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Coffee distribution tools. Are they worth it?

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  • Coffee distribution tools. Are they worth it?

    Hey people.
    These tools are getting popular and I now see them in barista comps on You Tube. I’m haven’t tried one yet and would like to find out what you people think about them before grabbing one.
    So, thoughts ???
    Amazing invention or an expensive unnecessarily gadget??
    Cheers
    Grillsy

  • #2
    they don't seem to be more effective than traditional distribution techniques (e.g. palm-tapping). there are some cheapies on ebay for around the 20-30$ mark, which is a much more reasonable price than north of $200.

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    • #3
      There is a test that’s been done on these tools, controlled with palm tapping and distributing. I don’t have a link but it’s out there on the inter-webs. Test didn’t show a significant advantage using the tools.

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      • #4
        G'day Grillsy!

        Yeah I'm a big fan, I have a cheapy from e-to-the-bay, and it works really well. Still experimenting, but it produces a really flat surface to tamp on, and distributes the coffee nicely.

        It obviously doesn't distribute coffee all the way through the puck (just maybe the top 1/2-1/3?), that's why if using one, I highly recommend making sure the coffee falls evenly into the basket while you dose. The distributor then puts the 'icing on the cake' I reckon.

        They're not necessary, as you can still distribute without them, but I think they're a nice, simple, repeatable tool and advancement. And I think many competitors are realising the value of them as the one thing you want in a comp, with all that pressure and timing, is consistency. And to try to keep a variable really controlled so you can focus on the important aspects.

        Lots of good info in these threads too:

        https://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-c...ion-tools.html

        http://coffeesnobs.com.au/showthread.php?t=42916

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Grillsy View Post
          So, thoughts ???
          Amazing invention or an expensive unnecessarily gadget??
          Cheers
          Grillsy
          Expensive unnecessary gadget! just another level of complexity added to what is basically a quick and simple operation.

          Seems a good percentage that are purchased find their way into the bottom drawer or are sold second hand not long after purchase, spend your money on what makes the biggest difference in the cup, fresh, good quality coffee beans.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the info. I’m still on the fence and waiting for a tool with electric spinning distributor pins or something like that. Seriously though I think for around $50 I will try one from the bay.
            Night all.

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            • #7
              Only Sith deal in absolutes

              I have an OCD V1 which has firmly established itself in my daily routine. Could I get the same results without it? Possibly. Distribution is an egg we're yet to crack fully - lots of different options, of which spinning tools are but one. They're certainly not a necessity for your typical domestic environment.

              Whether they're worth the money to you is a subjective judgement call that depends on your individual circumstances, requirements, work flow, disposable income...

              If you're in Melbourne I have a cheapie bootleg OCD clone I can give you for a tenner (it's a bit too hefty to make postage worthwhile unfortunately).

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              • #8
                I accidentally ordered a cheapie distributor instead of a flat tamper and found it made no difference on my home machine. Because I’m cheap, I now use it at work for both distributing and tamping all at once. It does the job, the VST basket doesn’t spray everywhere using a naked portafilter, and everyone at work can make a good coffee. This method is no doubt incorrect and sacreligious to the holy coffee grinds... and I can live with that!

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                • #9
                  Back when I had a Breville Smart Grinder I bought a fleabay one. It didn't make the best any better, but did significantly lift the worst shots to be closer to the best, improved consistency. Once I got my Eureka Atom it didn't make a lick of difference. In fact I think it made the best shots slightly worse. I was interested in getting a less cheap one (like OCD 2 or something) but then when I visited the ONA cafe in Canberra not only did they not use them, they didn't even sell them. Now I just use a couple of light palm taps and then tamp.

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                  • #10
                    OK here’s my experience so far.
                    First the tool flattens first and that helps with a flat tamp and it also pushes the grind around to the edges.
                    With a double basket I can’t see much difference and need more time to test it out. The best surprise is that when I tried it with a single basket I got a big improvement so now after a long time not using the single because of bad extractions now I’m using a single basket again.
                    Spent $60 and worth every cent!
                    GR

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                    • #11
                      I am not seeing much difference with a bottomless portafilter. If anything I seem to have gone backwards with loads more splutter than the old tamp-only method. Maybe something else is to blame (grinder, bean etc).

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Grillsy View Post
                        OK here’s my experience so far.
                        First the tool flattens first and that helps with a flat tamp and it also pushes the grind around to the edges.
                        With a double basket I can’t see much difference and need more time to test it out. The best surprise is that when I tried it with a single basket I got a big improvement so now after a long time not using the single because of bad extractions now I’m using a single basket again.
                        Spent $60 and worth every cent!
                        GR
                        Using a single basket means there is a lot less margin for error. Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to get as good / better results from a single without using the tool. Then you are well on the way to getting a good result from whatever gear is in front of you, wherever you happen to be.

                        Originally posted by Rockford View Post
                        I am not seeing much difference with a bottomless portafilter. If anything I seem to have gone backwards with loads more splutter than the old tamp-only method. Maybe something else is to blame (grinder, bean etc).
                        If a naked p/f sprays then your technique needs improving (or the grinder's burrs are terminally shot). Try an initial very light "leveling tamp" of the first 2 to 3 mm of coffee fluff.

                        Enjoy your cuppas


                        TampIt

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