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Thread: Tampers

  1. #1
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    Tampers

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello everybody . . my very first post - a question. Forgive me if this has been covered already, I havent had time to read everything yet, quite a bit to cover. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but here goes; whats the deal with tampers? Why do some people pay large amounts of money for tampers - are they a fashion statement? I made mine from 5mm perspex and a drawer knob, seems to do the job . . photo attached. Cheers, Lindsay.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Stan's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Like anything we have in this consumer society, we buy what we want to.* So I have bought two Pullman Tampers since becoming a snob.* I am not saying that they are the best just that they appeal to me.* I have used cheaper tampers and they do the job but in my opinion the Pullman does a better job.

    It is like buying cars I could buy a toyota or a BMW it will depend on money available and also a desire to buy something other people may not have.* Unfortunately I drive a toyota but I can get an upmarket tamper. ;D

  3. #3
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    Re: Tampers

    Hi Lindsay

    I use an Espro tamper and I paid over $100 for it but it is to hopefully take out another variable (tamp pressure) to achieve a better result.

    Wayne

  4. #4
    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Hi Linzoid,

    Youre right; almost anything will squash down coffee. Ive heard of people using teaspoons, vegemite jars, even their hand!

    Consistency is very important in making coffee. The water pressure when making espresso can be around 1000kPa (thats about four times what you put in your car tyres!), so any slight difference in how well the coffee puck is prepared can have a big effect on the results in the cup. Youd probably find a purpose-made tamper more comfortable to use and easier to control than the one youve made, and that being the case youd be more likely to be able to tamp more consistently than with what you have. There are a few tampers (ours included) which can be machined to fit the basket exactly so theres no untamped ring of coffee around the edge for that high-pressure water to escape through. Then there are different colours, materials, styles, you name it! ;)

    All or any of these reasons are some of the reasons why some people spend the extra money on a purpose-built tamper.

    HTH,
    Greg

  5. #5
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    I had a laugh, just wait till you find out about baskets ;D

    What does the bottom of your tamper look like?

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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 404542564345482C0 link=1310874246/0#0 date=1310874245
    hy do some people pay large amounts of money for tampers - are they a fashion statement?
    Following on from Stans statement above, this site is about coffee. People want more coffee equipment and flashy ones at that! So, if I wanted to spend a few hundred to upgrade my coffee setup, but didnt have enough to upgrade my machine or grinder - then I guess you could buy a shiny new tamper.

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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 53564F4F4E424D230 link=1310874246/3#3 date=1310902604
    Youre right; almost anything will squash down coffee. Ive heard of people using teaspoons, vegemite jars, even their hand!
    I had an old breville, and Swisse Ultivite tablet packs were the perfect size as a tamper :P

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    Re: Tampers

    Thanks folks . . . its pretty much as I suspected. Trentski, not sure if you are having a laugh, my tamper being transparent, but the bottom is quite flat and even except for the phillips head screw securing it to the knob. At this stage of my coffee journey, Im using a standard stovetop pot, so I guess my tamping is not really crucial yet?

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    Re: Tampers

    Hi Linzoid, awesome little tamper you made. I like that you can see through it as well :)
    For home use it looks like it would do the job nicely. Did you percision fit it to your basket?
    My tampers diameter is 1-2mm smaller than my basket which annoys me. One day I may splurge on a Pullman too.

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    Re: Tampers

    Hi Yash . . my tamper is also a tad smaller than my basket, but Im not annoyed by that. What I AM annoyed by is that my budget doesnt allow for all the way cool equipment that I see on this site!!!!!* [smiley=undecided.gif]

  11. #11
    Senior Member SniffCoffee's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 2520273326202D490 link=1310874246/9#9 date=1311582763
    Hi Yash . . my tamper is also a tad smaller than my basket, but Im not annoyed by that. What I AM annoyed by is that my budget doesnt allow for all the way cool equipment that I see on this site!!!!!
    Check out the for sale section - plenty of cool bargains come up there regularly!

  12. #12
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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 404542564345482C0 link=1310874246/9#9 date=1311582763
    What I AM annoyed by is that my budget doesnt allow for all the way cool equipment that I see on this site!!!!!* [smiley=undecided.gif]
    Welcome Linzoid... [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

    Hell mate, dont worry about any of that. What is waaayyy more important is the quality and freshness of your coffee, and the means to grind only that amount you need for immediate use. Everything else can wait until you have the means...

