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Thread: Your favourite shape of tamper base

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    Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    The flat vs convex base debate will one which will probably rage forever, and copious threads are host to the arguments back and forth. Regardless of your reasons, my question here is simply: "Which do you prefer?". Of course if you want to provide your reasons too thats fine, but Im more just wondering what the general consensus is.

    To define the less well-known options:

    * Concave base - thats where the curve is cut into the tamper base rather than protruding from it. There arent too many people producing these but there are a few out there.

    * C-Curve - this is a flat or slightly convex base that has a chamfer taken away from the edge of the base. Similar idea as the top of the unit on my avatar, but on the base instead of on the top of the tamper

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Ill register my interest now that if you make a convex (US) tamber I will buy it. Although I have a flat, convex (US) and convex (Euro), I cant work out which I like better between the flat and convex (US). Some days I swear on the flat while other days the convex results in better shots.
    What I do like is the feel of your tampers in the hand, so would look forward to a convex shape to compliment the flat I bought from you a few months ago.

    Matt

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Well Matt I suggest you start getting your pennies together, because I may have some good news for you. Watch this space...

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Well Greg,
    I already have one of your tampers (chequered) on my Christmas list. Only been seriously into coffee for about 6 months and I have an Expobar Minore II (about 2-3 months old) and Im using the convex SS tamper that I received with it. Having not used a flat one, I dont know the difference, but looking at the screen on the Minore which is slightly convex, would a slightly convex tamper be best so the coffee "hugs" the screen? Or doesnt it work this way?

    Cheers,
    Jason.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonD link=1161240704/0#3 date=1161262379
    Well Greg,
    I already have one of your tampers (chequered) on my Christmas list. Only been seriously into coffee for about 6 months and I have an Expobar Minore II (about 2-3 months old) and Im using the convex SS tamper that I received with it. Having not used a flat one, I dont know the difference, but looking at the screen on the Minore which is slightly convex, would a slightly convex tamper be best so the coffee "hugs" the screen? Or doesnt it work this way?

    Cheers,
    Jason.
    Hehehe ... better get used to answering questions like this, Greg ;P

    Personally, I dont buy this whole screen shape thing. Ive mostly used machines with a screw holding the shower screen on - convex, if anything - and I seem to keep reaching for the convex tampers. Maybe the idea that convex seals the edges better is right. Maybe convex tampers are better at compensating for the fact that although shower screens can be relatively flat, water distribution along them is not perfect. Maybe its all in the mind. Whatever the reason, I think that all of us prototype testers preferred convex tampers.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Well,

    I can vouch for the performance of Gregs Flat Tamper Bases, having owned three of them (down to two now). There might be something to the very slight Convex Tamper packing the grounds more tightly towards the basket edges but the only way to know if this effect is real or significant is to run a series of tests of sufficient numbers where the only variable is the shape of the Tamper Base. Now thats saying something considering the number of variables involved.

    Maybe something could be set up with a couple of our respected Barista Champions, a panel of tasters and a panel of observers.... all experienced and knowledgeable of course. Doesnt sound like it would be a a simple undertaking but may put the argument to rest once and for all plus focus attention on the criteria which most affect the quality of the shot in the cup. Would also be interesting :),

    Mal.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    It would be really interesting to see a comparrision between the flat and the convex tampers on various machines with various age beans.

    The only decent tamper I have here is a convex one. The showerscreen on my La Cimbali M28 is flat with its screw countersunk so its flush with the screen.

    As long as the beans being used are fresh it works great. However, as the beans age (1-1.5 weeks) channeling along the edge of the basket starts occurring. This happens no matter how hard or precise the tamp is. I wonder if a flat tamper would help prevent this from happening.


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Interesting discussion guys. Well what do you all say? Could we get together a few different machines, with both flat and convex showerscreens, and run the sort of thing Mals suggesting? Id be happy to supply the tampers for the exercise if there were willing baristas and tasters to support it. I know a US site is running a tamper comparsion at present, but the reviews from that seem to be focussing more on the aesthetics and ergonomics of the tamper rather than the results in the cup (though I dont know that was the intention of the organisers).

    Thoughts?

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Well there are American convex and European convex curve profiles so what about an Aussie convex tamper profile then? :D

    What sort of curve would that be (upside down?)

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Can even publish a journal article. Anybody good at scientific writing?

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt G link=1161240704/0#8 date=1161300163
    Well there are American convex and European convex curve profiles so what about an Aussie convex tamper profile then? :D

    What sort of curve would that be (upside down?)

