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What’s WDT in Espresso? We Talked to Its Creator, John WeissDaily Espresso Information by Roast Journal


A variety of WDT tools

Quite a lot of WDT instruments, which may are available in any variety of shapes, sizes and needle configurations. Day by day Espresso Information photograph by Howard Bryman.

Together with the current increase in house espresso preparation has come an related flood of equipment to help the craft, together with many variations of one thing known as a WDT instrument.

WDT stands for Weiss Distribution Approach, an espresso preparation method attributed to retired laptop scientist and biochemistry PhD John Weiss.

The instrument used to carry out this system sometimes entails an array of needles or different slim protrusions extending from a handheld piece. The instrument is used to stir the freshly floor espresso in an espresso portafilter basket previous to tamping.

Day by day Espresso Information photograph by Howard Bryman.

WDT just isn’t a broadly adopted follow behind fast-paced, high-volume business espresso bars. But for house {and professional} baristas in calmer settings, WDT is now a standard and oft-recommended method, with WDT instruments proliferating all around the world.

This begs the questions, ‘Why are folks stirring their espresso grounds?’ and ‘Who’s John Weiss?’ Day by day Espresso Information went straight to the supply to search out out.

The WDT Espresso Methodology

WDT is solely the follow of utilizing any skinny however fairly sturdy implement to stir, or “rake,” a pile of finely floor espresso inside a portafilter basket. This may contain both combing the floor of the pile or driving the needles extra deeply by the mattress.

The targets are to interrupt down any clumps of floor espresso that will have resulted from grinding and to evenly distribute the espresso inside the basket previous to compression by a tamper.

Whereas John Weiss initially used a single dissection needle to perform this process, fashionable WDT instruments typically use a number of acupuncture needles, or different slim metallic needles inside 0.1-0.5 millimeters in diameter.

Whereas the optimum stirring sample and stirring depth stay issues of continued dialogue, the supposed result’s all the time a puck of uniform density, with uniform resistance to water, for an excellent and exact espresso extraction.

WDT Historical past

It was round 2004 that John Weiss, then a pc science professor and a house espresso fanatic residing in South Dakota, first began tinkering with stirring his grounds. From his house within the Black Hills, he started to see photographs on-line of gorgeous espresso extractions issuing from what was additionally then a current breakthrough: the bottomless portafilter. He used a gap noticed to create his personal bottomless portafilter and began fixating on creating equally pretty bottomless extractions at house.

“Preliminary struggles with channeling led me to the conclusion that good grinds distribution within the basket was a crucial consider fairly extractions,” John Weiss instructed Day by day Espresso Information. “After some trial and error, I started utilizing a dissecting needle to stir grinds, with a cut-down yogurt cup as a funnel/shot collar to include the mess.”

WDT tools

WDT instruments owned by John Weiss. Courtesy photograph.

The dissection needle, a remnant from Weiss’ school days, was initially chosen just because it was the closest skinny implement at hand. In December 2005, Weiss shared details about his method with the web group on a (now not obtainable) message board of CoffeeGeek.com. Later that month, he shared it once more on Dwelling-Barista.com, whose founder, Dan Kehn, adopted the method, continued the general public dialogue and invited Weiss to publish a tutorial.

“To my shock, WDT met with important skepticism inside the espresso group,” Weiss recalled. “Grinds distribution appeared like an apparent enchancment for house espresso, however the focus on the time was on floor distribution strategies like Stockfleth’s and tamping methods like Staub. People have been ignoring fundamentals like dose and distribution.”

Espresso grinders have been additionally extra apt to supply clumpy grounds in these days, although the advantages of declumping and distribution are nonetheless relevant in the present day.

“The WDT appeared like a low-hanging fruit for the house barista viewers,” mentioned Weiss. “I’m stunned that no one recommended it sooner, and stunned that it generated a lot controversy over time. Now it’s mainstream. Go determine.”

WDT: The Man

Now retired and residing close to Phoenix, John Weiss grew up within the New York space earlier than incomes a bachelor’s diploma in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale College in 1974. That was adopted by a PhD in Biochemistry from Vanderbilt College in 1980.

Following two years of postdoctoral analysis in neuroscience, Weiss switched gears to earn a grasp’s diploma in laptop science from Vanderbilt in 1984. He then went on to show laptop science, first at Virginia Commonwealth College after which on the South Dakota Faculty of Mines and Expertise in Fast Metropolis. Weiss spent 35 years instructing numerous sides of laptop science and has by no means labored within the espresso business.

In his retirement, Weiss enjoys climbing and biking, touring, enjoying guitar, studying and, in fact, espresso. He continues to function a moderator on Dwelling-Barista.com, follows traits in specialty espresso by studying and sometimes critiques merchandise.

John Weiss

WDT creator and retired laptop science professor John Weiss. Courtesy photograph.

The great professor continues to tinker with the extractions for his every day cappuccinos, which contain a Respectable Espresso DE1 machine and a number of other espresso grinders, together with a Mazzer Robur. Although Weiss now not makes use of the dissection needle, he nonetheless prefers the pencil-like ergonomics of comparable instruments.

“As of late I’m largely utilizing a cheap four-needle keycap puller that I discovered on Amazon,” mentioned Weiss. “WDT instruments with extra, thinner needles and wine cork-shaped handles really feel clumsy in my hand. And sure, I’m nonetheless utilizing my outdated cut-down yogurt cup funnel. Maybe the one idiosyncrasy in my espresso prep routine: I desire dosing baskets exterior the portafilter, and a light-weight plastic funnel works higher than heavier business metallic funnels.”

Whereas the instruments bearing his identify now vary in value on-line and internationally from a couple of dollars to over $50, Weiss doesn’t harbor regrets about by no means searching for a patent or a product of his personal design.

“I don’t have an entrepreneurial bone in my physique, and by no means severely thought-about commercialization,” mentioned Weiss. “I needed to offer again to the espresso group, and I’m delighted to see WDT serving to house baristas worldwide. Paradoxically, I’ve printed 80+ peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals and conferences. However for higher or worse, apparently WDT is my legacy.”


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