Dose and tamp without leveling - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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JohnB.
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#11: Post by JohnB. »

I pop the warm basket out of the p/f, lock the p/f back in, wipe & tare the basket, hit the timer, dose into the basket trying for a centered mound, check the weight/correct if necessary, tamp lightly, basket back into the p/f & pull the shot. I stopped the leveling/stirring soon after I bought my first SJ.
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GC7
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#12: Post by GC7 »

Just to play devils advocate here - What's the big deal about taking an extra one minute to get a precise weight of grounds and to distribute evenly where you know that no channeling will occur and proper extraction is maximized?

I understand a high volume cafe needing to use a routine that can keep up with customer demand but in a home situation what's the great need to emulate them? Now I "only" have a Compak K3 touch and perhaps I would change things if I had a higher level grinder but I still see the sound basis for making sure that my dose is within 0.2 gm minimum and I tend to keep it within 0.1 gm of my target. I make a few drinks every morning and I don't consider an extra 4 minutes max to weigh, WDT, distribute NSEW and then tamp to be an inconvenience.

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Marshall

#13: Post by Marshall »

GC7 wrote:Just to play devils advocate here - What's the big deal about taking an extra one minute to get a precise weight of grounds and to distribute evenly where you know that no channeling will occur and proper extraction is maximized?
1. If it isn't useful (for me) then it's just a voodoo ritual.

2. I prefer the esthetic of a chef in his kitchen, who knows what is happening by sight and smell, rather than a chemist who thinks he is still in his laboratory.

Since I'm married to a chemist who cooks (really well) by sight and smell, I think I'm on the right track. :D
Marshall
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GC7
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#14: Post by GC7 »

Marshall

I'm a scientist as well and I cook (really well too) and much of that is by sight and smell. However, I'm not a good baker using those same instincts. The reason is that baking is in fact more of a chemistry experiment if you want a reproducible product. I contend that espresso extraction is in fact more like baking then cooking IF the end result desired is a reproducible drink with optimal taste. Espresso extraction is in fact a form of column chromatography where one uses amount of matrix (coffee), water temperature, ion content time and volume to extract desired solids and soluble compounds and leave behind undesirable ones. Doing that over and over is the goal. Change things with instincts like sight and smell and you might in fact get interesting results but not reproducible ones if you were at the sweet spot for that coffee already.

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drdna

#15: Post by drdna »

Absolutely correct!

If there is no discernible objective change, then the procedure is unnecessary. It is simply ritualized superstitious behavior. We have to remember that many physical rituals are designed to compensate for problems that arise with certain grinders, machines, etc.

We may find that what makes no difference now makes a huge difference with a new machine or maybe even a new coffee roast.
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Psyd
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#16: Post by Psyd »

Marshall wrote:1. If it isn't useful (for me) then it's just a voodoo ritual.
2. I prefer the esthetic of a chef in his kitchen, who knows what is happening by sight and smell, rather than a chemist who thinks he is still in his laboratory.
Cooking is making stuff hotter so it's tastier, and mixing some stuff with other stuff. Baking is chemistry. That's what one of the finest Chef's in Tucson explained to me when I asked him about baking, seeing as he was an expert.
On the other hand, great Chef's know a whole lot more about science than most will let on. Some of the things that they do (and I emulate) by sight and smell are one thing, but there are others that they do simply because they know that there is a chemical of physical change that will be far more palatable than not.

OTOH, I've (as a result of this thread) been taking whatever the Majors will hand me (after rotating the basket while thwacking) and finishing with a Staub just to keep the sides and the group a bit cleaner, adn been getting pretty even and channel-free pours.
WDT is getting a rest, as is Stockfleth's technique and leveling. I am weighing each dose still, as I see pretty remarkable changes in pulls from as little as .2 gram.

Take from this what you will.
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JohnB.
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#17: Post by JohnB. »

I found that I got consistently better results (SJ & Major) when I just dosed & tamped as opposed to when I stirred & leveled so it was a no brainer to drop the extra steps.
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Marshall

#18: Post by Marshall »

GC7 wrote:I contend that espresso extraction is in fact more like baking then cooking IF the end result desired is a reproducible drink with optimal taste.
The difference between dosing a shot of espresso and baking a cake is that you only have to measure a very small amount of a single ingredient for espresso. It doesn't take a lot of experience to eyeball your dose.

I've had fabulous shots pulled by the best baristas in the world and never saw a scale anywhere in sight. Weighing is useful for training beginners so that they know what an optimal dose should look like, and, perhaps, if you change your blend/s.o. every day (or several times a day). But, if you are using the same coffee for several days at a time, weighing it really is like biking with training wheels.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Psyd
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#19: Post by Psyd »

Marshall wrote: I've had fabulous shots pulled by the best baristas in the world and never saw a scale anywhere in sight.
Quite a few of them use a different technique, but it 'measures' the weight of the dose nonetheless. After perfecting a technique, I'd bet that quite a few baristi that use a chop, or Stockfleth's, or some other leveling technique and the same blend of the same beans every day end up with similarly weighing baskets.

Again, the scale sits right next to my grinder, and it's easy and convenient, and I get a right on dose every single time. I have been checking what my spoons look like, and I can get within a coupla tenths more often than not with a bean that I've been working with for a few days, but since I like to change things up every (or every other) week, by the time I get good enough to go sans training wheels, it's time to start training again. It's just another tool that simplifies trying to keep variables form being, well, variable. If I were working in a shop pulling thirty shots and hour with the same beans five days a week, I'd probably do a whole lotta things differently.
tossing beans into the basket until it hits a certain number is pretty darned easy, and rather mindless for early calls. Changing technique for afternoon shots just seems a bit tedious.
Weigh, tamp, level, measure, distribute, swirl, tap, pray, whatever you do that makes the cup better or easier to accomplish can never be wrong, and even if it's just a ritual that accompanies your morning coffee prep, in the end, if it makes you happy, even if it doesn't make the cup any better, can it be wrong?
Now, if it makes the coffee worse...
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GC7
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#20: Post by GC7 »

Marshall

I agree with what Chris posted just above this. I don't think we are saying that dose and measuring accurately is all there is to do here. Yes - its TRIVIAL to make sure with a scale but its also trivial to take a couple of seconds to distribute your "mound" of coffee so you are sure that tamping will give you an even extraction. If your grinder allows you to take a mound of coffee and just tamp and pull a shot then more power to you. But, if even 10% of the time it results in chanelling that's an unsatisfactory number for me. We each obviously develop a routine that seems to work best for each of us. The least important part of any routine to me is to look like and do things like they do in a coffee shop or barista competition. It's obviously healthy to vary a routine in different ways to make things easier and/or better. Certainly this forum helps in that regard too so I'm very happy to read all this information, digest and use appropriately for my needs.