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Thread: Espro semi-automatic tamper

  1. #1
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    Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi

    Am new to this forum. The Espro tamper is now being distributed in Australia, but at almost A$140, are they really worth it? Has anyone had any experience using this style of tamper and can advise as to its pros and cons. Are they user friendly. Looking at it more as a training tool.
    Have read lots of fantastic reviews on the Greg Pullman tampers, but how do they differ from the plain s/steel ones that you can buy from various outlets at about $28 to $50.
    By the way, looking for tampers suitable for commercial cafes as against home use.
    Thank you.

    SC

  2. #2
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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    I bought a plain steel one around Xmas and found that the shape of the handle doesnt fit very well in my palm. Its too square at the end and not vey comfortable. I wouldnt want to use it 8 hours on end 5 days a week. A rounded end handle like a Pullman or the Espro would be better Id reckon.

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Hi SC,

    Before giving you an explanation, I should make clear my involvement in getting Espros into Australia.

    I first used an Espro tamper about halfway through last year at Australian Barista Champion Hazel De Los Reyes roastery (Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville, Sydney). Like many of us, I had seen the ads online, heard that Hazel had used one in the Australian Barista Champs and was quite keen to try one. I found that, like Matt said, it was very comfortable to use, was made with high quality materials and that the "click" didnt interfere with my routine at all. It doesnt actually click, but, instead, the handle slides down to touch the base - there is no audible noise. At this point, a bathroom scale will consistently read between 14 and 15kg (30lb). You can easily apply more pressure beyond this point or stop beforehand.

    When I got back to Melbourne, I was working at Cafe Maltitude, before it changed hands. One thing that I found really frustrating was that Andrew and Marika would never dose and tamp the same, which meant that I had no idea what the grind would be like when I walked up to the machine. Sometimes it would be fine as anything and we would have to dose down and apply a featherlight tamp. Other times, the correct procedure would be to updose the living crap out of the baskets and to put our whole bodyweight on the tamper. Working it out would mean that I would always have to throw out a few shots when I got up to the machine, hence my reputation as the slow one at Maltitude. To Andrew and Marikas credit, they were always on top of it and constantly serving great coffee. But if they had not been two of the best baristi in Melbourne, the lack of standardisation would have made everything really inconsistent. It was obvious to me that standardising process is the way to go in any environment that seeks to employ more than one barista, but I didnt really have anything useful to do with that information until ...

    ... flash forward to this year. A friend of mine with a cafe asked me to try to source some domestic machine products for him. I knew that I liked the Espro tampers, so I contacted Espro and got a price list from them. Unfortunately, the tampers are manufactured in (relatively) small lots in Canada and would seem to be a lot more difficult to manufacture than your standard tamper, on account of the click mechanism. On top of that, Espro have a rather comprehensive policy on defects that presumably costs them an arm and a leg. And dont get started with me on international shipping ... It turned out that they were simply too expensive to get small amounts in. Later this year, though, I started hanging out with the guys at Veneziano and it turned out that they were also on the lookout for something to help their accounts maintain a consistent and high quality. They were able to order a large enough volume to get them in at affordable prices, at least from a commercial operators point of view, which is where I see them having the most application. (No, I dont get a kickback!)


    Many people see them and think of these tampers as training tools, but tamp pressure varies even with the best of baristi - get the old bathroom scales out and find out for yourself. Note the numbers, then come back a week and a month later and see what you get. In a commercial setting, I would be using them to ensure consistency between baristi. (Although if volume were really high Id be tempted to buy a La Marzocco Swift instead) At home, with only one person using the machine, its less of an issue ... but I must admit that my Espro tamper has displaced my Pullman tamper.

    Also, I should mention that RSI was a big consideration for Espro when designing them. There is a bit of sentiment that 30lbs is not the holy grail of force to be applied when tamping. Personally, I think that the actual force applied doesnt matter, as long as it is consistently applied each time. 30lb is a good amount; it is enough to compress the coffee puck evenly, but is much more low-impact on the barista than trying to elephant-stomp each time.

