Downdosing tool

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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welone

#1: Post by welone »

Since reading jim schulmans article about extraction characteristics I started with downdosing coffees that were too fresh or come on too strong (too acrid, sharp or bright) for some other reasons.
At some point I tried to downdose considerably lower than the rim of the basket (say lower than 0.4") but had little success using the curved dosers like some people wrote about (sorry I don't remember who or where it was) - mainly because it resulted in uneven extractions across the diameter of the basket. Of course the WDT also helps to get the level of the coffee up to the rim, but this is also limited to a few millimeters which can be gained by fluffing up. So I tried to come up with an straight doser form - cut out from a plastic spatula. It has two indentations on the outside which define the 'grooming depth' and two flanks that help removing excess coffee. So by altering the offset of the indentations from the bottom of the tool it can be customized for the desired 'grooming depth'. It is not very slick to handle but gets the job done.
Here are some pictures of it:

Image
Image

By extending the size of the two flanks one should be able to simplify its efficient use.

I'll try to shoot some comparison videos in the next few days from some regular vs. downdosed shots when using it.

hope this is useful to someone..

akallio

#2: Post by akallio »

I have found that the best way to distribute coffee below the rim is to use light WDT. That's especially true if there are any clumping, because all kind of leveling tools tend to just move them around.

For WDT I use a wooden fork type of thingie. It probably is designed for holding fish on place: it has two long and sharpish pins. I've found it superior to anything else I've tried.

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malachi

#3: Post by malachi »

I wonder if people having trouble down dosing is grinder related.
I have little to no trouble down dosing without tools or changes in methodology.
Perhaps my grinder is particularly fluffy?
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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Jacob

#4: Post by Jacob »

malachi wrote:I wonder if people having trouble down dosing is grinder related.
Tapping? Even a light tap makes room for an extra gram or two.

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HB
Admin

#5: Post by HB »

malachi wrote:I wonder if people having trouble down dosing is grinder related.
I have little to no trouble down dosing without tools or changes in methodology.
Perhaps my grinder is particularly fluffy?
I think it's partly grinder related, partly technique related.

For example, I can dose below the rim using the Mazzer Robur and a little "shake shake" of the basket is enough to even out my errors in distribution when thwacking the doser handle (as Jasonian once said, "Pay attention to the landing", but it's not easily done when you've only got 4 seconds!). The same trick doesn't work very well if the grounds are clumpy.
Dan Kehn

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welone

#6: Post by welone »

malachi wrote:I wonder if people having trouble down dosing is grinder related.
I have little to no trouble down dosing without tools or changes in methodology.
Perhaps my grinder is particularly fluffy?
I probably should have stressed more that I consider it only useful for extreme downdosing when experimenting. And by extreme downdosing I mean: the untamped+untapped grounds in the basket are 1cm or more below the rim. To be honest I also wouldn't want to include such a tool in my daily routine. I've gotten convinced by the advice to simplify the preparation process as much as possible and focus on repeatability and most importantly the tasting :P

Chris, do you already get a even enough distribution out of the grinder/doser so you proceed straight to tamping? Otherwise, which distribution method do you use for doses below the rim?

Haven't used the "shake-shake" approach on my K10, but I'll try it out tomorrow when I'm at work (where the K10 and maximatic stand).

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Psyd

#7: Post by Psyd »

Jacob wrote:Tapping? Even a light tap makes room for an extra gram or two.
That'd be up-dosing. Up-dosing is fairly simple, as you point out. The trick is down-dosing with an even distribution.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175

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malachi

#8: Post by malachi »

welone wrote: Chris, do you already get a even enough distribution out of the grinder/doser so you proceed straight to tamping? Otherwise, which distribution method do you use for doses below the rim?
With some coffees I can dose down to around 12.5 grams in a ridged LM double basket using the usual modified stockfleth's.
This is what makes me think that the grinder might play a rather large role in this.
Of course - at that dose the grind is pretty damn fine, so that might contribute.
"Taste is the only morality." -- John Ruskin

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AndyS

#9: Post by AndyS »

welone wrote:At some point I tried to downdose considerably lower than the rim of the basket (say lower than 0.4") but had little success using the curved dosers like some people wrote about (sorry I don't remember who or where it was) - mainly because it resulted in uneven extractions across the diameter of the basket.
Hmm..moderately curved downdose tools seem to produce even extractions when I use them. I guess YMMV.

On the other hand, and at the risk of encouraging another 15 posts about whether it's an "elegant" solution or not, why not just use your finger swipe with a shallower basket?
-AndyS
VST refractometer/filter basket beta tester, no financial interest in the company

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welone

#10: Post by welone »

thanks for the replies guys.
I don't doubt at all that the grinder has a huge impact on the ease of downdosing - based on fluffy the grounds come out an how even they're distributed to begin with.
Maybe my problem is just the small 49mm baskets that are IMO more difficult to downdose by using ones fingers. Additionally on a narrower basket (than the 'standard' 58mm) the curved dosing tool has to have a steeper curve to reach the same effect which leads to an more uneven distribution (according to agonized gray matter).
Just using a shallower basket with a finger swipe is currently my preferred method of pulling low doses. Though I still like to be able to explore the effect of pulling the same dose at differing headspaces, which sometimes makes dosing considerably lower than the rim necessary.