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Thread: Spring Loaded Tampers

  1. #1
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    Spring Loaded Tampers

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Howdy,

    Has anybody got any experience with/knowledge of/opinion on the spring loaded tampers Ive seen advertised?

    The claim is that the spring controls the downward pressure giving greater consistency to the "weight" of the tamp and removing a "variable" from the espresso making process.

    Gimmick or does the claim have some merit?

    Ill post a picture of one...


  2. #2
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    When I purchased my Silvia the salesperson sold me a spring loaded tamper, I thought this was the bees knees until I realised down the track it was about 3-4mm too small for my baskets. After purchasing a Pullman and Synesso db I noticed a huge improvement in my shots and the spring loaded tamper is in the back of my coffee cupboard now.

  3. #3
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Is that due to it being spring loaded or too small though?
    Assuming the tamper was the correct size- not fitted, granted, but a 58mm base for a 58mm basket- Im interested in how the spring mechanism itself was to work with?

  4. #4
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    The spring loaded tamper was fine for starting out as it limited the amount of pressure applied to the grinds but I think if you get a conventional tamper to start with you will soon get into a routine tamping and thus save the expense of upgrading after a period of time.

  5. #5
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    CB: If Im not mistaken the one in your picture is an Espro? Ive only used one of these very briefly so my comments arent from extensive experience at all. I found the clicker to be a good guide of pressure which is what its designed for and quite a comfortable unit to use, but the rigid unit which suddenly moves when it comes to do its clicking results in fairly poor feedback on what the tamper base is actually doing; though I guess youd learn to work with that. Its potentially a useful thing to have to start with while youre learning the ropes, but its also not useful because its based on the idea that 30lb is what everyone wants to use and if you want to use something other than 30lb (as many do), it makes the clicker mechanism useless (and in fact an annoyance if you go beyond 30lb for the feedback reason described earlier), so it becomes a very expensive tamper with a feature you dont need.

    Luca and the guys at Maling Room use the Espro (along with others) so it can obviously be put to good use. But it seems a better long-term investment for someone to learn how much pressure they need to apply, learn what that pressure feels like and how much they need to change what theyre doing to effect a x kg difference in compression (bathroom scales are useful for training oneself on this), and then apply this knowledge in applying the right amount of pressure to achieve what youre wanting to achieve, based on how the espressos pouring, how it tastes, and what you need to change to bring the result you want.

    At the end of the day, as with any product, some will swear by it and others will hate it. Its good to ask here and get the theory on the matter, but as with all things, its ultimately worth getting your hands on one at a store, having a look and a feel of how it works and then decide whether its for you.

    Greg

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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Yeah, the above one is an espro, but theres also the Australian made one (EazyTamp) that doesnt have the click function- any experience with/opinion on that?

    Im not even sure Im in the marklet for one, but its an interesting concept I reckon and I am interested in peoples experience/opinion of them.

    Cheers, Anthony

  7. #7
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    I really like using my Espro tamper...it has become part and parcel of my coffee-making ritual. It by-and-large eliminates one of the variables in the process. It is also very satisfying to feel and hear that click.

    On the odd occasion when I make a coffee elsewhere, my sense of the correct pressure is there without the Espro. It is a great trainer. There is no way I would voluntarily surrender my Espro.

  8. #8
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Hi all,

    I was going to reply to this under my personal username, but figured that I really ought to reply under the business name, seeing as we import Espro.

    The back story might be of interest to some people - if not, skip this paragraph. I first got to use the Espro at Hazel de los Reyes roastery after she won the 2005 Australian Barista Championships. I loved how it felt in my hand and how it felt so incredibly solid. I still dont think that I have ever seen a tamper made of more durable material than the Espro. Hazel had paid a bundle to buy the Espro from the USA, which I thought was silly. I ended up contacting Espro about importing their tampers for some guys that I know in Melbourne and it so happened that I got to them just before Veneziano did. The other guys that I talked to lost interest, seeing as the tampers are so damned expensive, so Veneziano started importing them and I started working for Veneziano. Since we got them in, David used one in the 2006 World Barista Championships and they have built up a loyal following.

    Gimmick or does the claim have some merit?
    Its potentially a useful thing to have to start with while youre learning the ropes, but its also not useful because its based on the idea that 30lb is what everyone wants to use and if you want to use something other than 30lb (as many do), it makes the clicker mechanism useless (and in fact an annoyance if you go beyond 30lb for the feedback reason described earlier), so it becomes a very expensive tamper with a feature you dont need.
    The idea behind the 30lb "click" is to maintain consistency between different people, not to lay down the idea that 30lb is some sort of gold standard. I have heard many stories about the origin of the 30lb figure, but I seem to remember that one of the most practical reasons for 30lb came from David Schomer - it is an amount of force that a barista can apply day in, day out, without causing any sort of RSI. You can certainly get good shots tamping at 10lb or 50lb or probably even 1000lb. The problem is that you need a practical way to make it repeatable. Individuals will learn how to tamp at a repeatable pressure as time goes by, but if you put two people side by side, they often wont be able to get similar shots from what appears to be the same grind and dose. So the Espro is really aimed at the cafe market, where the click and the ergonomics help to keep things repeatable and injury-free. The heavy-duty stainless steel and aluminium construction are a testament to this goal.

    The thing with the Espro is that it isnt just some training gimmick. It is actually a very comfortable tamper to use in general, regardless of the click. In fact, I have had a lot of people ask me if Espro plans to manufacture a cheaper springless tamper. Id love it if they did.

    As far as varying tamp pressure is concerned, I have always been of the opinion that the best course of action is to standardise as many variables as possible. That is why its not uncommon to hear me going on about how I would never buy a stepped grinder over a stepless grinder. I like to establish a constant dose and adjust the grind to get the pour that I want. If I need to play around with another variable, it will be dose. The same flow rate from a coarse grind/high dose and a fine grind/low dose will taste vastly different. The next variable to play around with is brew temperature. If those three cant get a shot tasting good, I dont think that varying the tamp pressure is really going to help.

    Yeah, the above one is an espro, but theres also the Australian made one (EazyTamp) that doesnt have the click function- any experience with/opinion on that?
    I dont really think that it is appropriate for me to comment on a direct competitor to the Espro, but Ill just say that it would be prudent of anyone interested in either of these tampers to compare both side-by-side.

    At the end of the day, as with any product, some will swear by it and others will hate it. Its good to ask here and get the theory on the matter, but as with all things, its ultimately worth getting your hands on one at a store, having a look and a feel of how it works and then decide whether its for you.
    Greg, I love it how we actually disagree on a lot of things, but always ultimately end up agreeing on this conclusion! Its really nice to have someone with the integrity to just put the facts down on the other end of the internet connection.

    The bottom line is that the Espro isnt cheap and Espro makes no apologies for that. They built the tamper to get it to have certain properties and do certain things, not to hit a price point. If you are interested in an Espro, you should definitely see if you can check one out in the flesh (metal) before making your decision - as you should with any tamper.

    Tampers, perhaps surprisingly, end up being a very personal choice, with everyone having very different opinions. We have always had about 5-10 tampers around at each of the last three cafes that I have worked at. Invariably, some turn out to be lemons and get absolutely no use. Some people like some tampers more than others and many people switch between two or three different tampers throughout the week. That said, I know of several cafes that are 100% espro ... just as I know of several cafes that are 100% something else!

    Hope that helps,

    Luca

  9. #9
    cremakid
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Same question as Coffeebreath, has anyone used the EasyTamp and can recommend it? OR post a few cons? It is a tad cheaper than the Espro.

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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Well, its cheaper, but my Espro is a great tamper (as is my non-espro tamping tamper). Personally Id avoid the knock-off, assuming thats what it is!

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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Hey all,

    Sorry to bring this post to the top again, but,

    Ive got a silvia and rocky and cheap aluminum tamp with a very convex bottom. Im getting premature blonding, and im sure the crappy tamp isnt helping my cause!