    My pullman tamper is a true work of art. I have the chequerboard handled one and had the base custom-measured to fit one of the baskets that we used at Maltitude. I found that this made tamping a little neater, but only with the basket that I had it fitted to; others, including my home one, were larger. If you do decide to go with GPs, Id want to make sure that I bought a stack of the same baskets and sent one over for Greg to measure. In terms of ergonomics, Ive got to say that the GP isnt as good as the Regs. In part, this is due to the sloping base on the RBs, which enables people with different sized hands to use them equally comfortably.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Luca

    Thanks for your reply...exactly what I was looking for and extremely helpful. Re your comment about ergonomics of Pullman tamper, was thinking that myself. I have a small/petite hand and wondering if the handle with the big knob at the end might become uncomfortable after extended use.

    Any female users out there who might shed light on this??

    Regards

    SC :) :)

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Ive got an Espro. I havent used it for months *:(

    I see it as an excellent tool for your average cafe but at home I have drifted away from using it, no particular reason, I guess I just like my Reg Barber more...?

    Back to the cafe thing. Countless times Ive been waiting for my coffee and watched the person behind the counter apply very little pressure to the coffee whilst tamping. Nothing meant by it but, usually the 16 year old girls working at franchise places are the greatest offenders when it comes to lack of tamping pressure. This is where the Espro could come to the rescue. It is idiot proof in terms of repeatability. I suppose you could overshoot the pressure but at least you would maintain a minimum pressure used.

    I guess that puts me in the Excellent Training Tool camp.

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Framey

    Tks for your input. Convinced now to purchase espro for cafe because at the end of the day looking for consistency first and foremost.
    Have read previous threads re Pullman vs Barber tamper, but think that they both have pros and cons. Pullman tamper will be made to fit PF exactly, but think Barber handle may be more suitable for someone with a small hand. What the heck...may just get both for no other reason than to pretend to look like a real coffeesnob!!
    May I ask where would be the best site to purchase Barber tamper from and how long it took to send. Much appreciated.

    SC

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Re your comments above on *non local VS local made tampers / have you considered asking the local bloke (Pullman) if he will make a handle that would suit your requirements better?

    Surely if he is prepared to custom turn the tamping face to suit different size filters, he would be prepared to do the same with the handle....

    Supporting local enterprise wherever possible,
    Regardz,
    FC.

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Hi Atillio,

    Greg actually outsources the handles; he has a local wood turner make them, but Greg has a steel lathe to turn the bases on. My current tamper is actually the result of three trips back and forward between Greg and I. I must say that Greg has been exceptionally helpful and responsive to suggestions; I suggested that the handle was too long, so it has been shortened. Greg Kaan and I wanted engraved lines on the side to gauge whether the tamp is level, he delivered them. The bevel on the edge? Again, delivered. Im sure that Greg could even organise to send you a tamper with a handle that you could organise to have cut to length locally. But, to be fair, I cant see one of Gregs tampers ever being as accomodating of different sized hands as a Reg Barber. Gregs tampers are best in the situation where only one person will use them and that person is prepared to customise them to fit his or her baskets and hand.

    In terms of durability, we had Gregs tampers at Maltitude, Andrew still has his at his new cafe and mine is going strong after a few years. The only problem with them, to my mind, is - still - ergonomics over multiple different users.

    One of the reasons why I am using the Espro is because it is the most comfortable to my small hands ... probably a big factor in Hazels decision to use it. I suspect that it might not be as good for people with truly massive hands.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    I bought my Reg Barber tamper through the Canadian website http://www.coffeetamper.com/english/index.php
    Not that it really matters but that is where he is based. The exchange rates are reasonably close also.

    I bought the powder coated aluminium handle with the flat stainless base. They do seem to have a wide variety of handle sizes, and materials for that matter.

    There was a link to an Australian distributor http://www.cafemobile.com.au/

    You could try contacting Pullman tampers and ask if they will customise a handle for you. I like to buy locally if possible. Ive got about 5 tampers and at least one is locally made *:)


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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Ok Ill bite. What is an Espro semi-automatic tamper? :-? Anyone got a pitcha?

