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Best tamper for the VST basket?
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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Best tamper for...  
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Bman
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Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 258
Location: Johnstown, PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Anita
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
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Roaster: I-Roast, Behmor 1600
Posted Sat Feb 22, 2014, 8:31pm
Subject: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

Hi All, I am not sure where to post this question, but I am going to buy an 18 gram VST basket for my Anita.  What is the best tamper for this basket, which is like 58.4mm?  Should I get a new tamper as my current one is 58mm.  I see they do sell the 58.4 ones.  Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
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Location: Germany
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Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 8:06am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

Before ordering a new tamper, I'd wait and see how your old 58 mm tamper performs with the VST basket. A little clearance (after all we're talking about 0.2 mm to each side) probably won't matter all that much.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
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Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 8:59am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

+1 to Nobby's reply.

If you find you still want a new tamper, any 58.35mm base will do fine.  There are several manufacturers that make 58.35mm tampers...and anyone making a tamper with that accuracy is going to be high quality.  To name a few...Cafelat, Reg Barber, Precision Coffee Tampers/Coffee Complements. You didn't say, but perhaps your current tamper has a removable base and you can order a new one?  Most people have come to the conclusion that VST baskets do best with a flat base surface.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Mon Feb 24, 2014, 9:26am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

A tamper which actually fits your basket is a good thing.

Don't rely too heavily on nominal diameters.  Some "standard" 58mm tampers are actually on the small side and problematic with VST/Strada baskets.  For instance, Motta tampers. Some 58s are just fine.

My experience with my VSTs and Stradas is that the specialty size tampers do a better job of sealing around the edge, without causing you to "nutate," use NWSE, or otherwise focus on it.  By way of a few specific examples: my 58mm Rattleware tamper is a bit too loose; my two 58mm Coffee Concept bases are okay, but marginal; while my 58.2 mm Butterfly, 58.35 Reg Barber, 58.35 Coffee Complements, and 58.4mm Coffee Complements are each perfect.  

58.35mm has a real ring to it, but there are quite a few makers who make oversize 58s with some other number attached which are perfectly snug fits.  For instance, the 58.2mm "Butterfly Tamper" seals the edges as well as my 58.4 Coffee Complements "Tamper for Billiards Lovers."  But now Coffee Complements (different website but same company, same tampers, same prices as Precision Tampers on e-bay), also lists 58.35 as a size which can be ordered. Does Hai Pham, the machinist/owner, set the lathe differently, or are they really both the same diameter? I don't know.

If you see a tamper you like, but aren't sure will fit -- contact the seller.  

VST says "flat base only." But the consensus among those pros I know and who care (which isn't that many), backed up my experience, is that while tampers with deep, "Euro" curved bases cause VST/Strada baskets to spritz and/or side-channel, C-flats and shallow, "American" curves are fine.        

What really matters is getting the voids filled, the edge sealed, the top level, and the pressure -- whether light or heavy -- consistent over the holey part of the basket. Grim, technical, boring stuff, if (heaven forbid!) you stop to think about it.  

Tampers are to grownups who play with espresso equipment what new outfits are to kids who play with Barbie. Fun. Knock yourself out.

Rich
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Bman
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Joined: 28 Jan 2004
Posts: 258
Location: Johnstown, PA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Anita
Grinder: Mazzer Super Jolly
Vac Pot: Nope, Bodum Press
Drip: Not any more
Roaster: I-Roast, Behmor 1600
Posted Wed Feb 26, 2014, 10:45am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

Thanks for the information everybody.  I like the Precision ones on Ebay and may go with the SS base.  The difference does not seem to be very big, so I will be excited to see how it turns out.  Unless someone wants to part with a 58.35 Tamper I will probably order one of those off the bay.....
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eastbaysanfranman
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eastbaysanfranman
Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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Location: east bay area san francisco
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Espresso: Nueva Simmoneli Oscar
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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 4:30am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

I'm really curious as to how the Espro calibrated tamper works with the VST baskets. Anyone?
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coffemurph
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Joined: 21 May 2007
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Location: Lindsay, on. Canada
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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 6:40am
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

RE the Espro it's on the small end of the spectrum. As boar_de-laze posted a big improvement when switching to the recommended size.
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brianl
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 441
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (w/PID)
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Posted Fri Feb 28, 2014, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Best tamper for the VST basket?
 

I'm a big fan of the Cafelat Drop. love me some natural woods. http://www.cafelat.com/tampers.html

Much cheaper, but still high quality, than the alternatives I've seen.
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