Wednesday 12 June 2024
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AutoComb: How the latest hand-powered WTD tool works by Barista Hustle

Matt Perger: "We went a little bit over the top with materials for this one. Everything is either machined aluminium, stainless steel, acetal, or ABS plastic. The bearings are sealed for a long life and the sliding parts are easily cleaned. Every component was designed for quality and longevity rather than cost. It's also designed to be user repaired and upgraded, to reduce waste!"

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MILAN – Barista Hustle has created the solution to the espresso grind distribution problem that plagues many baristas in the final extraction: its name is AutoComb, the hand-powered WDT tool built for speed and durability. We try to understand how its 12needles at high speed spins and its technical features work with guidance from Matt Perger, Barista Hustle Tools.

What are the major differences between your Autocomb and a manual WTD method and a more automatic one?

“Manual WDT is good if you have lots of skill and 20 seconds to spare. AutoComb is designed to work just as well (or better) in 4 seconds without much skill at all. As far as I know, there aren’t any fully automatic distribution methods!”

What does the 0.25mm diameter of AutoComb’s 12 needles do? Why are there 12 of them and how do they perform their function in less than 5 seconds?

Tools Full Size (photo granted)

“When testing prototypes, we found that thinner needles is better. If we could use 0.1mm, we would! Unfortunately, they would be so fragile that the tool would be useless after some light use.

We found 0.25mm to be the best balance of thickness and durability. The pattern and spacing of the needles is also very important. We tested many different configurations, looking for a balance of fluidising/fluffing the grinds up, without also pushing them outwards to the edges of the basket, or creating visible lines.”

Does the material used for AutoComb respect the raw material it will be dispensing and does it guarantee a long tool life?

“We went a little bit over the top with materials for this one. Everything is either machined aluminium, stainless steel, acetal, or ABS plastic. The bearings are sealed for a long life and the sliding parts are easily cleaned. Every component was designed for quality and longevity rather than cost. It’s also designed to be user repaired and upgraded, to reduce waste!”

What can be adjusted in AutoComb? Is it adaptable to all filter holders?

“You can adjust the height of the needles to suit anything from 1g to 25g baskets. The portafilters are slightly more complicated due to the lack of a standard, but it is compatible with the most popular brand’s machines.”

Gimoka

Why should bartenders today add this tool to their brewing routine?

Barista using AutoComb (photo granted)

“There’s no debate: espresso grinds distribution is critical for flavour. The excuse until now has been that fixing it takes too long, leaving the customers waiting. That excuse doesn’t work any more.”

How much does it cost and where can it be purchased?

“We sell AutoCombs for USD 200 from our web shop (baristahustletools.com) shipping from either USA, Hong Kong, or Australia. We also have distributors all around the world that can be found on our resellers page (https://baristahustletools.com/resellers) .”

Has the feedback so far been positive? What still needs to be improved?

“We’ve been bowled over by the response to this tool. It’s our most popular product ever by a large margin, and we’ve been struggling to keep it in stock. We’re currently working on improving the compatibility with different portafilters and also improving ergonomics with a silicone grip for the spinning action.”

CIMBALI

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