    All I started out with (many years ago) was a small burr grinder (Braun) and a Tea Infuser thingy (full of freshly ground coffee) that I drizzled the hot water on to. Made a beautiful cuppa.... 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 2E2B3232333F305E0 link=1310874246/3#3 date=1310902604
    There are a few tampers (ours included) which can be machined to fit the basket exactly
    This is the most practical feature of a tamper for me

  14. #14
    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 4441465247414C280 link=1310874246/7#7 date=1311579676
    Trentski, not sure if you are having a laugh, my tamper being transparent, but the bottom is quite flat and even except for the phillips head screw securing it to the knob.

    Thats what I was wondering about, how the knob was held onto the base and if that was leaving an imprint on the puck that could lead to channeling.

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    Re: Tampers

    Ive countersunk the head of the screw into the perspex so that its flush. All I get is a faint cross imprint from the phillips head in the coffee. Being as Im only using a moka pot at this stage, I wouldnt think channeling would be an issue?

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    Re: Tampers

    Hey Linzoid,

    Love the tamper ... practical and has its own unique style .. top marks for thinking outside the standard day to day design.* :)

    Maybe you should further develeop the see-through tamper idea .. even if its only for a bit of fun it may be nice to see the effects of a tamp real time as you tamp.

    Nice effort !
    BeanBay

  17. #17
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    Re: Tampers

    Thanks BeanBay . . . what about a see through moka pot? One could witness the whole extraction process as it happens. ;)

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    Re: Tampers

    Maybe get some resin or even super glue to fill in the philips head slots and then sand flat for a complete flat finish.

  19. #19
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    Re: Tampers

    i have the pullman tamper and just love it. i find the mass of the head is helpful to level the coffee whn i bang the side of the group head with it. you dont get that effect with a plastic tamper ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by 414443574244492D0 link=1310874246/0#0 date=1310874245
    Hello everybody . . my very first post - a question. Forgive me if this has been covered already, I havent had time to read everything yet, quite a bit to cover. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but here goes; whats the deal with tampers? Why do some people pay large amounts of money for tampers - are they a fashion statement? I made mine from 5mm perspex and a drawer knob, seems to do the job . . photo attached. Cheers, Lindsay.

  20. #20
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Just got my Pullman Barista Tamper in Burgundy Red today!*

    I think the answer to your question "Why do some people pay large amounts of money for tampers" is bling and precision.*

    I have been having a hard time getting an even tamp with my EAZYTAMP tamper. Finally I measured the basket with a digital caliper after several emails with Greg Pullman and turns out my basket at its smallest diameter was 59.05mm.* After replacing the basket to one measuring 58.4mm I noticed an increase in crema of about 30% and a much more smoother pour.* Well my double basket is measured at 58.8...

    Greg helped me every step of the way (thanks Greg for the patience), and I ended up getting an available scratch and dent option at 58.25mm which was essentially perfect (Greg pointed out the flaws which was in no way noticeable unless pointed out and even then youre like..."huh?"). The additional interchangeable spacers are very thoughtful and great to accomodate almost all sized hands. Overall, very happy with the purchase* ;D My last email to Greg...

    "Thanks Greg! Its beautiful and feels great in the hand. Very similar to a racing gear stick. Now to break the news to my wife...I might hide it for a while* :-/"

  21. #21
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    Re: Tampers

    hello, is it worthy to pay close to 100 US bucks for a click tamper ? those that make a sound when your reach a specific weight pressure.

  22. #22
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    I think the precise fit of the tamper to the basket is more critical than the "click" function. This is where the Pullman tampers are great, as they are custom fitted to either your baskets or theirs if you buy them together, not sure who else does this. Then there is the look, materials, comfort etc that is a personal choice I guess.

    In my experience, the thing that affects the flow most is the grind and the dose. The tamp pressure for me has not really influenced it much at all, ie I tamp "firmly" and try to be consistent, but if its harder or softer, it only affects the flow by an insignificant amount compared to when you dose a bit more, which has a pronounced effect.

    Hope that makes sense.

    I think its worthwhile investing in a decent tamper and baskets, it makes it so much easier to be consistent and you can keep the baskets/tamper if you change to another 58mm machine in the future.

