WDT + OCD (NCD) - Worth it?

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

#1: Post by JamesB517 »

OK, so I am waiting on an NCD/OCD tool to arrive currently and am already using WDT. Working with a Niche and Flair 58x, and just thought an extra level of consistency would be helpful for a newbie like myself. So I have become curious as to whether doing a typical WDT routine and then giving a few OCD spins before tamping and throwing on my puck screen is a good idea.

Will the OCD render the WDT useless?
Should I pick one or the other?

Any thoughts are appreciated! Thank you!
Life is like a shot of espresso. You never know what you're gonna get.

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#2: Post by Jeff »

This has been discussed in depth (pun intended) before.

If you're in a barista competition, the OCD-style tool keeps you from losing technical points (nothing to do with flavor). If you're in a cafe, it may be a time saver either on the line or in training of staff.

For home users, it does little of value past what can be done quickly with a good WDT tool like the LeverCraft or JKim Makes.

The OCD-like tools and those promoted by old-school practitioners don't "distribute" more than the top couple mm. They have the potential to compress irregularities worsening extraction.


#3: Post by kidloco »

That is my workflow. I have it I do it, if I lose it tomorrow I would not miss it (the distributor tool). WDT showed increased extraction on all grinders I had (a few of them from the "end" grinder group). OCD is, at least for me esthetic factor.

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#4: Post by Jaroslav »

kidloco wrote:WDT showed increased extraction
By increased extraction you mean measured higher EY%, or you mean improved extraction (sensory) without measuring EY%?

Thank you.

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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

JamesB517 wrote:Will the OCD render the WDT useless?
No. The reverse might be true, though.
JamesB517 wrote:Should I pick one or the other?
I'd pick WDT over OCD.

When the OCD first came out, I did do subjective and objective tests, but that was before multi-pronged thin-needle WDT tools. I haven't repeated the tests as I already have the OCD ... but I haven't had any desire to get an additional tool for my 41mm and 49mm baskets, nor would I buy an NCD today for home use. The only benefit to a home user might be to compensate for tamping errors, but those issues might be better solved with a levelling tamper (or some practice :)) The OCD might be a good thing for some significant others to use, though.

One thing to keep in mind with the OCD/NCD is that the proven benefit (outside of barista competition) - that of reduced variability in taste across shots - is predicated on following directions, especially depth setting. On the other hand, you are never making a dozen or more espressos in a row on a home machine, so the benefit is irrelevant for a home user.

NCD instructions for use: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rtRy4uP2mY
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#6: Post by mrgnomer »

http://socraticcoffee.com/2016/12/exami ... xtraction/

Interesting results after testing OCDs
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#7: Post by Jaroslav »

I like that article! Tapping can achieve higher EY%, but this is very inconsistent. Both OCD and a good WDT technique at least provide some level of consistency. Sprometheus's work on this is also worth mentioning:

Not to discredit anyone above (or anyone in general), I'm sure you are all experienced and knowledgable at making coffee, but I believe that 99% of you are not able to tell the difference between 19.31% (~3.5g/18g) or 20.05% (~3.6g/18g) EY. I'm certain that I can't. You'll need much more than needles to shoot way above 19-20% and really taste the difference.

Personally, I've tried using WDT and didn't like the workflow. My shots looked, felt and most importantly tasted the exact same as they did using a correctly set up OCD. Needles don't provide added value for me personally. I'm dosing into a cup, maybe there's a higher improvement potential if you're dosing into the basket directly and want to declump/redistribute the coffee. I really wanted to love the WDT as many of you swear by it, but it literally adds too much playtime preparing shots than added benefit in the cup.

My humble suggestion: If you like the workflow with OCD, use OCD. If you like needles, use needles. Don't use both, just pick one. WDT is cheaper and will provide the same/slightly better results (may also depend on your grinder and your technique). Both can help you achieve a certain level of consistency. Using one of these is always better than tapping, better than hammering the side of your portafilter with a tamper or polishing the puck.



#8: Post by titan »

baldheadracing wrote:The only benefit to a home user might be to compensate for tamping errors, but those issues might be better solved with a levelling tamper (or some practice :))
That's a good point that does not get enough attention. If you do not have a levelling tamper, or your after WDT puck is not perfectly flat, OCD is quite helpful to distribute just the top layer of the puck since the bottom layers are mostly uniform.


#9: Post by BaristaBob »

Based on the studies the last two posters found, I'd say there is no reason to use a distribution tool anymore. That ship has passed, in my opinion, with the advent of WDT using 0.4mm needles and a good leveling tamper.
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#10: Post by mrgnomer »

I read where there's barista competitors using Stockfleth's move. Whatever works for consistancy. IMHO no one can say one particular tool or technique is more ideal than another unless all other variables can be controlled and the data is accurate. With espresso extraction there's so many variables that could affect the shot it's hard to say why one shot pulled better than another. Definitely WDT and tapping work for me along with varied weight tamping and extracting for dose weight and yield. I looked into adding OCD tool distribution but the tool cost kept me back. I got a Lunar scale instead which benefits me more I think. With a good consistent grind, clump breaking with WDT, even tap distribution and a good tamp my results are consistently good. I can't say if OCD tool distribution would make them better. Maybe. Maybe a tighter fitting tamper, better baskets, better machine and better grinder/burr set might improve the extractions as well. Hard to say.

I like the extraction control trends that developed over the years but wouldn't dismiss the old methods or put complete trust in any of the new. The difference between a good shot and a great shot could be as little as how much you preinfuse it, when you start it, what pressure you extract at and when you cut it off. Puck prep helps for consistency sure but I think that until I know how to control the extraction it's hard to say what prep technique is best.
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professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love