Using WDT for distribution but puck surface is choppy - Is this OK?

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JHCCoffee

#1: Post by JHCCoffee »

Hi All

I use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT), using a simple cork with 2 needles. I stir vigorously clockwise then counterclockwise, then try to even things out abit with the needles. Then tamp with an EazyTamp (for consistent level tamping). But the puck surface is a tad choppy (not smooth) before I tamp. I do my best to try to ensure that the coffee distribution is as equal as possible across the top, but I'm not sure if the puck surface evenness or levelness (before tamping) is consistent shot to shot. Is this ok?

I could buy a distribution tool, and do WDT and then even/smooth things out with the tool. But I worry that disturbing the grounds a second time is not a good thing, I do like doing the WDT, as this removes the clumps produced by my Eureka grinder. Thoughts?

I just today upped my game by buying a better grinder (the Eureka Mignon Specialita) and espresso machine (Lelit Elizabeth DB), with IMS screen and baskets, but wish to ensure that I have my distribution right.

Also wondering what the best dose size range is for the 18g IMS BaristaPro basket. I am guessing 15 to 17g,

Also wondering about the pros and cons of: a) dosing into a dosing cup, b) into basket, before inserting into the portafilter, or c) direct into the portafilter with basket.

Thanks all.

Nunas
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#2: Post by Nunas »

JHCCoffee wrote:Hi All

I use the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT), using a simple cork with 2 needles. I stir vigorously clockwise then counterclockwise, then try to even things out abit with the needles. Then tamp with an EazyTamp (for consistent level tamping). But the puck surface is a tad choppy (not smooth) before I tamp. I do my best to try to ensure that the coffee distribution is as equal as possible across the top, but I'm not sure if the puck surface evenness or levelness (before tamping) is consistent shot to shot. Is this ok? I could buy a distribution tool, and do WDT and then even/smooth things out with the tool. But I worry that disturbing the grounds a second time is not a good thing, I do like doing the WDT, as this removes the clumps produced by my Eureka grinder. Thoughts?<snip>
I did something similar.

My first iteration, like yours, was a couple of needles. I noticed that most of the ones for sale have more than that, so my second one had four. My current one, above, has six. Also, my first one used sewing needles, which I installed point into the cork, as I noticed that many of the commercial WDT gadgets had little hooks on the end. I think that using finer needles in the grinds is better, so the next one was points out. To get the needles into the cork, I drilled tiny pilot holes. But, the needle points caught in the holes in the basket, so I nipped them off with side cutters. My current one uses six needles, as you can see. The needles are very fine, only 0.4 mm. I used cleaning needles for my 3D printer, which are inexpensive and readily available on Amazon. I like this one the best. My puck surface is also a bit choppy; I doubt that using a WDT gadget could result in anything else.

I also have a cloverleaf distribution tool, which I think does little to nothing good for the puck. I liked it at first, but don't use it anymore.

I doubt that reworking the puck with your WDT tool would do any good. I suspect that overworking the puck could result in stratification of the grinds. That is, the finer bits are likely to work their way to the bottom and the coarser bits to the top.

All this said, and my WDT tool now resides in the cockamamie drawer, along with a bunch of other gadgets that I no longer use much. My current technique is to dose directly to the portafilter (both my grinders are gravimetric), thump the PF on the tamping mat a couple of times to spread the grinds out somewhat, lightly tamp (maybe five to ten pounds), using a rocking technique N_S_E_W, striving for a dead level puck, and pop a sintered metal puck screen atop. Of all the gadgets/techniques I've tried, the puck screen seems to work the best for me.

JHCCoffee (original poster)

#3: Post by JHCCoffee (original poster) »

Thanks for the complete reply, photo and good advice, Nunas.

I can't quite tell from the photo. Are the ends of the needles bent at an angle or straight?

Some folks use an emery board, to dull the points a tad. Thoughts?

I wish I did not need to WDT, but both my prior (Bartaza Sette) and current (Eureka Mignon Specialita) grinders cause significant clumping. I am looking for solutions to that.

Anyway, I was worried that if the puck is uneven at the top (choppy), that when I tamp, that there might be sections of the puck that end up denser than others, which I presume is not good.

Do you, or anyone else, think that this should be a concern.

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Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

A photo would help to get some opinions on level enough or not.

I level with a LeverCraft WDT tool, which is almost automatic. It uses 0.4 mm needles, straight. Some tools use 0.35 or 0.3 mm needles. JKim's tool is another good one on a limited budget.

My experience is that anything as fat as a paperclip (~0.7 mm) was mainly ineffective and fatter could make things worse. Bent, hooked, or looped ends also made things worse.

I haven't seen any additional value in distribution tools. They make your puck look pretty, but can just hide problems.

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HB
Admin

#5: Post by HB »

JHCCoffee wrote:Anyway, I was worried that if the puck is uneven at the top (choppy), that when I tamp, that there might be sections of the puck that end up denser than others, which I presume is not good... Do you, or anyone else, think that this should be a concern.
You can finesse your WDT, but don't overthink it. I use a dissecting needle that was donated to me many years ago by Mr. WDT himself, John Weiss. Who knows, it may be worth something someday? :lol: Anyway, I do the Spirograph:

Image
From Home barista techniques that the pros shun

I will finesse the finish on the top by stirring with minimal depth; I don't know if it matters, but it makes the puck look nicer. I assume the ultra thin WDT implements Jeff mentioned above would simplify this last step.
Dan Kehn

Nunas
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#6: Post by Nunas »

JHCCoffee wrote:I can't quite tell from the photo. Are the ends of the needles bent at an angle or straight?
The needles are more or less straight with no hooks on the end.
Some folks use an emery board, to dull the points a tad. Thoughts?
I just clipped them off with side cutters.
I wish I did not need to WDT, but both my prior (Bartaza Sette) and current (Eureka Mignon Specialita) grinders cause significant clumping. I am looking for solutions to that.
I'm not surprised that your Specialita has some clumps; it isn't a lot different from my Failai ZF65w. I, too, have a Sette, and it virtually never sends out any clumps. Perhaps the clumpiness is related to degree of roast. I usually stop my roasts somewhere in the quiet period between 1C end and 2C start.
Anyway, I was worried that if the puck is uneven at the top (choppy), that when I tamp, that there might be sections of the puck that end up denser than others, which I presume is not good. Do you, or anyone else, think that this should be a concern.
I doubt it is an issue. But, as already suggested, perhaps a picture would change my mind.

JHCCoffee (original poster)

#7: Post by JHCCoffee (original poster) »

Here is the photo:

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#8: Post by RapidCoffee »

Hi Julian. Most so-called "distribution" tools are actually leveling tools. I am not a fan because there is no good way to determine the correct height/depth setting (which presumably changes with basket, dose, coffee, etc.). Instead, I perform a light nutation using my tamper to level an uneven puck surface. You can see this at ~2:30' into my video: How necessary is WDT?
John

bonjing

#9: Post by bonjing »

Picture of your wdt tool?

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#10: Post by RapidCoffee »

Greg, if that question is directed to me, I'm still using the keycap puller shown in the video. Here's a pic: WDT tool?



Available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Mechanical-Keybo ... B08B5ZNY43
John