Why don't pros use the WDT? More advanced distribution techniques? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
Rainman

#11: Post by Rainman »

I'd have to agree with Dan that the grinder is the main determinant (and why most of the pros responding to this are probably wondering what the heck the WDT is, since they use pro-level grinders- not Rocky's and other home models, especially those that are doserless). When I started pulling naked shots, there was no way I could do it w/ the Rocky w/o doing some serious agitation of the ground coffee. The Kony I'm using now does not require it- you could do it, but it would be a waste of time. I'm pretty sure if one had developed that technique at home, then went to work as a pro somewhere (using better equipment), they'd probably get some serious talking to by the boss for wasting time.

My $0.02/worth.

Ray
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HB
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#12: Post by HB »

On a related note, the thread The Weiss Distribution Technique is NOT a 'cheat'! says...
HB wrote:At the same time I was trying out the Weiss Distribution, discussed in Convex tamper and NSEW technique. Pros may eschew this technique, but John Weiss' (RapidCoffee) and my own experience support the assertion that the extra stir action does enhance the evenness of an extraction, especially for grinders that tend to clump. I bet newbies who are still working on their distribution technique will also see better results with this "cheat."

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Tracing circles in search of better distribution (link)
I don't bother with the WDT on Fridays at Counter Culture's espresso lab (La Marzocco GB-5, Mazzer Robur); I may ask them if I can borrow the Robur for the weekend to judge the "WDT Factor" side-by-side on my own setup
Dan Kehn

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Matthew Brinski

#13: Post by Matthew Brinski »

In the home, I don't use the WDT, but if it helps with consistent pours for others who are either beginners or home barista types who don't mind taking time in preparing the coffee, then more power to it.

When I started out, I took some effort with 5 pounds of coffee, a tenth gram scale, and Stockfleths move on a Saturday afternoon to learn how to dose and distribute different volumes/weights for that specific coffee. Having developed a "feel" for the dose of certain blends and SOs with months of practice and experimentation, I think the the payoff is priceless. It's one of those "next steps" in advancing your skill in really understanding what your doing in preparing an espresso. For instance, if you WDT a given amount of Toscano which yields a somewhat consistent 18 gram dose and then do the same WDT/volume with a Terroir Northern, the Terroir is going to be about 22 grams (it's a dense coffee) which is WAY TOO MUCH in my opinion - 18 grams is actually too much, but I digress. When you know what the "feel" of the dose is with certain coffees, you can be super consistent and super fast in your preparation while dosing at different desired amounts.

Another thing mentioned already is how the WDT helps intervene in "grinder deficiencies" ie - clumping. This is one area that I just don't get with most home users. It seems that the popular preference in grinder type is doserless. In my view, this just amplifies problems with distribution, especially with flat burr grinders. I grind per dose while rotating the PF and thwacking the doser at a somewhat rapid rate. In my opinion, that specific practice solves the majority of distribution problems up front. I just don't get the doserless preference. People usually cite waste as a motivation for doserless vs doser, but I find that I honestly waste near nothing with the doser route.

I guess what I'm saying is that there are good ways and better ways. People have difference in opinion of what the "better" way is.

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DC

#14: Post by DC »

Rainman wrote:I'd have to agree with Dan that the grinder is the main determinant.........When I started pulling naked shots, there was no way I could do it w/ the Rocky w/o doing some serious agitation of the ground coffee. Ray
I agree. I have tried being more 'reductionist' in the way I prepare my shots but I always end up going back to the WDT.

The WDT is also very useful when I'm using 14g doses rather than filling the basket. Tactile distribution techniques (TDT ? :roll:) aren't much use when the level of your coffee is low in the basket
Dave

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RapidCoffee
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#15: Post by RapidCoffee »

Matthew Brinski wrote:When I started out, I took some effort with 5 pounds of coffee, a tenth gram scale, and Stockfleths move on a Saturday afternoon to learn how to dose and distribute different volumes/weights for that specific coffee. Having developed a "feel" for the dose of certain blends and SOs with months of practice and experimentation, I think the the payoff is priceless... When you know what the "feel" of the dose is with certain coffees, you can be super consistent and super fast in your preparation while dosing at different desired amounts.
Be honest: did you expend anywhere near the same amount of coffee and effort with the WDT as Stockfleths? I've got a good feel for dosing and distributing with the WDT, but I've been using it almost exclusively for the past two years. As a result, I'm more consistent (and faster) with the WDT than any other technique.
Matthew Brinski wrote:... if you WDT a given amount of Toscano which yields a somewhat consistent 18 gram dose and then do the same WDT/volume with a Terroir Northern, the Terroir is going to be about 22 grams (it's a dense coffee) which is WAY TOO MUCH in my opinion - 18 grams is actually to much, but I digress.
Sorry Matthew, but I have a hard time understanding this. All the WDT does is break up clumps and redistribute grounds in the basket. Different grinders and different grinding/dosing techniques accomplish pretty much the same thing in different ways. What do you think is happening when you thwack away at the doser, while rotating and perhaps tapping the PF under the grinder? If you dosed 22g with Terroir beans, it's not because you used the WDT - it's because you dosed 22g.
Matthew Brinski wrote:I just don't get the doserless preference.
You prefer dosers, and you're in good company: so does Dan Kehn. But I prefer doserless for home use. Having removed the doser from my Mazzer SJ, I've never, ever had the slightest inclination to reattach it. Some of the most prized grinders for home use are doserless (Mazzer Mini E and the Versalab M3).
Matthew Brinski wrote:I guess what I'm saying is that there are good ways and better ways. People have difference in opinion of what the "better" way is.
There are many ways to achieve an exceptional espresso pour. But the foundation for all of them is an even distribution of grounds in the filter basket. If my article (now almost one year old!) helped take some of the spotlight off tamping and focus more attention on distribution, then I'd say it achieved its purpose.
John