    Very creative, did actually think of using that name since its available but figured two curve profiles is enough, unless people think otherwise. Inverting it would make it a concave tamper! The only one Ive ever seen was at www.espressotamper.com, which looks like its about the size of a golf ball and is operated by the fingers.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1161240704/0#9 date=1161301361
    Can even publish a journal article. Anybody good at scientific writing?
    Will the equipment be available to monitor and record all the different variables to justify the label of Scientific? :-?

    Given the data an article should be relatively easy to write. :)


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Just do some sort of statistical test.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1161240704/0#9 date=1161301361
    Can even publish a journal article. Anybody good at scientific writing?
    Well, Ive had one scientific paper published this year as first author... :P

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    I reckon the motivations there... getting back to Mals post, how about we get something together? How many? Four baristi, four tasters (including some blind tasting), four machines? I imagine thatd be enough variation to show if theres one style which is consistently better than another.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/0#10 date=1161302338
    The only one Ive ever seen was at www.espressotamper.com, which looks like its about the size of a golf ball and is operated by the fingers.
    Oddly enough I would have expected to have seen someone attempt a golf ball divot style base for a tamper by now. I can hear the sales pitch already! "and if you buy in the next 10 minutes, well send you another MagiTamp free of charge. . ." already



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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/0#7 date=1161298779
    Interesting discussion guys. Well what do you all say? Could we get together a few different machines, with both flat and convex showerscreens, and run the sort of thing Mals suggesting? Id be happy to supply the tampers for the exercise if there were willing baristas and tasters to support it. I know a US site is running a tamper comparsion at present, but the reviews from that seem to be focussing more on the aesthetics and ergonomics of the tamper rather than the results in the cup (though I dont know that was the intention of the organisers).

    Thoughts?
    Well, the first thing that you might want to do is to email the prototype testers over here to find out which of them felt that the flat base led to more channelling and which of them didnt like it for other reasons. It wasnt a scientific study, but I think that most, if not all, of us had convex tampers that we were using.

    The detailed study sounds like a great idea. What would be really, really cool is if we could get a hold of one of the perspex pf/basket dealios that Illy are rumored to have! It might be worthwhile checking around to see if someone has already done this sort of study, though - it wouldnt surprise me. I know that Schomer has a bit of writing on the matter ...

    If and when you do the study, I think that yall should make sure that the pump pressures are as identical as possible and use the same basket. Then you can also see if a perfectly fitting tamper is better than an undersized one.

    Does anyone follow the logic on why they reckon concave is the way to go? Looks to me like a statement without even an attempt to support it with facts. Or am I missing something?
    Well, it kinda makes sense, but theyve explained it poorly. I presume that what theyre trying to say is that water does not come out of the shower screen evenly. Unless you have an elektra or some lever machines, if you just go up to it and run a blank shot, youll see that the water comes out towards the middle. So theyre trying to get more coffee in the middle to counter that. The immediate problem that they should have realised is that most of the pressure is going to be applied against the edge, which I would presume is much more likely to lead to channelling because it could separate the puck from the edge of the basket. In comparison, the convexes probably push the puck against the edge. I could write more, but its all tenuous speculation, anyway ;P Personally, I just go with what gets the best in-cup results.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1161240704/15#16 date=1161306270
    I could write more, but its all tenuous speculation, anyway ;P Personally, I just go with what gets the best in-cup results.
    Very true Luca,

    But I guess it is the "speculative" component of the pros and cons of one shape Tamper over another that would be interesting to put to the test, leaving as many of the other variables (as is both possible and practical to do) out of the equation, or at the very least confined within a narrow band of tolerance.... Hence the need for respected high performing Baristi, good quality machines, the same coffee, the same grinder(s), etc etc. Im sure it could be done and if enough samples are processed, meaningful results would filter through to the statistical analysis pros amongst the membership who could then work their magic and produce a meaningful outcome of pre-agreed Key Performance Indicators.

    This would also be a great opportunity for a bunch of CS members to become involved at the prospective venue to both lend a hand and maybe sample some of the efforts of our Barista champions. Wouldnt be a bad promotional event for CoffeeSnobs as a community either.

    This would be worth doing wouldnt it?