    Also, when I first got my machine, and wasnt informed, I bought a generic tamper, which was less than 1mm smaller than the basket, ie it fitted ok to me. But this imprecise fit gave me headaches in getting a nice extraction, as the puck was not compacted uniformly either completely around the circumference or on one side if I didnt centre the tamper fully. So in hindsight, it was a waste of 30 or 40 bucks (cant recall exact amount), should have put that towards something decent.

    Cheers

  23. #23
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    Re: Tampers

    I had a Espro click tamper and it was good and gave me the feel for how hard I was tamping, and it did work well. That said I would save your pennies and just get a quality tamper. You will learn the amount of pressure required and to be honest having the additional hardware in the tamper means the design is less than perfect with regards to ergonomics and being able to handle the tamper.

    That said alternative systems can deliver a similar quality. For example with the Pullmans if your dose is consistent i.e. flat across the top you can gauge the amount of pressure you use by the number of rings you insert the tamper down into the basket.

    In my opinion you dont need to tamp the hell out of it. Its more important to get the dose correct and more, more important a level tamp!

    Now that I have a Pullman. Would I recommend them... Hell Yeah! ;)

  24. #24
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    Re: Tampers

    Agree - tamp pressure is MUCH LESS important than correct dose, distribution and an even, level tamp.

  25. #25
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    Re: Tampers

    If you really want some audible indication of when youve clicked with the correct force you could always get a click mat.

  26. #26
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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 4A7F6E7F29231A0 link=1310874246/23#23 date=1320051355
    Agree - tamp pressure is MUCH LESS important than correct dose, distribution and an even, level tamp.
    The point being missed here, is consistency. All components of ones must be consistent in application and the use of a consistent Tamping Force is no more OR less important than all the other aspects of a good technique....

    Mal.

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    Re: Tampers

    Well said Mal! [smiley=thumbsup.gif]

  28. #28
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    Re: Tampers

    If youre spending big bucks on a machine a nice tamper is the perfect finishing touch!

  29. #29
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    Re: Tampers

    Quote Originally Posted by 63564756000A330 link=1310874246/23#23 date=1320051355
    Agree - tamp pressure is MUCH LESS important than correct dose, distribution and an even, level tamp.
    How about if your tamper had a lip on it that limited the depth of the tamp, say 7mm or whatever, then you would have a level consistant tamp and use grind and weight to adjust pour? this is from a newbie who is having trouble* :)

  30. #30
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    But then your tamper may bottom out before the coffee is tamped sufficiently. If you spin your tamper 90 degrees after tamping, with your fingertips past the tamper edge and on the basket edge, you will easily feel if you are not tamping level.

    Cheers

  31. #31
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    Re: Tampers

    quote author=6A797F666A650B0 link=1310874246/29#29 date=1325925015]But then your tamper may bottom out before the coffee is tamped sufficiently.[/QUOTE]
    ok I see what your saying,but then isnt the top of the dose supposed to be a 5 cent gap from the screen, so you would increase the amount until it was tamped sufficiently to suit the grind. as i said earlier im having trouble so when i change the grind the volume is altered and this affects the depth if the tamp pressure is constant :)

  32. #32
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Yes, the 5 cent test is the level of coffee you should try to achieve, after tamping with the "standard/consistent" pressure.

    Having a tamper that only goes down the right depth, you will never know if you have enough coffee in the basket, as you will not be able to check the tamp pressure, although if you are a smidge too much, the tamper wont quite bottom out.

    The dose normally does not very a huge amount for different grind settings if you are in the ballpark, as only minimal changes to grind are required.

    Why dont you try out various dosing/distribution techniques to get your dose right, and fine tune your grind.* If you dose changes significantly due to the grind change, alter it a little until you have the 2 in sync.* Just try to be as consistent as possible and only change one variable at a time, as you could end up chasing your tail.

    Cheers

  33. #33
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    Re: Tampers

    Hopefully this is in the spirit of this site...

    Was looking at buying a tamper as currently i use the plastic one that came with the grinder (EM0450). Getting my pressurised baskets unpressurised soon (thanks Greg) but am not sure whether i am better off saving coin to upgrade grinder and machine (EM5900) rather than spending money on a tamper given how bottom end my machine/grinder combo is. A pullman tamper would cost me more than i spent on the machine and grinder combined!

    Thoughts?

    Cheers
    DrSmurto

    p.s. you buggers are killing me. I have spent far too may hours checking out sponsor sites on new machines/grinder/roasters and have early destroyed my keyboard with drool. ;D

  34. #34
    Site Sponsor pullman's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Depends on what budget you have available really and what your needs are. The 5900 isnt apparently too bad a machine. The 6910 is always touted as the Sunbeam to go for and rightly so, but the 5900 actually came out top in a review Mark Dundon and Justin Emerson did on basic espresso machines for The Weekend Australian back in 2009 (in front of the Breville 800, Sunbeam 4800, Saeco Via Venezia and Breville Ikon (in that order)). So its an able performer, given the right technique / beans / equipment etc.

    Perhaps the paradox here is the price you appeared to have paid - the RRP on the 5900 is $499 and the 0450 lists around $150; if a $150 tamper is going to cost more than the combo consider yourself lucky the combo came to you at 1/4 of its RRP!* :o

    Before you jump either way, is there anything bugging you about the machine APART FROM whats in the cup? Are you finding the 5900 cant keep up with the demand youre putting on it (e.g. multiple cups back to back)? Is the steam output too low to be useful or the aesthetic appeal not your style? Anything else? I ask this because from Marks review, the 5900 has pre-infusion and a 3 way valve, a reasonable steam wand and manual adjustment of steam and water temperature. I assume this is still a single thermoblock machine but apart from that this has a lot of the features of the 6910.*

    If there are red flags here then it would be best to upgrade before you accessorise it too much. However bear in mind that price-wise youre looking at either $700-900 for a Lelit / Nemox machine, a Rancilio Silvia or a EM6910, over $1000 with a PIDd Lelit 042 or into the $1500 range for appliance-brand dual-boilers or entry level prosumers.

    If youre happy with all of those sorts of points and your main issue is whats in the cup, you already have the unpressurised basket and have done all the usual checks of fresh well-roasted beans, Id be upgrading your tamper next. I appreciate this could appear a biased recommendation as I sell tampers but in my experience I do think its the next link in the chain to look at, as well as strategically the best choice. Grinder is the other possibility but the 0450 isnt by any means a bad unit and youll be looking at over $500 for a decent upgrade (Id be skipping the Rocky and going straight to a Compak or similar) and at $150 the tamper is a fair bit of a cheaper upgrade. Weve had that many people who have reported immediate improvements with a well-fitting tamper that its hard to ignore this factor. If you find you dont like the tamper or it doesnt work for you and you eventually upgrade the machine, you can always sell the basket and tamper together and youll probably be out of pocket by no more than $40 or so; but personally Id be surprised if you dont see some level of improvement.

    HTH,
    Greg

  35. #35
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    Re: Tampers

    Thanks Greg for such an informative reply.

    Yes, paid $165 for the EM5900/EM0450 combo (2nd hand) so well under the RRP. I have looked at your tampers and can see their value (and their inherent beauty* :) )

    There is nothing wrong with my setup per se. Given i drink espresso/ristrettos the quality and freshness of the beans has been the biggest step to date. The unpressurised baskets will be my next step at which point Ill find out how the system works without the training wheels.

    Much to mull over as the more i read on this forum the more i learn. Baby steps for me so a good tamper looks like an easy next step.

    Cheers
    Mark

  36. #36
    Jonah John_J's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    ok Greg, I received my barista and vst basket at 2.00 pm yesterday,mount tamborine via gold coast. thats 23 hours from pickup from you, 10 out of 10 for australia post, and you dispatched it* about 6 hours from opening on first day back after holiday break,you cant get better service than that! :)* as for the tamper, it feels great, fits like a glove and im getting better results allready,
    a very happy customer,* CHEERS.

  37. #37
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    Re: Tampers

    So maybe Linzoid and Greg could come up with the new perspex range. ;D
    Might have a more top heavy feel but you could see as you tamp!

    Cheers.

  38. #38
    Senior Member dski's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 313D2E372F5C0 link=1310874246/36#36 date=1326533775
    So maybe Linzoid and Greg could come up with the new perspex range. Grin
    Might have a more top heavy feel but you could see as you tamp!
    What about a thick, heavy, machined glass bottom!?

    Could be niiice



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