Which puck prep tools / techniques do you think make a real difference? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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#11: Post by OK31 »

For me possibly out of habit or just the enjoy,ent of the process I dose into the PF fitted with a Tidaka funnel which sites on the rim not inside, then I proceed to wdt with a homemade cork screw and 3d printer nozzle needles, followed by an OCD which I rely more on for a flat even bed more so than actual distribution and finally tamp with the convex stock LM tamper which I really like.

To say wdt or ocd does much for me in the cup is difficult he not having done side by side shots one with and one without I can't efficacy either. What I do know is as the common theme is I try to be consistent so that whatever result is repeatable.

chockfullofbutts (original poster)

#12: Post by chockfullofbutts (original poster) »

I'm really surprised that some people don't use the WDT tool because it's the one thing that I am certain makes a difference.
Without the WDT I consistently get bald spots on the bottom of my portfilter during extraction. With the WDT, I regularly get the perfect, even flow that quickly turns into one stream. I can only assume that this means I have less channeling.
This is as close to a non subjective improvement in my shot.

Whether it tastes different, I'm not sure.


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#13: Post by Mad Scientist »

cafeIKE wrote:The grinder
A 15g VST basket

I recently got this dosing ring you mentioned a while back; https://a.co/d/gmyc9rP. I bought the short version (s). It rides on the top and I can WDT with it nicely. It's heavy and I feel it gives good control holding it when tapping down, about 4 times to compress the puck.

I use a Londinium tamper (from the 2014 era) not the one they sell now. I tamp about 80% then about 4 nutations.
“You haven't lived until you've lived with a cat.” Doris Day

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#14: Post by mrgnomer »

Weighing scales changed my approach from volume to weight measuring. Weight measuring made such a difference in consistency I bit the bullet for an Acacia Lunar.

After that using home made WDT tool made of a champagne cork, acupuncture needles and a bamboo bbq skewer to break up clumps in a portafilter grind cup, flipping grinds into the portafilter, tapping to level out, WDT again to fluff and even out then nutating tamp to seal edges and compress gets me evenly extracted, solid pucks pretty much every time. The WDT definitely makes a difference in even distribution. Tapping I think doesn't just level out a dose but settles fine grinds on the bottom which helps for extraction resistance. The nutating compensates for a 58mm tamper that is a bit short of the portafilter edges. It's more work than the quick grind into the portafilter, level off a bit then tamp I see baristas do but it's extra work I think that's worth it.

The spring lever machine I use also allows for variations in preinfusion time and extraction pressure that helps and its ramp down pressure profile must help to avoid channeling. I look for channeling signs after every extraction and knock pucks out onto a flat plastic container lid to see how solid and even they look at the side and bottom and consistently see no signs of channeling or uneven extraction.
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

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#15: Post by Mat-O-Matic »

I think WDT makes a difference, but certain coffees/equipment combos would not need it. It increases consistency when other equipment or technique variables are less than perfect. Similarly, pre infusion can reduce likelihood of channeling.

0.1g scale, good grinder, tamper.

Other gizmos may be useful depending on your needs or setup. Nunas' screens are a good example. My Londinium L1 is far less consistent (almost poorly behaved) with any group screen other than the one Londinium sells now. For some machines that screen would be a luxury upgrade with no discernible benefit. For mine, it's the difference between sweet, consistent deliciousness vs frequent aggravation.
LMWDP #716: Spring comes, and the grass grows by itself.


#16: Post by Campisi »

.1g scale
Rubber tamping pad (important)
Tamper (nothing special, just the one that came with my machine)
Runners, yeah we're different.


#17: Post by mandarling »



I feel that a good, firm tamp is ok, none of that pressure at a precise weight - for me, anyway.

The other that's not a technique is really the freshness of the beans. Whoa.


#18: Post by kidloco »

I never used cup-to-cup comparison. Having said that, I am sure I can do less puck prep with some coffees than others.

I have a funnel grind into the basket where a 54mm wet paper filter is on the bottom. I do WDT with 3D printed tool using 0.35mm needles. I tried more expensive tools like Duomo and literally was celebrating when I managed to sell it and get rid of it :)

I use OCD, but I am sure it does absolutely nothing to improve extraction. Then I tamp with Force Tamper.

I am sure that for comfort blends, using my grinder, light Perger tap, and leveling tamper would be perfectly fine.


#19: Post by DownTheRabbitHole »

I think the porcupress has really helped with my light roasts, but other than that I only regularly use my puck screen, WDT, and force tamper


#20: Post by espressoren »

I'm a bit "meh" about WDT but as others have said it probably comes down to other techniques and equipment. I've just generally found that my shots are slower and more consistent with a bit of vibration leveling and settling the grounds than with WDT or anything else. I feel like I'm just introducing random voids and air pockets within the grounds by stirring them.

I think it can potentially help with blends, mixing up the grounds so you don't have splotches of specific coffees for each bean type in the blend.