WDT habits and a Moonraker question

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jwcinsd
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#1: Post by jwcinsd »

I am still within the first 6 months of my LMLM. I use a 17 gm LM basket with 17 gms of ground Mr. Espresso coffee from a Niche Zero. The coffee overflows the basket a bit. My morning habit is that I turn the portafilter over, connect the Niche cup, flip it over, and let it land a bit firmly on a portafilter stand. I then add a magnetic ring and re-fluff the coffee with an Amazon WDT tool. Now the coffee is about a few millimeters above the basket again! Then I give it a small tap and it settles below the rim of the basket. Now I'm able to remove the magnetic funnel and I give a few turns of a St. Anthony wedge distribution tool and then hit it with a ForceTamper on max and a Normcore puck screen!

So since I can't dose directly into the portafilter, I am basically settling fluffy coffee, re-fluffing it with WDT, then re-settling it, distributing it, and tamping it. I have never seen WDT used in a cafè, but I've seen many videos that if cafè owners had more time, they would do it. I am guessing all of this to just to guarantee a level bed. I use a bottomless portafilter and have no channeling and my pucks look perfect so I have not changed all this. I do have an EB Lab, 2 IMS, and a LM 21 gm basket, but the tamped coffee is 2/3 up the 17 gm basket and there's plenty of room for the puck screen so I am thinking the headspace is appropriate with 17 gms in a 17 gm basket.

Since my coffee tastes good and I don't believe I have any channeling, I am weary to change anything, but I have a birthday coming and my wife and I get each other frivolous things that we wouldn't buy for ourselves so I was thinking....I totally get that the Weber Moonraker is a little silly when such results could be had by a wine cork and a few needles, but it's jewelry and looks fun. The videos I've seen have the pre-WDT'd coffee come right from the grinder, then a quick tap, and the coffee is below the basket and the Moonraker can fluff it up and level it. I have not seen any videos where they distribute after the Moonraker has been spun a few times. If I got a Moonraker could I skip the St. Anthony wedge and just go to the tamping as the Weber videos suggest?

What do you do? Any Moonraker users?

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Jeff
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#2: Post by Jeff »

Personally, I'd dump the wedge entirely and use a good, spread-needle tool with needles under 0.4 mm to homogenize and level the bed. The JKim/AppaMakes tool "ain't pretty" but is very functional. I don't know which WDT tool you're using now.

The more steps you add, the more variability you potentially have.

Capuchin Monk
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#3: Post by Capuchin Monk »

jwcinsd wrote:I have never seen WDT used in a cafè,
You may want to watch this video, especially if you are thinking of getting M-raker. :arrow: BH AutoComb WDT

PPapa
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#4: Post by PPapa »

I had a look at Mr Espresso (not familiar with it as I'm not in the US)... not impressed by the fact they don't even list varietals.

I bet you would get more value either buying better beans or upgrading a grinder before you need a Moonraker.

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baldheadracing
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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

PPapa wrote:I had a look at Mr Espresso (not familiar with it as I'm not in the US)... not impressed by the fact they don't even list varietals.
It is pretty old-school not to list varietals in blends ... just look at pretty much any pre-third-wave roaster in Italy or in countries with huge Italian diasporas. Occasionally there is some vague information like "Washed Centrals" or "Indian Robusta," but espresso blend details are typically treated as trade secrets.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

PPapa
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#6: Post by PPapa replying to baldheadracing »

Oh absolutely, just making a point that perhaps better roasters are available. I didn't want to assume about the quality, even though if I have some suspicions.

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baldheadracing
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#7: Post by baldheadracing replying to PPapa »

-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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RapidCoffee
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#8: Post by RapidCoffee »

jwcinsd wrote:I am guessing all of this to just to guarantee a level bed.
No, the goal is even distribution of grinds in the puck. A level bed is just one piece of the puzzle.

IMHO some of the new WDT tools are quite good. If you don't want to spend $$$, the Umikot produces a fluffy level bed in seconds with very little effort. Others speak positively of the CoffeeToolsCa.
John

kye
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#9: Post by kye »

jwcinsd wrote:I use a bottomless portafilter and have no channeling and my pucks look perfect so I have not changed all this.
Your post inspired a thought - it seems like there might be three levels of channeling:
The first level of channeling is where you get directional spraying with a bottomless portafilter. Obviously this isn't ideal!
The second level of channeling is no spraying, but an inspection of the underneath of the basket reveals that some areas have greater flow than other areas, showing that channels are present, but the speed of flow isn't enough to spray.
The third level of channeling is an even-looking flow on the bottom of the basket, but the puck still has unevenness in the flow through the bed, leaving some grounds less extracted than others.
The fourth is a perfectly even extraction.

Once level 3 is achieved it seems that improvements are in taste and measurements, but are not visible. For many, it seems they hit level 3 early on but then spend their whole lives exploring the gap between level 3 and 4.

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HB
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#10: Post by HB »

jwcinsd wrote:The videos I've seen have the pre-WDT'd coffee come right from the grinder, then a quick tap, and the coffee is below the basket and the Moonraker can fluff it up and level it. I have not seen any videos where they distribute after the Moonraker has been spun a few times.
That's been my experience, i.e., the final level is below the rim and no redistribution is necessary. If that were not the case, it would largely defeat the whole purpose.
Capuchin Monk wrote:You may want to watch this video, especially if you are thinking of getting M-raker.
I agree with the YouTuber: The Moonraker needs to be treated carefully. If I were a cafe owner, I would only invest in equipment/tools that tolerate abuse, since no matter how many time the owner reminds the staff, it's going to happen. I've used the Moonraker for a few months and not bent any needles, but I'm very very careful.

As an aside, I occasionally cater at cars-n-coffee events. The standards of the folks getting free coffee are maybe lower, but I just do a quick Stockfleths Move for Dummies and move on.
Dan Kehn