Since this came up in a comment for my last blog entry I thought I'd talk about dosing tools...
Dosing tools, these can also help, but they can be costly or home made.
The next distribution technique I wanted to write about is using dosing tools. The most famous kind of dosing tool is the Scottie Callaghan dosing tools out of Australia. Australia is a hotbed of great coffee and Callaghan won the 2010 barista championship for the country, so he has great credentials. He also came in third in the World Barista Championships, so these are even better than that!
His idea is a good one, and one that may not be original, but is tried and true. And he is the only one I know of who has produced a commercial product to fine tune the process.
The idea is close to the Stockfleths for dummies idea, which is you dose well into a basket and then use the basket’s symmetry to produce an evenly distributed basket.
As we mentioned in that blog entry there is a problem, which is that you may not want to dose a full basket, but instead may want an even distribution that falls below the rim of the basket before you ever tamp.
His solution is a good one. He came up with dosing tools that are pieces of plastic of various curvatures that you can use to sweep across the grounds and create a (radially) even distribution.
I think they are a great idea and will work just as well as a technique like the Stockfelths for Dummies, but perhaps not better. I cannot say for certain because I have never used them. There is a simple reason why I have never used them and it is the price tag. For 40 small pieces of plastic with increasing curvature from flat to quite curved the price tag is $159.95!
They are available from 49th parallel at 49th parallel.
You can also buy fewer pieces including as few as 3 for $39.95.
The reservation I have is that I get plastic cards I could cut into this shape for free from every store I go in (rewards cards) and then there is the option many use for free, which is the doser lid, already nicely curved.
On the other hand, having 40 different curves for different doses would be nicer than just two – the flat of a knife or finger and the curve of the doser lid.
All in all a great idea, but a little too rich for my blood (but I'd love to have a set if someone gave them to me).