Start my barista journey at the beginning

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
mitch236
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#1: Post by mitch236 »

I have a question. I have realized that I need to start my barista journey at the beginning. For too long I was just living with sub-par coffee (I've owned the Linea since 2003) and have only begun to attempt to improve in earnest for the past couple of months. But I tried to run before I could walk! So now I am going to work one (or maybe two) variables at a time until I learn the basics. To this end, I decided that using a 14gm dose would be a great place to eliminate one variable. The problem is I love my LM ridged double basket and at 14gm, I can't distribute the coffee. It is just too low to get at. So my question is how do you guys distribute a dose that's below the top of the basket? I tried using a needle to use the WDT but I guess its too thin because it doesn't really do anything.


...split from Which basket for a fill, level then tamp 14g dose? by moderator...

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

mitch236 wrote:...how do you guys distribute a dose that's below the top of the basket? I tried using a needle to use the WDT but I guess its too thin because it doesn't really do anything.
From Weiss Distribution Technique:
John Weiss wrote:Many grinders inflict clumps, static, and uneven distribution upon the hapless home barista, keeping them from reaching their goal of extraordinary espresso. We can hope that these design flaws will eventually be addressed in home grinders. But until then, there is a simple, inexpensive solution to grinder problems: the Weiss Distribution Technique, or WDT.
Since your Robur clearly does not suffer from these problems, the WDT is unnecessary. Instead, focus on rotating the portafilter as it fills so the grounds are evenly distributed. If your distribution is off slightly, a slight shuffle back-n-forth suffices. For consistent dosing below the rim, it's easier if you remove the portafilter spring and dose the basket outside of the portafilter and confirm the weight with a 0.1 grams accuracy scale.

For the longer version, see the FAQs and Favorites for previous discussions, searching on "dosing" (e.g., Down-dosing: how to level when the basket isn't overflowing?).
Dan Kehn

mitch236 (original poster)
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#3: Post by mitch236 (original poster) »

Thanks Dan. I think I need the WDT despite my Robur. I think the static screen causes large clumps that have to be broken up.

Here's what I mean:

This is right out of the grinder:



After some stirring:




I'm uploading some videos of the extraction. I would love some critiques!!

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

mitch236 wrote:I think the static screen causes large clumps that have to be broken up.
Hmm-m. Then I imagine this would concern you:


From Titan Grinder Project

And yet these clumps from the Macap MXK were benign.

TIP: Don't be fooled by "eye cupping" or making assumptions about what should be important unless you can demonstrate it yourself (Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor is just one example where I made this mistake). I use the Robur Electronics every Friday at Counter Culture's espresso lab. I nor anyone else has noted any need to WDT the grounds.
Dan Kehn

mitch236 (original poster)
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#5: Post by mitch236 (original poster) »

This is the first pull using WDT, 14gm dose at 198f. I ran the shot a little long because I was more concentrated on filming than brewing.


mitch236 (original poster)
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#6: Post by mitch236 (original poster) »

Second attempt:

mitch236 (original poster)
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#7: Post by mitch236 (original poster) »

HB wrote:Hmm-m. Then I imagine this would concern you:

<image>
From Titan Grinder Project

And yet these clumps from the Macap MXK were benign.

TIP: Don't be fooled by "eye cupping" or making assumptions about what should be important unless you can demonstrate it yourself (Pressure profiles, preinfusion and the forgiveness factor is just one example where I made this mistake). I use the Robur Electronics every Friday at Counter Culture's espresso lab. I nor anyone else has noted any need to WDT the grounds.
The reason I became concerned is that unlike your basket, my grounds are almost below the ridge and my tamping is severely limited. I also have limited ability to distribute the grounds evenly so those "clumps", while not really clumps, are slightly more dense than the surrounding grounds and when I tried to pull those shots, I had a lot of poor extractions. I should have recorded those and maybe tomorrow, I will have more time to try recording un-WDT shots.

On another note, since I removed dose as a variable (and weigh every shot), I have been able to play with flow and temps and really taste how those parameters affected the taste. I am attempting to profile Stumptown's El Salvadore Aida's Grand Reserve without any tips. It has been interesting to say the least. I've been able to get the shot to expose the fruit notes but haven't been able to get the sugar or chocolate to come out. In one of Jim's tips, he mentions to keep the dose down to bring out the sugars and caramels (and I assume, chocolate) but I can't seem to make it happen. The roast is only 5 days old so maybe it will come out after a little more aging.

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tekomino

#8: Post by tekomino »

Couple of suggestions:

- 14 grams is poor fit for LM double ridged basket. Depending on coffee 16-17 grams is minimum in my experience. Use Synesso 14 gram double and I think you will have better results

- Don't use volume when dialing in shots. Volume is poor fit for that task because you are targeting say 2oz with 14 grams, 18 grams and 20 grams. All these doses result in completely different brew ratios. Instead weigh your extractions to get what brew ratio is based on your dose. Another reason not to use volume is because it is completely imprecise. Crema which depends on coffee and its freshness creates very different volumes visually.

- Go by taste and what you like instead of what somebody recommends. You have best instrument in your mouth, your taste buds, so use it :D You might not like what comes out when you brew using somebody else extraction recommendations anyway and you can only get frustrated trying to follow them.

Hope this helps.
Refuse to wing it! http://10000shots.com

mitch236 (original poster)
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#9: Post by mitch236 (original poster) »

I tried the Synesso basket and it certainly made tamping much easier! Thanks!!
tekomino wrote:You have best instrument in your mouth, your taste buds, so use it :D You might not like what comes out when you brew using somebody else extraction recommendations anyway and you can only get frustrated trying to follow them.

Hope this helps.
I don't know about the quality of my taste buds! Well, they do work but they sure do need a better education!!!