Do you use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT)? - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.

Do you use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT)?

Yes
60
44%
No
61
45%
Sometimes (explain)
16
12%
 
Total votes: 137

User avatar
sweaner
Supporter ♡

#21: Post by sweaner »

Outsider wrote:As a newbie, the WDT seems a bit complicated, needles, yoghurt pots cut to size etc.

Why not just use an ordinary fork in the portafilter?

Alternatively, why not dose into a cup, shake or stir as vigorously as needed, and decant into portafilter?
WDT is not complicated, and in fact is very neat, much neater than the way I was doing it before. A straightened paper clip works great.
Scott
LMWDP #248

User avatar
RapidCoffee
Team HB

#22: Post by RapidCoffee »

irony [ahy-ruh-nee]
An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected; an incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. [dictionary.com]

It's now been slightly over two years since my WDT article appeared on the H-B website. I'm still surprised at the controversy and emotional response it generates, often from those who have never even bothered to try it. After all, this is not exactly rocket science. In essence, I stated, "Chris Tacy was right; grinds distribution in the basket is important for a good extraction. Here's an easy, quick, inexpensive method for ensuring an even distribution: simply stir the coffee grounds before tamping."

For those of you who know me only through coffee-related online fora, I am a scientist and academician who has been teaching at the university level for over two decades. I have published technical articles in many areas, including protein biochemistry, neuroanatomy, robotics, biomedical imaging, photogrammetry, satellite remote sensing, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, and penetrating radar applications. Earlier this month I attended the ISCA CATA-08 conference, where my paper "Hierarchical Template Matching For Real-Time Symbol Detection" won the Best Paper Award.

But none of my scholarly works - not one! - has garnered anywhere near the attention nor the controversy of the WDT. If that's not ironic, I don't know what is. :roll:

And yes, I still use the WDT on all of my pours.
John

La Marzocco · Home: customized for espresso aficionados
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User avatar
shadowfax

#23: Post by shadowfax »

Someday, Mazzer or Macap will come out with a conical or hybrid Mini/M4 class machine at that price range. For a long time I really wanted to break down and shoot for the Versalab M3 Grinder, but everything I hear about them in terms of service is so horrific I don't think I could consider it anymore. In any case, until then, it seems that my Mazzer Mini is helped noticeably by the WDT, so I still do it. I tend to do a fast rotational leveling though, rather than the original chop with the dosing.


Of course, as you can see, I use only Certified USDA Organic funnels for keeping my grinds in the basket. I would really hate to ingest any kind of hormones or antibiotics in my espresso from the funnel.

I should also note that I do usually nutate along with WDT (what I am doing in the image above). And I should also note that I am extremely anal about making a mess with grinds, so I very much like using the funnel to reduce the messiness of my thwack-thwackery. From a cleanliness perspective, the part of the WDT I use (use funnel for dosing, quick stir of the grinds w/ dissecting needle) actually doesn't take much more time than anything else. Again, that's when you factor in cleaning up the mess from other methods.
Nicholas Lundgaard

Outsider

#24: Post by Outsider »

RapidCoffee wrote:irony [ahy-ruh-nee]
An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected; an incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. [dictionary.com]

It's now been slightly over two years since my WDT article appeared on the H-B website. I'm still surprised at the controversy and emotional response it generates, often from those who have never even bothered to try it. After all, this is not exactly rocket science. In essence, I stated, "Chris Tacy was right; grinds distribution in the basket is important for a good extraction. Here's an easy, quick, inexpensive method for ensuring an even distribution: simply stir the coffee grounds before tamping."

For those of you who know me only through coffee-related online fora, I am a scientist and academician who has been teaching at the university level for over two decades. I have published technical articles in many areas, including protein biochemistry, neuroanatomy, robotics, biomedical imaging, photogrammetry, satellite remote sensing, image processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, and penetrating radar applications. Earlier this month I attended the ISCA CATA-08 conference, where my paper "Hierarchical Template Matching For Real-Time Symbol Detection" won the Best Paper Award.

But none of my scholarly works - not one! - has garnered anywhere near the attention nor the controversy of the WDT. If that's not ironic, I don't know what is. :roll:

And yes, I still use the WDT on all of my pours.

Having only recently embarked on the voyage of discovery which is espresso, I find it even geekier than my two other love, photography and computers.

This is a great site, and I am learning a lot from it.

Best.

VS_DoubleShot

#25: Post by VS_DoubleShot »

I tried it but it didn't wow me. I like to cut the fat from my technique and use only necessary and efficient steps. I don't think this technique falls under either necessary or efficient - meaning that I don't think some clumps in the dosed and pre-tamped portafilter makes a difference.
Regards,

Vince

User avatar
Psyd
Supporter ♡

#26: Post by Psyd »

shadowfax wrote: Of course, as you can see, I use only Certified USDA Organic funnels for keeping my grinds in the basket. I would really hate to ingest any kind of hormones or antibiotics in my espresso from the funnel.
Talk about GMTA! I have the exact funnel. Strawberry, even!
I should also note that I do usually nutate along with WDT (what I am doing in the image above)
OK, that explains why the tamp isn't level! Your reasoning and technique seem to be the exact ones that I use. Down to the 'hardware'. ; >
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#27: Post by RapidCoffee »

shadowfax wrote:Of course, as you can see, I use only Certified USDA Organic funnels for keeping my grinds in the basket. I would really hate to ingest any kind of hormones or antibiotics in my espresso from the funnel.
I only use "WDT-approved" yogurt cups for my funnels, available in fine supermarkets neverywhere. :lol:
John

ECM Manufacture: @ecmespresso #weliveespresso
Sponsored by ECM Manufacture
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JonR10

#28: Post by JonR10 »

Hmmmm...interesting thread.

