Doser vs Doserless and Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT)

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
rjkramek

Postby rjkramek » Jun 28, 2006, 11:39 pm

I'm thinking of upgrading my grinder and since I use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) and grind directly into the basket via a "yogurt funnel" my first thought was to go with something like the Macap Doserless grinder (Dan -- I seem to remember a post where you were going to do a review on the Macap MC4 doserless -- true?).

But before I look at doserless models I was thinking that left out potentially some pretty great doser grinders (e.g., Cimbali Jr) and started wondering about how people with doser grinders are utilizing WDT. Today, I'm using a Virtuoso and grind directly into the funnel/basket combo. Before grinding I take the basket out the of PF which for me makes it easy and neat to grind and tamp. This also makes it very simple if I periodically want to throw the basket onto a kitchen scale to check the dose/weight. I don't make alot of shots during the day so I don't have to worry about speed.

Looking at some of the excellent doser grinders it's not obvious if any allow for the PF rest to removed nor what the distance is between the rest and the grinding chute. Does anyone use a "shortened" yogurt funnel with a doser grinder? I assume there isn't any room. Do most individuals just dose into the PF and then add the "funnel"? I would love the convenience of not holding the basket, but of dosing using the funnel which makes things very tidy, and of keeping the PF in the machine to keep warm and of just tamping the basket (which on a flat surface is easier for me).

Are there very many WDT fans among the doser crowd? What approach do you take?
Bob

Ken Fox

Postby Ken Fox » Jun 29, 2006, 12:44 am

rjkramek wrote:I'm thinking of upgrading my grinder and since I use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) and grind directly into the basket via a "yogurt funnel" my first thought was to go with something like the Macap Doserless grinder (Dan -- I seem to remember a post where you were going to do a review on the Macap MC4 doserless -- true?).

But before I look at doserless models I was thinking that left out potentially some pretty great doser grinders (e.g., Cimbali Jr) and started wondering about how people with doser grinders are utilizing WDT. Today, I'm using a Virtuoso and grind directly into the funnel/basket combo. Before grinding I take the basket out the of PF which for me makes it easy and neat to grind and tamp. This also makes it very simple if I periodically want to throw the basket onto a kitchen scale to check the dose/weight. I don't make alot of shots during the day so I don't have to worry about speed.

Looking at some of the excellent doser grinders it's not obvious if any allow for the PF rest to removed nor what the distance is between the rest and the grinding chute. Does anyone use a "shortened" yogurt funnel with a doser grinder? I assume there isn't any room. Do most individuals just dose into the PF and then add the "funnel"? I would love the convenience of not holding the basket, but of dosing using the funnel which makes things very tidy, and of keeping the PF in the machine to keep warm and of just tamping the basket (which on a flat surface is easier for me).

Are there very many WDT fans among the doser crowd? What approach do you take?


What follows are my *opinions* so take them for what they are worth.

In my opinion you are turning espressomaking, which should be a fairly easy and enjoyable process, into a chore, a PITA. If you get yourself a decent grinder with a decent doser, you can thwack the doser lever as the grinder grinds and the coffee will distribute itself as individual particles in your portafilter. If you use a bottomless PF, which you will find will improve your technique and quite possibly also your espresso, you can move the PF around on the doser fork as you thwack and get a pretty good distribution which you can then make even better with a finger sweep. Decide how much coffee you want to put into the PF and put that same amount of coffee in there each time. This does not require a scale, it requires VISUAL INSPECTION. I myself make a mound and I have weighed the PF basket several times on an accurate gram scale and every time it has been within half a gram of 18g.

Decide what tamping pressure you want to use and use it consistently. My tamps are very light, probably around 5 lbs., but my grinder is set for this and if I tamped differently then I'd need a different grind.

Personally speaking, I'd restrict dissecting needles to the freshman biology lab, for use on frogs. I use my funnels only for refilling liquid soap dispensers.

ken
p.s. there are a number of good grinders; I have a (actually 2) Cimbali Juniors and like them a lot.
What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

rjkramek

Postby rjkramek » Jun 29, 2006, 7:49 am

Ken Fox wrote:What follows are my *opinions* so take them for what they are worth.