    Mal.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Im totally with you Mal. Im sure thered be sufficient CS members to fill all the posts required. Id put my hand up if I was a barista or an espresso expert but Im not going to kid anyone! :)

    Do you reckon we should ask for volunteers or headhunt? I reckon headhunt first if youve got an idea of who you want, Ive certainly got a few names in mind, providing theyre all local to each other.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/15#18 date=1161329488
    Im totally with you Mal. Im sure thered be sufficient CS members to fill all the posts required. Id put my hand up if I was a barista or an espresso expert but Im not going to kid anyone! :)

    Do you reckon we should ask for volunteers or headhunt? I reckon headhunt first if youve got an idea of who you want, Ive certainly got a few names in mind, providing theyre all local to each other.
    I think it will be waaaaaay challenging to get anything useful.....how do we totally eliminate barista dose and tamp variation...i.e the nut on the group handle ;) ;D

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1161240704/15#19 date=1161331434
    I think it will be waaaaaay challenging to get anything useful.....how do we totally eliminate barista dose and tamp variation...i.e the nut on the group handle ;) ;D
    Use a Mahlkoenig K30ES, tamp on a scale.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1161240704/15#19 date=1161331434
    I think it will be waaaaaay challenging to get anything useful.....how do we totally eliminate barista dose and tamp variation...i.e the nut on the group handle ;) ;D
    Weigh the beans, or the grounds (making sure the same amount of time passes between grinding and brewing if weighing the grounds) for each shot and use a clicker handle, an automatic tamper, or as Luca suggested use a scale.

    Other variables that I can think of off the top of my head that you will need to account for are such things as repeatable brewing temp and pressure, repeatable time from brewing to tasting, and repeatable cup temperatures.


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Obviously there are always going to be variations; but as Mal eluded to in his first post on this thread, given sufficient quality of operator, taster and equipment, and a few of each to remove any operator / equipment / taster preferences, any such variables should be eliminated and only the consistent factors were looking for will remain.

    The inevitable variables will affect all shots regardless of tamper type; but if sufficient tests are done then the effect of the tamper profile (if there is any) will become obvious by the end. If its not we can safely say the tamper profile doesnt have any significant effect on the cup. Either way the test will have achieved its purpose.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    If you want to see publication in a Science Journal youll have to show that these variables were taken into consideration and accounted for. If this is not done then its not Science and as such will be rejected by any reputable Scientific Journal.

    Other types of publications would likely publish it, but unless you account for the variables it is by definition not Science and hence not acceptable for publication in a Scientific Journal.


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    I see no reason why the variables shouldnt be accurately documented, and given the effort involved to organise the exercise it would be worth maximising the value of the results. I think the sort of people pulling the shots would be familiar with those variables and how to minimise them. However, having it published as a scientific paper isnt the purpose of the exercise, so if for whatever reason we cant document them well enough to justify science then so be it; Im sure if theres any benefit of one profile above another, it should emerge throughout the test, and as Ive mentioned before, if enough tests are done then any random variables will be cancelled out, leaving just the data were after.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/15#24 date=1161394960
    I see no reason why the variables shouldnt be accurately documented, and given the effort involved to organise the exercise it would be worth maximising the value of the results.
    Indeed Greg. Given the planning that is going into this as well as the quality and type of equipment available and the knowledge and skills of the people involved accounting for those variables should be a relatively easy matter. :)

    ...having it published as a scientific paper isnt the purpose of the exercise, so if for whatever reason we cant document them well enough to justify science then so be it; Im sure if theres any benefit of one profile above another, it should emerge throughout the test, and as Ive mentioned before, if enough tests are done then any random variables will be cancelled out, leaving just the data were after.
    Again agreed. :) Even if theres not enough documentation to satisfy a Scientific Journal (sheer numbers of cups alone could qualify it) the information derived from such a test will be very useful to the CSers of the world. :) :) :)


    I my earlier posts I was in no way poo-pooing the idea of the test, I think its a great idea. I was merely trying to point out what would be needed if it were intended to be used as the basis for publication in a Scientific Journal. :) :) :)


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Geez Java,

    Wed never have guessed ;),

    Mal.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Put it this way, youd need a rather large sample size to cover the assumption of a normal distribution. Id say at least 150.

    And with the amount of different tamper base shapes, youd probably be better off using an ANOVA (analysis of variance), to see if there is a significant difference between the tampers.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Are you putting your hand up as a professional statistician there nunu?

