounds around, but after one round the grounds fall below the rim and I gradually go deeper and deeper with my finger while still being careful not to press the grounds down. I continue until the whole surface is even.

Took another closeup picture the show how my finger goes in. Dropped my phone trying to focus and touch the screen in one hand. Phone is into pieces, cover out, battery out, SD card slot opened... :shock: I put everything back together and reboot my phone. Everything works fine... :shock: Thank you Jon.. LOL.

A few things: notice that two parts of the finger are going under the rim. The tip, and the first section. I start with the tip or the first one or two sections to move the grounds around. Then after the first round I put down the third section (the 'bottom' section) and go around. The trick is that at this point you move 2 mounds. One with the tip, the other with the base of the finger. You need to move your finger in a circular motion where the axis is at the middle of the basket. This is not something that you need to do in a regular Stockfleth. In a regular Stockfleth as oppose to this one, your finger can move like a car wiper on a windshield. You know what I mean?

5. Tamping. This 17g into an 18g basket tamps that much. About 1.5mm above the rim?

OK, with all the picture taking and the phone going into pieces it took almost 20 minutes from the grinder to the grouphead. I didn't have too much hope for a great tasting espresso so I filled up a pitcher for milk for a cappuccino. More time...

How does it pull? Not sure how many images I can load into one post. To be continued in the next post.

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LaDan (original poster)
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#2: Post by LaDan (original poster) »

So, will it pull right???

6. I snapped this picture in a haste. I planned to take a picture in the middle of the pull, then when I saw the droplets accumulate I realized that you'd want to see. Sorry for the dark picture I didn't have time to turn on the flash - I wasn't ready for this one.

7. The shot in the middle of the pull. I'm not sure how many seconds into the pull. I am guessing about 12-15 seconds maybe? I didn't have time to look at the timer, had to switch on the flash and reset the phone for the next picture. This time the flash is on.

8. The shot. It's into a 5oz cappuccino cup. Shot is 17.0 grams, 28 seconds, yielding 32g espresso. It's what I wanted.

So, that's it. Feel free to critic my shot!

End of the story? I went ahead and steamed the milk. Got all nervous thinking that I need to post my "art" and botched the steaming - WAYYY over stretched. LOL. Made the cappuccino, drank half of it, it was surprisingly good despite the 20 minutes. Half way through drinking the cap I decided to use the leftover milk to refill the cap and decided to try my hand in making a heart. This is my second ever "heart", the first one was this morning. I just figured out how to make a heart last night after seeing a Youtube of a teacher in Italy teaching a reporter, and something "clicked".

Not bad for a second time ever, over "used" cappuccino, with an over foamy milk. ROLF 8)

/The-End. :oops:

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#3: Post by Tag Team Jesus »

Well, after I broke your phone and chilled down your PF (nearly ruining your cappuccino), I made sure I read every word you wrote and did my homework about the Stockfleth's method before I replied. First off, let me just say I didn't expect to see something so even in the basket. The pictures still make it look like a magic trick: here's a hilly lump of grounds below the rim, and then * PRESTO * perfectly level grounds that extend up to the rim. How'd he do that?!?!?! I understand for the most part, but I never even learned a regular Stockfleths beyond the videos I just watched on YouTube:

With my Macap, I always relied on a chopstick to roll the grounds NSEW around the basket, especially into the corners. This method might not be the quickest, but it got me very even pours. Now with the Versalab, I still use a chopstick to fill in the donut and redistribute overfilled grounds NSEW around the basket....it's just much less work since the donut results in a very good starting point for redistribution of excess. So, I never learned a stockfleths move...became an expert with my chopstick steam roller.

But chopsticks are obviously not curved and thus can't deal with small dose grounds that do not pile up beyond the rim of the basket. Interestingly, here in Michigan I have seen a curved white plastic tool used at 2 cafes that kind of mimics the curve of the finger in your picture. I don't know if this is a standard tool or if this is some local Michigan culture that has developed. Seems they are attempting to do something similar to you but with a tool instead of a finger.

I also made sure I researched tripods before I replied. :)
Busted phone prevention

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#4: Post by Possepat »

This is great, I've been doing this for a while with my mazzer mini,cremina w/ elektra double basket. Gives me nice even centered pulls. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the pics!
"Do what you want, you're gonna do it anyways!" - My father

LMWDP #365

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LaDan (original poster)
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#5: Post by LaDan (original poster) »

You are referring to something similar to Scottie callaghan dosing tools (Google/Image it). Scottie is a well known barista champion.

