Barista’s Advice: Why Is Coffee Distributor Important?

By : Lucy
April 26, 2021

To use a coffee distributor the right way, you must first need to understand what is coffee distribution?

Coffee distributor refers to the act that happened right before tamping. Basically, coffee distribution is the process of leveling the ground coffee to evenly spread throughout the portafilter. If the grounded coffee is not evenly spread, the water will flow either faster or slower than the other areas. And, that creates the issue of extraction.  

Also, the level of coffee distribution is super important in brewing the espresso. So, the barista needs to spend more time practicing the distribution. Though distributing the coffee evenly seems to be a basic thing, it is the most difficult skill for the barista to master. That's because it requires certain techniques, clear methods, and even a strong focus.

Learning from the Barista’s advice, this article will show you the importance of coffee distribution, its history, distribution methods, and best tips in order to distribute the coffee.

In the previous article on "How To Make The Perfect Espresso Shot" , we mention the keyed steps for you to follow. One point shows you about the distribution of the ground coffee to the portafilter, which is called coffee distribution. 

History of Coffee Distributor Tool

When you search for the distributor tool in your search engine, the majority of the results show something about OCD. But what is OCD? It is an acronym of the phrase “Ona Coffee Distributor”. It was invented in 2015 by the World Barista Champion--- Sada Sestic

For years, the latest model of the Ona Coffee Distributor tools offer various new features. They are now light weight, advanced static-reducing coating on the base for a better consistency in the coffee. Therefore, as of its name and development, it has been widely used for both home brewing and the coffee shop

The Importance of Coffee Distributor

Coffee distribution plays a crucial role in brewing delicious coffee. Though you can level the ground coffee using your finger to make it firm, coffee distributor can give more advantages. Those benefits that you will absolutely be in need of including:

Extraction

The Importance of Coffee Distributor Extraction

With a good coffee distribution technique, it offers an excellent and even extraction that the barista always wishes to have. The distribution methods will not directly enhance the level of evenness of the grind size, roasting and baskets. However, it still has some influences in improving its own extraction.

To get the desirable extraction, you need to prepare the identical shot with a variety of the distribution technique. Then you need to taste and figure out the different extraction of each technique. Besides, with an excellent distribution, coffee will definitely taste sweeter and stronger with less extraction taints compared to the other espresso. Thus, you will see the higher strength and extraction while measuring the difference. 

Consistency

The level of consistency is another benefit of using a nice distribution method. With such advantages, although you need to brew a large amount of coffee, there will not be any issue for you not producing the same coffee anymore. In other words, it enables you to pull a large amount of the coffee with the same strength as well as the extraction.

In addition, a good distribution method allows you to share the technique with your team and others. So, you can guarantee that each cup of coffee is made with the identical taste though it is not from the same barista.

Speed

The Importance of Coffee Distributor Speed

Coffee distributor allows you to speed up the process of brewing the coffee and enhance your delivery. To be specific, it is 2 seconds or 5 seconds faster than usual. Some of you may claim that it does not matter within 2-5 seconds, however, imagine if you are serving  a coffee shop that brews a large amount of the coffee, then those 2 or 5 seconds do matter and affect your coffee delivery and customer satisfaction.

Instead of using your finger or other tools to make your coffee grind even, the coffee distributor also eliminates the rate of complexity in brewing the coffee. Thus, it takes less time to have the coffee done while maintaining the quality of the coffee itself. 

Cleanliness

The Importance of Coffee Distributor Cleanliness

Another benefit of the coffee distributor tool is that it offers additional cleanliness. Firstly, it prevents the brewers from getting direct touch with the coffee which could lead to dry skin, and dirtiness. Hence, coffee distribution helps to eliminate the frequency of using direct hand, cleaning hand, and reduce the rate of the contamination hazard. In addition, it keeps your barista bar clean and decreases the coffee waste. Because you use the tool rather than using your finger to touch and firm the coffee. So the coffee will not spread on the bar and you do not have to spend more time cleaning it also. Meanwhile, it enhances the level of the accuracy of the coffee amount in the basket as well.

Distribution Methods

NSEW

Actually, NSEW refers to North-South-East-West. This is a nice and super easy distributing method among all. Thus, the new barista is trained to use this method. What you need to do is to put your finger across the top of the basket, use the base of the finger to push the mound of the ground. You may start to push it from right to left.

