View Poll Results: How much tamping pressure do tou use, in KG.

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  • 5 to 10kg

    5 16.13%
  • 10 to 15kg

    10 32.26%
  • 15 to 20kg

    4 12.90%
  • 20 to 25kg

    2 6.45%
  • 25 to 30kg

    0 0%
  • 30 to 35kg

    0 0%
  • 35 to 40kg

    0 0%
  • 40 to 45kg

    0 0%
  • 45 to 50kg

    0 0%
  • I have no idea

    10 32.26%
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Thread: Is tamping pressure important?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Is tamping pressure important?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    The recent discussion on tampers got me thinking about tamping pressures and just how much effort people exert.

    My thoughts have always been that as long as you have a tamper that fit the basket reasonably well the actual tamping pressure is less than critical, the main thing is that its consistent.

    The figure of 15 to 20 kg has been mentioned, have never bothered to check before so thought why not, so grabbed the bathroom scales and set them up in a position and height to replicate my actual work bench, then proceeded to take a number of readings, turns out I tamp consistently between 9 and 10kg.

    Will post a poll, will be interesting to know what others do.
    Bugger it spelling error in the poll title.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Poll is missing "consistent and f"sufficient", exact pressure unimportant".

    Your poll is bad and you should feel bad (jk)

    As I said in the other thread, my reasoned opinion is that the purpose of tamping is normalise density and distribution of grind such that flow is equal across all vertical paths, thus causing extraction to be even and avoiding one part blonding before another part has fully extracted.

    If flavours at certain points in the extraction are desirable and others aren't, it makes sense that doing so will allow you to maximise extraction of the desirable parts of a shot before having to cut it and avoid undesirable parts.

    If the pressure is firm enough to compress the coffee-bed into a block of even density (also a function of tamper fit, as a too-small tamper will not sufficiently tamp the edges), then I believe the exact pressure is unimportant. Obviously once you have done so you are able to tamp harder still and alter the flow resistance of the puck, which is why consistency is important.

  3. #3
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    I come in on Tapatalk, so I don't get the poll, but I would like to add my comments.

    Personally I like and use the OE 'Slap-Shot' technique. It is elegantly simple and very very easy and reliable to duplicate consistently, shot after shot. Now before I get my head ripped off- I'm not suggesting that the OE 'Slap-Shot' technique is any better or worse than any other. It is one method, of many, that produces reliable consistent shots.
    Specifically, a far as tamp pressure goes, the tamp is nothing more than a levelling and polishing tamp. There just wouldn't be more than 1-2 kg tamp pressure- Max!

    I use a Rossa Portaspresso. I mention that because the way the basket is dosed- it is dosed and tamped right side up. It is then inverted onto the press- which is currently inverted itself as water is poured into the press. The basket is screwed on and then the whole press is inverted again (making it right side up) and the extraction commences. During this process the water is literally tipped onto the top of the dosed puck. At pre-infusion there is an open column of water now sitting on top of the tamped puck. After extraction, I make it a point to check the puck for channelling or some other undesirable outcome. Frequently I find the puck has signs of all sorts of fissures and disturbance at the puck surface, but I do not see any signs of channelling through the puck. Don't worry, I get chokers and gushers if I don't get the grind dialled in. But I can find no evidence whatsoever that this very light polish only Tamp has any sort of detrimental outcome.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Pretty easy to check; try another way and see whether it gives a better or worse result :P

  5. #5
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    Well, the only result I care about is to be found in the cup.
    My coffee's are consistently 'to die for' so, no thank you, I won't be changing anything in too much of a hurry.

  6. #6
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    I chose no idea because I have never felt the need to weigh and I wouldn't have a clue what the actual pressure is.
    I do know my pressure varies a little depending on how the last coffee came out, sometimes I adjust pressure to compensate for slightly too fine or corse.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol_Grumpy View Post
    Well, the only result I care about is to be found in the cup.
    My coffee's are consistently 'to die for' so, no thank you, I won't be changing anything in too much of a hurry.
    Not sure whether your back's up or if I'm reading in tone that's not there, but I wasn't suggesting you needed to change anything...

    On the other hand, saying you've found no evidence of a detrimental effect doesn't mean much if you haven't tried anything else.

  8. #8
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    What it means is consistently good shots. Elegant simplicity.
    The point being to reduce variables.
    Essentially, there remains only two variables with each shot; being dose and grind.
    I have certainly found reducing variables and improving consistency extremely liberating, but as always YMMV

  9. #9
    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    I was a 'ram it down hard' tamper (as in one who tamps, not a solid block with a big flat head, in spite of how some might see me ) until I ran into (first) nutating tamps and (next) progressive tamps. On a scale I am tamping around 2.5kg so the Poll is unable to record a result for me; and recently, while trying out the suggested finer grinds for VST's I'd guesstimate I am tamping at maybe 1kg - 1.5kg at the finest grind that still lets water through.