    Im trying to decide on whether to get the Espro tamp (to try and standardise on of the variables) or get a Pullman made for my PF. I aggree that after time I should be able to get a feel for a standard 15kg tamp (and with the difference in price of the Espro and a pullman I can buy a set of bathroom scales!!)

    Would people recommend the Espro (although not a custom fit for my PF) or a custom made Pullman?? Does having a perfect fit really count for much?? I do like the idea of having the lines on the side of the Pullman to check the dose and level tamp.

    Thanks

    Fleery

  12. #12
    Wine_of_the_Bean
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    It really depends on what you want.

    If it is no thinking tamping, then a springy might be the go. Site Sponsor Coffee Machines Express sell an Aussie-made springy called Eazy Tamp. Much more cost-effective than the Espro.

    If you want something that is a functional piece of art, then a Pullman is the go.


    I have both, and have no complaints about either one.

  13. #13
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Fleery,

    Youll get folk who vouch for both! A fitted tamper means the pressure is applied evenly across the whole puck and theres no need to do two tamps with a knock in between to dislodge the loose grounds missed by the undersized tamper; that in itself helps the user to be consistent and means theres no chance of fracturing the puck as you can if you knock. Others say the Espros are a great idea because you can hit exactly the same pressure each time, and thats undeniable. In both cases the question is the benefit gained.

    People use both and get good results with both so either will be better than what youve already got. I dont have an Espro so cant personally comment on them, however I have and personally use several fitted and non-fitted tampers and I prefer the fitted; the non-fitted ones are a touch quicker because you dont have to be so accurate with placing the tamper in the basket, but they give a less positive feel in the basket as they can slop around a bit, and the stray coffee grounds around the sides stops the tamper from spinning freely when you polish the puck. In a domestic situation, I can afford to take an extra two seconds to prepare the tamp and save that time in only having to tamp once, and not risk fractured pucks or a filthy group gasket.

    Either way though Im sure youll be doing better than your standard tamper, particularly if its less than 58mm!

    Greg

  14. #14
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    You know what someone needs to design and make :-??

    A small platform/matt onto which you place your PF and then Tamp with your favourite Tamper. The special thing about the small platform/matt thingy though, is that it is sensitive to the application of force, such that when the preset force is applied, it beeps at you, or flashes a bright LED or both :). Shouldnt be too hard to make and it would do away with the need to buy Tampers with inbuilt force indicators and what have you.

    One could then use ones favourite Pullman Tamper and Tamp the perfect force each and every time with the perfect Tamper. Makes errr.... perfect sense to me ::) ;)

    Mal.

  15. #15
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Wont the mat absorb the force youre applying towards your puck and therefore mess up the tamp?

    Just like tamping on a weighing scale. It absorbs the downward force so ur not actually tamping on the coffee....

  16. #16
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Nope....

    When forces are in balance.... and the object is stationary... they are equal and opposite.....

    So tamper applies 13Kg force downward..... and the scales will provide 13Kg upward......

    (No.... the puck isnt getting 26Kg..... it is being compressed by 13KG....)

    Doesnt matter if it is scales, the benchtop or whatever..... they will all provide an equal and opposite force..... but if they are scales (bathroom or Mals idea variety) you can read the force being applied accurately.

  17. #17
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Dave Makin used it to win the Australian Barista Championships, and won by a whopping 100 point margin. It cant be all that bad right?

    The Espro is a serious tamper for serious baristas. It does take that one variable out if you can tamp straight....and its hard...believe me. Ive been training for the last 6 months so that I maximised all the points on tamping for barista competitions.

    The pressure that is applied is not as important as tamping straight. Angled tamps have weak regions in which the pressurised water can pass through a lot easier. Im sure you guys all know this theoretical stuff.

    matth3wh likes this.

  18. #18
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    Re: Spring Loaded Tampers

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    ahh....

    Ive used an espro before and it feels a little odd.

    Probably will take awhile to get used to the "click"

    the convex is a little bit more compared to the coffeelabs...



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