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

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

I'm sold on the premise of single-dosing and its benefits. Beans don't grow stale in the hopper. You can adjust the grind size without running coffee through. You don't have to spoon off excess grounds to get your dose right. You can change coffees whenever you want. With many grinders available now designed specifically around single-dosing, it is a big trend in grinders and solves all of our grinding issues, right?

I have been single-dosing on a Niche Zero for ~18 months now, and on a Sette before that. I've slowly added steps to my preparation that all but ensure a beautiful, predictable extraction and taste. And I know that taste is king, I see it all over the forums, but --please don't shun me for this-- I'm almost thinking about giving up a little bit of flavor for convenience.

My current workflow involves transferring the grinds from the dosing cup, stirring with a Londinium-esque whisk to check my WDT box off, twirling a needle around to break up residual clumps, spinning a clover-shaped leveler, and finally tamping the coffee. It's exhausting just to think about! I've finally gotten to a point where I'm happy with >90% of my shots, but I feel like if I skip or botch one of these steps I'm surely destined for channels.

I've really been tempted to --please don't shun me for this-- get a hopper grinder like the Eureka Atom. I'm making 3-4 shots with 18g of coffee every day, so having to purge 5g wouldn't be the end of the world.

But, am I single-dosing wrong? Surely others have a much simpler routine. I tried the NFC disk as well, performing the same gymnastics outlined above, with lackluster results. I don't know why but there were dead spots in every extraction.

Has anyone else created a routine they are afraid to break, but tired of performing?

All of the "necessary" tools:

lagoon

#2: Post by lagoon »

GregoryJ wrote:My current workflow involves transferring the grinds from the dosing cup, stirring with a Londinium-esque whisk to check my WDT box off, twirling a needle around to break up residual clumps, spinning a clover-shaped leveler, and finally tamping the coffee.
Sounds like the guys that keep flipping and prodding their steak on the BBQ and wonder why it turns out badly! Sometimes excessive handling of ingredients becomes counterproductive.
I've really been tempted to --please don't shun me for this-- get a hopper grinder like the Eureka Atom. I'm making 3-4 shots with 18g of coffee every day, so having to purge 5g wouldn't be the end of the world.
Absolutely nothing wrong with on-demand grinding, especially if the machine is being used several times every day. Plenty of us do.

I run a float of about 150-200 grams in the hopper. Purge a couple of seconds before the first shot of the day, and then just use on-demand. Typically pulling between 4-8 double shots a day, more if we have guests visit.

As long as you're using fresh beans, they don't go stale in one day. Usual caveats apply such as ensuring the hopper is not in direct sun, and is in a reasonably temperature stable environment.

Lastly, don't feel pressured by an internet forum. Do what works for you.

chipman

#3: Post by chipman »

Get the L.W. Blind Shaker. then you can throw away your WDT needle. Grind into the shaker, cover , and give it a quick shake. then dump directly into your portafilter. fast and easy, and effective.

walt_in_hawaii

#4: Post by walt_in_hawaii »

Have you ever pulled a shot without grooming? Do you actually get channeling? I see plenty of posts with people who do get problems, but I've pulled shots with and without WDT (using a K10, which is similar in grind results to your Niche) and channeling isn't one of them, not with reasonably aged beans. I do WDT just for peace of mind and slight improvements in consistency, but if trying to pare down the workflow, I think I could drop it for milk drinks and americanos (not straight espresso).

aloha,
walt

walt_in_hawaii

#5: Post by walt_in_hawaii »

Besides, life is a journey. Enjoy the ride. Take pleasure in the stirring and landscaping your puck, its an investment of your time, resources and energy, not a price to be paid grudgingly as a means to an end.
"we few...
we happy few..."

:)

walt

false1001
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#6: Post by false1001 »

lagoon wrote:Sounds like the guys that keep flipping and prodding their steak on the BBQ and wonder why it turns out badly! Sometimes excessive handling of ingredients becomes counterproductive.
Ahhh, but flipping your steak frequently actually cooks your steak faster, gives you a better crust, and cooks more evenly!

Anyway, for the Niche Zero you seem like you're way overdoing it, and if you are consistently getting clumps w/ the niche zero there is probably something up... the Zero produces amazingly fluffy grounds for its class. I dump directly from the cup into the portafilter, quick WDT in the portafilter w/ a funnel to prevent spilling, spin my leveler, and pull the shot. If your leveler is calibrated correctly you don't really have to tamp, although you'll have to adjust your grind size and technique to a new puck density at first.

Remember that puck prep involves a lot of technique, but the end goal of almost all of that technique is uniformity of the puck over time. The more actions you take in your prep the more that can go wrong or slightly vary from shot to shot. You want quick, simple shot prep that is easy to do the exact same way every single time. Remove as much variance from your process as possible.

GregoryJ
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#7: Post by GregoryJ »

false1001 wrote:Anyway, for the Niche Zero you seem like you're way overdoing it, and if you are consistently getting clumps w/ the niche zero there is probably something up... the Zero produces amazingly fluffy grounds for its class.
The grinds look nice in the cup, but I always end up with pretty big clumps after I transfer them into the basket. Maybe I'll break out the shaker again as Chipman suggested :)

splashalot

#8: Post by splashalot »

I can absolutely understand where you're coming from, Greggers.

I've had my Niche Zero for ~3 months now and am finding the prep and workflow is wearing thin. And similarly, without meticulously stirring and prepping the grinds I get channeling shots.

My previous grinder was an old Macap M4 with doser. I single dosed for near a decade with that grinder just fine by simply clearing out excess grinds from the short horizontal exit chute with a brush after each grind. The dosing hopper made for much easier workflow, too. And to be honest I found this to be less faffing about than the Niche workflow.

Added to this, my wife much prefers the flavours we get from the Macap's flat burrs so I too have been considering my options. Trouble is, I haven't been able to find a suitable flat burr grinder with such easy access to the exit chute for brushing out left overs. Any suggestions as to suitable grinders are appreciated.

If you do switch to the Atom, I'd be most interested in your opinions.

foam2

#9: Post by foam2 »

I have a niche zero for the last few months and a ceado e37s and single dose with both. I have tried dosing into a cup but for me this has lead to channeling. I grind into the portafilter stopping half way to thoroughly stir, then finish rest of the grind and then tap the portafilter down into my hand (not the counter) and use a leveling tool and straight into the machine. This has been the most consistent for me - hope it helps.

jwCrema
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#10: Post by jwCrema »

I am a using an Orphan Espresso hockey puck to do the slap shot technique for the NZ. It's simple and eliminates trinkets. I also use a bottomless portafilter, mainly because it eliminates taste interference, with the side benefit of knowing if I am channeling. I rarely lose a shot due to channeling, but I do if I miss the warm up flush. It all works quite nicely now.

I have never found a need to do the RDT, WDT, or hokey pokey, but I do turn myself around to hand my wife her cup in the morning.