Blind Shaker/Tumbler Technique

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by BruceWayne »

I've been meaning to post this since one of the features of the Key is a workflow with integrated WDT. The videos I've seen show a shake and swirl into the portafilter with a flat ready to tamp bed, but I usually end up with either an uneven bed or a bed with a circular depression in the middle. Very rarely do I end up with a fairly flat level bed without further adjustment, either by tapping the sides of the portafilter or with puck raking to move the top grounds.

Any suggestions/techniques beyond the alternative of doing WDT after the grounds are in the portafilter?

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#2: Post by Mad Scientist »

Key owner here :D

I just use a Saint Anthony Industries SAI BT Wedge Distribution tool. No WDT, no tamper.
“You haven't lived until you've lived with a cat.” Doris Day

BruceWayne (original poster)

#3: Post by BruceWayne (original poster) »

I have a cloverleaf style leveler that I've considered using. Last year, I tried using it as a tamper, but I saw that it was giving me very clear dead spots during extraction. With WDT, I didn't see any use for it at all. Tbh, I think that puck raking to even the surface is a better option.

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#4: Post by JB90068 »

I find that this happens with my EG-1 and blind shaker. I've used a couple of different levelers, but what I like the most is using the Duomo. A few turns and it works great as a leveler along with the added benefit of WDT if needed...

Old baristas never die. They just become over extracted.

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#5: Post by stephenmsis »

I'm also using the Duomo The Eight. Magic Tumbler works well for me, the Duomo, the Bravo tamper and all set. I'm getting very repeatable shots.

BruceWayne (original poster)

#6: Post by BruceWayne (original poster) »

I was hoping the thread would lead to discussion of techniques to remove the tumbler stopper which result in the grinds depositing into the portafilter more uniformly. Isn't the idea of the integrated WDT wiper to not do further WDT? I don't see how a Duomo isn't just applying a very consistent WDT.

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#7: Post by JB90068 replying to BruceWayne »

Bruce, do you use the blind shaker with your EG-1 and if so, don't you have the same issue? I'll guess that the lack of flat bed that you are getting with the Key and I get with the EG is related to how we spin the grounds out of the blind shaker.
There is this video that Douglas made showing what he does after he removes the plunger, he swirls the portafilter and the tumbler which smooths out the bed. It's not a technique I have tried but will on my next shot.
The only reason I use the Duomo now is for leveling purposes and I was using it as part of my workflow for a while before getting my EG-1.
Old baristas never die. They just become over extracted.

BruceWayne (original poster)

#8: Post by BruceWayne (original poster) »

I always do WDT with my EG-1. I spent a month with my Key to see if I could get consistent shots without WDT. I went back to WDT after recording 15 shot profiles of the same coffee at 3 adjacent steps and getting more discrepancy between shots at the same grind setting than between steps, imo. I was hoping someone had a technique to share.

Otherwise, ignore the mixer and do WDT is the result...


#9: Post by FaantastiK »

I just got my Key today and spent some time this afternoon trying to find a workflow that doesn't make a mess and provides consistent results.

I live in a fairly dry climate (Chicago) and my previous workflow involved a shot-collar, WDT, spinny thing, and a palm tamp. Other than a slightly-finicky WDT step, it was a fairly easy process.

However, day 1 is making the learning curve feel a bit steeper with the Key. RDT is making my grounds stick more than static, so I may need to do a half-spritz rather than the full. From there, the grounds are BARELY clearing the bottom of the tumbler, so I find that I need to be quite careful when I'm removing it from the top of my PF, or else it knocks grounds the counter. So far, it seems like a more painstaking process that might not be so easily replicated before my morning coffee.

Has anyone found that it gets easier the more you practice?