Am I sentenced to a life of single-dosing voodoo? - Page 3

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
GregoryJ
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#21: Post by GregoryJ »

Hi all, thank you very much for the different insights and suggestions. I do not like to jump to conclusions, so I've tried a couple of days with different approaches, which are both less fussy then what I outlined in the first post.

First, I tried from the grinds cup into the basket. This leaves a ring around the perimeter when the grinds cup is removed, so I do gentle tapping to get the basket filled in evenly, then level, and tamp. This resulted in some great shots, but some wildly inconsistent flow rates / shot times. I'm sure my tapping technique is not up to par, but the grinds tend to form into large chunks if I tap too hard.

Second, (and I am really like this method) I grind straight into the basket. I use a needle to break down the mound in the center and get the grounds to the perimeter. It's not a full WDT, as I don't go very deep into the basket. Then a couple of taps to settle everything, and tamp. This has given very consistent flows and great taste, while also reducing the number of tools I reach for from 4 to 2. Below is the "photo essay" of the process.

Overall, I'm feeling a bit relieved and hopeful that single-dosing is still in my future!


Shife

#22: Post by Shife »

I'm using an Atom 75 with the Mythos burrs. I threw away my wdt paperclip. The grinds go straight into the portafilter, then BT Wedge, then Levy tamp, then shot. A bad shot with this setup is lightyears ahead of my old Q9, in part because the drop down that long chute onto a trap door with the Q9 caused a lot of dense clumping.

If you're having to play games with that Zero to pull a shot you're happy with, I'd be checking the alignment. We know what matters when it comes to grinders. It's the same thing I tried arguing here years ago. Alignment is king. The best burr set will churn out garbage if it isn't well aligned.

Maineiac64

#23: Post by Maineiac64 »

The beauty of nz is you can do whatever you feel like, I often use multiple beans and drink types in a day. The workflow you mentioned is quicker than pour over at least.

jwCrema
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#24: Post by jwCrema »

This is the core of the slap shot technique: the no longer sold Orphan Espresso Hockey Puck. I think this would be a perfect first project for a lathe or 3D printer. I think Doug from OE did a video about the slap shot somewhere. I'm in a rush and haven't looked for it. I give him full credit for the term, and am glad I have one of these babies.



This is looking down into the Niche Zero Catch Cup with Funnel, prior to "the slap." There are some grinds clinging to the sides of the funnel that might be due to static electricity. They're completely removed by the slap. Also, the fracture lines, are just from setting the catch cup on the towel. They don't constitute clumping in my view.



The "slap" is a firm slap of the basket to the puck. This distributes the grinds nicely without any intervention. "One slap, that's all."


I've moved over from RedBird to Walla Walla House Espresso, a dark roast blend from Central America. It is finicky about the grind, but absolutely amazing once it's dialed in. Smooth with nice deep chocolate tones.

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baldheadracing
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#25: Post by baldheadracing »

Here's the slap shot video - from 2009!
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

MatGreiner
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#26: Post by MatGreiner »

GregoryJ wrote:Has anyone else created a routine they are afraid to break, but tired of performing?
Totally!
This thread is full of great advice and thoughts yet this question stands out to me. I try to manage a setup that the rest of my household can get good results without changing settings or fiddling with wiry bits. I'm happiest if my blend can grind straight into my portafilter and skip the voodoo and--most importantly--the machines need to produce drinkable espresso with a grind-tap-leveller (no tamp*). In the end, I think this comes down to big burrs and more forgiving beans.

* I feel semi-rationally committed to using a leveler only, no tamper. Not convinced one is more effective than the other, so I'm a little opposed to having both a leveler and a tamper as required tools. This usually works fine, but some beans require WDT, and challenging light single origins may need WDT, leveling, and a nutating tamp. No one else in my house is going to do all that. I enjoy making it for people, but they all feel better if they can also do it themselves. It's not only dad's toy--it's a family appliance.

FWIW, I happily use a hopper grinder to run 5-8 drinks per day or more with guests. I did not like the Atom 60--built and ran well but had a lot of clumping with lighter roasts, though I believe the newer machines with larger burrs are better. I also found the screen to be big and ugly though it was easy to use.