    And the advice was correct - finer by about 3 on my EM0480, dose about 4mm - 5mm under t5he rim and I get good pressure AND a slow pour that can take up to 30 - 35 secs before any sign of blonding. Taste is creamy (even as an espresso) and rich in flavour. (even in a latté)

    My coffee experience has been one of fairly constant improvement. For that I thank the CS'ers who have commented - even those with whom I have disagreed have still taught me more than I knew when I so confidently thought buying a machine was the most difficult part.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    I was a 'ram it down hard' tamper (as in one who tamps, not a solid block with a big flat head, in spite of how some might see me ) until I ran into (first) nutating tamps and (next) progressive tamps. On a scale I am tamping around 2.5kg so the Poll is unable to record a result for me; and recently, while trying out the suggested finer grinds for VST's I'd guesstimate I am tamping at maybe 1kg - 1.5kg at the finest grind that still lets water through.

    And the advice was correct - finer by about 3 on my EM0480, dose about 4mm - 5mm under t5he rim and I get good pressure AND a slow pour that can take up to 30 - 35 secs before any sign of blonding. Taste is creamy (even as an espresso) and rich in flavour. (even in a latté)

    My coffee experience has been one of fairly constant improvement. For that I thank the CS'ers who have commented - even those with whom I have disagreed have still taught me more than I knew when I so confidently thought buying a machine was the most difficult part.
    JM I started this thread in an attempt to get away from all of the carry on about tamping technique, different baskets etc, that's why I addressed only one parameter (tamping pressure) if the title wasn't specific enough surely the poll gave you a clue? perhaps not.
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  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Tamping Force per sé isn't that important, but the consistent application of a particular force that you find easy to apply, day in and day out, is important...

    Mal.

  12. #12
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    My thoughts have always been that as long as you have a tamper that fit the basket reasonably well the actual tamping pressure is less than critical, the main thing is that its consistent.
    I believe you and I both attended Michael Teahan's lecture at the 2006 SCAA show. There he provided evidence that varying tamping pressure over a wide range made no significant difference in espresso flow rate. My own testing found the same thing, as has the testing of many, but not all, experimenters.

    Without wanting to insult anyone, it is possible that tamping pressure might make a difference if the grounds are poorly distributed in the portafilter? Harder tamps could possibly even things out.

    Other than that specific instance, how can we account for the fact that the importance of tamp pressure seems to be the perennial rumor that just won't die?
    Last edited by ASchecter; 25th December 2013 at 03:52 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member gonzob's Avatar
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    There's no Zero kg in the poll for those who don't tamp

    Gonzo

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    Without wanting to insult anyone, it is possible that tamping pressure might make a difference if the grounds are poorly distributed in the portafilter? Harder tamps could possibly even things out.
    I have no doubt that even distribution does play an important part in the process, I imagine some of us have more effective ways of achieving this goal than others.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    .

    Other than that specific instance, how can we account for the fact that the importance of tamp pressure seems to be the perennial rumor that just won't die?
    If that were true, then a very light tamp and perfect dressing/distributing should have the same flow rate as a heavy tamp at the same dose and grind. I find that hard to believe.

    When I did my course, I was finding up to five seconds difference between a "sufficient" tamp and an "ogre" tamp.

    The grinder was a Kony-E, so dose and distribution should have been ok.

    I would have liked to have seen the results with a naked, and I'm open to the idea that tamping pressure is irrelevant to those who dress the bed of coffee flat and perfect first, but that's just a difference in technique and just would regard that as the exception rather than the rule.

    What is your definition of poorly distributed? Not leveled before tamping (still mounded in the basket)? Not perfectly flat/scooped (a la those overpriced cards) before tamping?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    I believe you and I both attended Michael Teahan's lecture at the 2006 SCAA show. There he provided evidence that varying tamping pressure over a wide range made no significant difference in espresso flow rate. My own testing found the same thing, as has the testing of many, but not all, experimenters.

    Without wanting to insult anyone, it is possible that tamping pressure might make a difference if the grounds are poorly distributed in the portafilter? Harder tamps could possibly even things out.

    Other than that specific instance, how can we account for the fact that the importance of tamp pressure seems to be the perennial rumor that just won't die?
    Hi Andy

    I have been following your posts on a few sites over the years and thoroughly agree with 99% of them.

    I was taught to use what is now called progressive tamping in 1970 by a Northern Italian. Seems to be a North / South Italian thing.

    Teahan used a single tamp to show nada of significance between 30lb (Schomer's "industry bible pressure") and 300lbs.

    La Marzocco went via the progressive route and showed that tamping @ 30lb in 1mm stages gave bricks, virtually irrespective of grind texture.

    This link refers: CoffeeGeek - Tamping Science, Theory and Practice, Part One

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkPrince
    I asked why, and Blackwell went on to explain that during the development of the grinder, they initially set the continuous tamping device at 30 pounds of pressure, and found that they created solid bricks in the filter basket, no matter how coarse the grind was. They were a bit mystified by it all, but eventually figured out two elements were at work.

