I am thinking about how to establish more consistency in my espresso dosing. I confident at this point that I am pretty good at maintaining a consistent 20-21 grams of espresso in a double basket, but I love thinking about the method of levelling/distributing/dragging/dosing. I have read about and seen the methods coined as Stockfleth, Shyndel, and Schomer. I am now wondering how all of you do your thing. Myself, I use a kind of three point Stockfleth/Schomer hybrid ... pushing and rolling the coffee around the edges creating a center pile that I push back into the grinder. But how do YOU do it?

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Corey Waldron said:
...That said, here at the Jet Steam Lab we have adopted the collapse and sweep technique utilized (and perhaps pioneered) by Scottie Callaghan ( http://www.scottiecallaghan.com ).

So they call that technique the "collapse and sweep", eh? Nice. Think I prefer the name "thump and dish", but that's just mel...

It is great to see some backup for this technique. With our machine its really the only practical way I've found to get the right amount in the basket. Nice to know that some do it for other reasons. Gotta check out that site now.

...(after checking site) woah... good stuff. Learned something there, which is always good. Didn't know about differences in expansion rates due to coffee age. That has some bearing on the "soggy puck" discussion, and helps explain why that's more of a problem on some days despite a consistent dose. Thanks for the link.

So what is the Insaturator?
I can dig the "thump and dish" terminology equally as well, has a bit more character to it ;)

Instaurator is an author and renowned coffee expert.... read more at his site, he has recently authored a book by the same name which is not only terribly informative but strikingly beautiful to read:


(I think Mick Kiely, also a Sydney, AU based roaster and barista has posted a forum on the BX about "The Espresso Quest")
This last week I have been giving this whole dose, distribute, tamp thing a good deal of thought. 1st I think everyone is a little tooooo obsessed with the whole regimine. I believe consistency is king. find something that works and is duplicable and simple that u can do it again and again.

2nd the tamp. I have been thinking the tamp is a technique seperate from distributing, but lately i have come to realize the tamp in the final step in distribution. by applying even pressure throughout the puck you are ensuring equal distribution throughout the puck more than anything else. the pressure of the machine overrides anything over a 30 -40lb tamp for sure.
Mike, I completely agree... consistency IS king, and many methods of distribution and tamping can yield desirable results.

I also agree that tamping is the finishing step to distribution, however, even tamping alone will never make up for poor grinds particle size distribution in the basket, which I believe is a combination of the grinder, dosing technique and a firm "collape" or "thump" to quote Brady. Surely the machine provides roughly 3x the pressure used to tamp, which is why it is so important to make sure this brew pressure is directed in an orderly manner through the grounds.... makes me think of corralling cattle through a river pass.... the wild west cowboy barista returns? ;)
i think speed is also a factor, both in the sense of the overall time of service as well as minimizing the time that the portafilter is out of the machine. i used stockfleth for a long time, but in the end went back to a schomer-style NSEW without losing any noticeable consistency.

i have more consistency issues when i'm updosing. it can be hard to achieve the same level of knock every time on certain grinders. i wish i worked with an anfim.
I'm not sure what one would call my methodology... As I'm not all that familiar with the definitions of the Stockfleth, Shendel, or Schomer methods. My end goal is to have 0 coffee grounds to push off of the porta filter when I'm done distributing. Took some time to get it down, and I still haven't got it perfect. It may change next week, but I would describe my dosing technique as push and pull. Moving the coffee around the edges, settling, repeat, until there is no coffee to push off. If you have the right amount of coffee (for me, about 18.7g give or take .1 ideally but normally .4) this is accomplished in two laps. Then tamp 30lbs. No knocking. I've found that with the right size tamp a good polish twist will effectively clear the grounds around the edges. This is actually kinda hard to verbalize. Hope everyone understands what I'm sayin lol.
Does anyone else do a three-tier thing? I dose about a third, settle it, does about one half, settle it, and then top it off above the rim, tap it with the lid and level. I also use a curved tamper.
Did he say "...push back into the grinder..."

I would never do that, personally. My espresso hero does this, but I would never. Heck, I usually let the very 1/10 of a second's worth drop out the hopper before letting anything drop into the basket. But, that is just me. On the approach with the hand, I just use a plastic spoon handle (OK, not really, but it got you worried [or should have]). Honestly, I just use my index finger and sweep it 360 degrees and "Murky Thump" that bugga. I would like to start working on the Norwegian swipes, as for some reason I just like it when a barista does that method; It looks efficient.
I work with an Anfim Super Caimano: I dose directly into the center of the basket building up a neat little mound and tapping once partway through, then again at the end. Then I tamp. The timer takes care of dose consistency, I just have to keep the distribution in the basket constant shot to shot and my tamp even.
Occasionally i'll use hte overfill + NSEW method, if I'm working bar with another barista simultaneously who prefers to work that way
I feel like settling a third or halfway through dosing creates incosistancy in the puck because the coffee on the bottom gets settled more than the coffe on top. This may seem rediculous at first but if you consider that the fines fall to the bottom when you settle then it will have an effect.
I see what you're saying Jesse, and correct me if I'm wrong, but . . .

Conical burr grinders create a richer mouthfeel and texture due in part to the way that fines are created and distributed throughout the grinding process. One advantage that they have over flat burrs.

Flat burrs (specifically Malkoenigs and Anfims) create incredibly consistent particle sizes, thus less fines to migrate throughout the shot creating a more conisistant flow rate, but some would argue a lack in texture.

If you thumped several times on a flat burr grinder before you were through grinding, as suggested in posts above, wouldn't that help to create a similar fines migration that you would achieve on a conical grinder and thus a richer in texture shot?

Jesse -D-> said:
I feel like settling a third or halfway through dosing creates incosistancy in the puck because the coffee on the bottom gets settled more than the coffe on top. This may seem rediculous at first but if you consider that the fines fall to the bottom when you settle then it will have an effect.
What's up with all the tapping and thumping? Based on what I've been reading in Scott Rao's handbook, even tapping with the tamper handle can lead to channeling.

I try to keep it simple and consistent... about 19-20 pulls on our grinder and you end up with about 16 grams. I do a quick NSEW series of swipes, tamp once with about 30 lbs of pressure and finish with a slight twist. Then I quickly turn portafilter upside down to toss off any loose grounds, and I'm good to go.

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