OCD opinions- good or bad?

(Conor McCann) #1

So we just got the OCD distributor for our shop.

Just wondering what people are thinking of it? Does it really do a sufficient job distributing coffee? Is it worth slowing down workflow? Could you distribute quicker/better by hand? Does it improve extraction?

We have only been using it on the bar today for the first time.

Does anybody know about the shims inside? What is the correct setting or how should it be calibrated? And also shat is the best/quickest way to use it?

(Joshua Dusk-Peebles) #2

I’m really curious about this as well. Specifically, I’m wondering if anyone has done any scientific studies on how it affects extraction percentages compared to no redistribution, stockfleth, tapping, etc.

I saw that many of the competitors at the World Barista championship were using it, including at least 2 of the top 6…

@Macken What has it been like for you so far?

(Conor McCann) #3

@joshuadusk The main thing I have noticed so far is that a small amount of coffee seems to get stuck to the bottom.

I was curious about it so I tared my scales, ground coffee into the portafilter and checked my dose, then used the OCD and tamped and rechecked the weight.

On many occasions my dose went up or down by .1 or .2 of a gram. I’m a bit put off by this as u can’t seem to stop it happening. The past week has been me pulling a few shots with it and then placing it on a shelf behind me for a while until it catches my eye a few hours later and I try again haha

If anyone has tips on how to overcome this problem or better ways to use the distribution tool, it would be much appreciated.

I’m also interested to hear others opinions and as Joshua mentioned if anyone has done any scientific experiments using the OCD

(Boris Georgiou) #4

Hey Joshua, Hi Conor.

I judged at WBC this year and I would say that using an OCD with no form of pre-distribution does not effectively distribute the coffee grounds.

If you look at Sasa (and Hugh Kelly), he always performed a series of half stockfleth prior to using the tool, so it was an almost even bed of coffee prior to OCD dist.

Read up on some Scott Rao and his look into the effect of finger swiping causing a tamping effect (the baristas handbook), due to this he is an advocate of the Scottie Callaghan dosing tools, and you could surmise that if you had an uneven bed of coffee and you pushed an OCD tool into it, it will tamp (compact) the higher levels of the coffee plane, before distribution occurs.

I think the tool is useful in making a nice flat bed to tamp, and to assist in keep tamping level, if you are using a standard tamper.


(Joshua Dusk-Peebles) #5

Good info, thanks Boris!

Have you seen the Shot Collar by Saint Anthony Industries?

It seems like maybe its style would limit any tamping effect… Curious to hear your thoughts!

(Matthew Perger) #6

I did a test comparing tapping, doing nothing, and OCD-ing. We measured TDS and tasted everything blind.

Tapping tasted best every time.
Doing nothing tasted awful.
OCD tasted better than nothing, but there was obvious unevenness.

I want to test more, but haven’t had the time. I’m truly sceptical as to wether it can achieve better results than tapping. Maybe it could achieve parity if the coffee was well distributed before using the tool, but doesn’t that defeat the purpose??

(Imile de Villiers) #7

My initial thoughts are that setting it on its shallowest is best in order to try minimise tamping effects - I’d have liked it to go even shallower though. Haven’t had much time to do anything other than look at it run through a naked portafilter and even after deliberate uneven dosing, the extraction looked even. Didn’t do comparative taste tests yet.

(Boris Georgiou) #8

Hey Josh.
No I hadn’t yet. thanks for the heads up.
that is pretty cool, and solves the compacting issue.
I might pick one up and give it a test drive
Will let you know the results

(Will Frith) #9

Propaganda in Vancouver BC have gone with OCD (shimmed to max depth) and dispensed with tamping altogether. Can’t say whether it’s better than anything else, but the espresso was excellent. Soooo, good?

(fabezs) #10

OCD home user here.

Proper distribution before using the OCD is a must.

If you have a mound on one side of your basket, spin the ocd and tamp you will still have channelling.

That said, IF you have done finger tapping/WDT/funnel swirl to distribute the grounds relatively evenly throughout the basket and THEN use the OCD, the results are fantastic.

When using this, my pulls look nearly identical every time-- espresso emerges as three streams, then converges within 4 seconds to one in the dead center of the basket

Waste has gone drastically down-- sink shots have become a thing of the past here, minus an initial dialing in of a new bag

Would like to note that I’m using a Forte BG-- filter burrs-- for these shots. In the past I’ve had difficulty regulating flow through the grounds with this burrset, channeling and drastically-varying flow rates have always hindered my espresso. The OCD has helped correct this.

The OCD has been worth it for me, in my limited home setting
Cannot comment on commercial use-- I simply do not pull enough shots to have the muscle memory for finger tapping/swiping down like many may be able to do
(see chris baca’s OCD video comparison of finger swipes vs ocd)

Equipment in use: Breville Dual Boiler @ 6bar, vst 22g ridgeless, 58.5 flat tamp

(Chanho Hong) #11

shaking with a jam funnel was my best way to do it and is what you have posted in your insta ,previously. what do you reckon?

(nicolas) #12

I know Chris Baca has a YouTube video on finger strike dosing vs the OCD ( https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ebtRIu-Fg3I ) I feel like the OCD is a nifty tool but I wouldn’t recommend it due to 1.) the price tag and 2.) it is over complicating the flow, adding in that extra step of quickly distributing and then using the OCD and then tamping and blessing before inserting the portafilter, will make the overall process of pulling espresso longer and stressier, this is coming from personal opinion but when I’ve used it I found it was just inconvenient and I’d rather learn to perfect the Stockleft method instead of using the OCD. I suppose that it’s down to the Barista’s competence in your store, and if it actually improves the resulting espresso.

so in conclusion- I think it’s just an unnecessary tool to add to your Barista bench, but if you can be more efficient with it and it improves the espresso than the Stockleft method then use it, but from what I’ve read and from what I’ve tried, there’s little to no improvement on it.

(Emile) #13

thx for sharing your experience with OCD. Btw I noticed you mentioned that your breville at 6 bars. When I pull on my BDB its usually in 9-10 bars range. How do you achieve a lower pressure?

(Steven Li) #14

I had the OCD in store for a few weeks on loan and found little to no difference compared to other distribution methods in a blind taste test (my main comparison was against the tapping method). I was also finding coffee was always sticking to the “blades” constantly and I would have to wipe it after every use and account for losing a few grams in my dose.

I found that I still had to do some form of distribution before using the OCD or the centre of the “blades” would almost act as a tamper and compact the grounds causing channeling, all this meant that after a week the OCD ended up sitting on a shelf behind me until I returned it.

In my opinion Sasa has created a great tool for barista comps that is used in a combination with other tools (like we saw this year) to tick boxes and gain the technical points. If I was at home and had the time to distribute before and clean up after I would definitely use it, but when I’m on a busy bar the difference it made to my shots was almost negligible compared to the extra steps I had to take, all adding precious seconds to every shot I made, I just can’t justify using it.

(Sachia ) #15

I’ve ran the numbers to measure extraction with a variety of distribution methods and I discovered that OCD alone (this mirrors a lot of the consensus here) does not properly distribute coffee. You need to manually “pre-distribute” before using the OCD to achieve consistent results. My experiments (which I will publish internally then probably on my website), showed wild deviations in extractions if you only use the OCD. I’m recommending for busier cafes the OCD is a cool tool but it’s an extra step that isn’t necessary for tasty shots.

(Matthew Albert) #16

looks like your results were corroborated by socratic coffee - http://socraticcoffee.com/2016/12/examining-the-impact-of-the-ocd-on-total-dissolved-solids-extraction/