Spinning for distribution? - Page 3

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

#21: Post by ntwkgestapo »

The_Mighty_Bean wrote:Bertie seemed to differ on that point. More testers needed, I guess.

Would your paint-shaker work?

Well, it's a tad VIOLENT for this! It shakes by moving the bottle of paint about one inch to either side of a center point and does it at about 1000 or so "shakes per minute". ONE thing those feeling a need to mechanize the distribution process MIGHT want to consider is a vibratory stone polisher (those wonderful things that take a stone and polish it for jewelry). Some of those have enough HP to provide a good bit of high speed displacement... Have no idea if it would really work, but.... For me, Stockfleths works just fine...
Steve C.
I'm having an out of coffee experience!
LMWDP # 164

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#22: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

The_Mighty_Bean wrote:I'm just looking for simple, cheap, practical methods to make better espresso more consistently.
simple.... no extra tools except for your hand.

cheap... your hand, i got 2 for free. this was very ummm "handy" when i broke my right hand and needed to build shots with my left hand.

practical...your hand, you can take it with you everywhere and use it no matter where you go. it is a very useful tool.

i seem to get the best result with the least effort. less steps equals less chance for variation or mistakes.

i have had some tasty shots that were poorly distributed but brewed at the correct temp.

too low or too high temp on a perfectly distributed shot will probably give you something that does not taste delicious.

you can do what you want. get yourself where you need to be however you need to get there.

2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

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#23: Post by Spresso_Bean »

I saw that they make a battery powered sifter and I wonder how that would work as a distribution device, and could possibly have some sort of vibration added to it. There was an older powered sifter made by the Pampered Chef that has a reducer/short funnel on the end but it's not a current product. If there was some way to use a powered sifter which had a way to lock the basket to the bottom, the coffee could be dumped in and sifted through with possible vibration, and then you'd disconnect the basket and tamp. I'm just sort of thinking out loud.

The_Mighty_Bean (original poster)

#24: Post by The_Mighty_Bean (original poster) »

Ira - thanks for the suggestion, the WDT experiments have already shown with pretty strong anecdotal evidence that when you break up the clumps the shots get better. There could be a similar experiment to decide at what point a few clumps no longer affects the shot, but with my experiment of the other day, there was easily 1/2 to 3/4 of a gram of coffee tied up in the clumps. Given that we weigh doses to the half-gram, I wouldn't want one "standard of error" in weight tied up in clumps and distributed unevenly.

Ntwkgestapo - A vibratory jewelry polisher may just be the key. They seem to be about $50 on Ebay. At a 5lb hopper capacity they are too monstrous to become a popular home barista accessory, and something would have to be modded into the hopper to hold the PF basket.

Still, if they work, then somebody motivated could probably refine the design into a good barista tool. I may order one to play with.

Spresso bean - that's another good thought. I was reading through some more papers on powder physics (actually talking about thermal conductivity in powders, which the thermologging crowd might find to be interesting- because, as I read that paper, temp conductivity and retention through the puck is going to be a function of tapped density, as well). The experimenters there used a "mesh 50" screen to separate their powders before pouring them into a device similar to the autotap.

Perhaps sifting prior to vibration/rotation increases the efficiency of the separation/settling function of the vibration and rotary mechanism.

Eventually I'll get out of the realm of theory and start spending money to play around with devices, but I'm trying to keep my investment as low as possible.

Jon- It's documented on this site, by certain extremely experienced and well-regarded members, that hand distribution is unreliable and difficult, and that agitation of grounds promotes a more even distribution. I don't have time to go digging for the quotes. You're happy with your methods, enjoy! I will continue to search. Perhaps one day we'll have an espressoporn showdown. :P


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#25: Post by barry »

The_Mighty_Bean wrote:It's documented on this site, by certain extremely experienced and well-regarded members, that hand distribution is unreliable and difficult,

:roll: oh good grief.

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#26: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

The_Mighty_Bean wrote:Perhaps one day we'll have an espressoporn showdown.
it has been documented on this site, by certain extremely experienced and well-regarded members, that just because a shot looks good doesnt mean it tastes good. "the look of a shot is an unfortunate distraction - andys" "the goal is great tasting espresso, not great looking espresso - HB". you can see photos there.

it seems that i have gotten your back hairs all prickly, i apologize.

im not interested in a "showdown" over a drink. but if you want to come on over we can have some coffee.

i admit that i used the "WDT" method and it was kind of a "meh" result. pretty shots, even on the distribution. not that much different in the cup. i can get just as good of a result with less effort so why make it harder than it needs to be. it just seems like more work than needed to do these things.

has anyone in the barista competitions ever used the WDT or a similar tool in competition?

