Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010, 10:34am Subject: Do you blow on your puck?
I imagine that the professional baristas among us probably don't do this, or I would hope so. However, I brew espresso exclusively for myself at home, and I can't help not blowing on my puck after I tamp and knock it, to remove the grinds that have settled atop my puck. I even wipe off loose grinds on the rim of the filter basket and edge of the portafilter, wondering if this effort even makes a difference.
I have seen others flip over the puck-compacted portafilter in the air, as if to let gravity remove stray grinds. I have never gotten used to doing that, afraid I might dump the contents of the filter basket (but I suppose this really shouldn't happen if the contents are sufficiently tamped).
I have seen references to "polishing" the puck. This is what is meant by that, right? How do you "polish" your puck? Does it even matter?
Ciclisto Senior Member Joined: 26 Apr 2005 Posts: 242 Location: Connecticut Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rancilio Silvia Grinder: Innova i2
Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010, 12:29pm Subject: Re: Do you blow on your puck?
I don't blow on it, but I do polish it. I don't know if it matters. I tamp, wipe the rim (that does matter, I think, to ensure a good seal on the gasket), then put the tamper back in and just rotate it a bit with light pressure. It looks nice and neat and smooth, and I have no idea if that makes any difference.
Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010, 10:11pm Subject: Re: Do you blow on your puck?
Turning the portafilter upside down almost never spills anything for me, even with a fairly light tamp. Try it - one basket of coffee isn't that expensive. If it dumps, you can always make another - it only takes a minute.
I don't blow on my coffee puck.
I also don't suck the extra air out of the plastic bag my sliced bread comes in as I close it up.
Posted Tue Jun 29, 2010, 10:48pm Subject: Re: Do you blow on your puck?
I can't help not blowing on my puck after I tamp and knock it, to remove the grinds that have settled atop my puck. I even wipe off loose grinds on the rim of the filter basket and edge of the portafilter, wondering if this effort even makes a difference.
Everyones ritual is different and I seriously doubt that there is a difference in the cup either way. Curious though, the only reason to knock the PF is to get the loose grounds off the side. You should do a second tamp after that to get the puck to look nice.
Note that many don't knock as we are concerned that we might disrupt the integrity of the puck we just tamped which could impact the shot.
Cleaning the rim I think does decrease the amount of crud you have to clean in the group over time.
Knocking after tamping generally does more harm than good, so probably the best advice is to avoid ever knocking after tamping. Blow if you must, but generally I'll just invert the portafilter over the knockbox and then swipe the basket rim before locking in.
A few loose grounds on top of the puck or on the basket wall won't make any difference in the cup.
Posted Thu Jul 1, 2010, 6:30pm Subject: Re: Do you blow on your puck?
I actually sometimes do!
I find that its the easiest way to clear stray grounds off the rim of the portafilter - I could care less about the stray grounds in the portafilter, since as said above they don't impact the shot. I tend to run a bit on the clumsy side, and have managed to stick a finger in the puck a couple times while trying to wipe the rim - that'll ruin the puck... If I'm preparing for others or even usually in the company of others I'll just to a palm swipe over the rim of the basket instead.
Lol - I also do tend to try and get the air out of plastic baggies when sealing them.... I sense correlation here.....
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 6,827 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Fri Jul 9, 2010, 8:16am Subject: Re: Do you blow on your puck?
Short answer, no
I use a 1" natural bristle paint brush to clean the PF before locking and loading. I long ago stopped knocking the PF in any part of the process. I just fill the PF, level with a chop stick to fill in any low spots, tamp and brush the rim of the PF clean, lock and load and pull. No WDT, no fussing about and the results work well for me. YMMV.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
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