    First, ground coffee is a wide range of particle sizes within it's scope of "espresso grind", and those grounds form a kind of interlocking puzzle when compressed. The more pressure exerted on the interlocking pieces, and the tighter the overall fit is.

    Second, and most crucial, they believed that in manual hand tamping, no matter how much pressure a person exerts on the top of the bed of ground coffee, by the time one gets down to the bottom third of the bed, almost all that pressure is eaten up, and the bottom portion of the formed puck is barely compacted any more by the tamping pressure. Because the Swift grinder continuously tamps as the coffee is ground and added to the basket, all the pressure comes to bear on the forming puck, a millimeter in height at a time.
    That is why this issue continues. Teahan's experiment only shows one approach and is only definitive within that context. The second LM point is essentially a repeat of Teahan's findings from a differing perspective.

    Walsh & Kaminsky seems to be taking another interesting tack via particle size variation. They are calling into question another mantra "You need some fines to create some resistance in the puck". It seems that is not so true either, and using very fine (i.e. well below traditional espresso), consistent grinds can give a higher extraction rate. That immediately poses the question: Do you still get "progressive bricks" @ (insert chosen pressure here) if the particle size is actually uniform?

    Add VST baskets & naked p/f's which combine to give a massive increase in the overall flow rate and even more "wild cards" are flung up into the air. My own testing also shows a drop in pressure (about 0.3 bar) with that combo, however that may or may not be relevant beyond needing to adjust the pump pressure slightly. Or does it mean the traditional "9 bar" is another factor needing a look when everything else has now changed?

    The future of tamping is anyone's guess, however I feel fortunate to be around to witness yet another interesting turning point in the wonderful world of coffee.

    Merry Xmas & happy NY.

    TampIt
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    JM I started this thread in an attempt to get away from all of the carry on about tamping technique, different baskets etc, that's why I addressed only one parameter (tamping pressure) if the title wasn't specific enough surely the poll gave you a clue? perhaps not.
    So you created a thread to specifically exclude some people, chosen by you because they don't follow your beliefs? And a very merry xmas to you too.

    And I was on topic in my response, addressing tamping pressure with an explanation, just like Ol Grumpy, with whom you seem to have no issue.
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  18. #18
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    If that were true, then a very light tamp and perfect dressing/distributing should have the same flow rate as a heavy tamp at the same dose and grind. I find that hard to believe.
    Yes, my experience is that the difference in timing between say, 5 lb tamped shots and 70 lb tamped shots is not significant when the dose and beverage weight are kept uniform. It may be hard to believe, but one common explanation is that the espresso machine applies 9 bar of pressure on the puck -- which works out to be over 500 lbs of force. So the initial tamp doesn't matter much.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    What is your definition of poorly distributed? Not leveled before tamping (still mounded in the basket)? Not perfectly flat/scooped (a la those overpriced cards) before tamping?
    Haven't thought much about a definition. I guess it would be cheating to say, "poor distribution in the portafilter is that which responds to a change in tamp pressure with a corresponding change in shot time."

  19. #19
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    I have been following your posts on a few sites over the years and thoroughly agree with 99% of them.
    That is nice to hear. I'm glad it's not 100% or we'd have nothing to talk about.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    I was taught to use what is now called progressive tamping in 1970 by a Northern Italian. Seems to be a North / South Italian thing.

    Teahan used a single tamp to show nada of significance between 30lb (Schomer's "industry bible pressure") and 300lbs.
    OK, I think you're saying that you tamp multiple times as you gradually add coffee to the pf. And that that technique slows down the flow rate.

    I have no doubt it's true, but it's different from what many single-tamping people say, for instance, "my grind was too coarse, so I tamped harder to slow down the flow rate."

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Walsh & Kaminsky seems to be taking another interesting tack via particle size variation. They are calling into question another mantra "You need some fines to create some resistance in the puck". It seems that is not so true either, and using very fine (i.e. well below traditional espresso), consistent grinds can give a higher extraction rate. That immediately poses the question: Do you still get "progressive bricks" @ (insert chosen pressure here) if the particle size is actually uniform?
    After watching Perger's WBC presentation I desperately rushed out and got an EK-43 and did (among many other things) a little experimentation with nutating tamps. I can't say definitively yet, but I don't find nutation to have much of an effect on flow rate either. However I may not be nutating in the same way that Perger did. Hard to say from the video.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Add VST baskets & naked p/f's which combine to give a massive increase in the overall flow rate and even more "wild cards" are flung up into the air. My own testing also shows a drop in pressure (about 0.3 bar) with that combo, however that may or may not be relevant beyond needing to adjust the pump pressure slightly. Or does it mean the traditional "9 bar" is another factor needing a look when everything else has now changed?
    Hmm, many people using VST baskets are also doing pressure profiling and their pressures vary a lot more than +/- 0.3 bar. So I would agree that 9 bar is another factor subject to revision.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Merry Xmas & happy NY.
    Yes, happy holidays to you and everyone on CS!

