Coffee Science – Distribution Method Vs. Extraction

Distribution is key to extraction...

but are all distribution methods created equal?  The answer is an unequivocal no, but it is far more complicated, and really the reason why is beyond my understanding.  I've been hearing about distribution tools having negative effects on extraction, and more importantly (in my mind) taste.  Finally, armed with the curiosity, a refractometer, and some time I embarked on a mission to find out which of the top three distribution methods works best in terms of extraction percentage.

In the video I use the tapping method, a paper clip, and the Ona Coffee Distribution tool (OCD) on the same coffee, on the same grind, with the same tamp pressure (using a Push Tamper). I then tested the total dissolved solids (TDS) and calculated the extraction percentage.  I pulled a total of three shots per distribution method, and tested each individually with clean filtered syringes.  I then cut the video down to the median (average) results I got of the three total tests to show what I feel were the most reliable results.  The findings were shocking to me, and perhaps they will be to you.  The results were so drastic between all three methods that I've gone so far to say that I will be retiring the OCD tool from my espresso making regimen.

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1 Comment

  1. Derek Choate
    June 23, 2019

    I wonder if you could do a further test? If you adjusted the grind for each distribution/tamping method such that each three had the same TDS, what would taste better?


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