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jesawdy

#16: Post by jesawdy »

Matthew Brinski wrote:Another thing mentioned already is how the WDT helps intervene in "grinder deficiencies" ie - clumping. This is one area that I just don't get with most home users. It seems that the popular preference in grinder type is doserless. In my view, this just amplifies problems with distribution, especially with flat burr grinders. I grind per dose while rotating the PF and thwacking the doser at a somewhat rapid rate. In my opinion, that specific practice solves the majority of distribution problems up front. I just don't get the doserless preference. People usually cite waste as a motivation for doserless vs doser, but I find that I honestly waste near nothing with the doser route..
I agree completely on the doser versus doserless debate.

But, many folks DO have doserless and the WDT does really help and it is brain dead simple, and it works, everytime.

I resisted using WDT for a long time and convinced myself I could do other things with equal results on a Rocky doserless. I was wrong. Sure, I got to get my hands dirty and touch and feel the coffee, I felt Zen, all that good stuff. But my extractions sucked in comparison once I caved to WDT. I'm still in the "WDT-love" stage, I've committed myself to using it for awhile so I can learn about it and speak to its' pros and cons.

That being said, I feel the need to do as you did, and will probably come back around to other methods when I use my better grinders. But not when I use a Rocky doserless.

I want to add one point.... I do one thing different (for now at least) in regards to WDT. I do not dose, WDT, and level to a FULL basket. In fact, I have had very good results using the 18g "Synesso" basket with a 14-16g dose in it, then WDT. Headspace be damned. This allows me to forego the yogurt cup as well as play with a wide range of dose weights. My pucks aren't always pretty, but my extractions are good and consistent. Leveling is a bit more tricky, but a jostle or two and a tap work well prior to tamping. At some point I might play with a leveling device, but for now, there does not seem to be much need.
Jeff Sawdy

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Jasonian

#17: Post by Jasonian »

Rainman wrote:I'd have to agree with Dan that the grinder is the main determinant (and why most of the pros responding to this are probably wondering what the heck the WDT is, since they use pro-level grinders- not Rocky's and other home models, especially those that are doserless). When I started pulling naked shots, there was no way I could do it w/ the Rocky w/o doing some serious agitation of the ground coffee. The Kony I'm using now does not require it- you could do it, but it would be a waste of time. I'm pretty sure if one had developed that technique at home, then went to work as a pro somewhere (using better equipment), they'd probably get some serious talking to by the boss for wasting time.

My $0.02/worth.

Ray
At home, I have a Gaggia MDF (stepless, but still.. it's just a Gaggia MDF).

No WDT.
Owner - AJ Coffee Company
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Abe Carmeli
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#18: Post by Abe Carmeli »

This is only an observation after judging three barista championships in the past 12 months. During the competitions and the workshops that precede them, judges spend days in close quarters with the competing baristas and some national champions who work in the workshops. It is my impression that the secret ingredient in their barista technique is updosing. 18 grams in a double L/M basket is considered normal by most of the baristas I worked with. At times the impression of the shower screen screw on the spent puck is so deep, it forms a small crater. The updosing is so severe, that in all three competitions the L/M technicians needed to replace the dispersion screen halfway through the competition on all the machines. The baristas will go up to 19 & 19.5 grams at times. There are a couple of reasons for doing it, one of which is compensating for less than perfect distribution & tamping. If the machine can take it, updosing evens out deficiencies in canted tamps, and hurried up distribution. It has to do with the coffee being pressed evenly down by the shower screen. We did some experiments with canted tamps on updosed shots: The spent pucks looked perfectly level. Because of that, judges pay very close attention to leveling the shot and no longer take a leveled puck after the shot as evidence of a good tamp.

Funny thing is, low dosing, that is 13-14 grams, will also produce a shot free of channeling even with less than perfect distribution, but for a different reason. Such shot pucks end up being a dough like mesh during the shot with self healing properties which close any gaps during the shot.

Overdosing however can be severely punishing when it comes to taste, and it is all coffee dependent of course. I suspect that the great number of imbalanced shots we got in the GLRBC has to do with overdosing.
Abe Carmeli

appa

#19: Post by appa »

Has anyone tried WDT in the doser itself?

If you got the grinder going while doing other things, maybe
you can WDT in the doser on the grounds pile instead of doing it in the portafilter
. Would be quicker this way it seems

I dont think it would reclump again much, but not sure

Rainman

#20: Post by Rainman »

Jasonian wrote:At home, I have a Gaggia MDF (stepless, but still.. it's just a Gaggia MDF).

No WDT.
Jason, you're just special- for the rest of us wannabe's, some re-working of the grind is needed.. but the MDF has a doser, right? and you're an expert "whacker", right?
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