  20. #20
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    Yes, my experience is that the difference in timing between say, 5 lb tamped shots and 70 lb tamped shots is not significant when the dose and beverage weight are kept uniform. It may be hard to believe, but one common explanation is that the espresso machine applies 9 bar of pressure on the puck -- which works out to be over 500 lbs of force. So the initial tamp doesn't matter much.
    Interesting. I suppose there's a chance that the shots I pulled in my course were channeling and that that was causing the discrepancy. I'll have to check for sure on my own machine when I get back.

    Haven't thought much about a definition. I guess it would be cheating to say, "poor distribution in the portafilter is that which responds to a change in tamp pressure with a corresponding change in shot time."
    Lawl... If you have the choice between dressing a shot before tamping or tamping to a certain pressure to obtain a good result, though, then it's a matter of style/choice, not quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    After watching Perger's WBC presentation I desperately rushed out and got an EK-43 and did (among many other things) a little experimentation with nutating tamps.
    May I ask how you're finding the EK-43 for espresso?

    Terence

  22. #22
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwantfm View Post
    May I ask how you're finding the EK-43 for espresso?
    Some extremely tasty shots. A revelation how one can use 10-15% less coffee and still produce a great espresso. Also, the lungo espresso "coffee shots" are really good!

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    Well that's the thing with coffee, isn't it...
    You don't have to use a EK-43 to get a vastly different flavour profile for a given bean.
    Good beans have so many layers of flavour and complexity, just waiting to be discovered.
    Ultimately, it is entirely up to the Barista to tweak and set the whole gamut of variables from pressure profile, dose, extraction temperature, volume, grind and indeed tamp.
    It's too late at extraction to modify the roast profile, but one would hope the roaster is 'on side' in all of this.
    There's no doubt whatsoever that a large commercial grinder can reveal complexeties beyond the scope of a lesser grinder, but you're right up at the pointy end now and there's a huge scope of excellent coffee to be discovered, enroute, getting there.

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    Tamping to the correct level in the basket is, IMO, more important than the pressure. When the water hits it, the top of the puck expands up unto the shower screen first. If it's tamped too low, it may expand up so much that it causes bad channelling. Similarly if your level is too high, you might tear up the top of the puck just loading the PF and certainly when you start the shot.

    Pick your tamping pressure, but ensure that your dose is such that at that pressure, your tamp height is correct, using the 5c trick or the rice trick or whatever you prefer.

  25. #25
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    A grind that chokes at (say) 3mm down in the basket will pour a lovely cup at 4mm down in my experience, so I'd be on the side of the dose level being important. Tamping is, to me, the fine adjustment needed to take the shot from good to great. Comments made elsewhere about the heavy tamps (15kg or so) making little impression on the lower parts of the grind in the basket make sense to me, based I guess mainly on some SciAm articles years back about the physics of grains. (they were talking deserts and sand dunes but physics is physics)

    So I changed how I tamped and the results continue to convince me I did the right thing. Haven't had a gusher since even when i change beans and the only choking happens when I've been trying ever finer grinds to see how far a VST will go.

    Based on my epxeriences, I think progressive tamping done at a much lighter pressure evens out the entire contents of the baskets and makes a better extraction across a wider range of parameters.

  26. #26
    Member ASchecter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    When the water hits it, the top of the puck expands up unto the shower screen first.
    As far as I know, this is just a myth.


    Quote Originally Posted by Darkfalz View Post
    Pick your tamping pressure, but ensure that your dose is such that at that pressure, your tamp height is correct, using the 5c trick or the rice trick or whatever you prefer.
    In general I agree with you, although like everything else in coffee, this is also a controversial topic. A quote from Instaurator:

    Extra Virgin Espresso Coffee Oil

    The Olive press and hydraulics.
    What? Yes - olive oil only comes out when the olives are pressed and so it is to a large degree with espresso coffee oils. But for espresso coffee grounds to be "pressed' they must fill the porta-filter insert so full that after having been properly tamped they almost and sometimes do touch the dispersion screen in the machine. As we know, when water comes into contact with ground coffee - it expands. If there is no room for the coffee to expand in the porta-filter, it gets squeezed or 'pressed' between the dispersion screen at the top and the filter basket/insert at the bottom. It is this pressure that presses the extra delicious, precious oils out of the ground coffee. The difference in taste is like chalk and cheese. A cup of espresso that has not been 'pressed' will have a slightly ashy characteristic and will be much thinner, more watery and slightly more astringent. A cup of properly 'pressed' espresso will have all the lovely texture and viscous body, similar to extra-virgin olive oil, but with the extraordinary sweet, smooth chocolaty richness that only great espresso coffee can provide.

