[Homeroast] Technique

Allon Stern allon at radioactive.org
Thu May 20 09:30:48 CDT 2010

So, following on some earlier threads on tamping technique, I realized that I was dosing, levelling, then knocking the tamper against the side of the PF as a final settling move.

Bad move.

I took that out of my routine;

Now, my routine is:
put 2 and a smidge tablespoons of coffee into the throat of the RR45 grinder
put tamper upside down in the throat (it keeps the beans from flying out at the end, and doesn't contact the spinning parts)
remove tamper, carefully brush bean bits off of the lip around the burrs, with the grinder running (using a pastry brush)
turn off grinder
open doser lid
sweep grounds out of the exit chute
turn grinder on and off to get a bit more out
sweep out a bit more
turn grinder on and off to get a bit more out
remove PF from hot group head
wipe condensation out of PF
dose out about 4 or so pulls on the lever, PF is 1/2 to mostly full
bang PF on the table a couple of times
dose out remaining coffee
using the flat edge of the handle of a plastic knife, I level off the PF. Usually a tiny amount of grinds get leveled off into the trash.
align the tamper over the grounds, make a few motions to clear the edges of the PF of grinds, then TAMP! I use my right hand; a straight-elbow, wrist at 90 degrees, hand rotated to point left, all the way, then as pressure is applied, the hand is rotated about 120 degrees to point ahead and to the right.
brush any remaining loose grinds off the PF rim
pre-heat the cup using the steam wand; this also gooses the shot temperature (thermoblock machine)
1.5 oz in about 25 seconds

I've noticed that since I dropped the knocking, I've had perfect pucks; no channeling.

Just had a shot of 1/2 Waw (the final bits) and 1/2 black cat. Went a little fast (I chalk that up to mixing the two beans - individually, I've done very nice ristrettos) to about 2 oz in 25 seconds. Still, very smooth and balanced.


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