..............

ken
p.s. there are a number of good grinders; I have a (actually 2) Cimbali Juniors and like them a lot.


Ken --

I noticed better/more consistent results when I started using WDT (and I do have a naked PF which I made and use). I didn't mean to imply I check the weight all the time -- only occasionally to see how consistent I am and in my case anything much over 14g for a double and the puck hits the dispersion screen.

It could be that using WDT just made up for the inconsistent grind from the grinder and that by using something like a Cimbali, et al., the shots would be the same/better and quicker. I'll have to admit the process I use today doesn't seem like a PITA but then that's what I got used to :). Certainly the thing I'd like is to have something (stepless grinder) that allows better control over the grind since today the difference for me between grinders steps is 10-12secs (though "dialing in" is easy since basically I'm looking at one to two settings max).

I love the look of the Cimbali and that's what got me thinking before upgrading. But since I've never owned a doser part of the uncertainity is understanding how the routine I use today would change (and maybe for the better) or could be adapted.
Bob

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HB
Admin

Postby HB » Jun 29, 2006, 9:16 am

rjkramek wrote:Dan -- I seem to remember a post where you were going to do a review on the Macap MC4 doserless -- true?

The Macap doserless is the same grinder as the M4 with doser. Since the review already represents two variants of the same base grinder (stepped and stepless), it doesn't seem necessary to include a third. That said, I did use it briefly at the SCAA conference. Like other doserless grinders, it clumps more than the equivalent doser model. Threads on CoffeeGeek from M4 doserless owners confirm my observation (sorry, CG is down, I cannot give you a link). Arguably this is irrelevant for WDT devotees, which leads to your other questions...

rjkramek wrote:Do most individuals just dose into the PF and then add the "funnel"? ... Are there very many WDT fans among the doser crowd? What approach do you take?


I go through phases of purely holistic just-by-feel barista technique as Ken advocates to highly regimented technique (e.g., WDT, grams scale, timer, shotglassses, Macap auto-tamper... the whole shooting match). Exercises for tuning your barista techniques documents my back and forth machinations. I'm back in regimented mode since EspressoFest after watching Abe's machine-like precision and exceptionally consistent results. It won't be long before I switch back to holistics, specifically because I want to continue to develop my intuitive ability rather than rely on tools.

In my opinion, the WDT compensates for grinder deficiencies. Although the Mazzer Mini is heralded as a great grinder, it benefits markedly from the extra WDT steps by improving the distribution and evenness. I saw little need for the WDT with other grinders like the Mazzer Robur or Versalab M3. Back to your specific questions, I dose into the portafilter, add the cutdown yogurt cup "funnel", stir, sweep level across (or use the Stockfleths move if I want to updose further), and then tamp. The extra WDT-related steps add about 15 seconds to the process.
Dan Kehn

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cannonfodder
Team HB

Postby cannonfodder » Jun 29, 2006, 9:26 am

The initial premise for the WDT was to compensate for grinder shortcomings. John uses a modified doserless Mazzer which will toss some boulder sized clumps. Some of the smaller units also extrude the grinds from the chute, think of a sausage grinder stuffed with coffee. The grinds come out compressed. My Gaggia MDF would do that. The higher end grinders grind with sufficient speed that the grinds are blown out and you get much less clumping.

Personally, I like my doser. Pulling while it is grinding breaks up most all of the clumps. My Mazzer Mini grinds just a bit slower than my Cimbali Jr. Personal preference, I like the grind/dose quality and speed of my Cimbali better than my Mazzer, but either (or the Macap) will last a home user a lifetime.
Dave Stephens

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

Postby RapidCoffee » Jun 29, 2006, 9:01 pm

cannonfodder wrote:The initial premise for the WDT was to compensate for grinder shortcomings. John uses a modified doserless Mazzer which will toss some bolder sized clumps. Some of the smaller units also extrude the grinds from the chute, think of a sausage grinder stuffed with coffee. The grinds come out compressed.



