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A Tale of Five Tampers by Mark Prince
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champignon
Senior Member
champignon
Joined: 2 Jun 2002
Posts: 119
Location: Ketchum
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali Jr. DT/1 Rotary;...
Grinder: 2 Cimbali Jr. Grinders; 1...
Vac Pot: Hario Deco 3; Hario Deco 5;...
Drip: Melita cone, used during...
Roaster: 1lb Gas Fired Drum Sample...
Posted Sun Jun 2, 2002, 9:00am
Subject: Heavy SS Tamper for smaller PF lip
 

Great article, Mark.

Which would you suggest if one's PF basket won't quite accomodate a 58 mm SS EPNW?  My Cimbali is somewheres between 56 and 57 mm.  It seems to me that the Reg Barber SS Convex could be used, and then knocking the PF with the same SS end used for tamping.  Presumably the SS would be harder than aluminum and would tolerate this abuse, although it might not be as asthetically pleasing a ritual.  I want to replace my longtime aluminum tamper but await your opinion before parting with $40 US.
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champignon
Senior Member
champignon
Joined: 2 Jun 2002
Posts: 119
Location: Ketchum
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali Jr. DT/1 Rotary;...
Grinder: 2 Cimbali Jr. Grinders; 1...
Vac Pot: Hario Deco 3; Hario Deco 5;...
Drip: Melita cone, used during...
Roaster: 1lb Gas Fired Drum Sample...
Posted Sun Jun 2, 2002, 9:29am
Subject: OOOOOps
 

Sorry, Mark, jRoche addressed the same issue so you can ignore my question.  Thanks
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jroche
Senior Member
jroche
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 24
Location: Piermont, New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, Solis SL90
Grinder: Rocky, Solis 166
Drip: Cone, press pot
Roaster: dead dead dead
Posted Sun Jun 2, 2002, 2:20pm
Subject: abuse
 

FYI, I use the bottom of my reg for the non reverse non flip gravity based tap! no problems, holds up well (stainless version). I think people get used to a certain tamp procedure/style (myself included) and then try to apply the same procedure to every tamper. if it ain't broke...
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champignon
Senior Member
champignon
Joined: 2 Jun 2002
Posts: 119
Location: Ketchum
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali Jr. DT/1 Rotary;...
Grinder: 2 Cimbali Jr. Grinders; 1...
Vac Pot: Hario Deco 3; Hario Deco 5;...
Drip: Melita cone, used during...
Roaster: 1lb Gas Fired Drum Sample...
Posted Sun Jun 2, 2002, 2:39pm
Subject: Tamper Size
 

Thanks for the comment, jroche.  On more accurate measuring I think my PF basket is 58mm, but I'm concerned about tolerances nonetheless.  Thanks.
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jroche
Senior Member
jroche
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 24
Location: Piermont, New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, Solis SL90
Grinder: Rocky, Solis 166
Drip: Cone, press pot
Roaster: dead dead dead
Posted Sun Jun 2, 2002, 2:48pm
Subject: reg tamper sizes (for champigon)
 

FYI, they can be custom order in any size (48mm to 58mm) from reg as per his website. So you could get 57 or what have you.
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Tue Jun 4, 2002, 2:27pm
Subject: More commentary
 

A couple of points I want to raise here.

First, I do completely understand that the RegBarber tampers have their fans, and it is very justified. With the exception of the logo stencil issue, they are flawless works of art.

Second, no, I didn't have a rounded RegBarber. If I did would it have changed my evaluation? Probably not, because in the end, the more balanced weight of the EPNW all steel tamper was (and is) the kicker for me - I do the flip around knock (I knock with the handle knob), and for me, that made all the difference over the bottom-heavy Reg.

Again, I want to stress this article isn't meant to be the be-all end all review of tampers. It's one person's opinion, very unscientific, very much a subjective thing. I guess the only reason why I put it online in the first place is I was able to do what most of our readers can't - do a fair and lengthy evaluation of five $$$ tampers in the home. Most people think spending the $$$ on one tamper is more than sufficient, and probably wouldn't spend the $170 or so it would cost to do this evaluation, so I wanted to put the word out. If anyone can get ahold of all these different tampers (and others) and do a side by side, I'd more than welcome the commentary, maybe even as a followup to this article.
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Tue Jun 4, 2002, 2:30pm
Subject: Champignon Followup
 

I think Terry does custom sizes on the tamper. When I mentioned the 49mm (Pavoni, Elektra) and the 53mm (Solis) he said not a problem. He even sent me a 53mm alum version for the SL70 review I'm doing.
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jroche
Senior Member
jroche
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 24
Location: Piermont, New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Silvia, Solis SL90
Grinder: Rocky, Solis 166
Drip: Cone, press pot
Roaster: dead dead dead
Posted Fri Jun 7, 2002, 2:36am
Subject: balance
 

Mark, my only point was you seem to take points away from the Reg for being "unbalanced" as it applies to the reverse flip procedure when it seems to me the reg was clearly not designed with a reverse flip in mind.

It my book, it pretty much comes down to whether one favors wood or metal, flat or rounded, and ones tamping technique.

Also, oddly enough, you didn't comment as to if you felt any of these made any difference in the quality of the shot. I'm assuming they do not and its only a question of personal style, technique, etc.
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MarkPrince
Moderator


Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,628
Location: Vancouver, BC
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: KvdW Speedster
Grinder: Versalab M3 Grinder
Vac Pot: A bit too many
Drip: Bonavita
Roaster: Hario Glass Retro Roaster
Posted Mon Jun 10, 2002, 12:21am
Subject: Personal style
 

That's just it John - personal style is paramount here :)

As for the reverse flip, that's how I was trained on it, that's how two of the top trainers I know train for it (and one of them uses a Reg in his training, though he was lusting the steel EPNW one when I showed it to him yesterday), and that's how Schomer shows it.

Not to say that it isn't the be all, end all way to add the panache to tamping. However, I will say this - the EPNW is equally adept at the reverse flip knock or the non-reverse knock, so that scores one in the favour of the one I've chosen.

With regards to difference in quality of the shot, that's not the point here (I think). The point with a $35, $40, $45 tamper is that a) you feel comfortable with it, and b) you're happy with the purchase, c) it is made well, and d) it does the job. If you're comfortable with it, your shots are just going to be naturally better, right, cuz the experience is BAM, the intuitiveness of using it is BAM, etc etc - would you agree?

All I know is even though I was trained on the reverse flip, I still think there's room for improvement in everyones' tamping method.

I had another thought recently too - there's all this discussion about flat vs. curved tampers. Has anyone ever tried to make a kind of hybrid tamper - flat bottom, rounded edge? Is there even a reason to do so?

Mark
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JuliaSommer
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Aug 2004
Posts: 1
Location: NYC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Aug 23, 2004, 8:22pm
Subject: Re: A Tale of Five Tampers by Mark Prince
 

I appreciated your review.  I just ordered the EPNW all steel tamper based on what you said.  I am basically fumbling my way through my new espresso maker and it occurred to me this morning that tamping may be a key to my problem.  After reading a bit on the internet at coffeeresearch.org I was convinced that it is my biggest problem (using the plastic tamper that is part of my machine!) and not even knowing that I needed 30 lbs of pressure.
So then - what tamper to buy.  I came across your article on tampers and the decision was made.  I've actually come across your site a few times in other searches - so decided it was time to become a member.

Re the "hybrid" tamper it would be interesting to see.  Is anyone doing that yet?

Thanks!
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