    Hydraulics and coffee? The principle of hydraulics states that pressure applied to a liquid will exert even pressure at all other points. This is critical in ensuring that espresso coffee is evenly extracted. If there is a gap between the top of the ground espresso coffee and the dispersion screen, the water will have to fill the entire gap before it will start exerting downward pressure on the coffee. This is bad. What happens is the very top layer of coffee has water swirling around on it, over-extracting and 'burning' the coffee while the water is filling the gap. If the gap is too big, there will never be any 'pressing' either. The resultant taste is like an ashy mask over the top of what could otherwise be a great espresso coffee. If we apply the specialty definition: "tastes great with no defects", then espresso coffee made this way is not truly specialty coffee. It will taste ok, maybe even good if you use a triple filter basket and a very, very short pour (about 20mls for a double porta-filter) as one famous latte artist served me in Anaheim recently. But it will not taste great.

    Remember if this way of thinking upsets or challenges the existing order: we should always let our taste be our guide. This is the only way we can be sure we are truly pursuing great specialty coffee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    That is nice to hear. I'm glad it's not 100% or we'd have nothing to talk about.
    Ditto.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    OK, I think you're saying that you tamp multiple times as you gradually add coffee to the pf. And that that technique slows down the flow rate.
    I have no doubt it's true, but it's different from what many single-tamping people say, for instance, "my grind was too coarse, so I tamped harder to slow down the flow rate."
    Tamp multiple times: you think correctly. I was taught to set up & troubleshoot machines by using a very gentle tamp (weight of tamper plus just enough downwards pressure to even the puck) every 2mm or so of "coffee fluff" which would compress down to about 1mm at a time. Usually it would take 5 or 6 tamps to fill a double basket. The initial tamp could / should(?) also have a quick polish, as could the final tamp. All this was explained as being far too time consuming for normal use, however it was more revealing of the inner details of a shot when setting a machine up. I have been using it to set up particularly troublesome machines ever since as it really shows up grinder, dosing and machine problems rather mercilessly, and often with more insight than any other tamping method I know. Interestingly, that is exactly what a LM swift does, so they probably were aware of the same old technique.

    I was also shown a few other techniques (too long to list them & their quirks on a poll thread when the originator is already complaining about it being shanghaied). At the time they were explained to me as "cutting corners intelligently" for more routine use. It included what became the single tamp "Schomer's magic 30lbs".

    Until VST / naked arrived in my world a couple of years ago I had been using the progressive tamp on setup & home use and the single 30lb “Schomer tamp” for most production coffees.

    The single "tamping harder to adjust for coarseness" does very little IMO (or Teahan, yours etc.) unless you are starting from a very low downforce. I have only used scales to check this once or twice on "Schomer tamp baristas", and found they were actually also altering their dosing upwards. AFAIAC, when using a single 30lb tamp a few extra / less coffee grounds affects the shot a lot more than tamping harder / softer.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    After watching Perger's WBC presentation I desperately rushed out and got an EK-43 and did (among many other things) a little experimentation with nutating tamps. I can't say definitively yet, but I don't find nutation to have much of an effect on flow rate either. However I may not be nutating in the same way that Perger did. Hard to say from the video.
    Mahlkonig EK43: Lucky you! I just picked up a Mahlkonig gen2 Vario and am finding it very impressive (best I have ever had at home, possibly anywhere else).

    Nutating tamp (preparing self for flames): AFAIAC nutating tamps are an attempt to correct for a badly fitting tamper. Just like my US & Euro curve RB tampers are trying to correct for crappy basket flows. If nutating makes a difference then by definition the tamper is a loose / poor fit. IMO, get a properly fitting flat 316 stainless tamper (Pullman in Oz, ??? in the states) and sort it out that way. As you can tell by my handle, decent tampers are my thing. Progressive tamping means one for the first stages and another one for the final tamp & polish. Photo from L to R: Initial double / triple (i.e. nether reaches of 15, 18, 20 & 22 VST's), initial single (exact fit in a VST 7g single including the tapered sides) & final, all 316 w Pullman handles, the single base (upside down in second photo) is a local 316 prototype of my design. My final tamp will only go 5mm down into their matched (all sizes of ridgeless VST + the 7g) baskets, so no coffee can ride up the edges in the first place. As a bonus, they attract very few grounds & they all spin freely in the basket for polishing whenever the urge strikes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    Hmm, many people using VST baskets are also doing pressure profiling and their pressures vary a lot more than +/- 0.3 bar. So I would agree that 9 bar is another factor subject to revision.
    I was meaning two of my calibrated 9 bar machines dropped to 8.7 when swapping from a standard basket / two spout p/f to a VST / naked with no other changes. Relevance: still scratching head other than a need to compensate for it...

    Temp & pressure profiling are more ways of tinkering with a shot (as well as adding a myriad of new ways of getting them totally wrong or [hopefully, eventually] better). I had a 110V and a 240V GS3, and still miss the 240V one. Such is divorce.

    Seems like we agree on at least most that lot after all. Or do we?

    Enjoy your EK43 toy.

