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Thread: Is WDT Right for You? Discussion Thread

  1. #1
    Senior Member flashpixx's Avatar
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    Is WDT Right for You? Discussion Thread

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    From Home Barista:

    Although I believe the WDT can improve everyone's espresso pours, some will clearly benefit more than others from this technique. Stirring the grounds only affects dose and distribution, and will not cure problems associated with stale beans, poor grind, incorrect brew temperature, and so on. It is less likely to help those who:

    • work in a high volume coffee establishment, where commercial grinders function well and speed is essential;
    • already have achieved a high degree of skill and consistency in their espresso extractions by developing their own methods to overcome grinder design inadequacies;
    • have a grinder (such as the Versalab M3) that distributes grounds uniformly;
    • have especially forgiving brewing equipment, such as espresso machines with the preinfusing E61 group.

    People who will likely benefit most from the WDT include those who:

    • see obvious clumping and uneven distribution from their grinder;
    • have less forgiving espresso brewing equipment;
    • see uneven espresso extractions from their bottomless portafilters;
    • are starting on their journey into the world of espresso.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashpixx View Post
    Stirring the grounds only affects dose and distribution
    If your stirring is affecting your dose you should probably use less vigorous motions
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  3. #3
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Never used any of the so-called improvements to techniques such as this...
    Never found the need at any time.

    Simple and quick - grind, dose, distribute, tamp, lock-in and pull the shot then stop it at one's preference.
    No need for additional complexity...

    Mal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Never used any of the so-called improvements to techniques such as this...
    Never found the need at any time.

    Simple and quick - grind, dose, distribute, tamp, lock-in and pull the shot then stop it at one's preference.
    No need for additional complexity...

    Mal.

    That's it in a nutshell.

  5. #5
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    There's hardly a high barrier to entry in straightening out a paperclip and chopping up a yoghurt container or a paper cup, so I think people should just try for themselves; there's not much to loose.

    Do you need it? Give yourself a consistency test; see if you can make five or ten shots in a row and end up within a grams and two or three seconds time on each of them. Write it down. If you can pass that test, I don't know if that means that you won't benefit from WDT, but if the test reveals a lack of consistency, then you can probably improve something.

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Yeah, fair enough Luca but I think it would be a lot better for people striking trouble with consistency, to either do a basic barista course from a reputable provider or take on some lessons from a reputable barista who can make time for them.

    Never been in favour of adding additional and mostly redundant steps into what should be for most, a very simple routine to match the process...

    Mal.

  7. #7
    OCD
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    Whatever Floats Your Crema.

    If simplicity is your priority, get rid of your coffee gear and buy a jar of Nescafé. Nothing simple about making a decent cup of coffee. Why would the gurus on this forum be advocating barista courses if it was simple?

    Ps still, can't see any point to making it more complicated than it needs to be.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Well, it is easy...

    Once you have necessary knowledge and skills under your belt and if you live in or near a big city, then there is no excuse not to attend a reputable basic barista course.

    I learnt from a guy (barista) on my way through Cairns when ever I stopped over for a few days on my way to/from somewhere else. He produced some of the best espresso I had ever experienced and we got to know each other through my frequent visits when, after a while during quiet periods (not many of those), he let me loose on the machine and explained everything that was going on. Those lessons stuck and when I eventually had enough green stuff to buy our first real espresso machine/grinder combo, it didn't take long to apply those lessons to our own setup and enjoy some great coffee, from then on.

    Most basic barista courses are not that expensive either and when you consider the significant benefits, it's a wonder these aren't part of every machine/grinder package sold.

    Anyway, end of my little rant...

    Mal.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    And it is pretty simple , if you are capable of basic analytical thinking and have the type of mind that understands the way things work.
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  10. #10
    OCD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Well, it is easy...

    Once you have necessary knowledge and skills under your belt...
    Just like riding a bike, ice skating, swimming, juggling, etc, etc - easy when you know how.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Well, it is easy...

    Once you have necessary knowledge and skills under your belt and if you live in or near a big city, then there is no excuse not to attend a reputable basic barista course.

    I learnt from a guy (barista) on my way through Cairns when ever I stopped over for a few days on my way to/from somewhere else. He produced some of the best espresso I had ever experienced and we got to know each other through my frequent visits when, after a while during quiet periods (not many of those), he let me loose on the machine and explained everything that was going on. Those lessons stuck and when I eventually had enough green stuff to buy our first real espresso machine/grinder combo, it didn't take long to apply those lessons to our own setup and enjoy some great coffee, from then on.

