I have always noticed that many expert baristas use coffee distributor tools to get a more smooth extraction, but I wonder if this one of those niche coffee gear things we need?
Is using a distribution tool can make a more significant difference to the extraction of shots?
To understand this and verify me, I tried testing out this distribution tool to confirm if there’s a truth behind it or it’s just a fad or advertising tactic by a coffee distribution supplier to make people familiar with it. To learn what I finally concluded, keep reading the post till the end.
What is the Main Idea of Using Coffee Distributor Tool?
A distribution tool is designed to level out the coffee before tamping down to avoid high compression and low compression, leading to channeling. It usually happens that we tap portafilter on the side of the table and get a flat looking surface before tamping down, without realizing when we’re tapping.
Distribution is the act of leveling coffee grinds in an espresso machine’s basket before tamping. This helps water pass through all of the coffee grinds at the same speed and pressure, increasing the evenness of extraction.
There’s a specific part of the coffee pot that will be a lot more compressed. The mill is parts of the park that have way less coffee, which means water finding easiest routes through, and will go through the part that has less coffee, which might lead to an over-extracted bitter, and unpalatable coffee.
The main idea here is, with the coffee distribution tool, we have three fins with an adjustable leveler. When we put the distribution tool on top of the portafilter and spit it, it levels out all of the coffee inside the filter basket.
Different Designs of Distribution Tool
The coffee distribution tool manufacturers have provided this product to us in plenty of different designs, varying on different price packages. For instance, few distributor tool hardly cost 20 pounds, while other cost around 100 of pounds, and further expensive ahead – it all depends on the application.
Here are several ways of making coffee shots using the distributor tool, then using tamper with the distributor tool without tapping to check which tricks work best for coffee extraction.
The first one;
Using bottomless portafilter – this way, we can see if there’s any channeling going on either while using espresso distribution tool while using a tamper, or both for every one of these shots.
Try Using Resilient Columbian & Utopian blend – this tool has been in use for a while. Try to keep every single variable the same. Though it might get a bit challenging for espresso, we need to keep the dose, tamp, pressure, grind, temperature, and pressure – all in a balanced ratio.
To get anyone single variable tested, so test the tamp alone and with a distribution tool. I prefer keeping everything the same.
Distribution Tool & Tamper –The shot with distributor tool and the tamper is delicious. The thing to keep in mind is to keep your portafilter locked into the group head, this will heat it, and hopefully, it’ll help you have more consistency as the portafilter is always heated.
Extraction Without Tamper – When we make extraction without a tamper, you’ll notice your cup bit heavier than your extraction with tamper and distributor tool, weighing around 15.7 grams in and 20 grams out. While the extraction made with only distribution tool weigh 31.1 grams, this means there’s more espresso coming out.
This can be due to a lack of compression, which means it comes out a bit faster. Also, I observed that making coffee extraction without using a tamper provides a cleaner taste in the cup, unlike making extraction with a tamping tool.
Only Tamp – The extraction with only the tamping tool feels bitterer. If we compare all these extraction methods side-by-side, we notice that a shot that is pulled with distribution tool only is the fastest to come together into a single stream. It further indicates that coffee has been extracted at a flat rate.
This is why the distribution tool is the main asset for baristas, either for making home espresso or a shop; the quality of taste, smoothness, and flavor makes this tool worth investing in. It finally proved!