Best WDT Tool

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The WDT tool has been heralded as the cheapest way to improve an espresso shot. In short, WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique) involves stirring coffee grounds with fine needles to remove any clumps and distribute coffee evenly throughout the portafilter before tamping. This technique helps improve the quality and consistency of espresso shots. 

With the growing popularity of this technique, there has been a surge in the availability of WDT tools on the market. In this article, we are going to highlight some of the best options for 2024.

The History Of WDT

The origins of the Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT) trace back to John Weiss, a coffee enthusiast who first explained the technique on the Home-Barista coffee forum in 2005. While it may sound highly technical, in reality, WDT is very simple in practice.

WDT involves using ultra-fine needles (0.25-0.4mm) to stir the ground coffee in the portafilter, creating a perfectly prepared coffee bed for tamping. While this technique sounds and looks ridiculous, its effectiveness is undeniable. 

The rationale behind WDT lies in addressing two common issues encountered in coffee preparation: clumping and uneven distribution. During grinding, heat and static are generated, causing coffee particles to clump or stick together. If you brew espresso without breaking up these clumps, water finds its way around those clumps leading to channeling. 

Similarly, when coffee is ground directly into the portafilter, it tends to accumulate unevenly, with a higher concentration in the center and less distributed towards the edges. If you tamp directly onto this, while the puck will appear visually uniform, in reality, there will be more coffee in the center and less on the sides. This produces channeling during extraction, which detracts from the overall flavor of the espresso.  

By using a WDT tool you can break up coffee clumps and distribute the coffee grounds evenly in the portafilter before tamping. This technique minimizes channeling and maximizes extraction, resulting in more consistent and balanced shots.

WDT

Is WDT Necessary?

WDT may not be necessary for everyone, and it depends on the type of espresso you are brewing. If you are brewing classic espresso, with a high-quality grinder that produces finely ground coffee with minimal clumping, WDT may be unnecessary. Nonetheless, even in such cases, it can aid in reducing channeling and ensuring a more uniform extraction.

If you are brewing modern espresso and are aiming to increase extraction then the uniformity of the puck becomes very important and WDT is necessary. WDT is particularly beneficial for those with cheaper grinders that produce clumpy grinds, those grinding directly into the portafilter, and those dedicated to brewing modern espresso recipes aiming for high extraction levels.

Best WDT Tool 2024


DIY WDT Tool

wdt tool

One of the great aspects of the WDT tool is its accessibility, especially for those on a budget. You have the option of creating one yourself at home with minimal resources. For a basic tool, all you need is a cork and some acupuncture needles. However, if you’re looking for something more sophisticated and have access to a 3D printer, there are several free designs available for printing a WDT tool.

JKIM design has created several popular WDT tool designs which we have linked below. To 3D print these tools, you simply download the free files, print them, and then insert the acupuncture needles. This DIY approach allows for customization and affordability, making it a practical solution for espresso enthusiasts.

This design by JKIM is a very popular option and this design was 3D printed and advocated by James Hoffmann. 

Sworksdesign WDT Tool

Sworksdesign WDT tool

The Sworksdesign WDT tool is a popular option, especially amongst espresso enthusiasts. Crafted with precision, this tool boasts a sleek aluminum construction and is available in a huge array of colors. There is the option of purchasing a stand with it, but at an extra $60 this effectively doubles the price. A nice feature of the Sworksdesign WDT tool is that it has magnets installed at the end, which means it can stick to the side of most espresso machines, which is convenient for storage. 

Equipped with an insert capable of accommodating up to 17 needles (though Sworksdesign recommends using only 9), the tool ensures precise stirring with its expertly angled needles. What’s more, the needles are able to be installed by hand, making them easy to replace. Each WDT tool includes two packs of needles (0.22mm and 0.25mm) with 10 needles per pack. Sworksdesign suggests using a combination of different needle sizes for the best results.

Although not the most budget-friendly option on the market, the Sworksdesign WDT tool’s popularity is well-deserved. Its sleek design, solid build, and reliable performance make it a standout choice for espresso enthusiasts seeking the best WDT tool.

Normcore WDT Distribution Tool

Normcore WDT Tool with stand

The Normcore WDT distribution tool is another good option for espresso enthusiasts. Crafted with an ergonomic handle made of aluminum the tool feels sturdy and nice to use. The v2.1 iteration features 8 pins, scattered to provide a wide stirring area. 

Included with the Normcore WDT tool are 16 0.23mm needles, with eight serving as replacements, as well as a stand to store the WDT tool on. Similar to the Stork design, the Normcore tool incorporates magnets into its handle, so it can be stored on an espresso machine. The handle cover can be unscrewed for straightforward needle replacement. 

Offering a combination of affordability, aesthetics, and functionality, the Normcore WDT tool is a compelling choice.

MHW-BOMBER WDT Tool

MHW-3Bomber WDT Tool

The MHW-BOMBER WDT tool comes in as the most budget-friendly choice on our list. This WDT tool comes with 8 0.4mm needles pre-loaded and an extra 6 spare needles for replacements. 