    Most basic barista courses are not that expensive either and when you consider the significant benefits, it's a wonder these aren't part of every machine/grinder package sold.

    Anyway, end of my little rant...

    Mal.
    Do have some sympathy for those who live the country, 4hrs from a big city. 8hr return drive or the expense of a nights accommodation.

    CS is a great help and yes barista courses give you a huge leap forward. Would never go back to the rat race of Melbourne but it would be nice to have the choice of good baristas and the occasional helpful hint. There might be some benefit of living in the city???

    No give me space and tranquillity!
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  12. #12
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Haha...

    No going back to the city for us either.

    Mal.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post

    No going back to the city for us either.

    Mal.
    Amen to that.

  14. #14
    Senior Member flashpixx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meggs8 View Post
    Do have some sympathy for those who live the country, 4hrs from a big city. 8hr return drive or the expense of a nights accommodation.
    TAFE offer barista training courses.

    Off Topic. Grew up in Bairnsdale / Nicholson. Spent waay too much time at the hotel in the late '70's. Was the only place that attracted anything like a band worth watching. Remember the ferry across to Raymond Island (still going?), mosquitoes that you saddle and ride,
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meggs8 View Post
    Do have some sympathy for those who live the country, 4hrs from a big city. 8hr return drive or the expense of a nights accommodation.
    Not trying to engage in a pi**ing contest, but, I bought my first espresso Machine whilst living in Andamooka SA, 700 km from the nearest barista.

    Learning involved a bit of trial and error, not a big deal though.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashpixx View Post
    TAFE offer barista training courses.

    Off Topic. Grew up in Bairnsdale / Nicholson. Spent waay too much time at the hotel in the late '70's. Was the only place that attracted anything like a band worth watching. Remember the ferry across to Raymond Island (still going?), mosquitoes that you saddle and ride,
    Yes off topic - apologies.

    Mozzies are still as bad and sandflies have joined the marauders but after traveling around Australia and looking for spots to escape to from Melbourne, I think Paynesville is the best place in Australia. Gippsland lakes are incredible, climate is wonderful and there are one two good eateries. What more could you ask for? More / bettercoffee spots. But yes Yelta, trial and error, the web and CS does get you a long way.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member woodhouse's Avatar
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    we’ve all forgotten about books in the age of the internet.

    IMG_9111.jpg
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  18. #18
    OCD
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    Quote Originally Posted by flashpixx View Post
    mosquitoes that you saddle and ride,
    In Ballarat we've got tiny little ones (all the better to sneak up on you) but the lumps they leave are just as big and just as itchy.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodhouse View Post
    we’ve all forgotten about books in the age of the internet.

    IMG_9111.jpg
    Yes great book. Just finished reading it. So much good info in a small book.

    The Professional Barrista's Handbook. Scott Rao
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  20. #20
    Senior Member flashpixx's Avatar
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    +1 great read, and regular references

    8970F4B3-8077-4E61-8EBC-50E618AC5ABD.jpg
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  21. #21
    Member LauriG's Avatar
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    I am a little stirred from the WDT shaming by some baristas here ;-)

    Jeez, alright then! God damnit.... I admit using WDT (opened paperclip) to get a good top-to-bottom distribution in my 22g VST basket. I only use a naked PF and the WDT has made a huge difference in my extractions, which are now 100% free of any channeling. I never wanted to self-critizise my technique too much but rather resorted to blaming the high humidity in tropics and ... a few other things... Yet, I always feel a weird kind of shame and embarrassment when reaching for the clip.

    So I need to up my game and aim for a paperclipless distribution? I have promptly ordered Scott Rao's book from JetBlack. It was a tad more expensive than the paper clip but hey, we only live once. (I can't wait to quote passages from the book if I ever end up doing a barista course. I'll be the most pedantic pain-in-the-ass student the instructor has ever met.)

    LG (Didn't mean to stir anyone up...)

    P.S. I LOVE complexity and will probably continue to secretly stick my paperclip in for a quick stir when nobody's watching...

  22. #22
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauriG View Post
    I am a little stirred from the WDT shaming by some baristas here ;-)

    Jeez, alright then! God damnit.... I admit using WDT (opened paperclip) to get a good top-to-bottom distribution in my 22g VST basket. I only use a naked PF and the WDT has made a huge difference in my extractions, which are now 100% free of any channeling. I never wanted to self-critizise my technique too much but rather resorted to blaming the high humidity in tropics and ... a few other things... Yet, I always feel a weird kind of shame and embarrassment when reaching for the clip.

