Do you really need a leveler?

Picture of Babette Lichtenford

Babette Lichtenford

foto: aleksandar andreev on unsplash

For perfect extraction. Against channeling.

In addition to the right degree of grinding, the perfect brewing time, and amount of water, there is another important factor for a really good espresso: The homogeneity of the ground coffee in the portafilter. In a perfectly brewed espresso, the water flows evenly through the ground coffee and extracts the coffee’s aromatic substances evenly. However, the surface is often uneven, sloping – or the ground coffee is looser in one place and clumps in another. To prevent this, you can tap the back of your hand against the portafilter and smooth the surface with your fingers before tamping. You can also use a WDT tool.

The Weiss-Distribution-Technique-Tool (yes, that’s what it’s called) looks like a mini whisk, but with needles, with which you stir the ground coffee. It breaks up clumps and the ground coffee becomes homogeneous. Then, the leveler is used. The small device with the rotating discs is placed on the portafilter, turned once or twice – it closes the tiny channels in the ground coffee and the surface becomes even. Then tamp, brew, done. This prevents the water from finding the “easiest” way around the edge of the portafilter or through other loose areas, the extraction is even, and the aromas are harmonious. Voilà, the outrageously delicious espresso.

noora alhammadi on unsplash

foto: noora alhammadi on unsplash

Do you have to do it this way?

Yes and no. If you can get the coffee grounds to be evenly firm in the portafilter without accessories – and the surface is not higher or looser on one side – then of course you don’t need an accessory park. If you can’t manage this so well (even after a bit of practice), we recommend the WDT and leveler (which also look quite nice).

The only thing you have to pay attention to is the compatibility of the leveler with the portafilter. In other words: The size must be right, otherwise it won’t fit.

And then, nothing stands in the way of your favorite espresso or cappuccino.