Proper distribution technique when "down dosing" using WDT

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
beans

#1: Post by beans »

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?

Much appreciated!

ChrisC

#2: Post by ChrisC »

Here's what I do:

I'm overdosing. Who knew!?

Also, try a paperclip unbent so the end is straight, or a large sewing needle, instead of a chopstick -- you'll end up with a flatter surface that you can just gently shake back and forth to even out completely.

User avatar
woodchuck

#3: Post by woodchuck »

Beans, 16.5 to 17 grams is still a fair amount of coffee for the S1. You might try dosing down to betwen 14 and 15 grams depending on the coffee. Also try your WDT without tapping the pf to settle the grounds. Usually WDT fluffs the coffee up enough or me to get a nice levelling wipe.

Cheers

Ian

User avatar
HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

beans wrote: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...
A canted tamp can cause channeling, but tamping too hard? That's a new one. As for distributing below the rim, I've excerpted my reply from the thread cited above:
HB wrote: I use the Stockfleths Move for Dummies:


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.
That said, I'm a bit puzzled by your earlier comment:
beans wrote: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.
Why settle the grounds unless you want to updose? I don't tap, jiggle, or otherwise attempt to settle the grounds when dosing below 16 grams.
Dan Kehn

User avatar
Marshall

#5: Post by Marshall »

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?

Much appreciated!
How about this. You live in San Francisco, which has no shortage of great baristas. Go down to Ritual or Blue Bottle or any other great shop during their slow times and watch what the baristas are doing. Really watch them. If it's very slow, talk to them about what they are doing.

You will see it takes them about five seconds to prepare the grounds after they are done with the grinder. Then do what they do and forget all the other stuff you have read here about yogurt cups, gram scales, needles, haystacks and other rituals and talismen. :D
Marshall
Los Angeles

User avatar
HB
Admin

#6: Post by HB »

Marshall wrote:You will see it takes them about five seconds to prepare the grounds after they are done with the grinder. Then do what they do and forget all the other stuff you have read here about yogurt cups, gram scales, needles, haystacks and other rituals and talismen. :D
You forget that they'll be using Roburs or similar grinders, which don't suffer from distribution and clumping issues like most grinders discussed on this forum. Every Friday I'm at Counter Culture's espresso lab and every Friday I don't think for a moment of employing the WDT. In the Robur's case, the WDT would only degrade an already perfect distribution.
Dan Kehn

User avatar
Marshall

#7: Post by Marshall » replying to HB »

Are you saying any barista without a Robur needs a yogurt cup?

Any barista worthy of the name can pull great shots on the average home equipment owned by H-B posters. It's just not that hard, and I think it's better to learn real barista skills than to develop a dependence on unnecessary crutches. San Francisco isn't Iowa. Any espresso enthusiast living in a barista-rich town like San Francsico should take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the pros.
Marshall
Los Angeles

User avatar
HB
Admin

#8: Post by HB »

Marshall wrote:Are you saying any barista without a Robur needs a yogurt cup?
No, I'm saying pro equipment is a lot easier to use than home equipment. For the longer answer, see Why don't pros use the WDT? and The Weiss Distribution Technique is NOT a 'cheat'!
It's just not that hard, and I think it's better to learn real barista skills than to develop a dependence on unnecessary crutches.
By the same logic, temperature surfing a Rancilio Silvia is a crutch, and I agree it is one... for overcoming poorly designed espresso equipment.
Dan Kehn

ChrisC

#9: Post by ChrisC »

HB wrote:Why settle the grounds unless you want to updose? I don't tap, jiggle, or otherwise attempt to settle the grounds when dosing below 16 grams.
Hi Dan,

*After dosing a weighed amount of beans only,* I jiggle the PF back and forth, just to get the grinds all nice and flat, and I tap the PF down on the counter to knock the fines a little deeper into the basket, thereby hopefully creating a little more resistance for a longer, more even extraction (especially with my Silvia, which I hear 'attacks the puck' pretty hard, or some such thing). But again, that's only AFTER dosing the amount I know I need -- it's not to try to cram a few more grams in.

Just to clarify that there are two different kinds of tapping. :-)

Thanks,
Chris

User avatar
HB
Admin

#10: Post by HB »

ChrisC wrote:I tap the PF down on the counter to knock the fines a little deeper into the basket, thereby hopefully creating a little more resistance for a longer, more even extraction... Just to clarify that there are two different kinds of tapping.
Thanks for the clarification, but I understood you correctly the first time. If you're using the WDT, there's already plenty of fines resettlement. Perhaps too much; look for very dark extractions that blond out early as evidence of this. I don't see a need for settling the grounds in this case, especially if the goal was to dose below the rim.
Dan Kehn