    So I need to up my game and aim for a paperclipless distribution? I have promptly ordered Scott Rao's book from JetBlack. It was a tad more expensive than the paper clip but hey, we only live once. (I can't wait to quote passages from the book if I ever end up doing a barista course. I'll be the most pedantic pain-in-the-ass student the instructor has ever met.)

    LG (Didn't mean to stir anyone up...)

    P.S. I LOVE complexity and will probably continue to secretly stick my paperclip in for a quick stir when nobody's watching...
    Do what works for you. For a variety of reasons, I use a toothpick to distribute grinds in the portafilter, then knock down. Works consistently in my set up, might not work for others.
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  23. #23
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    One day soon you will be able to say 'I WDT' in public, openly and without shame.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member flashpixx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Do what works for you. For a variety of reasons, I use a toothpick to distribute grinds in the portafilter, then knock down. Works consistently in my set up, might not work for others.
    Ill see your WDT tool and raise you a spiny thing.
    Im am shameless user of a Pullman Chisel
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  25. #25
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Lots of ways to spend time and money on things that are unnecessary...
    The way of the world.

    Mal.
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  26. #26
    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    I just think there are different ways to go about things. Different methods work for different setups.

    I know that with my Compak K3 I had to use a very different process compared to my Sette. The grounds were just different, distribution was different. Same with my Rocky.

    The naked portafilter showed me pretty accurately what was going on. What distribution methods caused what.

    Don't think it's helpful to make blanket statements. I agree in making it as simple as is humanly possible, and not introducing too many variables to keep track of. I've been guilty of doing far too much, thinking that it'll surely get a good extraction by doing ALL of these successful methods. But it was too much.

    Gaining an understanding of what conditions causes what result is important, and to me is gained through direct experience, trial and error, with your OWN setup and conditions.

    WDT worked amazingly when I had my Rocky, and depending on the coffee/roast, with the Compak. Current grinder it's simply not needed.

    My thought on all this is that: "it depends."
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  27. #27
    OCD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Lots of ways to spend time and money on things that are unnecessary...
    The way of the world.

    Mal.
    Like making coffee.

  28. #28
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Or, enjoying great coffee...
    And absolutely necessary around here.

    Mal.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Lots of ways to spend time and money on things that are unnecessary...
    The way of the world.

    Mal.

    Yeh, well I find that the toothpicks are far more effective than dental floss for this purpose.

    Seriously though, people have different set ups, and the very simplest approach isn't always 'best' (though this may be the case in the overwhelming majority of cases). I have a double-spring lever machine which requires a finer grind than either a typical e61 or a single spring lever. For some beans I find that I get a better distribution of grinds if I spend 2 seconds or less distributing with the toothpick before gently tapping down and then tamping. I even use a nutating tamp, which helps fit more coffee in the portafilter. Does all of this take me longer than the simplest approach. Yep, about 2-3 seconds, which I can live with. I use about 3 toothpicks per annum.
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  30. #30
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    I grind into a dosing cup, partly to reduce spillage and partly to reduce clumping/static electricity. It also allows me to get a precise dose by weight.

    This means I need to stir to even things out after dumping the grounds into the basket. The old cheap thermometer I have on hand does the trick... but maybe I’ll upgrade to a toothpick!
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  31. #31
    Senior Member CafeLotta's Avatar
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    Perfect WDT tools?

    WDT tool.jpg WDT tool2.jpg
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 2 Hours Ago at 09:06 AM. Reason: added image 2
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  32. #32
    Member LauriG's Avatar
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    And the WDT

    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    One day soon you will be able to say 'I WDT' in public, openly and without shame.
    Chelsea-Golden-Paperclip-310x480.jpg "And the winner of the WWDT Championship is...."


    (Sorry, I'm trolling a perfectly good topic)

    I suppose different grinders / humidity / roast / bean may present varying amounts of challenge in prepping a perfect puck. At home, where speed is not the most important and where kneeling down to worship the naked PF is, all additional techniques seem like a good way to enjoy the hobby.

    It's not all about what's in the cup. The joy is in the making of it, too!
    Last edited by LauriG; 2 Hours Ago at 08:35 AM. Reason: spelling
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  33. #33
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    Next on my shopping list a "real clump buster"

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    images (1).jpeg

    What helped me with Niche grinder (apart from commercial stirrer above) was level3ninja's suggestion of taping grinds into PF rather than inverting ss cup and dumping. Much fluffier. Then just a gentle shake to even a bit and a tap on the bench to settle.



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