Jump to content
Edlockwood

Distribution or tamping or both ?

Recommended Posts

Ive recently upgraded all of my coffee kit but am struggling a bit with uneven extractions on the naked PF. 

The coffee tastes ok but I can see that it is mainly coming out of the sides and that there is a dead spot in the middle which is preventing it from producing a single stream.

Im assuming that I'm not distributing the grounds adequately before tamping but I'm not sure how much I can do on that score. 

My routine is to grind 18g into the niche pot, transfer it into the PF and then tap the side with my palm to create an even bed. Once that is achieved, I use a distribution tool set to the minimum and give it a few spins and then tamp.

Any thoughts on what I should try next ?

Am I tamping too hard ?

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those tools don't really distribute, but give a nice level surface to tamp on. Try three cocktail sticks or paperclips shoved into a cork and give the basket a good stir, That'll distribute the grounds, then use the spinny tool to flatten and then tamp.


Input: 'Terranovered’ Versalab M3 + Mahlkonig EK43 Turkish burrs + Niche

Output: KVdW Speedster + V60 + AeroPress + Syphon + Bialetti Induction Moka Pot + Bialetti Mucka Express + jar of instant for visitors..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tried without the distribution tool? Is your tamper a snug fit for the basket? I use a 58.55mm in a VST.

I can struggle with light roasts and blends having only just started trying them. I've found they expand a lot more than darker roasts and I'm currently dosing 19g into a 22g VST. There are dead spots but it's coming through much more evenly and in a single central stream and a steady flow rate compared to the previous attempts with 17g and 18g in an 18g VST which at their worst would come through in multiple streams and rapidly increase in flow rate. Taste has much improved along with body and mouth feel. 

So I'd tell you to underdose by 2-3g, and if you aren't using a tamper that's a snug fit for the basket then get one that is.

You are stirring the grinds in the catch cup before transferring to the PF aren't you?

You could be tamping too hard/multiple times? Difficult to say since I don't know how hard you're tamping...push down until you go over 5kg on a set of scales and aim to repeat it, if unsure then go a little harder but you shouldn't be straining and consistency isn't really important so long as it's over 5kg.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unlikely tamping too hard is the reason. 

Out of interest what size tamper are you using and what basket, make and size?


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Have you tried without the distribution tool? Is your tamper a snug fit for the basket? I use a 58.55mm in a VST.
I can struggle with light roasts and blends having only just started trying them. I've found they expand a lot more than darker roasts and I'm currently dosing 19g into a 22g VST. There are dead spots but it's coming through much more evenly and in a single central stream and a steady flow rate compared to the previous attempts with 17g and 18g in an 18g VST which at their worst would come through in multiple streams and rapidly increase in flow rate. Taste has much improved along with body and mouth feel. 
So I'd tell you to underdose by 2-3g, and if you aren't using a tamper that's a snug fit for the basket then get one that is.
You are stirring the grinds in the catch cup before transferring to the PF aren't you?
You could be tamping too hard/multiple times? Difficult to say since I don't know how hard you're tamping...push down until you go over 5kg on a set of scales and aim to repeat it, if unsure then go a little harder but you shouldn't be straining and consistency isn't really important so long as it's over 5kg.

Doesn’t VST suggest staying within 1g of the capacity of the basket?

Underdosing might create more issues as you need to grind even finer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Rhys said:

Those tools don't really distribute, but give a nice level surface to tamp on. Try three cocktail sticks or paperclips shoved into a cork and give the basket a good stir, That'll distribute the grounds, then use the spinny tool to flatten and then tamp.

This would be the first thing I suggest you add to your routine @Edlockwood 

You could also even use a single chopstick or anything else you wish to give the grinds a nice even stir. 


LR, Niche & a steady stream of beans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.

Ive got an 18g VST so that is worth playing around with dosewise. Im currently dosing 18g

The tamper is a Motta 58.4 so that could also be an issue. It doesn't fit terribly well

I don't stir the grinds in the cup, I just give it a good rap on the counter to break any clumps that might be there. Sounds like I should be doing that from your post Rob ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently use a 58mm tamper and although not ideal you can still get decent naked extractions with it. 

Your 58.4 should be fine. Don't pull the tamper out too quickly after tamping.

