Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Questions and Answers
Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
Espresso Makers
Premium stovetop espresso makers, electric moka pots, machines & accessories.
www.espressozone.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Tamper...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 3 last page next page
Author Messages
JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 10:34pm
Subject: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

So the subject kinda explains my question, but I'm finding that there are many different style bases for tampers.  Flat and convex, semi-flat and with serrated bases.  What are some of the differences? What do most people use?

I'm grinding with a Baratza Vario and brewing with a non-pid Silvia.

In addition, I'm looking to buy a new tamper for my stock Silvia baskets.  Obviously these are 58mm baskets, but some of the tampers I'm considering offer base sizes in mm increments like 58.3, etc...  Has anyone found that a slightly larger than 58mm tamper for Silvia baskets offers a tamp that gets even closer to the edge? I've been getting really bad channeling all around the edges...
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
shawndo
Senior Member
shawndo
Joined: 5 Jan 2010
Posts: 106
Location: NYC
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: LM Shot Brewer
Grinder: VL M3/Compak K10 Pro
Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:24pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

The 58.3-58.4 tampers are typically targeted towards the VST baskets.  I wouldn't worry about those unless you also got some VST baskets.  
For your stock Silvia, just get any tamper labeled as "58mm" and it will be fine.

There are 3 main types of tampers.  Flat, US curve (slight curve), Euro curve (deeper curve).  The other variations are typically the options offered by Reg Barber.   More info on the FAQ here: Click Here (www.coffeetamper.com)

For the most part, this is all personal preference.  
IF you are using VST baskets, a flat one is preferred.  It supposedly related to the fact that the holes go closer to the edges than normal baskets.  There is a measurable extraction difference and the flat one is best for VST baskets in my experience.  (I didn't believe it before, but verified it myself with a refractometer)

The curves make the shot look nicer (if you are using a bottomless portafilter) and supposedly helps to compress the edges against the side of the basket.  It will reduce the chances of a doughnut extraction if you are having that problem.

In the end, unless you are using a VST basket, you should be good with anything that fits the basket. I wouldn't worry about .2mm.

I have one of each and use a flat 58.4mm tamper with VST baskets (which I think is what most people end up doing) and a euro-curve with non-vst's, just because i like how it looks

shawndo: 20130217-IMG_0321-1.jpg
(Click for larger image)
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014, 11:42pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

58.3 is for VST and Strada baskets only.  They won't fit in your Silvia's stock Rancilio basket.  
Speaking of which dump the stock, sloped-sided basket in favor of anything straight sided; preferably a straight sided 18g VST or Strada.  I'm not a Sivlia guy, but IIRC the VSTs are supposed to work slightly better for them than the Stradas.  

Some experienced baristas think different bottom shapes make a significant difference.  Most feel that they make either no difference or a slight difference at most.

I only use Strada baskets, and have five different tampers.  Only one of the tampers is 58.3, and it happens to be serrated flat.  Three of the others are 58 flats, one is a 58 Euro curve, and the other a 58 American curved.  All have smooth bottoms.  

They all tamp the same.  I most often use the 58.3 because the handle is not only especially comfortable but is a re-purposed eight-ball made by Coffee Complements.  I like the tamper because the eight-ball is extremely comfortable, and looks cool; it weighs right; and the serrated base leaves a very cool (but not particularly useful) impression on the puck's surface.  The perfect fit in the basket isn't nearly as important as the perfect fit in my (large) hand.  

My second favorite is a stainless, Concept Art Technic (it clicks at a user selectable force) which I also like, not because of its dynamic measuring, but because it's comfortable, weighs right, and looks cool.  

The answer to your next question is:  The least expensive, quality tampers are made by Rattleware.  Recommended.

Coffee Complements' tampers are very high value, I recommend you look at their site to gain a good idea of what's available for (fairly) reasonable money.  Recommended.

Concept Art is luxe German stuff.  Three of my tampers are CAs, and so are a lot of my other accessories.  Great if you can afford it.

Caffelat is good stuff, not cheap but not crazy expensive either.  At least look.  

Reg Barber tampers are marvelously well made, but expensive -- even compared to Concept Art.  Again, look.

The most important considerations regarding tampers are enough weight to feel substantial, and a very comfortable fit in your hand.  Keep collecting tampers until you find something which you like and which works.

