I'm overdosing. Who knew!?

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#1: Post by Dieter01 »

I normally dose directly into the basket with enough grinds to leave a small heap. I then use my hand/finger to level. I have not considered this overdosing. If I was to tap the portafilter on its rest while grinding though, that would be overdosing. Or if I use WDT, I always get more grounds in then. How wrong I was... After all this reading I can't believe I missed such an elemental term!

No wonder I could never get the regular double basket to "work". Unless I only filled it 3/4 of the way it would touch the shower screen. With the 18g Synesso though I used the WDT, level and tamp. Good results, very happy. Who knew I was overdosing!

So the question... If you only fill a double basket with 14g, which is less than flush with the rim, how do you level?

Ken Fox

#2: Post by Ken Fox »

Dieter01 wrote:

So the question... If you only fill a double basket with 14g, which is less than flush with the rim, how do you level?
Weigh what you grind on a cheap but accurate 0.1g scale, like this one:


I dispense the grinds into a ramekin, with the scale "tare"d to the weight of the ramekin, but any small vessel including the Portafilter itself will do. I will use any quantity within 0.2g measured weight of my target dose (14g for me, so I'll use 13.8 to 14.2g). Any more or less and I'll either add or remove what is needed.

I spoon the grinds into the PF basket, which generally takes 3-4 teaspoonfuls, then knock the rest of the ground coffee into the basket from the ramekin. My only other basket preparation prior to making the shot is to twirl a tamper in the PF basket for 2 seconds. I then lock and load the PF in the machine and pull the shot. I don't make any particular effort to distribute or level, however with this dose it seems to happen more or less on its own with the technique I use.

If I am making 2 shots in the same session (i.e. one for me and one for someone else), I'll try to weigh out something approaching 28g, spoon 14 into the PF (using my superior mathematical calculation skills :P ), then finish what is needed from what is left for the 2nd shot. I would probably not grind for 3 shots in succession at one time, as I'd rather use grinds fresher than what I'd have left for the 3rd shot.

That's it.

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955


#3: Post by ChrisC »

Hi Dieter,

I had a similar realization with my Silvia recently -- you can't really level with the top of the basket and expect not to touch the screen. I now use the scale Ken links to to weight the amount of beans I want (plus about 1 g that gets lost to a quick sacrificial grind in my Rocky to make sure all stale coffee is out of the delivery path), grind into my PF with a yogurt cup inserted and WDT, then with the cup still in, gently shake the PF side to side and then forward and back until it looks about level to me. I carefully remove the yogurt cup straight upwards, then do a gentle downwards tap of the PF on the counter, just to settle the grinds a little more. Then tamp. Seems to work well.



#4: Post by DavidMLewis »

Dieter01 wrote:If you only fill a double basket with 14g, which is less than flush with the rim, how do you level?
Well, since we're tool-using animals over here at H-B, I took some 0.030" plastic shim stock and made a series of scrapers by clamping plates of various sizes upside down on it and cutting around the rim with a utility knife. I have various sized baskets for my Reneka Techno, and interestingly enough, putting 14 grams of most coffees into the basket Reneka calls an 18 gram one almost comes up to level with the top.



#5: Post by CoffeeOwl »

I dose 15g into my pf basket and then WDT to level the grinds: 15g is below the basket rim, I only put the needle into between 1/3 to 1/2 of the basket depth. Then I level-tamp, tap, 30lbs tamp and go.
'a a ha sha sa ma!

LMWDP #199


#6: Post by AUSTINrob »

If the aspect of overdosing that is bothering you is the fact that the grinds touch the screen, than could you simply solve this issue by dosing your "normal" amount, leveling, and then tamping with a convex tamper??

I pose this question not as a suggestion, but truly a question as I too "overdose" most of the time and have a hunch that a convex tamper may afford me a little extra space...

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#7: Post by Psyd »

ChrisC wrote: I had a similar realization with my Silvia recently -- you can't really level with the top of the basket and expect not to touch the screen.
Technically, the Silvia doesn't have as much to do with this as the basket that you're using. With the LM ridged 14 gram baskets that I'm using, I can level, tamp, and just get an impression of the screw-head in the tamp when I lock in.
It is very basket-dependent far more than machine-dependent. I keep wondering about convex tampers vs flat as it applies to convex groupheads vs flat. and there are a few convex-ish baskets out there and plenty of flat ones.
Espresso Sniper
One Shot, One Kill

LMWDP #175


#8: Post by ChrisC »

I use the LM ridged -- I'd go the extra mile and point out that it's probably also strongly related to grind -- finer grind packs down more, yes?

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#9: Post by HB »

Dieter01 wrote:So the question... If you only fill a double basket with 14g, which is less than flush with the rim, how do you level?
I use the Stockfleths Move for Dummies:
Instead of resting your finger lightly on the rim of the basket, press down firmly so the bottom flat of your finger rides below the basket's edge. The curve of your finger will scrape off grounds as you rotate the basket. It's fairly easy to dose to 16 grams with a standard Faema-style basket using this technique; with practice, you can dose to 15 grams or less (the dose in the video was 15.5 grams). For extreme downdosing of less than 14 grams, place your finger across the basket with the tip of your finger riding below the inner rim while rotating the basket, scraping off grounds to the desired level.
It's a lazy man's version of what David suggested above with his curved plastic scrapers. For more ideas, see Dosing less than level with the rim of the basket.
Dan Kehn

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#10: Post by Alchemist »

I also grind directly into my basket, although not always and it still works for me. In either case, I am pretty consistently getting 14 (13-15 g to be honest) of coffee into my 58 mm double basket. And this is with a slightly hollow mount over the edge and flat sweep. Not overdosing IMO.

Here's what comes to mind. What grinder are you using? I know the needle dissection method was developed to deal with clumping. My grinder (a giant trosser) leaves me with a very volcano like shaped mount of fluffy coffee grounds. No dense clump. Only a "half" filled basket after tamping, no touching the screen.

Might the grinder used be causing a denser pack?

I have to say, this is having the feel of swinging the other direction for obsession (the opposite of stuffing 21 g into a double basket with all these super techniques and getting a good pull). All these fancy ass techniques to get the right low dose, when what I came away with from Fox's discussion was it was the simplicity of what he observed that made it work. Dose, sweep, tamp, pull.
John Nanci
Alchemist at large
LMWDP #013