Stockfleth Method

This Stockfleth method enables you to take control over the dose accurately and effectively. Thus, it is also known as one of the most complicated methods to apply. Comparing this method to the NSEW method, it requires more rotation. Basically for this method, you should start with overdosing and put the portafilter head next to you so that when you need it, you do not waste time to find and get it. 

Then, you may hold the portafilter with your left hand and present it in the right angle position with your elbow indicating outwards. Then, you use your finger together with rotation distributing the top of the ground coffee. It begins with your thumb on the bracket’s rim and straight across with your finger. After that, you need to rotate your hand and the portafilter into the opposite directions and do this again and again until the grind coffee is distributed to the sides. 

Shyndel Method

Another way that you can use the distribution tool is the Shyndel Method. You need to start with overdosing and put the coffee in the portafilter in the shape of a small mound. Then, put your index and middle finger on the portafilter with a V shape and pull in the circular motion. After that, repeat this step again and put the grind in between your index and middle finger, swipe the two fingers off to the side and level the grounds. Meanwhile, while doing this method, you should make sure that you apply the same pressure. 

Chicago Chop

Similar to the Shyndel method, begin this technique by overdosing the portafilter to have a small mound of coffee. Then, you need either a butter knife or other coffee tools that have the similarity to the butter knife for chopping across the coffee bed in one direction. After that, you may do it again in the perpendicular direction. Then, what you need to do is to scrape across the basket, to even the grounds, and tamp. 

This Chicago method is one of the easiest methods since it has a high level of repeatability.  At the same time, with such technique, it enables you to effectively reach high consistency.  

Side Tap

This is another easy and simple technique allowing you to get a good extraction and nice taste. With this method, most people tend to use their palm or the tamper. To simply said, you just need to put your palm against the portafilter in order to have the level ground.

Though you can use your hand to do so, it is not highly recommended. It's due to the quality, the consistency and other drawbacks on affecting your skins, and productivity in brewing the coffee. 

Recommended Product

After knowing about the use of the coffee distributors, we have searched for the most popular size as the best coffee distributor in the market for you to consider. 

Apexstone 53mm Coffee Distributor

Apexstone 53mm Coffee Distributor

  • Designed to work with the tapered Breville 54mm portafilter baskets
  • Including the Barista Express, Pro, Touch, Bambino Plus, Infuser and Duo-Temp Pro
  • Easier for barista to tamp with straight arm at 90 degrees
  • Anti-slip Aluminum Alloy handle is perfect for hand use
  • Anti-rust design, pretty delicate with premium material
  View Price on Amazon

This Apexstone 53mm coffee distributor comes with an adjustable height of 6mm which enables you to make the adjustment to suit with the other types of baskets. Moreover, although it is only 53mm, you can  definitely use Breville 54mm portafilter baskets like the Barista Express, Pro, Bambino Plus and so on  without any issue.

This coffee distribution tool is very convenient for the professional barista or other coffee lovers to tamp with your arm at 90 degrees to the counter. It delivers a leveling redistributed coffee grounds as well as a larger flat surface area for you to level the tamping pressure with the use of your hand and the control and consistency of the tool itself. 

Besides, with solid food 304 stainless steel base, it makes you feel reassured while brewing the coffee, especially espresso. Furthermore, featuring anti-slip aluminum alloy handle and anti-rust design, it is durable and there will not be any scratch indicated though you have used it for a while. Andm it offers a 1-year warranty allowing you to request for exchange or refund if there is something wrong. Thus, you can put your mind into peace with this product for its quality and durability. 

Final Thought

All in all, we can clearly see that the advice from the barista to use the coffee distributor offers numerous benefits. From great extraction, better consistency, faster speed, to cleanliness, it helps the barista or home brewer saveing time cleaning the bar. Well, there are various methods that you can use the recommended distributor to distribute your ground coffee. However, you need to use it with care and ensure that you follow the process of each method to achieve desirable outcomes.

In case you want to buy a new coffee distributor, we recommend you to have a look at the product listed above. because it meets most of the criteria of a good coffee distributor including its features, functions, and quality. Ultimately, we wish you good luck in choosing a coffee distributor and make yourself or your lovers a nice coffee experience. 

Reference

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