Cool counts,
BDL
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 8:43am
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

boar_d_laze Said:

Cool counts,
BDL

Posted January 7, 2014 link

+1

Wiser words have never been said.  

So...since the 58mm is going to be the way for me to go, how can I reduce and eliminate side channeling??  At first I was just doing a regular tamp, and found I had ground coffee "climbing" up the side of my basket, whichI thought was no problem.  As I read a little more I found that I was getting a ton of channeling on the sides, so now I'm trying a light tamp around the edges to push the coffee of the walls of the basket before doing my final 30 lbs pound, but this seems to only make it worse...
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
kolu
Senior Member
kolu
Joined: 28 May 2013
Posts: 20
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Faema Ariete 2G
Grinder: Mazzer SJ, Macap M4D
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 9:07am
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

boar_d_laze Said:

58.3 is for VST and Strada baskets only.  They won't fit in your Silvia's stock Rancilio basket.

Posted January 7, 2014 link

That's interesting since my Cafelat Drop 58,38 mm flat-base tamper fitted neatly into all baskets which we had at my last workplace (2Gr Promac Green ME - the same hardware as Rancilio machines with the same baskets).


Get a calipers and measure your basket. I hate small tampers (e.g. Motta 58 which is 57,5 mm actually) with lots of space around - they are uncomfortable and promotes side chanelling around the walls of baskets. Get a big one or at least one that will fit without wobbling.

I also can't recommend Concept-Art Technic tampers because they have small bases and since you can't feel the ridge of tamper and basket by fingers at the same time there's a bigger probability of unlevel tamp (which is the most common fault at all after bad distribution).
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

It's hard to tell what's going on without seeing it, but either your tamper is not a 58mm, or -- far more likely -- you're not tamping level.

  1. A level puck surface is even more important than consistent pressure; and  
  2. Consistent pressure is very important for... well... consistency.


As long as your tamper isn't way too small for the basket, NEWS and/or "nutation," should get enough force on the edge to do as much sealing is necessary to prevent leakage at the edge.    

There are a few ways to level the puck. For instance, if your tamper has a tall handle, you can simply look at it.  I find it easiest to use the tips of my fingers to feel the basket on the outside of the puck.  No matter what you do, ALWAYS check for level between tamping and locking in.

The 30lb tamp used to be something everyone simply HAD to master.  Actually, anything from around 15 to 45 works about as well.  Just be (wait for it) consistent.  

The height of the coffee column is one of the critical parameters in espresso.  Even compared to other machines, Silvias are very cranky when it comes to head space.  Head space is a function of dose, grind and tamp.

It's going to take some playing around.  You'll find that the nickel and dime tests help, but each time you adjust dose based on head-space, you'll have to adjust grind to get good flow -- and that means starting over.  It takes a lot of iterations for people just starting out to get control of the interdynamics -- but just stick with it.  

BDL
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,744
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, 2 Macap M4s, OE...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 12:22pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

boar_d_laze Said:

It's hard to tell what's going on without seeing it, but either your tamper is not a 58mm, or -- far more likely -- you're not tamping level.

A level puck surface is even more important than consistent pressure; and  
Consistent pressure is very important for... well... consistency.


As long as your tamper isn't way too small for the basket, NEWS and/or "nutation," should get enough force on the edge to do as much sealing is necessary to prevent leakage at the edge.    

There are a few ways to level the puck. For instance, if your tamper has a tall handle, you can simply look at it.  I find it easiest to use the tips of my fingers to feel the basket on the outside of the puck.  No matter what you do, ALWAYS check for level between tamping and locking in.

The 30lb tamp used to be something everyone simply HAD to master.  Actually, anything from around 15 to 45 works about as well.  Just be (wait for it) consistent.  

The height of the coffee column is one of the critical parameters in espresso.  Even compared to other machines, Silvias are very cranky when it comes to head space.  Head space is a function of dose, grind and tamp.

It's going to take some playing around. You'll find that the nickel and dime tests help, but each time you adjust dose based on head-space, you'll have to adjust grind to get good flow -- and that means starting over.  It takes a lot of iterations for people just starting out to get control of the interdynamics -- but just stick with it.  

BDL

Posted January 8, 2014 link

+1.  this is great advice.

