Why don't pros use the WDT? More advanced distribution techniques? - Page 8

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

Though it has been mentioned in this thread, I have to reiterate: the "ideal" technique will and should vary based on equipment used (especially the grinder).

In theory, a grinder should be able to deliver a perfectly even (3-dimensional particle distribution) puck of ground coffee, perhaps in a "shower" similar to those "rainshower" bathtub shower-heads, with minimal oxidization/air-mixing, ready for tamping. No such grinder exists, and no such grinder is on the horizon. So, we manage the design-flaws (if you can call them that) and figure out techniques and tricks.

I have my dosing/distribution technique, which (on a Mazzer grinder/doser) is to insert the portafilter in the forks at a "9-o'clock" position, and then rotate the portafilter ONLY after that particular edge of the portafilter basket has filled up. Then I rotate slowly to fill in the rest of the portafilter. Three fork-taps, then a simple forward-back-forward level (on a single axis). Usually, my final stroke will somewhat "round" off the top, controlling my up-dose.

I tried the WDT last year, and it is definitely a good idea for clumpy doses. However, good/proper dosing technique will render the WDT unnecessary; but that's on my (pro) equipment.

A good training technique (if you have enough coffee to burn through) is to grind and dose and tamp (as Luca mentioned in the second post in this thread... were you serious?), withOUT any distribution or leveling. It forces you to improve your dosing, as the distribution/leveling isn't available to help you fix your dosing flaws. Dosing should (ideally) be perfected. Distribution and leveling shouldn't be relied upon forever as a "fix" for poor dosing. They should be the final "polish" of the technique, indeed to help maintain consistency and quality, but the key word is "maintain." It helps maintain the integrity of your dose. It can't really create a good puck. It's like using too much body-filler/bondo on a car body: body-filler is for small holes or dings, not for creating the shape of the car body.

Work on your dosing... that's the single most effective technique to improve espresso quality (again: in my opinion).

All that said, having spent a little time on home equipment, some grinders are simply clumpy, especially the earlier-in-this-thread doserless versions. WDT can help.

I'm a furious doser. I rock that thing hard and fast. I'm trying to keep it under control as I prepare to compete at the US Barista Championship, to keep from being so messy. That said, it's been of growing interest to me that though we baristas use the grinder-dosers in ways that they were never designed to, the best overall design (for in-basket grind quality and distribution) that's emerged so far is still the grinder-doser.
Nick
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Marshall
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#72: Post by Marshall »

Nick wrote:Work on your dosing... that's the single most effective technique to improve espresso quality (again: in my opinion)
Anyone considering a doserless grinder should watch the WDT ritual and decide whether the "convenience" of a doserless or avoidance of a gram of the previous shot's grind is worth it. I think the innovation of the doserless espresso grinder is a great example of "beware what you ask for, you might get it."
Marshall
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Rainman
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#73: Post by Rainman »

good point, Marshall- but maybe the best in doserless technology may still be waiting out there somewhere. I just don't think they've created it because the demand hasn't created the right atmosphere of economic interest for grinder manufacturers to make something better for the home user. In the end it's probably no big deal to vacuum old grinds out of the doser (I do this daily w/ my Kony- and it only takes a few seconds using a $30 shop-vac. I just can't help thinking that all the crazy efficiency-minded stuff this machine came bundled with (eg. auto shut-off when the doser fills [yeah, right], and auto turn-on when it senses the doser is nearing empty [huh?] when I only grind for me and my wife 99% of the time). It's understandable- supply vs. demand, all I can hope for is that enough folks like me demand it and it'll be developed, marketed, and eventually the price will be reasonable for many home users and the WDT will be a thing of the past. I can still dream, right? Problem is: I'll probably die long before the Kony does!

It's still one of the best hobbies (if not safest, compared to bike racing) you can have.

Ray
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MarkG
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#74: Post by MarkG »

I have recently joined Home-Barista forum but have been reading it regularly. The topic of this discussion intersects with the one on CG where I posted my discovery of the new Weiss distribution device.

https://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espre ... 503#292503.

I will be glad if some one else find it helpful.

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RapidCoffee
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#75: Post by RapidCoffee »

Marshall wrote:Anyone considering a doserless grinder should watch the WDT ritual and decide whether the "convenience" of a doserless or avoidance of a gram of the previous shot's grind is worth it. I think the innovation of the doserless espresso grinder is a great example of "beware what you ask for, you might get it."
Marshall, you've been in the biz a lot longer than I have, and I have a great deal of respect for your opinions on all things coffee. But if this post means what I think it means, then I beg to differ. Doserless grinders make perfect sense for the home barista, and some of the most highly regarded espresso grinders for home use are doserless (such as the Mazzer Mini E and the Versalab M3). Furthermore, there is very little "ritual" associated with the WDT, and your comments lead me to wonder whether you've ever given it a try.

In the spirit of Dan's Latte Art Challenge(d) thread, here's a walk-up WDT video from tonight. One take, no editing, no do-overs:

«missing video»
If your dose/distribute/tamp regimen is significantly faster and easier, I'll eat the puck. :twisted:

Here's the resulting pour:

«missing video»
OK, the grind needs to be loosened up a tad. But this is a typical WDT result: a nice even extraction resulting in a very tasty shot.