As always a clip of prep might help 


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve made significant headway on similar issues lately, reducing the pressure of the boiler was the most significant step, but not sure if you can do that. The other thing that seems to work is, now, I grind into a small Tupperware, stick a lid on and give it a shake, that seems to ensure it’s all pretty even when I decant it into the basket (VST, that’s made a difference too) One thing which has also improved distribution is the purchase of a rubber tamping mat, now when the basket is in the portafilter, and I tap it in the mat, it settles well to a reasonably flat surface ready for tamping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PPapa said:


Doesn’t VST suggest staying within 1g of the capacity of the basket?

Underdosing might create more issues as you need to grind even finer.

They do, not that it makes a difference what they recommend since they don't know what coffee you're putting in and how much it's expanding when the water hits it. The idea being to stop the puck expanding into the shower screen and being disturbed as it rises up around it letting water around the sides (at least that's what seemed to be happening to me). You won't need to grind significantly finer if you do at all since channelling will make the shot run faster.

@Edlockwood - yes stirring prior to putting in the portafilter is recommended. The WDT (stirring in the portafilter) should help get a good extraction too as others above have recommended you do.  You could also be doing other things to disturb the puck like bashing the portafilter into the group or on the counter after tamping so a video of your prep might be helpful.


Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions.

I kept the same dose but stirred the grinds with a large paper clip in the pot and then again in the PF. I tapped all sides until it was level and then tamped. No "distribution" spin.

The result was a uniform extraction and a single stream after a few seconds of pouring. Easy game really

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 19/05/2019 at 18:35, Rob1 said:

 You won't need to grind significantly finer if you do at all since channelling will make the shot run faster.

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean. 

You will need to grind finer to achieve the same yield ratio with same extraction time if you underdose the basket. At least that's my experience with both IMS and VST baskets on EK43s. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 20/05/2019 at 19:29, PPapa said:

Sorry, I don't understand what you mean. 

You will need to grind finer to achieve the same yield ratio with same extraction time if you underdose the basket. At least that's my experience with both IMS and VST baskets on EK43s. 

If you underdose to stop channelling you'll find times to achieve the same target yield ratio are much the same with a shot that doesn't channel with a lower dose compared one that does channel with a higher dose.

i.e:

18g in 18g VST: Multiple streams, dead spots, spritzing. Rapidly increasing flow rate. 36g in 30ish seconds.

15g in 18g VST: One stream, no/massively reduced dead spots, no spritzing. Steadily and slowly increasing flow rate. 30g in 30ish seconds. 

If you get the same yield a few seconds quicker without channelling it's a step forward (assuming it tastes better). You shouldn't have to adjust the grind too much to hit the same time if you have to change it at all assuming you drop the dose to solve a huge channelling problem....but why would you even be aiming for a time when the previous shots have been bad? You just dial in when you find the dose that fits in the basket without pressing into the shower screen. Turns out the OP's problem was caused by not stirring in the cup and/or not distributing properly in the portafilter anyway.

Edited by Rob1

Expobar DB Office Leva IV, La Pavoni Professional -- FOR SALE: MBK HEFT, Torr Goldfinger Titan Convex & 58.55 Flat -- Ceado E8, Lido E, Pharos VDD -- 2 and 5 cup Syphons; Vintage Nicro Metal Filter -- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, it makes sense now@Rob1 - I misread your post. Cheers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I now tap and stir in the portafilter, then use a distribution tool, then tamp.

I have not long got a machine with bottomless and so far I haven't had any spurt out sideways, every drop of coffee has gone straight down into the cup, then it joins together like I have seen in videos.

Does it sound like I'm doing well? I will have to try to capture a video at some point.


Niche Zero, Lelit Bianca, Claris Ultra filter, Torr Tamper, BT Wedge distribution tool, Felicita ARC scales, MildredM towels. Fully converted by Coffee Forums UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About:

    Coffee Forums UK is the UK's premier coffee forum Started in June 2008 by Glenn Watson, we now have more than 22000 mainly UK based members, and welcome more than 3000 members and visitors from around the world each day! With strategic investment and digital expertise from the Jackson Lockhart team (Tait Pollack and Adam Bateman), we are taking Coffee Forums UK to the next level, and are delighted to share the journey with you.

    New Members:

    We are often referred to as the friendliest forum on the web and we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

    Terms of Use

    Advertising

    Coffee Forums Media Kit

    Buy Advertising Space

    Donate

    Get Your Supporter Badge (per year)

×
×
  • Create New...