You could also use the saucer of your coffee cup. By changing the angle into the basket you'll change how deep it goes in, and how much it removes. But these tools are better at doing a sort of NSEW, or just NS. Not really by turning them around, although I suspect that you could do that too. I tried to use that but it didn't work well for me, I can be more exact with my finger.

I tried all kind of things. The chop stick, knife, credit card, the handle of the coffee brush, what not. In the end it was not as exact and too much futzing around with, so I forced myself to learn to do it by hand. Removing to do a flat at the rim is easy. It is getting inside for the underdose WITHOUT removing grounds is a little tricky with tool, but easier with the hand.

Thought that the Stockfleth was a common knowledge even if it was not used by everyone . Sorry about that. :)

Stockfelth is easy. It is just made to look more difficult than it really is. Think of the NSEW that you are doing. Instead, do something like N. Then move that mound to NE, then E, then SE, S, .... Or more easily, do a NESW. Then, just do it in a more circular motion.

The reason that you could not do NSEW with the finger going inside is that if you do that, then you will be compacting the grounds into the corners, like you are overdosing. By going circular and a LITTLE outward you are moving the grounds around without pressing them into the wall and down.

Thanks for the link! That one is not a good match but the "other people also looked at" has some things to look at. It also gave me some idea how to fabricate something crude for myself - basically gluing a long 3/8 nut into a phone cover... and screwing it onto a tripod bolt... ??? I'll have to look into that.

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#6: Post by TheSunInsideYou »

Thanks for the post! I was having similar issues and had some similar solutions, but yours seem a bit more polished than mine. I love that there's always something new to learn here: 'Spro hacks, if you will. :)

Caffeine is proof that God loves us.

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LaDan (original poster)
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#7: Post by LaDan (original poster) »

Pàdraig, Dave, You're welcome!

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#8: Post by HB »

LaDan wrote:I developed some kind of Stockfleth with my finger going down into the basket to distribute and level at about 3mm below the rim.
Here's another take on the same idea, excerpted for easy reference:
HB wrote: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... 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.

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.

From Stockfleths Move for Dummies
Despite the helpfulness of these various redistribution techniques, you'll get nearly the same results by paying attention to the landing as you dose so the distribution doesn't need to be corrected after the fact. That is, like the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT), the Stockfleth Move and its variants are workarounds for grinder design flaws and iffy barista technique. Nowadays many HB members own Titan-class grinders that don't suffer from uneven/clumpy grounds, in which case it's all on the barista to get the distribution right from the start rather than distributing unevenly and then relying upon redistribution to correct.

For related discussions, see the FAQ entries like Down-dosing: how to level when the basket isn't overflowing?, Downdosing tool, videos of different techniques of dose-distribute-level-tamp sequence, etc.
Dan Kehn

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LaDan (original poster)
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#9: Post by LaDan (original poster) »

Thanks Dan.

But not leveling at all, did not work for me. I'm using a K-10. But even if I get a good loading (landing of the grounds) it is not perfectly level on top and I will not get a good looking extraction. Of course some will say that even if it doesn't look good, it is still good in the cup. I have a picture that I posted a few weeks ago somewhere here.

I even don't get the best looking extractions with a WDT most of the time. Beats me, I have no idea why, but it doesn't. Sometimes I will do a WDT and finish it up with the Stockfleth and get a better looking extraction. (I purposely keep saying "looking").

And when I do the above technique, I almost always get a nice even extraction.

Also, when I started exploring this one, I intuitively started by inserting the tip of my finger into the basket. But what happens is that your finger is leaning in into the basket in an angle and you'd end up with a slight cone in the middle. That cone then needs to be leveled somehow. My way is pressing the middle part of the finger into the basket and working the two parts of the finger to level. Meaning, I am doing two leveling at once, at opposite sides of the basket. It's what I mentioned at step 4 after "a few things.. ". This way I am getting a curve, like when using a Scottie dosing tool.

Found it. Here is the PF after loading. I can't get much better than that? But if I just tamp it and pull a shot, it will not look too good. ???
Compak K10 needs a little dosing love

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#10: Post by shawndo »

Check out shadowfax's reverse clockwise stockfleth:
Post a video of your espresso making technique

I will typically do that if I'm running a low dose and need to get the underside of my knuckle in there.
Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra