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Thread: Macap M2M - fill hopper with only what you need?

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    Macap M2M - fill hopper with only what you need?

    I've currently been filling my M2M hopper at least half way and then emptying the hopper back into the bag after making coffee - the reason being I felt the M2M had too much "popcorn" effect and thought it would affect the grind quality.

    I'm not so keen in the residual beans that sit in the neck of the grinder.

    Is anyone weighing the beans first and only dispensing say 20g at a time for each shot?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Yes, common practice.

    I weigh beans pour into throat of my grinder and sit my tamper on top to prevent popcorning (it's a perfect fit) I don't use the hopper at all.
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    G'day, it seems the common answer is it depends, a lot say that it's best to fill the hopper as the burrs need a good weight of beans on them (or actually moreso there needs to be weight on top of the beans being pushed through) and it helps with getting a consistent grind, but many do indeed single dose (weigh out just what you need for the shot and grind that) with great success. Some also say that certain grinders are more built for single dosing purposes (Kafetek Monolith etc)

    In my experience I have found that if I switch from hopper dosing to single dosing, the single dose shot runs quite a lot faster and erratically, and definitely acts differently to when i have a full hopper. So whether that means it was inconsistently ground or not who knows, but you can adjust finer accordingly and see how you go. I would experiment and see which suits you better.

    With my Rocky grinder I single dosed for years for some reason believing that was the only way to do it, and got awesome results (also the fact that I couldn't really close and remove the hopper was another reason hehe).

    I currently fill the hopper and decant it back into the bag when I'm done, and for the throat being full of beans issue, I bought a bug vacuum which works great in removing all the beans (except 3 or 4 stubborn beans) out into a canister, no wastage there

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Yes, common practice.

    I weigh beans pour into throat of my grinder and sit my tamper on top to prevent popcorning (it's a perfect fit) I don't use the hopper at all.
    I do the exact same thing - except I use a plastic take away sauce container that also doubles as a vessel to weigh beans into. Don't use the hopper at all as I am single dosing with a measured weight of beans.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post

    I currently fill the hopper and decant it back into the bag when I'm done, and for the throat being full of beans issue, I bought a bug vacuum which works great in removing all the beans (except 3 or 4 stubborn beans) out into a canister, no wastage there
    Sounds like a lot of messing around Simon, filling and emptying hopper after each session is needlessly exposing the beans to air, would certainly not help with retaining freshness.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    I do the exact same thing - except I use a plastic take away sauce container that also doubles as a vessel to weigh beans into. Don't use the hopper at all as I am single dosing with a measured weight of beans.
    Just goes to show, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

  7. #7
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Sounds like a lot of messing around Simon, filling and emptying hopper after each session is needlessly exposing the beans to air, would certainly not help with retaining freshness.
    Yeah it's one of those things ay Yelta, I know many others on this forum that do hopper dosing and say pretty certainly that it hasn't to their palate and extraction-wise affected the freshness of the beans. Some even leave the beans in there for a couple of days (which I don't do) and they can't discern any notable difference. Of course there's been a fair bit of discussion about this around on the forum, and I guess it really just depends huh..

    Hopper dosing is something I was quite resistant to doing for some time, but eventually came round to it as I tried it and saw just how much more consistent it seemed for pours (and this of course may be grinder dependent for sure in terms of single dosing grind consistency). And I haven't detected any real decline in freshness.

    I don't actually fully fill the hopper either, maybe fill 1/4 to a 1/3 just so there's sufficient weight in there, and those beans are usually ground through within a few days anyway. But of course I'm always open to suggestions for sure

  8. #8
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Yeah it's one of those things ay Yelta, I know many others on this forum that do hopper dosing and say pretty certainly that it hasn't to their palate and extraction-wise affected the freshness of the beans. Some even leave the beans in there for a couple of days (which I don't do) and they can't discern any notable difference. Of course there's been a fair bit of discussion about this around on the forum, and I guess it really just depends huh..

    Hopper dosing is something I was quite resistant to doing for some time, but eventually came round to it as I tried it and saw just how much more consistent it seemed for pours (and this of course may be grinder dependent for sure in terms of single dosing grind consistency). And I haven't detected any real decline in freshness.

    I don't actually fully fill the hopper either, maybe fill 1/4 to a 1/3 just so there's sufficient weight in there, and those beans are usually ground through within a few days anyway. But of course I'm always open to suggestions for sure
    Certainly not my experience Simon, I can detect a marked deterioration if roasted beans are left exposed to air for 24 hours, ground coffee deteriorates even more rapidly, after just 15 hours it's undrinkable, I conducted a series of tests some time ago.
    It's a mantra that's worth repeating, store beans in one way valve bags in a cool dark place until you use them.

    I suspect a large percentage of problems related on this forum come down to this issue.
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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Regular and constant 35+ degree C days and no air con = I do not keep beans in a hopper semi-exposed to those elements - they degrade too quickly in hot conditions for me. BTW, I acquired (thank you Mrs) a 1/4 cup Tupperware measuring cup that sits very nicely in the throat of a mazzer mini, when single dose grinding, and holds (roughly) 20g of roasted coffee beans. I weigh beans in, brush and sweep out, and I weigh extraction. Beans are stored on the pantry floor in valve bags.

  10. #10
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Certainly not my experience Simon, I can detect a marked deterioration if roasted beans are left exposed to air for 24 hours, ground coffee deteriorates even more rapidly, after just 15 hours it's undrinkable, I conducted a series of tests some time ago.
    It's a mantra that's worth repeating, store beans in one way valve bags in a cool dark place until you use them.

    I suspect a large percentage of problems related on this forum come down to this issue.
    Fair enough, and that's good to know. But I wouldn't think leaving the beans in the hopper for only a couple of hours before putting back would have a massive deterioration.. (24 hours maybe a different story). Definitely for already ground coffee, but surely not whole beans for a couple of hours before they are decanted back into their one way valve bag.

    I speak moreso from inquisitive curiosity rather than making conclusive statements, am genuinely curious hehe. It just seems that a lot of people say that most grinders are designed to be used for hopper dosing (I don't know enough about grinders to speak on this), so I do this for consistency purposes, but am happy to play around with single dosing with my Compak K3 Touch and see what happens. If others have also noted that leaving beans in the hopper for a couple of hours does indeed affect freshness dramatically then I shall definitely consider switching.

    Ps. Am glad this topic has come back again hehe, would love for some of the other experienced folk to weigh in

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    This thread is great timing, I have recently won a Macap M2M at a local coffee festival this past weekend which I still have to pick up. I had been mentally willing my Smart Grinder Pro to die so that I could upgrade but the pesky thing is going strong, but this has been a better outcome!

    As my preference is to single-dose I'll keep these tricks in mind as I'd rather not have to continuously fill & empty the hopper when I'm making only one or two coffees at a time (which is about 95% of the time).

    I've already had a dig around the forum for other tricks, however does anyone care to offer any pointers?
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    I do the exact same thing - except I use a plastic take away sauce container that also doubles as a vessel to weigh beans into. Don't use the hopper at all as I am single dosing with a measured weight of beans.
    Towards the end of the grind, you're still going to end out with a situation where beans have nothing directly above them. I've tried a similar approach (and it does help), but my M2M is still more consistent if there are beans in the grind chamber throughout the grinding process. My M2M seems to be a bit more picky about this than my other grinders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Towards the end of the grind, you're still going to end out with a situation where beans have nothing directly above them. I've tried a similar approach (and it does help), but my M2M is still more consistent if there are beans in the grind chamber throughout the grinding process. My M2M seems to be a bit more picky about this than my other grinders.
    Agree - it is more of a pain in the ass and the last bean or two will bounce around but eventually will get gobbled up in the process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    In my experience I have found that if I switch from hopper dosing to single dosing, the single dose shot runs quite a lot faster and erratically, and definitely acts differently to when i have a full hopper.
    I noticed that this morning when I tried it - I'll play around with grinding a bit finer to see if it improves.

    I'll also do some checks to see how much it retains (if any) to make sure if I'm weighing out 20g I'm getting 20g in the basket.
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeHack View Post
    This thread is great timing, I have recently won a Macap M2M at a local coffee festival this past weekend which I still have to pick up. I had been mentally willing my Smart Grinder Pro to die so that I could upgrade but the pesky thing is going strong, but this has been a better outcome!

    As my preference is to single-dose I'll keep these tricks in mind as I'd rather not have to continuously fill & empty the hopper when I'm making only one or two coffees at a time (which is about 95% of the time).

    I've already had a dig around the forum for other tricks, however does anyone care to offer any pointers?
    Ah congrats on the win, that's awesome! As for filling and emptying hopper, some mornings I can only fit one coffee in, and honestly doesn't take me long at all, I'll time it next time, but I would say it's maybe 30 seconds all up. Close the gate, decant into bag, bug vacuum the rest and tip canister into bag, fairly quick.

    But up to you of course, experiment with single dosing, when I did it I added a couple of grams extra first to purge through to get rid of any old grinds then put my proper amount in. If anything single dosing can be more time consuming depending on how you go about it (purge through little extra, sweep out, vacuum, grind up dose amount, brush excess beans into burrs as you go if they land outside burr area, purge, sweep out, purge etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Agree - it is more of a pain in the ass and the last bean or two will bounce around but eventually will get gobbled up in the process.
    Yeah it's moreso what Barry alluded to, that the weight on top of the beans is pushing the beans through the burrs more consistently, resulting in a much more even consistent grind. But I'm no grinder expert at all so can't really confirm this, it does make sense, but many pros who go through kilos and kilos in a day do attest to this dodgy shot when you get to the last dregs of beans. Really must depend on grinder design perhaps..
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    I had the Macap M4D and never really had an issue with pop corning as such. I do remember that there could be some variation in grind speed due to the hopper level but it wasn't really an issue.

    The Robur my current grinder is the model fitted with an auger about the burrs to mitigate I guess the effect of hopper level and maybe to prevent this pop corning. I just fill it to the bottom of the hopper more or less and it isn't a problem. I think possibly flat burr grinders as they operate at a higher RPM are more prone to this effect of trying to eject the beans when the hopper level is low. On the Robur the movement of the beans, regardless of the level is in one direction, down. It tends to suck the beans down and it may be due to this auger and the low RPM of 500 RPM that the grinder operates at.
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    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I had the Macap M4D and never really had an issue with pop corning as such. I do remember that there could be some variation in grind speed due to the hopper level but it wasn't really an issue.
    .
    I have an M4D and an M2M. For whatever reason, grind inconsistency caused by a near empty chamber is much more noticeable on the M2M. Maybe something to do with the smaller burrs on the M2M

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I have an M4D and an M2M. For whatever reason, grind inconsistency caused by a near empty chamber is much more noticeable on the M2M.
    Testing over the weekend showed the same thing.

    working hard to keep dose and tamp consistent, back-to-back shots did not pour consistently. It was only once I filled the hopper up again that I started to get back to consistent shots.

    I'll have to play around with it a bit more.

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    Bizzare.

    Did you weigh the beans before and grounds after to make sure you were getting all of it out? - this should have been too much of a problem if you did multiple shots at once.

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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbun View Post
    Testing over the weekend showed the same thing.

    working hard to keep dose and tamp consistent, back-to-back shots did not pour consistently. It was only once I filled the hopper up again that I started to get back to consistent shots.

    I'll have to play around with it a bit more.
    Yeah sounds pretty standard and that's my experience too.. some say grinders in general are just not designed for single dosing, and need a weight of beans. But some people have found that certain grinders seem suited to single dosing or find it works better for, but also that's why there a few designed specifically for that purpose. If you really would prefer to single dose I would even try going finer (that's assuming the pours are too fast..?), and make sure to keep each variable fixed (same dose, distribution method, tamp), and see if you can get consistent pours at a decent flow rate.

    But there's nothing wrong with hopper dosing, and you can manage waste and it's easy to implement practices that keep it to a minimum. I was the sort of person a while ago that was meticulous about saving every single gram I could.. but now I am just much more cruisy about it, and think life's too short to believe in scarcity, what I'm lacking and what I need to 'save'. (still a work in progress hehe). Not a healthy mindset really, and can leave one in a constant state of 'not-enough'ness hehe.

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    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    I single dose into a Mazzer Mini e. 20gms goes into the throat and 20gms are swept out, from the throat, from the funnel and the chute, either direct into the portafilter or into a conatiner - totally bean dependent. I single dose for freshness and wastage reasons.

    Whilst not having the weight of a full hopper of beans can cause excess fines with some bean types/roast levels, which leads to pour consistency problems, generally the issues caused by the extra fines can easily be overcome as long as they can be reasonably evenly dsitributed.

    When experiencing the excess fines that can be caused by single dosing by some roasts, into a machine that is not designed for such functions, I use WDT to distribute all the tiny particles evenly (AFAHP) amongst their bigger buddies, hopefully ensuring an even flow of water through the puck. From what I have read it is not the fines that cause the consistency problems but their distribution or lack of it - bring on the Niche - which hopefully ends the pour inconsistency problems caused by poor distribution of coffee fines resulting from single dosing on non-single dosing designed machines.

    Even distribution of particle sizes appears to be the key.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatEverBeansNecessary View Post
    Did you weigh the beans before and grounds after to make sure you were getting all of it out? - this should have been too much of a problem if you did multiple shots at once.
    I was getting almost the same amount out.
    E.g. if I put 20.5g in I was getting 20.3g out - the main thing I was shooting for was the same amount in the basket, so even if the amount going in was slightly more, I would make sure I removed some to get the same 20g in the basket.

    Do you have a M2M too? Is it working fine for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    If you really would prefer to single dose I would even try going finer (that's assuming the pours are too fast..?), and make sure to keep each variable fixed (same dose, distribution method, tamp), and see if you can get consistent pours at a decent flow rate.
    I'm going to play around with it more - already I'm a couple of clicks finer than what I had before, but I might need to go finer again - the same setting with the hopper filled will choke the machine (too fine!), but with a single dose will pour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Even distribution of particle sizes appears to be the key.
    I will try your suggestions - I've never done WDT, but perhaps dosing into a container first to help distribute and break up clumps before tipping into the PF will help.

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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Whilst not having the weight of a full hopper of beans can cause excess fines with some bean types/roast levels, which leads to pour consistency problems, generally the issues caused by the extra fines can easily be overcome as long as they can be reasonably evenly dsitributed.

    When experiencing the excess fines that can be caused by single dosing by some roasts, into a machine that is not designed for such functions, I use WDT to distribute all the tiny particles evenly (AFAHP) amongst their bigger buddies, hopefully ensuring an even flow of water through the puck. From what I have read it is not the fines that cause the consistency problems but their distribution or lack of it - bring on the Niche - which hopefully ends the pour inconsistency problems caused by poor distribution of coffee fines resulting from single dosing on non-single dosing designed machines.

    Even distribution of particle sizes appears to be the key.
    Ah wow I've never heard that theory before.. that's fascinating.. I may have to give that a go.. so it's a matter of just redistributing the fines evenly throughout the puck so they're not all clumped together at the top or a specific location..

  26. #26
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Ah wow I've never heard that theory before.. that's fascinating.. I may have to give that a go.. so it's a matter of just redistributing the fines evenly throughout the puck so they're not all clumped together at the top or a specific location..
    I don't doubt the theory (it makes sense), but with an M2M you are simply better off loading more beans than you need. Distributing fines helps, but you get a different amount of them each time if you try single dosing the M2M, and this affects consistency. If desperate, the grinder is small enough to comfortably tip upside down and recover the unused beans at the end of the session.
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    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Whilst not having the weight of a full hopper of beans can cause excess fines with some bean types/roast levels, which leads to pour consistency problems, generally the issues caused by the extra fines can easily be overcome as long as they can be reasonably evenly distributed.
    When experiencing the excess fines that can be caused by single dosing by some roasts, into a machine that is not designed for such functions, I use WDT to distribute all the tiny particles evenly (AFAHP) amongst their bigger buddies, hopefully ensuring an even flow of water through the puck. From what I have read it is not the fines that cause the consistency problems but their distribution or lack of it - bring on the Niche - which hopefully ends the pour inconsistency problems caused by poor distribution of coffee fines resulting from single dosing on non-single dosing designed machines.
    I certainly think this is true.

    I single dose the Robur, and firstly I have to substantially fine-up the grind to get a good pour (think mark 7 down to 4.5 on the main crown wheel - where when fully loaded 7 to 9 is espresso to plunger!). I've also found that giving the grounds a good swizzle in the portafilter with a multi-prong skewer-like device helps to get good flow - so perhaps this fines distribution is to blame. Same kind of thing used to be required in single dosing the M4 …

    There is also a visually noticable shift in grind fluffiness and consistency that I only see when going back to a full hopper. Having said that – to reach that point on the big conical takes about 200g of coffee through before it settles down to work - so not and everyday process!!

    There is some change in flavour with single dosing but it is subtle. But I've learned to leave with it – because you certainly can't turn over a Robur and shake the beans out!
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  28. #28
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    Barista Hustle also (jovially) warns that smaller particles will have a tendency to over extract whilst the larger sizes may or may not under extract (it's all so flippin dependent on countless variables), which could be good or bad - it comes down to the results in the cup - as always. Yes I have had roasts that taste excessively ashy and I have put that down to that particular bean/roast suffering over extraction of fines when single dosing. To test I then put the hopper on and fill up with the suspect and grind out the usual 20g - after dialling in, the result is, usually, no need to WDT and the ashyness is reduced substantially. It rarely happens - and always when I try a new bean or roast profile and I am fine tuning - pun intended.
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  29. #29
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noonar View Post
    Barista Hustle also (jovially) warns that smaller particles will have a tendency to over extract whilst the larger sizes may or may not under extract (it's all so flippin dependent on countless variables), which could be good or bad - it comes down to the results in the cup - as always. Yes I have had roasts that taste excessively ashy and I have put that down to that particular bean/roast suffering over extraction of fines when single dosing. To test I then put the hopper on and fill up with the suspect and grind out the usual 20g - after dialling in, the result is, usually, no need to WDT and the ashyness is reduced substantially. It rarely happens - and always when I try a new bean or roast profile and I am fine tuning - pun intended.
    Ah well said. Results in the cup is really always the hallmark to go by, honestly if we counted all the different variables and then try to control every single one of them, you'd be in a lot of pain haha.. There are an infinite number of variables, even assuming that a grinder has the ability to grind and produce particles that are exaaaactly the same size as each other is not possible.

    But even when I'm grinding for filter brews, I always single dose that (wouldn't make sense to fill a hopper for that), and I'm sure even filter brews need pretty even particle sizes just like espresso (perhaps not as crucial though?). But what you said about distributing fines has now got me in the practice of giving the grounds for filter a good stir before brewing. I'm assuming that's why many competitors sift the grounds in competition, but I just made a delightful V60 without needing to sift, just gave the grounds a good stir to try distribute them around evenly, even though I'm sure the fines would overextract and the others may underextract, who knows!

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
    I've also found that giving the grounds a good swizzle in the portafilter with a multi-prong skewer-like device helps to get good flow - so perhaps this fines distribution is to blame. Same kind of thing used to be required in single dosing the M4
    Never found it necessary to do this with any grinder I've owned...
    Perhaps due to the so-called 'Nutating Tamp' that I've always used, decent distribution is taken care of.

    Never been a fan of introducing extra steps into the espresso equation though and have never found it necessary to deviate from what 'just works'...

    Mal.
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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Never found it necessary to do this with any grinder I've owned...
    Perhaps due to the so-called 'Nutating Tamp' that I've always used, decent distribution is taken care of.

    Never been a fan of introducing extra steps into the espresso equation though and have never found it necessary to deviate from what 'just works'...

    Mal.
    Same here; an extra step is just another opportunity for human error and inconsistency - and the need for one is generally indicative of an issue elsewhere ime.

    I use a grind on demand grinder and simply keep the level of beans in the hopper as low as possible to still prevent popcorning and inconsistent grind times. The throat on the ECM V-Titan is very narrow, which helps avoid any issues with stale beans.
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    Same here in terms of keeping it simple. I don’t want to turn a simple espresso making exercise into some sort of complex alchemy.

    One thing I do think is important though is to make sure that the basket is dry but aside from that I time the Robur by estimation and almost always get it bang on. I aim simply to get the basket filled level with the top by smoothing over with my finger then just give it a good firm tamp. No Freemason type manoeuvres with the tamper.

    I get consistent results.
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