2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

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#27: Post by HB »

The_Mighty_Bean wrote:Jon- It's documented on this site, by certain extremely experienced and well-regarded members, that hand distribution is unreliable and difficult, and that agitation of grounds promotes a more even distribution.
I advocate redistributing grounds as necessary, not "agitating" them by tapping, flipping, vibrating, or other means. As the title suggests, Stockfleths Move for Dummies documents how anyone with opposing fingers can handle redistribution. That said, I'm open to new ways of rectifying grinder deficiencies like the WDT does, although my suspicion is that excessive manipulations will create as many problems as they purport to solve.
RegulatorJohnson wrote:has anyone in the barista competitions ever used the WDT or a similar tool in competition?
Not that I'm aware of. What idiot would choose a grinder for competition that has troubles with clumping? The only grinder I've seen in competition that even hints of clumping is the Super Jolly, Billy Wilson's grinder of choice:

From SCAA Barista Competition - USBC 2006
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#28: Post by ntwkgestapo »

With my clipper hand grinder, grinding 24-25 grams for a couple of doubles REQUIRED the WDT to get the clumps down to a manageable level... With the Le'Lit, no way... I just do a light tap (sometimes), Dan's Stockfleths for Dummies move, lock-n-load and pull a VERY nice shot... Only 2 sink shots on the Factory since I got the Le'Lit and both were MY fault, not the Factorys OR the grinders... I'm FAR from having the Factory pulls down to a science (oxymoron anyone?) but am VERY happy with the combo I've got.. Crema could be nicer, BUT, manual levers don't NECESSARILY have the same crema production... The Le'Lit and my SBux Barista with it's "crema enhancer" P/F (even tho I disabled the pressure stuff, still have the tiny hole in the bottom for the 'spresso to go thru) TALK ABOUT CREMA! Sheesh, I could get 1oz++ of crema out of that machine with darn'd near ANY beans... Admittedly, with the Le'Lit and some decent beans, the crema was fairly nice-n-dark with wonderful tiger flecks in it... just beautiful... Getting some NICE crema with the Factory, but nothing like that!

I'm finding, as I wander down the manual lever path, a lot LESS to worry about than many of the procedures you see here (and I've even laid some out! :() and on other coffee sites.. I don't even weigh EVERY basketfull of grounds... Weigh the first few with a new bean, adjust accordingly, and check every now and then thru the "life" of the beans just to confirm... While learning the "way of the lever" DOES involve some attention to detail, MOST of it is the SAME attention to detail that you'd do for ANY espresso... Fresh beans, good grinder, consistency in your distribution and tamp... The manual lever adds a bit on being consistent with the pull on the lever, I'm finding that THAT falls in fairly quickly for me at least...

I've never tried to use my dental vibrator for uniform grounds distribution and I doubt that I will, as I suspect it causes the "fines" to migrate toward EITHER the top or the bottom of the basket and I SUSPECT that what you really want, at the start of the shot, is fairly even distribution THRUOUT the puck and let NATURE (i.e. the water flow) migrate them... Just my thoughts on this whole thing... (ducks the flaming arrows of death....). Others may find this a GREAT help to them, but I'm discovering that I'm really starting to enjoy the RESULTS and the journey is turning into a VERY pleasant trip!
Steve C.
I'm having an out of coffee experience!
LMWDP # 164


#29: Post by DigMe »

I'm with Jon on this one for the most part.


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#30: Post by cannonfodder »

I have held my tongue because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I have to say if find most everything discussed to be quite absurd. You are making coffee, not launching rockets, setting dental fillings or separating plasma. You don't need centrifuges, dental vibrators, paint shakers, or gadgets that look like they came from Helga's house of pain. All you need is a good grinder, a properly fitted tamper (and that on is debatable) fresh coffee, a modest machine and practice. So if you are a newbie reading this thread and thinking you need a bunch of crazy gizmos to make an espresso, you don't.

If you want to poke, prod, spin, vibrate your coffee, I guess you can, but I would rather drink it and enjoy the simplicity of the process. There is no shortcut for practice.
Dave Stephens