I also agree, the tamper surface doesn't seem to matter much, except with VST or Strada baskets. I've also done my own tests over time and have come to favor the flat base for my Strada baskets. I got my Strada baskets long before I got my Duetto, which means I used them in my Silvia for at least a couple of years. I recommend them (or VSTs, since they are nearly identical...as far as I could determine through reading a LOT of posts about both brands here and on Home-Barista).

In case you didn't see it, I sent you another place to check out (Precision Tamper Maker) via pm. That one or any of the above recommendations in this thread should serve you well.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 3:07pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

Yes, I did see what you sent me, they have so many different options that's sort of what spurred this topic.  But thanks for all the feedback...I'll let everyone know what I decide on soon enough!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 736
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 3:51pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

kolu Said:

That's interesting since my Cafelat Drop 58,38 mm flat-base tamper fitted neatly into all baskets which we had at my last workplace (2Gr Promac Green ME - the same hardware as Rancilio machines with the same baskets).

Posted January 8, 2014 link

Interesting indeed.  The VST/Strada baskets are a little bit wider than most, and the larger tamper size used to be considered something of a big deal.  Personally, I don't think they make much difference.  

Get a calipers and measure your basket.

Expensive advice.

I hate small tampers (e.g. Motta 58 which is 57,5 mm actually) with lots of space around - they are uncomfortable and promotes side chanelling around the walls of baskets. Get a big one or at least one that will fit without wobbling.

A good fit is important.  But most of us find that a perfect fit is unnecessary.   The tamper doesn't need to contact the walls to create a good seal; "close enough," is close enough if the tamper is a little too small, but there's no such thing as a little too big.  Too big is too big, period.  For baskets with a ridge line, or sloped sides, it's important to get a tamper small enough to fit deeply enough to get a good tamp.  

Not all tampers will work with all baskets, but most 58s are the right size for stock Rancilio baskets, while most VST/Strada specfic tampers won't get deep enough because of the baskets' slope.  Nevertheless, my suggestion is to rely on your experience more than on what anyone says.  If the tamper fits, is comfortable, and you like it... there's not much more to it.

I also can't recommend Concept-Art Technic tampers because they have small bases and since you can't feel the ridge of tamper and basket by fingers at the same time there's a bigger probability of unlevel tamp (which is the most common fault at all after bad distribution).

In the first place, I didn't recommend the Technic for its utility, I merely said I liked the way it looked and its comfort.  

Second:  Concept Art Technic handles will accept any Concept Art base, including the thick ones with the rubber ring.  

Third:  I have no problem getting a level tamp with my Technic.  Nothing personal, but you have a technique problem and may want to look at what you're doing, as well as feeling for level.  The handle is tall enough that if it's pretty obvious when it's out of perpendicular.  That said, you should go with works for you, and if the Technic presents a problem you should stay away.  But don't overgeneralize your own experience.  

Forth and Finally:  No one's perfect, least of all me -- everyone tamps out of level now and then.  ALWAYS CHECK the top of the puck for level after tamping, and re-tamp if necessary.  

Now I want another tamper,
BDL
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
jwoodyu
Senior Member
jwoodyu
Joined: 31 Dec 2010
Posts: 841
Location: Michigan
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Allex Duetto II
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Roaster: Poppery
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 4:45pm
Subject: Re: Tamper question...Convex vs. Flat
 

boar_d_laze Said:

ALWAYS CHECK the top of the puck for level after tamping, and re-tamp if necessary.  

Now I want another tamper,
BDL

Posted January 8, 2014 link

+1 This is why I REALLY like the Reg Barber short Bubinga handle due to my smallish hands. The short handle allows me to basically palm the tamper my fingers check the top of  the base and edge of the basket for level. I still blow it from time to time but way less frequently with the shorter handle.

I am a weirds ball I suppose because i use a 58.3 Reg Barber C-Flat with my VST baskets rather than a plain Flat. For me and my set up I get only the very occasional sprite using a C-Flat. You say "tomato", I say "Solanum lycopersicum" and consistency is were it is at.

 
Yes I put the BDB and CC1 in the same class, yes i have a reason for leaving SCG off my list, yes it is my opinion, yes it is subjective as opinions are by definition, no don't start a flame war because you disagree.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 3 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Tamper...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Learn @seattlecoffeegear
Learn all about coffee, watch videos, read how-to articles.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.341850042343)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+