    TampIt
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    Originally Posted by Darkfalz
    When the water hits it, the top of the puck expands up unto the shower screen first.
    As far as I know[/url], this is just a myth.
    This is not just a myth, it is absolute rubbish.

    This may be true for a specific machine, but that's a machine trying to compensate for a serious design fault, by fitting a shower screen.
    There is no 'need' for a shower screen to get a consistent excellent extraction.




    Originally Posted by Darkfalz
    Pick your tamping pressure, but ensure that your dose is such that at that pressure, your tamp height is correct, using the 5c trick or the rice trick or whatever you prefer.
    In general I agree with you, although like everything else in coffee, this is also a controversial topic. A quote from Instaurator:
    Extra Virgin Espresso Coffee Oil

    The Olive press and hydraulics.
    What? Yes - olive oil only comes out when the olives are pressed and so it is to a large degree with espresso coffee oils. But for espresso coffee grounds to be "pressed' they must fill the porta-filter insert so full that after having been properly tamped they almost and sometimes do touch the dispersion screen in the machin e. As we know, when water comes into contact with ground coffee - it expands. If there is no room for the coffee to expand in the porta-filter, it gets squeezed or 'pressed' between the dispersion screen at the top and the filter basket/insert at the bottom. It is this pressure that presses the extra delicious, precious oils out of the ground coffee. The difference in taste is like chalk and cheese.
    Absolute rubbish. There is no 'need' to have a dispersion screen in the first place.
    If the water hitting the dry tamped puck is disturbing the puck before the extraction begins, you have a machine with a serious design fault. Subsequent fitting of a dispersion screen may be necessary for the operation of that machine, yes I can accept that. But to suggest that the dispersion screen is in any way an essential element of a good extraction is absolute rubbish.

    A cup of espresso that has not been 'pressed' will have a slightly ashy characteristic and will be much thinner, more watery and slightly more astringent. A cup of properly 'pressed' espresso will have all the lovely texture and viscous body, similar to extra-virgin olive oil, but with the extraordinary sweet, smooth chocolaty richness that only great espresso coffee can provide.

    Hydraulics and coffee? The principle of hydraulics states that pressure applied to a liquid will exert even pressure at all other points. This is critical in ensuring that espresso coffee is evenly extracted.

    "If there is a gap between the top of the ground espresso coffee and the dispersion screen, the water will have to fill the entire gap before it will start exerting downward pressure on the coffee. This is bad. "
    What absolute rubbish. When you dose/tamp your basket, it has air above it, :duh
    Before extraction begins that air *must* be replaced with hot water. bvious
    The critical thing is that water shouldn't disturb the puck, (pre-extraction) yes, I agree with that.
    But to suggest the dispersion screen is necessary to achieve this is absolute rubbish.
    Just to be clear, a specific machine may require a dispersion screen to compensate or correct for the water disturbing the puck- pre extraction, that's fair enough. I'm simply saying to suggest the dispersion screen is an essential element to achieving excellent extraction, is rubbish.

    What happens is the very top layer of coffee has water swirling around on it, over-extracting and 'burning' the coffee while the water is filling the gap. If the gap is too big, there will never be any 'pressing' either. The resultant taste is like an ashy mask over the top of what could otherwise be a great espresso coffee. If we apply the specialty definition: "tastes great with no defects", then espresso coffee made this way is not truly specialty coffee. It will taste ok, maybe even good if you use a triple filter basket and a very, very short pour (about 20mls for a double porta-filter) as one famous latte artist served me in Anaheim recently. But it will not taste great.
    Absolute rubbish. Again, taken out of context this quote appears to generalise, which is rubbish. This may well apply to one specific machine, fair enough, but certainly not extraction generally.


    Remember if this way of thinking upsets or challenges the existing order: we should always let our taste be our guide. This is the only way we can be sure we are truly pursuing great specialty coffee.
    Finally, a common sense statement- you should 'always' be guided by what's in the cup.
    Making outstanding coffee is not complicated, people make it complicated.
    Last edited by Ol_Grumpy; 26th December 2013 at 08:37 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    If nutating makes a difference then by definition the tamper is a loose / poor fit. IMO, get a properly fitting flat 316 stainless tamper (Pullman in Oz, ??? in the states) and sort it out that way.
    I am fortunate to be using a properly fitting Pullman tamper. So I find Matt Perger's endorsement of the nutating tamp to be puzzling, since he appears to be using a fitted Pullman as well (see screen shot from WBC video).

    perger_tamper.jpg
    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    I was meaning two of my calibrated 9 bar machines dropped to 8.7 when swapping from a standard basket / two spout p/f to a VST / naked with no other changes. Relevance: still scratching head other than a need to compensate for it...
    If you switched to a VST filter with no other changes, the flow rate would increase. This would create more of a pressure drop in your machine's water system. Depending on exactly where your gauge senses pressure, it could change the reading by the amount you've observed. Or have I misunderstood?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol_Grumpy View Post
    Making outstanding coffee is not complicated, people make it complicated.
    But I would argue that making outstanding espresso EVERY shot is very difficult, hence the endless discussions and attempts to make improvements. Hands up anyone who has never made an outstanding shot, repeated the process and not got the same result and wondered where they went wrong.