I still use (a variant of) the WDT every shot myself. It's become a habit for me, and in my home usage pattern of loading beans and grinding for individual shots to make drinks one at a time I find it especially valuable for keeping my preparation area neat and clean. I can't say if it's a NECESSITY for me to get good pours, but I consider it a time-saving technique because of the ease of cleanup. It's just a bonus for me that my pours are very consistent.

I saw another recent thread somewhere (can't place it exactly) in which someone remarked that they believed the bottomless portafilter was messy, and the tone of that post was that they expected that anyone who used a bottomless portafilter would get occasional spritzes and sprites.

In recent memory, I have not had any channeling or sprites with my familiar coffees at all. It does happen to me on rare occasion, but never with my home-roasted beans (my coffees seem more forgiving for me than some other blends). I can honestly say that I typically go for months without any sort of channeling "incidents" and my typical usage is 3-4 shots per weekday and 4-5 shots on a weekend day. In fact, I can't remember a sink shot or bottomless "disaster" with my home-roasted coffee since I first dialed in the new grinder I got around Thanksgiving last year. The only extraction issues I have had have been associated with unfamiliar coffees (and loading the grinder hopper - an unfamiliar technique to me).

So, whether or not the WDT is the main factor, I can say with confidence that it's been 500+ shots since my last "disaster" shot with my own coffee using my current technique (that includes a WDT step). For my usage and habits it is a net time saver because it helps me keep the grinder area clean. Why stop now?

EDIT - I have had shots run too fast or too slow, but no messy disasters.
WDT distribution is THAT consistent.

It may be worthwhile to note that even though I am a proponent of the WDT, if I was working commercially or if I was in barista competitions I would probably not use the WDT (i.e. my overall usage pattern would change dramatically)
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, Texas

User avatar
RapidCoffee
Team HB

#29: Post by RapidCoffee »

JonR10 wrote:It may be worthwhile to note that even though I am a proponent of the WDT, if I was working commercially or if I was in barista competitions I would probably not use the WDT (i.e. my overall usage pattern would change dramatically)
Jon makes a great point here, perhaps one that should be expanded upon: emulating techniques used by pro baristas in busy shops and competitions is natural, logical... and probably incorrect in most home environments. This is due to frequency, equipment, and usage patterns.

A typical home barista (like me) pulls 3-4 shots a day. A pro barista could easily pull as many shots in a day as I do in a month. The pro will develop techniques to suit his/her unique style in a high frequency environment, techniques that may or may not work well for the home user.

Commercial grinders are great, but they are designed for high frequency cafe use, not low frequency home use. In Italy, the birthplace of espresso, full dosers are the norm, with the grinder calibrated to dose the correct amount with one or two flicks of the lever. For the home barista, this type of usage would only result in stale coffee.

The pro barista has many opportunities to refine his/her extraction over the course of a day's work, adjusting grind and dose to the sweet spot for a given espresso blend. Few home baristas have the time (or coffee) to pull more than a shot or two before rushing off to work in the morning. A sink shot is much more of a disaster in a home setting, and anything you can do to ensure a good extraction is worthy of consideration.

If I were working in a busy shop, using a Robur or other large conical grinder, I wouldn't use the WDT either. It's never been touted as a technique for the pro barista. In the home environment, if you underdose, have an especially forgiving/preinfusing espresso machine, or use a clump-free grinder like the Versalab, the WDT may be superfluous. But for many home users... well, let me close with a quote from another one of my espresso heroes, Jim Schulman:
I have tried some of the lighter roasted coffees used in high doses at barista competitions. With flat burr grinders I couldn't get a decent shot at anything but a lowered dose. Presumably this means that competing baristas can properly distribute at higher doses than I can, without using time consuming grind sifting and fluffing techniques. This is hardly a surprise. But it probably does indicate that almost all home baristas, even those getting very pretty bottomless pours, should either be using something like WDT or a commercial conical when using high doses of coffee which produce a dry, firm puck after the shot.
John

User avatar
DC

#30: Post by DC »

If I were working in a busy shop, using a Robur or other large conical grinder, I wouldn't use the WDT either. It's never been touted as a technique for the pro barista. In the home environment, if you underdose, have an especially forgiving/preinfusing espresso machine, or use a clump-free grinder like the Versalab, the WDT may be superfluous.
And it's exactly this point that people seem repeatedly to either miss completely or misunderstand, and is the reason why you don't see the world champions using it!
Dave