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Espresso: Questions and Answers
Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Tamper Base...  
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 528
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013, 6:25am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

emradguy Said:

I would hope everybody does that. Glad to see you do! Chris Nachtrieb demonstrates a nice way to level the tamper while he's demo'ing some of his machines. Check out one or more of his videos. Basically, he extends his fingertips past the tamper base all the way down to the basket lip.

.

Posted July 29, 2013 link

can you send a link to one of his videos that shows this? i looked at a couple and didn't notice it.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,498
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Jul 31, 2013, 8:05am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

]

brianl Said:

can you send a link to one of his videos that shows this? i looked at a couple and didn't notice it.

Posted July 31, 2013 link

I don't know if this is how he does it, but I snapped a quick pic of how I do it. I just use my thumb/index/middle/ring fingers kinda like spread so they touch the tamper base as well as the PF basket edge for my 1st tamp, pretty much always get's it nice and even as you can feel the edge and compensate.

Click Here (i146.photobucket.com)
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 528
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

I had some other questions about tamping because i'm pretty OCD (have a PID for temp, scale for coffee...you get the point).

How did everyone 'learn' to get consistent with with their tamping, whether it's 30lb or pressure or what? I currently use one of the 400lb max bathroom scale but I doubt it's that accurate.

I am considering using the following:

-A 35-55lb max postal scale: I assume the smaller max would make it more accurate than a bathroom scale.
-A espresso parts (SP?) click mat
-A espro calibrated tamper

Does anyone have an opinion on any of these? Additionally, are you supposed to tamp straight to 30lb of pressure or is it best to gradually apply pressure? Or does it not matter? Further, some people don't like to polish the puck after tamping, is there a reason for this because I find that coffee sticks to the tamper surface when i don't. Do you just do a slight turn?

I know that tamping is probably least important but i've ironed out most of the other variables and now it's this.

As for convex or flat. I currently use flat but have considered the less drastic american curve to try out soon after the above is addressed.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,290
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 9:57am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

Hey Brian,

In response to your other question, I have minimal to no access to videos at work, and got interrupted by my 8 month old (he woke from his nap) while looking for Chris' videos.  The one I picture in my mind is actually Chris himself, not one of his employees.  However, the photo CMIN posted pretty much tells the tale on Chris' fingertip technique.

Regarding tamp levelness, I find that if you leave the tamper on after pressing the grounds into a puck and hold it up to eye level, you can see if it's tilted,  rotate the pf while you look, in case it coming toward or away from you on first glance. I learned to do this from Heather Perry of Klatch in her one day barista training course.

Regarding pressure, well, I first tried with a bathroom scale, and found I couldn't really keep it consistent.  Eventually, I got an Espro click tamper (not the mat).  I thought I was doing pretty well until that one day course at Klatch.  Heather had each of us tamp on a bathroom scale and my pressure hit 60#...I was not only shocked, but rather disappointed.  I tried to scale back (pardon the pun) my pressure, but eventually settled on trying to feel the resistance when the grounds were compressed and stop right there.  I think I do this pretty consistently now (but who really knows without an accurate strain gauge).  As soon as I feel the grounds compress, I stop pressing and lift the tamper straight up. I follow this with Randy Glass's (frcn) recommendation to do a second light tamp on the loose grounds over the dry puck (in his easy guide article on his website).

I don't tap down on the counter, side tap, twist, WDT, pray, chant, say abracadabra or do anything else to my grounds.  I just fill the basket and then use a basic finger sweep to level the grounds, which I learned from Heather in my Klatch course.  I weigh my grounds occasionally and they are consistent doses and my dry puck also "satisfies" the nickel test. Most importantly, I like the results in the cup and usually know what to do to fix any problems that arise.

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 528
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 10:36am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

thanks for the response!

Just to follow back on the espro, are you saying that it lost it's calibration or was calibrated incorrectly? You were doing 60 instead of the 30 it's supposed to do? This is what i'm afraid of with the espro and the bathroom scale. Partly the reason I want a postal scale...
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,290
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 10:56am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

I think what happened with the Espro tamper is that once it clicks, it doesn't stop you from pushing down, and (IMO) it's hard to stop when you feel the click (or, ie, it's easy to push harder than 30#).  I sold it through the BST forum and the buyer never complained about it, so afaik it was calibrated correctly.

Also imo, I think whatever you end up doing just needs to be the same each time, so that you can focus on other things. For me, it was "easiest" to stop measuring the tamp and learn to feel changes in resistance from the compressed puck.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,498
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Aug 1, 2013, 11:02am
Subject: Re: Tamper Base shape, Convex or Flat
 

Yeh I agree, hard to explain but like emradguy you just kinda learn the feel, I almost bought an Espro tamper but no need for it now. You can basically feel when the puck is compressed and pressing harder/going further will be useless. BTW I got 1 spritz this morning lol, my 1st one all week. Maybe try grinding tighter and play around, wdt, don't wdt, just dose and tamp... whatever. might find something that works for you. But really, it's just practice. You'll always get a sprtiz here or there even on a high end $$$ grinder, but if your getting like multiple crazy spritz's on every shot like your saying that's more so "human error" per say ;) lol. You'll get the hang of it, took me like a month to really nail down pulling shots. And you have the Vario, which though I like my Preciso, the Vario is a far better espresso grinder.

I was trying to take a vid of the process and even to show that 16g is almost level with the top of my CC1 double, 18g goes above. I don't even finger swipe or anything, just dose, wdt, tamp, pull shot. I've not wdt and it was fine but would see more issues sometimes and just keep doing it out of habit anyway. Too hard to get a vid though with my cell and prepping shots at the same time though lol
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