    Pete

  31. #31
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    But I would argue that making outstanding espresso EVERY shot is very difficult, hence the endless discussions and attempts to make improvements. Hands up anyone who has never made an outstanding shot, repeated the process and not got the same result and wondered where they went wrong.

    Pete
    Sure, but there's a difference between lucking into an outstanding shot (what you're describing) and actually having the skill, understanding and equipment to make an outstanding shot intentionally. Failling to replicate shows a lack of one of the elements of the latter.

    I lucked into great shots when I was using my Gaggia Classic (stock), was new to espresso and using a Baratza Preciso. Each improvement in skill, understanding and equipment has improved my strike-rate significantly and my shots are now quite consistent, with the limiting factor (I believe) now being the temperature stability of my machine.

    Were I able to pull back to back shots without affecting the temperature significantly I believe I could gain a better understanding of what effect minor tweaks have on the extraction. Unfortunately, that will have to wait, but in the meantime, I'm happy with what I consider to be a consistent 7-8/10 espresso on the gear I have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    But I would argue that making outstanding espresso EVERY shot is very difficult, hence the endless discussions and attempts to make improvements. Hands up anyone who has never made an outstanding shot, repeated the process and not got the same result and wondered where they went wrong.

    Pete
    Yeah, I get where you're coming from, absolutely. There is no absolute right and wrong. If exceptional coffee is a destination, there are many roads that reach that destination, and many varying 'vehicles' to take the journey with. All this is true.
    I'm not suggesting there shouldn't be as much discussion as people want to have, it's all good. I just believe that it's important to keep in mind that making exceptional coffee is not complicated. I didn't say it was 'easy'. I said it wasn't complicated.
    Some of these discussions may leave the reader with the impression that it is an incredibly complicated process. I don't agree with that. I also don't agree that you necessarily need to spend 'a small fortune' to get exceptional coffee.

    This thread started with 'tamping pressure' and in the first couple of posts I related my current personal choice in this regard- being the OE Slap-Shot Technique which is simple, repeatable and delivers very consistent results, in the cup. The appealing factor for me is the removal of variables. I only need to consider grind and dose.
    Bear in mind, this is not my technique, and I make no claim to be an expert. I am simply reporting my findings, which are very positive. As always, YMMV.

    Further, I use a completely manual extraction process, so every element of the extraction process is a variable I can easily and repeatably monitor and adjust. I certainly have the equipment that could make extraction insanely complex. I have discovered that this is simply not necessary.
    Everything you need to know is revealed, in the cup.
    Once you recognise that simple fact, coffee extraction becomes an exquisite pleasure.

    I repeat, Making exceptional coffee is not complicated, people make it complicated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Sure, but there's a difference between lucking into an outstanding shot (what you're describing) and actually having the skill, understanding and equipment to make an outstanding shot intentionally. Failling to replicate shows a lack of one of the elements of the latter.
    No, I'm talking about people who make their living from coffee who have the skill, understanding and gear and admit that they still get outstanding (ie, above excellent) results sometimes and cannot always replicate it on demand or explain why. They also admit to the odd average shot where they believe they replicated the technique that produced the previous excellent shot. This is what drives them to investigate new techniques etc.

    I agree, consistency improves with better gear, but I also think my palate has developed over time and what I consider to be a great shot now is quite different to one in the past.

    If I went to a reputable coffee shop and got a 7 or 8/10 most of the time I'd be disappointed and would not rate the person making it the skilled person you describe.

    Pete

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    If there is a difference between one shot and the next, with the same parameters, then there is an inconsistency somewhere whether it's identifiable or not. Perhaps I'm underestimating the quality of the outstanding shots you're describing, or the difficulty of producing coffee at a consistently-top-tier level.

    It gets a bit difficult when you're trying to guess what the other person's standards are; what I consistently produce is (to my tongue) delicious, but I've had a couple of shots/drinks that remind me that there's further to go and nuances that I haven't achieved and may not for some time. To my mind, a good, drinkable, enjoyable coffee is a 5/10 and a 10/10 would be the very best of the best; not something you'd typically find, even at the better specialty cafes.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    If I went to a reputable coffee shop and got a 7 or 8/10 most of the time I'd be disappointed and would not rate the person making it the skilled person you describe. Pete
    You must let us know which cafes you do frequent then because I have never come across any cafe, no matter how reputable, that averaged more than 8 out of 10.

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    Is that because your coffee is so good (I guess I'm assuming you rate yours higher), or is it because they make coffee that you don't like? (Not trying to stir pots, its a question I ask myself often. Some coffees tastes interesting, have no floors but I just don't like them. Scoring then gets tricky.)

    I wouldn't say I "frequent" cafes. To try and answer your question, my most frequent cafe would be Findos in Toowoomba.