    Mal.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Did stats at uni...Was so much easier when I had Minitab to help me out.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1161240704/15#27 date=1161437277
    Put it this way, youd need a rather large sample size to cover the assumption of a normal distribution. Id say at least 150.
    Indeed Nunu. Which is why I suggested tracking and stablizing the other variables. This would allow you to get scientifically/statisticly valid data from a small number of samples. :)


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonD link=1161240704/0#3 date=1161262379
    Well Greg,
    I already have one of your tampers (chequered) on my Christmas list. Only been seriously into coffee for about 6 months and I have an Expobar Minore II (about 2-3 months old) and Im using the convex SS tamper that I received with it. Having not used a flat one, I dont know the difference, but looking at the screen on the Minore which is slightly convex, would a slightly convex tamper be best so the coffee "hugs" the screen? Or doesnt it work this way?

    Cheers,
    Jason.
    I have one of Gregs flat tampers (redwood) and Ive got to say it is stunning in looks and the base is beautifully machined.
    re convex bases- they are very hard to spin on the compressed coffee, so a light polish is difficult. With Gregs flat one it spins like a top
    Brett

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Recently replaced a convex generic brand s/s tamper, with a flat based Pullman. No comparison, the Pullman wins hands down. The Pullman is a much better fit, diameter wise and Im certain that this contributes to the consistently superior results. But its definately flat base for me.

    Bart.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Soooo, do we have a consensus on the shootout???? Mal, Javaphile, nunu, JavaB?

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/30#33 date=1161562372
    Soooo, do we have a consensus on the shootout???? Mal, Javaphile, nunu, JavaB?
    Hhhhmmmm....A consensus on exactly what? That itd be a good idea to do? I think were all agreed on that. :)


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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1161240704/30#34 date=1161567902
    Hhhhmmmm....A consensus on exactly what? That itd be a good idea to do? I think were all agreed on that. :)
    Java "Hhhmmm....More Data!" phile
    Yep, I agree that we should agree....

    I guess that means Ive seconded whatever we have agreed to - but Im not sure what that is either :-/

    I must be "in training" for a career in politics ;D

    To quote the master

    Java" I used to think I was undecided - now Im not so sure"B

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Yep,

    Me too. I guess the next step is to establish the KPIs and how these will be measured and correlated. People with far greater knowledge and experience than I in the art and science of espresso would need to be involved in establishing these. I would imagine that reputable professionals would be the obvious choice for this role, as baristi, tasters, etc. Probably will also need someone to work with them to identify how the essential KPIs can be measured, recorded then correlated for later examination and comparison.

    I guess a suitable location will also need to be decided upon as well, as in order to be able to get all the people together with equipment and logging hardware, etc a location that is central to all concerned is pretty well essential..... Unfortunately, I dont think Warwick quite qualifies for this role ;). There also needs to be someone standing in the role as coordinator who can make sure that everything gets pulled together in a timely and efficient manner and by necessity, I guess that person would need to be handy to the ultimate location selected.

    Hmmm, starting to sound like the beginnings of a not insignificant project, hey what ;)?

    Mal.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Obviously data collection needs to be in one location, but once collected, the statistical analyses can be conducted off-site.

    As we do have a large range of disciplines with site sponsors, I think their expertise might be beneficial to our study as well, not to mention their facilities.

    I would also prefer a large sample size, opposed to utilising standardised data. While applying the standard normal distribution might be applicable, you get a better representation of the entire population with large sample sizes. Pulling over a hundred shots for each tamper design might be tedious, but noone finished their doctoral thesis in a day...

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by nunu link=1161240704/30#37 date=1161573561
    Pulling over a hundred shots for each tamper design might be tedious, but noone finished their doctoral thesis in a day...
    Using the minimum number of variables, 2 machines (flat and convex shower screens) and 2 tampers (flat and convex) that would mean there would be 400 samples to taste test and compare. With both machines running at the same time and basicly flat out with no breaks it will take 3, maybe 4 hours to pull the shots.

    For the sake of ease of repeatability I would assume a double basket would be used for each shot, which means youll need 8-10kgs of identically roasted and aged coffee.

    While a sampling of this size would indeed be nice, is it practical? :-/


    Java "The Devil is in the details" phile

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal link=1161240704/30#36 date=1161569243
    Yep,

    I guess a suitable location will also need to be decided upon as well, as in order to be able to get all the people together with equipment and logging hardware, etc a location that is central to all concerned is pretty well essential..... Unfortunately, I dont think Warwick quite qualifies for this role ;).

    Mal.

    Bugger - thatll mean Perth is out too I reckon! If you want someone to critique the KPIs or provide some external evaluation of the results against the KPIs - let me know.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    I reckon we should first try with one particular shower screen type. If results are conclusive, than further evaluation on the other shower screen type might be justified. If theres no evidence suggesting that tamper shape does have a significant impact, than the other half of the research would be just as fruitless.

    The study needs to be done in stages, rather than all in one go.

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1161240704/30#35 date=1161568943
    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1161240704/30#34 date=1161567902
    Hhhhmmmm....A consensus on exactly what? That itd be a good idea to do? I think were all agreed on that. :)
    Java "Hhhmmm....More Data!" phile
    Yep, I agree that we should agree....

    I guess that means Ive seconded whatever we have agreed to - but Im not sure what that is either :-/

    I must be "in training" for a career in politics ;D

    To quote the master

    Java" I used to think I was undecided - now Im not so sure"B
    A consensus that its worth doing for starters. Some have been clearly supportive of the idea, others havent indicated one way or the other but have put forward various hurdles, which could be (mis?)construed as objection. If we agree in principle that its worth doing we need to thrash out the details, which is the point at which I start getting close to my depth. I think we need some input from the sort of people with the skills to be actively involved so we know what were up against. Yes its probably more than a 2 bob exercise, but at the same time I dont think we need to go overboard with it. Professional baristi come on down.

    For example, take one machine with a flat showerscreen and brew half a dozen shots with each tamper in a naked portafilter. Get comments on apparent channelling and other brewing anomalies, and then run them in a random order past some testers. I think even with that sample any consistent characteristics should show up, and its not going to use so much coffee that it would have to come from multiple roasts and cost the earth to supply.

    These figures arent hard and fast by any means but rather indicative of what could be done. It could be done in stages but Im sure it would be more efficient to get as much done in one sitting as possible. Need to be considerate of the time of volunteers.

  43. #43
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/30#41 date=1161580992
    A consensus that its worth doing for starters. Some have been clearly supportive of the idea, others havent indicated one way or the other but have put forward various hurdles, which could be (mis?)construed as objection. If we agree in principle that its worth doing we need to thrash out the details, which is the point at which I start getting close to my depth.
    I think theres a very clear consensus that such a test would be good thing. The only objections that Ive seen relate to if the test were being conducted for publication in a Scientific Journal and the standards that then must be adhered too. They were not objections to the test itself, merely to how the test was to be conducted if it was to be the basis for an article in a Scientific Journal.

    If we toss out the idea of going for publication in an SJ and are just looking for our own info then I think your idea:

    ...take one machine with a flat showerscreen and brew half a dozen shots with each tamper in a naked portafilter. Get comments on apparent channelling and other brewing anomalies, and then run them in a random order past some testers. I think even with that sample any consistent characteristics should show up, and its not going to use so much coffee that it would have to come from multiple roasts and cost the earth to supply.

    These figures arent hard and fast by any means but rather indicative of what could be done.
    Is a good place to start the discussion over details at.

    My thoughts are that to achieve a reasonably reliable level of validiity there should be at a minimum 3 taste judges and preferably 4 and that they should all receive a minimum of 2 cups from each tamper and preferably at least 3 or 4.

    Four judges with 4 cups from each tamper would only be 32 pulls so even with allowing for extra coffee to set the grind a single kilo of beans would probably be enough and from start to finish it could be done in one and a half too two hours.

    Seeing as were testing the tamper and not the espresso machine this initial test could be done on a commercial machine.


    Java "I think its a great idea!" phile

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    All sounds good Javaphile. Personally Im not too bothered one way or the other whether it goes into a SJ or not; if we can make it so it can thats great, but if not so be it. Im sure wed be able to get together 1 machine, 2 tampers, 1kg or so of beans, and four each baristi and judge.

    greg "we love you Javaphile" pullman

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpullman link=1161240704/30#43 date=1161588422
    greg "we love you Javaphile" pullman
    Aw stop, youre making me blush! :-[ ;) :D

    All sounds good Javaphile. Personally Im not too bothered one way or the other whether it goes into a SJ or not; if we can make it so it can thats great, but if not so be it.
    I agree! :)

    Im sure wed be able to get together 1 machine, 2 tampers, 1kg or so of beans, and four each baristi and judge.
    Yeah, that seemed to be a nice size test. Small enough to be relatively easy to organize and perform, yet large enough that the results should be meaningful.

    Something else you might want to consider is using an automatic tamper. This would reduce any variability in the tamp to an absolute minimum. I know here in the US such devices are available with interchangable heads so the customer can use a flat or convex face as they prefere. If such a machine is available for use from a friendly cafe or sponsor but does not have both a flat and a convex head perhaps you could mod one up.

    Just something I thought Id toss out there for consideration. :)


    Java "Wishing he could partake" phile

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile link=1161240704/30#44 date=1161589486

    Something else you might want to consider is using an automatic tamper. This would reduce any variability in the tamp to an absolute minimum. I know here in the US such devices are available with interchangable heads so the customer can use a flat or convex face as they prefere. If such a machine is available for use from a friendly cafe or sponsor but does not have both a flat and a convex head perhaps you could mod one up.

    Java "Wishing he could partake" phile

    Java, Greg

    Ive been thinking - and yes it hurts ;D

    To tamp the grounds what about mounting the tamper (with a modified handle) in a small drill press (the type you use for pistol drills - they provide a direct downward force with a good mechanical advantage (less tired hands - Greg, whilst I realise this is not a problem with your tampers- after lots of tamps consistancy could reduce slightly - and in any case we are only testing the face style)

    Tamp onto a scale under the press to measure the force applied - 30 lbs- with one straight stroke.

    This should give both a contant tamp pressure - and also the tamp will always be exactly perpendicular to the basket- no favouring a side or having the tamper face other than exactly horizontal

    That would help to ensure consistancy...

    What do you think?

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1161240704/45#45 date=1161595449
    What do you think?
    You gotta be clear about what question youre trying to answer ...

    If the question is "which base is better in an ideal world," then the drill press idea is a good one. If the question is "which base is better in the real world," surely you need to test it in as real-world conditions as possible. It might be, for example, that the flat based tamper performs better when tamped down perfectly, but that the reason why convex tampers are popular is because the rounded edges fracture the puck less if you slip slightly when tamping.

    The new Veneziano building (either the cafe/showroom or the training room) would be the perfect place to do the test, as well have a linea (or even the FB-80 that should arrive next week) with a bolt in the centre of the group and the custom BFC machines, which have the e-61 shower screen (ie. held in place with the gasket) and all of the machines will be set up to handle the same blends. It wont be up and running for a little bit yet, but we could always ask Pete ...

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Thanks for the offer Luca. I reckon if we can get the people together it sounds as good a place as any.

    I liked JavaBs idea until I read Lucas post. Well I still like JavaBs idea but maybe Luca has a point. Ill leave it to the experience of those more in the know than me. Whichever way you go Im happy to supply tampers for the test if required.

    So, checklist:

    Tampers
    Greg

    Venue / Equipment
    Veneziano

    Baristas:
    1)
    2)
    3)
    4)

    Judges:
    1)
    2)
    3)
    4)

    Bean supplier:

    Date:

    Anyone feel free to modify and add suggestions if you need. For starters, Luca perhaps you can suggest some in your area, CS members preferably but not necessarily, who you reckon have the expertise and would be interested?

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1161240704/45#46 date=1161596111
    You gotta be clear about what question youre trying to answer ...

    If the question is "which base is better in an ideal world," then the drill press idea is a good one. If the question is "which base is better in the real world," surely you need to test it in as real-world conditions as possible. It might be, for example, that the flat based tamper performs better when tamped down perfectly, but that the reason why convex tampers are popular is because the rounded edges fracture the puck less if you slip slightly when tamping.
    Luca...

    I havent really got my mind around whether it is a real world test (in which case we need to test tamping off centre, tamping out of alignment, tapping the PF and then tamping, double tamping, polishing with pressure, polishing with just the weight of the tamper- no polishing at all ) :o

    And every combination of the above and to various levels of "error"(and probably lots more!!!)

    Or do we limit the variables to just the face of the tamper (ideal world) which will be a lot easier and more precise.

    I suspect what you say is correct- those of us who prefer convex- and feel it gives better results- might use it to compensate for some less than ideal tamping style.....

    But unless we have LOTS of testers at varying "skill" levels and techiques..... we will probably never know!

    If we used skilled baristi - they will probably / possibly give results similar to a mechanical tamp...

    Food for more thought / discussion! :-/

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    Re: Your favourite shape of tamper base

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    I tend to agree with Luca regarding the real-world side of it. I mean, what value would it be to know, for example, that in a laboratory test a convex is better than a flat, when when used in the way they normally are, the opposite turns out to be true?

    There are always going to be variations beyond our control (dosing and distribution variations for example). I would be hoping skilled baristi would be consistent with the way they tamped with the tampers, particularly if theyre all the same design and just the base varies (i.e. dont use a Pullman flat and a RB convex). I still lean towards the real-world test myself but can see the theoretical benefits of isolating just the tamper surface. Just not sure how well theyll translate into real-world.



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