Noticed this puck on a couple of shots (not regularly, but it has occurred a couple of times in my morning espresso over the past week).
What’s going on? *#!!
To be fair, I do briefly hit the flush bottons (top 2 bottons at the same time) to release the puck after the shot, as I find that my puck sticks to the IMS shower screen if I don’t. I have recently been using a 15g IMF Precision basket, which I dose to 13.5 grams, so I think that there is enough headroom; I haven’t yet but will try the nickel test.
Fyi I tamp with full pressure (using an EasyTamp), their thicker tamp base and the spring that allows 25 or so pounds pressure (can’t recall exactly). But the EasyTamp ensures a level tamp.
Which leads me to a related topic. I distribute using using a WDT tool with 10 needles of 0.35 mm thickness. I first wet my beans with a very light, fine spray of water (RDT), then grind, then WDT and tamp. My WDT is careful (not overly aggressive) and I groom the surface with that tool, to improve levelness before tamping. And to further ensure dose evenness, when I grind into my basket, I move the basket around to ensure even distribution; I do not mound the grounds. I have a low height dosing funnel that is abit wider than the basket that keeps the grounds from spilling everywhere while I move the basket around under the grinder. I then remove that funnel and replace it with a magnet dosing collar, whose inner sides exactly match the inner sides of the basket. This collar does not at all intrude into the basket. It just extends the height of the basket, which allows for less messy WDT.
I do not rotate the tamper before tamping. I do not nutate the tamper. I do not use a distribution wedge. I just RDT, grind, WDT, groom and tamp. Does this sound right? What do you do?
This being said, I did see a barista world championships competitor demonstrating a new WDT device that rotates the WDT needles. He then used a rotating distribution wedge / leveler to smooth and level the top level of grind (I don’t know how deep the leveling tool is set).
Question: Is my WDT approach sufficient or should I level the puck in some way? If I should level, then how?
Some folks also tap the portafilter down onto the bench once. I don’t, as I think (maybe wrongly) that this introduces a very inexact grounds compression variable. Should I do this? Do you? Why or why not?
What is your latest/best distribution approach?
Btw, I did complete a search for threads on this topic, and didn’t see one that addresses my above questions. So my apologies if I am raising some espresso 101 questions. But those couple of weird shots shown in the photos … and … watching the world championships competitor in recent action (I will try to find a link to that video) intrigued me and led me to make this basic post.