One day someone will produce a grinder that distributes clump-free grounds evenly into the filter basket every time, is appropriately sized for the home kitchen, and is reasonably affordable. But until that day comes, I believe the WDT is a very useful technique for the home barista.
John

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Marshall
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#76: Post by Marshall »

RapidCoffee wrote: Marshall, you've been in the biz a lot longer than I have, and I have a great deal of respect for your opinions on all things coffee. But if this post means what I think it means, then I beg to differ. Doserless grinders make perfect sense for the home barista, and some of the most highly regarded espresso grinders for home use are doserless (such as the Mazzer Mini E and the Versalab M3). Furthermore, there is very little "ritual" associated with the WDT, and your comments lead me to wonder whether you've ever given it a try.
I'm "in the biz" only as a lawyer, writer (on legal matters) and volunteer. So, don't confuse my being opinionated with being an expert. :D

As a simple matter of time comparison, the doserless/WDT takes at least two or three times as long to dose. My Mazzer is on a timer. So, I know I take 12 seconds to grind and dose and 3 or 4 more to level. I also don't have to remove and replace the basket in the portafilter, another thing that no professional does.

But, my objection to the doserless/WDT goes further than that. It's also esthetic and philosphical. I think it's a symptom of the tendency of hobbyists to obsess over brewing techniques and develop ever more elaborate and unnecessary rituals to perform simple tasks. It turns a simple pleasure into a choreographed ceremony. Plus those yogurt cups look like hell next to a beautiful espressso machine.

Italian baristas get great, consistent results with a flick of the doser and a simple "up motion" on the built-in tamper. My friend, Angelo, at EspressoPartsSource does this all the time, while cackling about the silly rituals that Americans enjoy (he means mine).

Marshall "opinionated, but not an expert"
Marshall
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coffee_monkey
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#77: Post by coffee_monkey »

RapidCoffee wrote: If your dose/distribute/tamp regimen is significantly faster and easier, I'll eat the puck. :twisted:
13 second grind/dose/distribute/tamp:
20 second grind/dose/distribute/tamp:
Ben Chen

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RapidCoffee
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#78: Post by RapidCoffee »

Marshall wrote:As a simple matter of time comparison, the doserless/WDT takes at least two or three times as long to dose. My Mazzer is on a timer. So, I know I take 12 seconds to grind and dose and 3 or 4 more to level.
Looking at the video, you'll see that grinding/dosing takes me about the same amount of time, and so does leveling. The WDT protocol adds perhaps 5 extra seconds, time that is partially regained in reduced cleanup. I don't see the 2-3X time factor that you claim. I'm happy to spend an extra few seconds to ensure an evenly distributed bed of grounds for tamping.
Marshall wrote:I also don't have to remove and replace the basket in the portafilter, another thing that no professional does.
I'm not a professional either, and it doesn't bother me to use different equipment and techniques at home than in a coffee shop. Commercial grinders, with 1kg bean hoppers and large dosers, perform reasonably well in a commercial setting. They are not nearly as well suited for the needs of the home barista. I don't have to dose directly into the filter basket and then slip it into the PF (a step that adds at most a second), I choose to do so. I also choose to use a ridgeless basket, bottomless portafilter, and doserless grinder, items you don't see in most commercial settings. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the WDT.
Marshall wrote:But, my objection to the doserless/WDT goes further than that. It's also esthetic and philosphical.
Ah, now we get to the nitty gritty. It's certainly your privilege to object on aesthetic and philosophical grounds. Personally, I regard this as a technical issue. If something can help me achieve a better pour with a modicum of cost and effort, I'm going to give it a try. If it works, I'm going to use it. You can argue the philosophy of dosers and grinds distribution all you want. I'm much more interested in the results in the cup.
Marshall wrote:So, don't confuse my being opinionated with being an expert. :D
That makes two of us. :D
John

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RapidCoffee
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#79: Post by RapidCoffee »

coffee_monkey wrote:13 second grind/dose/distribute/tamp:

20 second grind/dose/distribute/tamp:
I did not include grind time, which is dependent upon the grinder. There is nothing to prevent you from using your favorite leveling technique (Stockfleth's etc.) with the WDT. The WDT only adds about 5 seconds to your prep time. And once again, I'm not advocating it in commercial settings (as seen in the first two videos).

BTW, I see you have a posted an instructional video on vac pot brewing, in which you advocate stirring the grounds with a whisk. I suppose that's OK though... :roll:
John

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cafeIKE
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#80: Post by cafeIKE »

Marshall wrote:As a simple matter of time comparison, the doserless/WDT takes at least two or three times as long to dose.
Crikey! I'd hate to get one of your bills it that's an example of how you calculate time! Do lawyers get special watches when they pass the bar? :lol:

The reason for going doserless is to avoid the bloody "Thwack"Thwack"Thwack"Thwack" :evil:

After trying the WDT for several months, I abandoned it as it appears to give no improvement. I tried several variations : Concentric circles, small circles, back and forth, inward, outward spiral. :?

My impression is that grinding half a shot into the bin on the first shot of the day and discarding the first couple of seconds of subsequent shots achieves better consistency. A gently side to side shake of the PF, down dose and a gentle tamp yields great consistent espresso. If I bother to use the BPF, the pour starts, tiger stripes and finally lightens evenly across the basket. What more could I want? 8)