Ah, the "Chicago Chop" or "Intelligentsia Chop" or the "Hassan Chop" (well, not really the Hassan Chop, but I'm a huge classic bugs bunny guy.)HB wrote:Ah yes, the Chicago Chop. Before you deride the moniker, recall that Intelligentsia's crew took four of the top six positions at the 2006 Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition. I'm always experimenting with different techniques, especially with ones that (a) are easy to explain, and (b) give a leg up to new home baristas. I tried it for a couple weeks and found the Chicago Chop was consistent and easy.
Meta-comment: Matt Riddle and the rest at Intelligentsia are clearly top-notch baristas. I wonder if they employ this distribution "crutch move" at their cafes, or if it's reserved for their less experienced baristas?
I think someone on CG coined that phrase a while ago. We started using that when we switched over from the swift about 3 years ago, now. We needed to come up with something that was ultimately repeatable for the baristas. Since there are sometimes upwards of 6 people working at once, we needed something that wouldn't take the "art" out of making shots, but was still able to be used by more than one person on a shift without the lag time of changing the grind every time someone went on break. Enter the chop.
As for competition, none of us use the chop method. We have all developed our own techniques for distribution and leveling. Stephen "The Rog" Rogers uses an adapted Aussie/Sammy Piccolo method of knocking the pf on the tines of the grinder to pack additional coffee in. I personally mound the coffee and go back and forth a few times keeping the coffee on the pf, then level, but not level....it's hard to explain. I kind of make a dome on top. Someone asked me recently how many times i go back and forth....i didn't know. It was muscle memory and I had to do it and count it out to figure it out. I just know that i do the exact same thing every time, exactly the same way....even down to wiping my hand on my apron after leveling/tamping (above my towel which makes a quarter circle of grounds on my apron - old habit from college art classes.) I had to do that so I could forget about it...the whole wax on wax off idea - do it until you forget it.