This question calls out the uncertainty around the investments we make in this hobby. YMMV is a hard way to go for some. I'd love a new thread where Quester describes experience with "(many) distribution tools." I have and enjoy a BT Wedge, but am curious if a St Anthony Shot collar or tumbler/shaker might reduce the need for WDT in my house.

mathof

#27: Post by mathof »

another_jim wrote:A quick reminder: channeling is when the puck springs a leak, and you have coffee squirting out. Ugly dripping is not channeling, it's just a tight shot.
What do you call bare spots on the basket with coffee coming out around them? I thought that was a sign of channeling but on measuring TDS, it doesn't seem to do any harm.

jrham12

#28: Post by jrham12 »

jwCrema wrote:This is the core of the slap shot technique: the no longer sold Orphan Espresso Hockey Puck. I think this would be a perfect first project for a lathe or 3D printer. I think Doug from OE did a video about the slap shot somewhere. I'm in a rush and haven't looked for it. I give him full credit for the term, and am glad I have one of these babies.

image

This is looking down into the Niche Zero Catch Cup with Funnel, prior to "the slap." There are some grinds clinging to the sides of the funnel that might be due to static electricity. They're completely removed by the slap. Also, the fracture lines, are just from setting the catch cup on the towel. They don't constitute clumping in my view.

image

The "slap" is a firm slap of the basket to the puck. This distributes the grinds nicely without any intervention. "One slap, that's all."
image
I've been doing something similar with good results... I don't have an OE hockey puck, but just use one of those cheap thick rubber tamping mats. I use my Lido-E for single dosing and dump the grinds into the PF with a dosing funnel on top. I use a DIY Londinium-type WDT tool except without the loops on the ends to give everything a good mix in the PF and to level the bed. Then with the funnel in place, give the PF a few vertical downward "taps" on the rubber mat to settle everything in and then tamp. Generally seems to work really well without too much fuss. This process clears the grounds off the funnel and creates a nice level bed prior to tamping.

However, my wife also uses the machine for her cafe mochas. Her process is to grind direct from the Atom 75 into the PF with no funnel keeping the mound centered. Then she does a few "taps" on the mat to settle the mound down to pretty much flat and then tamps. (We're temporarily using different processes while she burns through some of the beans that I don't care for in the main grinder since she can't really identify any differences in beans after adding the chocolate and steamed milk!)

She is not as fastidious with puck prep so my concession is that we're using a standard PF with the spout removed so if she does get a spritzer it doesn't make a mess everywhere. But I do occasionally use the bottomless PF for mine just as a quality check on my process!

Edited to add: After reading @MatGreiner 's post I thought I'd add that I've played with numerous distribution "tricks" like a Kafatek distribution tool, Rhinoware dosing cup (even made a custom lid for it with WDT needles installed in the underside of the lid), using the plastic decor storage cup as a dosing cup upside down on the PF, swirling the grounds in a steaming pitcher, etc... none of them really seemed to be any more consistent than what @jwcrema described and I echoed.

Josh

MatGreiner
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#29: Post by MatGreiner »

jrham12 wrote: none of them really seemed to be any more consistent than what @jwcrema described and I echoed.
That's good to hear, and I'm an old fan of the slap and the karate chops.
It can be frustrating when beans are enough of a challenge for my equipment that they become inconsistent for me, or impossible for others, but we luckily have found several more forgiving espressos that everyone likes and I can always run 'specials' for a couple days.

jayy42

#30: Post by jayy42 »

I am eyeballing my next setup and thinking about it from "workflow up" perspective. I want to chose the workflow first, equipment second.

I really think I am going to eschew all the single-dose, pressure profile hype in favor of maximum speed and simplicity: a fast on-demand grinder and a volumetric machine. Ex. An Atom 75 with a Lelit Elizabeth.

The workflow just seems so slick. Grind, level, tamp, press the button, walk away. Will I measure inputs and outputs on occasion? Yes, but I don't want to be stuck with a scale on my counter worrying about tenths of a gram for all of eternity.