What sets this tool apart is its unique adjustment plate located at the top of the handle, allowing users to customize the range and angles of the needles to accommodate various basket sizes. This adjustable feature proves to be highly convenient and practical.

Moreover, the MHW-BOMBER Tool includes a magnetic stand for easy storage when not in use. With its affordable price, adjustable mixing area, and sleek design, this WDT tool presents an excellent choice for those seeking quality on a budget.

Barista Hustle Comb Distribution Tool

Barista Hustle The Comb

The Comb by Barista Hustle is another nice WDT tool that is well-built and has a well-considered design. Featuring a silicone base that strikes a balance between lightness and durability, the Comb offers versatility with its 25 holes. These holes allow for a wide range of needle combinations, enabling users to customize their distribution technique according to the specific coffee, desired results, or preferred method.

The needles can be arranged in a straight row for those aiming to rake the top layer of espresso grounds or in a hexagonal shape for deeper distribution. Equipped with 0.35mm needles, the Comb ensures precise distribution without leaving wide trails, contributing to a more uniform extraction.

Additionally, the tool comes with a convenient tube containing an extra 30 spare needles, making replacement quick and effortless. Barista Hustle’s rounded needles are designed for safety and to prevent scratching the basket. With its unique and carefully crafted design, the Comb proves to be a standout choice among WDT tools.

The Autocomb by Barista Hustle

Barista Hustle AutoComb WDT Tool

The Barista Hustle AutoComb tool, developed by renowned coffee expert Matt Perger, introduces an innovative approach to coffee distribution.  Featuring a rotating comb with 12 carefully arranged needles, this hand-powered WDT tool ensures even distribution of coffee grounds within the portafilter, promoting uniform extraction and minimizing channeling. 

Crafted from anodized aluminum and stainless steel, the AutoComb is engineered for durability, making it perfect for bustling cafe settings. Its efficient design enables quick and even distribution of espresso grinds, producing fluffy coffee grounds ready for tamping in just 5 seconds. Compatible with a variety of popular 58mm baskets, it offers versatility in usage.

The AutoComb comes pre-installed with 12 needles and includes an impressive 38 spare needles, making it suitable for prolonged commercial use. While it may be considered overkill for home environments, it proves to be an excellent choice for businesses where time efficiency is paramount.

Weber Labs Moonraker WDT Tool

Weber Labs Moonraker WDT Tool

The Weber Labs Moonraker is another WDT Tool designed for commercial settings and represents the epitome of espresso craftsmanship. Its impeccable design echoes the precision of a Swiss watch, featuring a glass top, sleek gears, and a mesmerizing spirographic movement that ensures each needle avoids touching the same spot, creating an ideal coffee bed for tamping. 

The Moonraker uses embedded neodymium magnets to retain the needles which allows for quick replacement. There are two editions, the standard edition and the ultra edition which have brass gears. The Moonraker comes with a caddy to store it on, 10 needles pre-loaded, and an additional 20 spare needles (a mix of long and short). 

While the Moonraker is a stunning espresso tool there are a few downsides, the first is that it costs a lot of money so is hard to justify in a home setting. The second is that the needles do get bent easily especially if you are using it in a busy commercial environment, so you may need to purchase spare needles from Weber which aren’t cheap. 

Buying Guide

While buying a WDT tool is a fairly straightforward process there are a few factors to take into account. 

Needle Thickness

The most important aspect of a WDT tool is the needle thickness. You want to strike a balance where the needles effectively break up clumps without leaving channels. Needles that are too thin will bend easily and take too long to do WDT, while needles that are too thick will create channels instead of breaking up the clumps. Most needles come in sizes ranging from 0.25mm to 0.4mm. Some tools also offer the flexibility to use a combination of needle sizes.

Number of Pins

Most tools come with approximately 8-9 needles, facilitating even and efficient coffee distribution.

Size and Design

Get a WDT tool that is comfortable to hold, easy to store, and aesthetically pleasing.

Additional Tools

Investing in a dosing funnel can improve the WDT process, allowing for quicker stirring of the grinds without the risk of spillage.

WDT vs Distribution Tools

If you have been in the coffee community long, you will have seen there are a few other methods of distributing the grounds in the portafilter. Traditionally this was done manually, by hand. There are also tools known as wedge distributors that you rotate on top of the puck before tamping. The most popular of these is the OCD Tool. While these tools are easy to use, they don’t distribute the grinds at the bottom of the basket, unlike WDT tools.

Best WDT Tool- The Verdict

Well, we hope this article has convinced you that WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique) is an important and helpful step in puck prep to reduce channeling and improve distribution. This simple step can make a huge improvement in the extraction of your espresso shots. Fortunately, acquiring a WDT tool doesn’t have to break the bank, with plenty of affordable options available on platforms like Amazon, or even DIY alternatives. Our favorite WDT tool is the Sworksdesign WDT tool which is renowned for its striking design, sturdy construction, and convenient features such as the magnetic handle.