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The NCD Pulse from Nucleus Adds Vibration to Espresso Distribution

NCD Pulse – Perspective

The NCD Pulse. All images courtesy of Nucleus Coffee Tools.

Australian professional coffee equipment maker Nucleus Coffee Tools has launched a new espresso distribution tool called the NCD Pulse.

Making its debut at last week’s World of Coffee Asia trade show in Busan, South Korea, the new tool builds upon the manually rotated blade format of the original Nucleus Coffee Distributor (NCD), with the addition of a built-in vibration motor.

It adds to the continuously growing field of specialized equipment used to manipulate a bed of coffee in a portafilter basket in order to achieve peak precision and consistency in espresso shot making. 

NCD Pulse + Charger – Perspective

The NCD Pulse on its charging base.

With the Pulse, vibrations from the motor are designed to improve the vertical distribution of grounds, while the horizontally rotating blades distribute and flatten the surface.

“Our research and experimentation have found that these vibrations gently distribute coffee grounds into any less dense areas of the coffee bed, including gaps and any microscopic empty spaces in the coffee bed,” Nucleus Coffee Tools Marketing and Events Manager Jordan Montgomery told Daily Coffee News. “The comparison we often use is how vibrations are used to settle wet concrete into any gaps, and ensure that there are no air bubbles or empty space.”

Production of the NCD Pulse is slated to begin towards the end of this summer, with shipping expected in the fall. The final retail price has yet to be determined, though the company told DCN it is likely to land around $175 per unit.

The NCD Pulse incorporates low-frequency vibrations that are activated as soon as the device is detached from its USB-C charging dock. The user places the NCD Pulse on top of the loaded portafilter and manually rotates it, the same as one does with a conventional distribution tool. 

espresso bed

Said Montgomery, “We’ve found that it improves sweetness, expression of acidity and can reduce dry or astringent flavor qualities.”

Users can adjust the depth of the blades, as well as the degree of vibration power. Yet, even at its highest setting, the device remains tuned to avoid over-stratification of particles in the bed. 

“Importantly, the vibration settings are quite low,” said Montgomery. “We’ve found that high vibrations can actually have a negative effect on the coffee, as it encourages the ‘fines’ to move to the bottom of a portafilter, which can possibly highlight negative qualities in coffee during extraction.”

NCD Pulse + Charger – Top

A bed of coffee in a portafilter basket. Daily Coffee News photo.

An offshoot of Australia’s Ona Coffee, Canberra-based Nucleus Coffee Tools was founded by 2015 World Barista Champion Sasa Sestic. 

Montgomery said Nucleus aims to complete its first production of the NCD Pulse sometime between September and November 2024. Sales in the United States will begin through the online store of distribution partner Bombora Coffee Supplies while expanding to Amazon and and other resellers, according to the company. 

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