Why WDT this?

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

One of the strong points of my Niche Zero is the nice, evenly-distributed grounds. Even with no RDT (i.e., no water spray) I get a nice, even pile like this. Is there any benefit to using WDT (i.e., stirring the grounds)?


NicoNYC

#2: Post by NicoNYC »

Do you mind my asking, are you grinding into the catch cup or straight into your portafilter? I like the grinds I get from my Niche, but only 1 time out of 10 are the grinds centered like yours after flipping the cup into my portafilter, usually they're slumped up one side.

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cannonfodder
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#3: Post by cannonfodder »

Pull a shot. If you have no extraction issues, you have no reason to mess with it. I get a nice fluffy bed from my grinder. A simple jiggle of the portfilter to level it and tamp is all I do.

Dave Stephens

Pressino

#4: Post by Pressino »

IMO it can't hurt, and even if the pile of coffee looks nice and fluffy, there can still be some degree of clumping. I just go ahead and use a straightened paper clip to stir the grinds after I dump them in the portafilter (with a dosing funnel attached to prevent spill over). Then I just rap the portfilter on a tamping board, remove the funnel, and level and tamp the coffee. Easy to get the routine down and works for me every time. So why not? :)

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cafeIKE
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#5: Post by cafeIKE »

Pressino wrote:So why not?
Dragging a paperclip through the grounds is going to create a bunch of furrows.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

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Jake_G
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#6: Post by Jake_G »

Yeah, I've been happily not using WDT for about 3 weeks now.

While a well-designed WDT will likely do more good than harm, paperclips aren't exactly great if you've got a good distribution straight from the grinder.

My old grinder (super jolly with a doser) would pull sideways shots (left side gusher, right side no flow), but not so now. I keep WDT in my back pocket as a tool to fix things that are broke. In this case, I am enjoying my stay in Ian's camp.

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PIXIllate
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#7: Post by PIXIllate »

Is the bottom of the basket filling in simultaneously or at least within 1 second? If not then there is uneven extraction happening.

How far you're willing to go to improve the evenness of extractions is up to you and your grinder. The conical Niche is going to be a lot more forgiving than a large, highly aligned flat burr grinder.

I know that the Levercraft WDT tool is not optional for me and my Monolith if my goal is to have the bottom of the basket fill in all at once. Especially when using VST baskets. All of these things are difficulty multipliers. Every time I try to make life easier and switch to an E&B or EPHQ basket which might give me the opportunity to be less meticulous in my puck prep it turns out I can taste the difference and the shots aren't as flavorful or complex.

Once you get the muscle memory down for a very involved puck prep routine it's not very time consuming, it just happens mindlessly. But it does take a lot of practice with some equipment and can be quite frustrating until you get the hang of it. I think this is one of the big reasons the Niche is so popular, it's not demanding and delevers reliable high(ish) quality grounds.

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iploya (original poster)
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#8: Post by iploya (original poster) »

Thanks for the above replies.
NicoNYC wrote:Do you mind my asking, are you grinding into the catch cup or straight into your portafilter? I like the grinds I get from my Niche, but only 1 time out of 10 are the grinds centered like yours after flipping the cup into my portafilter, usually they're slumped up one side.
Easiest to answer with a photo. I don't own a Decent brand machine but these couple of accessories work well for me.


michang5

#9: Post by michang5 »

I've found that grounds from the Niche do not need much WDT. If you wanted to run a few tests...
  • pull 5 shots and don't do anything but tamp
  • pull 5 shots and do a quick puck rake (search "Decent puck rake" on YouTube) to level the bed
  • pull 5 shots and do a quick 5-7 second WDT and puck rake
I do Option 3 with my Niche because my portafilter collar/funnel has a interior lip that creates a small moat in the grounds. Your Decent funnel has a magnet IIRC.

Pressino

#10: Post by Pressino »

cafeIKE wrote:Dragging a paperclip through the grounds is going to create a bunch of furrows.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Actually I don't just drag it through the grounds...I stir it around rather vigorously, which is why I leave the funnel on the portafilter to prevent grounds from flying out. The extraction is visibly improved, which I take to mean channeling is reduced by this procedure.

And the good news is it only cost me the price of a paperclip (smallest diameter I could find), a fraction of a cent.

So with all due respect to contrary opinions I still say (to others) try it and you may like it...and if you don't, you're only out 0.5 cents rather than up to $50 or more for stuff marketed as "WDT" tools. :lol: