Proper distribution technique when "down dosing" using WDT - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#11: Post by ChrisC »

Hmm -- I get better extractions, less spitting from channeling, and they blond later. I figure the tap kind of replaces the slight downward pressure of a normal Stockfleth's or what have you when the level of the grinds is below the rim to start with.

Maybe it's a Silvia thing, and on a better machine it would be detrimental, though. I'll do some more experimenting. Thanks Dan.

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#12: Post by HB »

ChrisC wrote:Maybe it's a Silvia thing...
It could be.

For what it's worth, I've noted that lots of WDT stirring or settling the grounds will product "front loaded" espressos where the first third of the extraction is emphasized. For some blends that's not a bad thing, especially if you like intense chocolate notes in your lattes. It tends to throw off the balance of straight espressos, at least for the equipment I use most. That's one reason I use the WDT sparingly, even if the grinder distribution is less than perfect.
Dan Kehn


#13: Post by ChrisC »

Again, very good to know, thanks Dan! I have a doserless Rocky, so I tend to WDT to death. But I do love the chocolates.

Still, worth experimenting with a bit, a variable I hadn't thought of.

Thanks again!

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#14: Post by RapidCoffee »

beans wrote:I have an La Spaz S1 mini (53mm portafilter) and I dose it with between 16.5 and 17.5 G of espresso from the Mazzer E doserless. I use a chopstick and stir the grinds WDT. Then I tap the portafilter on the counter to settle the grinds. The problem is that when I use this amount of coffee the grinds do not mound over the rim of the portafilter. This makes a level distribution almost impossible. However, when I tamp, the tamp is just at or slightly below the retainer ring, so the amount of coffee seems correct. There is an imprint from the nut but not the screen after the shot. Shots are between1.75 and 2 oz, between 25 and 30 seconds long. Lots of crema (90% ish), tiger striping, good taste, ie pretty good. The problem is that there is usually (50% of the time) some channeling which I can clearly see using the bottomless portafilter. I am betting this is because of the distribution. Either that or I am tamping too hard....Anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions?
Hi Todd, and welcome to H-B. I do not recommend using a chopstick or other blunt instrument to stir the grounds. That can contribute to channeling. Try a long thin tool with a decent handle, like a dissecting needle or dental pick.

Have you considered eliminating the tap entirely? I have no experience with the La Spaz baskets, but it's worth a shot. If you don't want to use Dan's modified Stockfleth approach, you can also use the WDT needle tip to help level the surface below the rim prior to tamping.

Your pours sound pretty darn good already, so I doubt you'll need much modification of your current approach. Try a slight downdosing or even a different batch of beans, and you might find the channeling goes away.

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#15: Post by cannonfodder »

I use the back of my little finger. I just knock off the top of the dose in a NSEW motion, thump the portafilter down on the tamping stand 3 times and tamp. The thumps are key for me. That settles the dose in the basket and levels it off for the most part. There is usually a slight rise in the center but not much.

I am dosing 14-15 grams in a Faema style double basket in my Elektra. Down dosing, if you want to call 14 grams that, was necessary for me. The Elektra machines have deep dispersion blocks and do not work well with updosed baskets. At 17 grams the puck is touching the shower screen and will squirt you with channel jets. When I tamp, the top of my Reg Barber piston is a couple thirty-seconds of an inch below the top of the basket.
Dave Stephens

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#16: Post by jesawdy »

Like John advises, I'd drop the chopstick for something much much thinner. I used to use a thin bamboo skewer and a thin needle is much better.

If I am employing the WDT, I use the handle of the dissecting needle to cut level the basket when I am dosing that much coffee (and some grinders/coffee fluff real well with the WDT so it is not always "overdosing"). Sometimes I will scoop "level" with a bent finger if I want to remove a tiny bit of coffee, finishing with a slightly concave surface. If I am finishing dosed well below the rim of the basket, I will sometimes lightly tap both sides of the portafilter to jostle level, or I will skip any additional leveling all together.
Jeff Sawdy


#17: Post by CoffeeOwl »

if you dose over 16g then you are not asking for 'WDT for downdosing', you have a distribution problem and plenty of posts to learn from, like this for instance.
For that amount of coffee (>16) I just do the Stockfleths.
'a a ha sha sa ma!

LMWDP #199

beans (original poster)

#18: Post by beans (original poster) »

thanks for all the replies... I should have explained a bit better.. the 16+ G in the basket is in NOT what I would consider down dosing and is the reason "down dosing" was put in " ". I am sort of surprised that 16+G gives me a mound of coffee BELOW the rim of the portafiliter and thus gives me a problem when trying to level the grinds before tamping. Also the reason that I tap the portafilter down was to try and level the grounds a bit that way so that I could tamp a flat surface.

I am going to definitely use something smaller than the chop stick and I will try the little bent finger approach to level the basket.

The thing that I have found is that if I either add more coffee, or I tamp too hard, I get squirting and if I reduce the coffee amount I get channeling... so it "seems" as in my best guess, like the right amount of coffee. Anyone out there using an S1 have this issue?

By the way I did NOT have this problem with the 58mm baskets on my livia 90. These 53 MM baskets are narrower and deeper and seem to have more room above the retension clip. The S1 also has a deep screen. These two facts combined seem to mean that 16G of coffee remain below the lip of the basket. Any specific S1 experience out there?

Thanks for all the suggestions!


#19: Post by matthyx »

I have had the very same problem with my 58mm Faema filter: using it with 15 grams (I am using an AWS scale with 0.1g accuracy) of fresh coffee from my previous grinder (a Faema Family with tiny flat burrs) always produced a coffee level below the rim, before tamping and WDT.

The problem disappeared with my new Cimbali Max grinder. My guess is the new grinder produces a fluffier grind and I am now able to use my pinky to level the grounds.


#20: Post by CoffeeOwl »

I'm a bit surprised because from my experience 16g is above the basket rim (I do have S1 like you). So I just do Stockfleth move and tamp, result is: no problems. However, if you do wdt first (as I understood from what you wrote here) then yes, you will have the grinds below the rim, but what's the reason for not having them already level? Usually I dose 15g of coffee and it is below the rim from the beginning, then I wdt to level the coffee and then tamp - result: no problems. I mean no-problems-each-and-every-time.
HB wrote:A canted tamp can cause channeling, but tamping too hard? That's a new one.
:shock: I guess I've seen it somewhere over here at H-B some 9 months ago... anyway, from my experience also, tamping too hard may cause side channeling. At least I had that on my previous machine and on Vivaldi once, the very early days when I set very fine grind and then tamped it all hard (and didn't have Espro yet).
'a a ha sha sa ma!

LMWDP #199