To be honest, the initial premise was just general mucking around, trying to improve my naked extractions. :) But on reflection, the reason why it helped was obvious: clumping and uneven distribution produced by most grinders. Clumping tends to be worse in doserless models. I also have a doserless Nemox Lux (nice little grinder, aside from being slow and noisy), and it also clumps. OTOH, most dosers throw the grounds off-center. In either case, you need to develop techniques to overcome these problems.

We all have our pet peeves. Mine include stale coffee grounds and waste. Both are IMHO associated with dosers. I spent quite a bit of time trying to mod my Mazzer Super Jolly doser to eliminate stale grinds, and never really succeeded. After all, it was designed for much larger volumes than typical home use. The doser on my Bunn/Cunill was better, but sweeping out either doser was always a PITA. In the end, I removed the SJ doser and never went back. My current doserless configuration is a removable spout that fits into a rubber gasket. After grinding, I remove the spout, shake any excess grounds into the PF, then sweep out the grinder chute. This takes less time and effort than sweeping out the doser, and leaves behind no stale grounds and no wasted coffee - zero, zilch, nada.

Image

Until I can afford an M3, I'll stick with my Mazzer and spend a few extra seconds on the WDT. But I may be biased...

- John

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cgfan

Postby cgfan » May 02, 2007, 12:19 pm

RapidCoffee: That's a really-interesting mod. It looks quite clean. What did you use for the copper spout? Is it an off-the-shelf part? And what fabrication skills did it require?

I've done a doserless mod and have been using it for about a year without any issues. But I'm always looking for new approaches, so long as it's easy to put together and does not require any fancy modifications. The part I would wonder about this approach is the relatively long fall out of the grinder chute, and whether the short spout provides for efficient contact with the copper for grounding static. For the former, do you hold up your portafilter up to the spout and dispense directly?

FYI here's my solution for going doserless, using off-the-shelf parts and required just modest fabrication skills... I have a long fall since I chose to dispense into a metalic bowl, which I feel also increases the anti-stat efficiency by increasing the likelihood of contact with a grounded metal sleeve lining the ABS.

doserless mod using 2 ABS couplers (lined with copper foil for static control)

Image

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

Postby RapidCoffee » May 02, 2007, 2:00 pm

cgfan wrote:RapidCoffee: That's a really-interesting mod. It looks quite clean. What did you use for the copper spout? Is it an off-the-shelf part? And what fabrication skills did it require?

I've done a doserless mod and have been using it for about a year without any issues. But I'm always looking for new approaches, so long as it's easy to put together and does not require any fancy modifications. The part I would wonder about this approach is the relatively long fall out of the grinder chute, and whether the short spout provides for efficient contact with the copper for grounding static. For the former, do you hold up your portafilter up to the spout and dispense directly?


Hi Andy. We seem to have come up with similar ideas for going doserless.

For my doserless mod, I pulled the doser, then attached a piece of aluminum flashing to cover the area. IIRC, I made a paper template, cut the aluminum sheet with an X-acto knife, and drilled two holes for the screws at the top. Gasket maker seals the bottom, but even a strip of tape would suffice. The rubber washer is glued over the grinds chute opening, and the copper spout slips in and out. Here is another pic. All parts are inexpensive and readily available at any decent hardware store.

I dispense directly into the portafilter. You can see a walk-up video of the grinder in use here.
John

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cgfan

Postby cgfan » Nov 30, 2008, 6:03 pm

FYI, here's an updated video showing the full workflow of the doserless Super Jolly mod and the use of the canning funnel:

...

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Marshall

Postby Marshall » Dec 01, 2008, 7:25 pm

Quite interesting as an OCD case study :D , but I don't think it is a routine I would recommend to anyone. Suggested treatment: spend an afternoon watching and talking to the baristas at Elixir.
Marshall
Los Angeles