WDT does two useful things. One, as Wayne pointed out, it breaks up clumps. Two, it homogenizes distribution.
There are two kinds of clumps. Those which are just visual and break up completely during consolidation and tamping; and those which will leave the pockets and lumps, which do cause channeling. The second type shouldn't be a problem with the Vario. If you see clumps in the basket, use a naked pf to determine if they cause channeling. If no consistent channeling, you don't need WDT to break up clumps.
If the distribution under the surface of the puck is uneven after leveling the surface with a finger-wipe, you'll need to do something more than... wait for it... a finger-wipe. Although both will work, it's easier, faster and neater to fix it with a half-dose, slap shot, finish dose, and tamp routine than with WDT. However, Varios dose well enough that a couple of finger wipes should be enough to create even distribution.
Again, you can use a naked pf to diagnose unequal distribution. If distribution is uneven, the cone will form and stay off-center. However, it's fine if the cone starts off center, but centers within the first few seconds after liquid emerges.
Think of tamping as a two part procedure. Consolidation and pressure. Pay attention to consolidation, checking that the edges are sealed, and the surface is level and without cracks or voids. Press and polish. Check for level after removing the tamper.
The lack of lumping and ease of dosing are two of the biggest reasons the Vario's such a bargain. If you have problems with either, something's up somewhere and somewhere could be the grinder.
Getting back to the bottomless pf: Don't get too critical about appearance. The point is not producing espresso-porn perfection, but to identifying major flaws.
eastbaysanfranman Senior Member Joined: 29 Oct 2007 Posts: 205 Location: east bay area san francisco Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Nueva Simmoneli Oscar-... Grinder: Vario and Preciso Vac Pot: Hario Drip: Technivorm/Chemex/Espro... Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 3:30pm Subject: Re: Anyone else use Weiss distribution technique?
Thanks for the replies. My question has secondary motives. The reason I am so interested in WDT right now is because I'm using a Rocky which produces many visible clumps so I figured WDT was in store. This being said I just got a used Oscar yesterday and the Rocky is the only grinder I currently have available. I'm wondering about the working condition of my Rocky as a rock went through it not long ago. I changed the burrs out to some older burrs and then back and my FP grind seems to be even more uneven than before. (Yes I made sure nothing was between the burr and the carrier when reinstalling). I've never checked for horizontal alignment between the two burrs before as I did not know how but got this from an australian site: (turn the top burr by hand so that it rubs against the bottom burr, if when it twists you hear a constant noise as the burrs rub together than you are aligned correctly, without wobble. If you hear intermittent noises, you are out of alignment). So I am out of alignment on both sets of burrs. Perhaps the rock damaged the grinder? Also, it is not grinding fine enough for the Oscar unless I considerably updose to over 20 grams. I do not believe I should have to updose that much to get good timing on a shot.
Here is my real motive on questioning WDT. I NEED a new grinder ASAP. I have a pretty silver Oscar in front of me and want to start producing quality shots yesterday. Sure I could purchase a new burr set for the Rocky but I don't really want to mess with it as I don't plan on keeping it around anyways. I would rather sell it for $100 and be done with it. Which brings me to the Vario. I know that the WDT is controversial and to be honest I will not know if it is worthwhile until I experiment with whatever grinder I am purchasing. I have been sold on the idea of getting a Vario-W. It has been recommended that as a beginner I weigh out my grinds for consistencies sake and to take one variable out of the equation. This makes a lot of sense to me when I'm trying to figure out cooling flushes, timing shots, what grind to use, etc, etc. The W part of the Vario would take one step out of the equation and will stop me from having to get out a separate scale at 5:30am before work. Anything which makes my life easier is VERY valuable to me as I have ADD/OCD like a mother and need variables removed. So I considered this until I heard Mark Prince write that he did not recommend the W for espresso as you could not grind directly into the portafilter. I thought, what's the big deal! Then Calblacksmith says there will be clumps if I grind with the W and then pour into the portafilter. Back to square one. If I got a W and felt the need to WDT then I thought it would be so nice to grind into the bin, WDT in there and then pour. Easy money, I thought.
One of the reasons I was sold on the Vario W was ease of use and this idea is being challenged. So now I'm back to square one. Am I putting too much emphasis on weighing my shots? Does the timer function of the standard Vario grind the coffee to a specific weight almost as good as the Vario W? Am I going to be unhappy with the Vario in the long run and really should forget about ease of use and get a used Super Jolly or something like that instead for better grinding capabilities? Ease of use is important but believe me, with my case of OCD, quality shots are even more important. HELP!!
Posted Tue Feb 18, 2014, 3:36pm Subject: Re: Anyone else use Weiss distribution technique?
My grinder, a Rossi RR45a, has a doser, making the use of WDT mandatory (in my opinion). I use an OE funnel on my MCAL portafilter and break up the clumps with an elegant Victorian olive fork (or maybe it's an elegant Victorian pickle fork - I never could get the two straight).
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