    Boris

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper


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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Its a sort of up and down version of a torque wrench, except you have to stop exerting force when the tamper clicks into gear.

    Robusto

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    I know a guy who got his own handle made and just ordered the base of the pullman tamp. I guess if you could get a handle turned that suits your hands, GP would make you a base ...

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1142311449/0#11 date=1142974332
    Its a sort of up and down version of a torque wrench, except you have to stop exerting force when the tamper clicks into gear.
    mmm ... not really true. Once the handle slides into contact with the base, you can continue to apply force beyond 30lb.

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    I used one once. This one cost $700.

    They work really well. It was like some sort of spring loaded press and the pressure was adjustable.

    It is totally consistent and an obsessive/compulsives wet dream I would think.

    :)

    Grant

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    That $700 beauty was probably the semi-automatic constant pressure tamp thats made by MACAP. Dont know if they are distributed in Australia, but Ive seen one in action at Michels Patisseries franchisee store of the year 2006 (downtown Forestville). Lots of young staff making consistent coffee with no problem. In this scenario would definitely be worth the investment, but a bit of overkill for home use.
    As for obsessive/compulsive....that probably applies to the majority of us on this site ;) ;)

  17. #17
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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    I think my wet dreams come at a far lower cost!

    Robusto

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    Re: Espro semi-automatic tamper

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Hi all,

    Pullman tampers are an ever-evolving thing. Since the first one was produced there have been at least four changes to major specifications to improve its look and function, based principally on valuable customer feedback from forums such as these, and through direct contact. The only way I can continue to make the tampers you guys want is if you tell me what works and what doesnt. That being the case, I always welcome comments to help improve the tampers. Far be it from me to stifle free speech, but I cant fix a problem (perceived or actual) unless someone tells me about it first; so if you have ideas by all means let me know at enquiries@coffeetamper.com.au. Nothing worse than being the one who can fix a problem but no-one tells you about it! :( I havent had any feedback in the past about the ergonomics, but if you feel theres something which can be improved, by all means tell me your ideas. Specifics are better than a general A is better than B.

    Yes the handles are manufactured by a specialist wood turner, but individual needs can certainly be catered for. Its impractical to stock several subtle variations of several different handle styles, so if you want a handle thats bigger or smaller, or longer or shorter than the standard size, *just ask*. Again, I cant give you what you want if you dont tell me what you want. As far as the woodwork itself goes, for those who dont know, a metal lathe is just like a wood lathe, except about 10 times stronger and more accurate, so I certainly have the facilities for inhouse wood turning, and this is already done quite frequently.

    When tampers are individually made, rather than mass-produced as with some other products, whatever you need can generally be catered for. This is distinct from the this is our tamper, take it or leave it which is unavoidable in mass-production.

    There are some variations in the size of commercial filter baskets. If you want something custom-made to a specific basket size, this can be done, as Luca eluded to. If you want something which is likely to fit most other baskets you come into contact with, again this can be done. You just have to, guess what, ask.

    This may be stating the obvious, but if you want a tamper made to fit a specific basket, its made to fit that specific basket. If you have a tamper made to fit a 57mm basket, its not really fair to then complain that it doesnt fit a 58mm basket; much like complaining that your Pavoni portafilter doesnt fit your Giotto, or that a Falcon oil filter wont fit your Commodore. Its quite likely that it may well fit other size baskets, but this cannot be guaranteed if you request a specific fit. By contrast, many of the mass-produced tampers, including the subject of this thread, just provide a ballpark size or two, regardless of the size of your basket. A general size can of course be supplied easily and is done in about 50% of cases; but the capacity is there to cater for specific sizing if you want.


    Hopefully this has cleared up some confusion with what can and cant be done. At the end of the day its entirely the individuals decision what equipment they choose; but at least youll now be equipped with the correct information; and if theres anything youre unclear about, or something you want done and are not sure if it can be done, uh, just ask! :)

    Greg



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