    Pete

  37. #37
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    Is that because your coffee is so good (I guess I'm assuming you rate yours higher), or is it because they make coffee that you don't like? (Not trying to stir pots, its a question I ask myself often. Some coffees tastes interesting, have no floors but I just don't like them. Scoring then gets tricky.)

    I wouldn't say I "frequent" cafes. To try and answer your question, my most frequent cafe would be Findos in Toowoomba.

    Pete
    There is a bit of a floor... whoops... I meant "flaw" in your statement above. I wasn't taking my own coffee making into account at all but... FWIW... I would be happy if I was averaging 8's with the occasional 9 and hint of a 10 sneaking through every once in a while.

    Back to my point now, averaging above 7 or 8 out of 10 would mean averaging 9 or 10 out of 10 which is either absolute perfection, or verging on it... and I have yet to experience any cafe consistently cranking out perfect coffees
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    Thanks for pointing out my spelling error. Thought I addressed your point.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    I'm talking about people who make their living from coffee who have the skill, understanding and gear and admit that they still get outstanding (ie, above excellent) results sometimes and cannot always replicate it on demand or explain why. They also admit to the odd average shot where they believe they replicated the technique that produced the previous excellent shot. This is what drives them to investigate new techniques etc.

    I agree, consistency improves with better gear, but I also think my palate has developed over time and what I consider to be a great shot now is quite different to one in the past.
    The internet is great for conducting conversations over vast distances, but obviously we are not tasting the same shots and that is a huge limitation.

    But even with the resulting subjectivity in mind, I must admit that I usually fail at making two "outstanding" shots in a row.

    Seems to me that every 100 beans that come through the grinder are a little different from the previous set. Dose, brew ratio, flow rate, temperature, evenness of pour, etc can be controlled to a large degree, but at least at my skill level, precise flavors cannot.

    In a cafe setting, with hundreds of shots to prepare and issues of equipment temperature and barista fatigue to contend with, consistency is even more of a challenge.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    I am fortunate to be using a properly fitting Pullman tamper. So I find Matt Perger's endorsement of the nutating tamp to be puzzling, since he appears to be using a fitted Pullman as well (see screen shot from WBC video).

    perger_tamper.jpg
    If you switched to a VST filter with no other changes, the flow rate would increase. This would create more of a pressure drop in your machine's water system. Depending on exactly where your gauge senses pressure, it could change the reading by the amount you've observed. Or have I misunderstood?
    Hi Andy

    Matt Perger's tamper: There is no way that is a 316 barista Pullman. There is no rubber insert embedded in the base. Please refer to my photo: left & right ones are 100% 316 barista, although I ordered them without tamping rings (less trapped coffee, my first 316 had the rings) so that part of the base is different. It may be a Pullman Nexus or Deluxe (earlier model), however I have not held one for quite a while. Also, it is clearly not fitting properly in that basket. Greg Pullman is a CS member, perhaps he or Perger himself knows what it is and what it is supposed to fit. FWIW, to me it looks more like a Cafelat or Incasa (unsure which) that a friend of mine uses.

    VST: Your reasoning exactly matches mine, however some of the CS'rs flamed me for posting that suggestion. I am at the stage where I am past caring about the cause other than stating the need to slightly recalibrate the machine to bump the pressure back up: which then made a huge difference to the cuppa taste and flow... and that was entirely welcome.

    A quick question: How consistent is your EK43 from day to day / week to week?
    Reason for asking: a Perth cafe has its ancestor (at least in terms of styling) and it remains one of my favourite grinders, largely due to it's remarkable consistency over the last decade or more.

    Enjoy your toy.

    TampIt

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Matt Perger's tamper: There is no way that is a 316 barista Pullman. There is no rubber insert embedded in the base.
    Agreed, as you say it must be one of the earlier models.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    VST: Your reasoning exactly matches mine, however some of the CS'rs flamed me for posting that suggestion.
    If you don't get flamed occasionally, then what's the point of posting, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    A quick question: How consistent is your EK43 from day to day / week to week?
    Reason for asking: a Perth cafe has its ancestor (at least in terms of styling) and it remains one of my favourite grinders, largely due to it's remarkable consistency over the last decade or more.
    I've only prepared about 30 shots with it so far, but it seems very consistent. I can give you a more thorough assessment in a decade or more, please be patient. :-)

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vinitasse View Post
    I wasn't taking my own coffee making into account at all but... FWIW... I would be happy if I was averaging 8's with the occasional 9 and hint of a 10 sneaking through every once in a while.

    Back to my point now, averaging above 7 or 8 out of 10 would mean averaging 9 or 10 out of 10 which is either absolute perfection, or verging on it... and I have yet to experience any cafe consistently cranking out perfect coffees
    The very concept of a 1 to 10 scale suggests (arguably) that 1 is very poor, 5 is average and 10 of course is perfection, no flaws.

    If it were possible to judge every cafe in Australia we would hopefully find the overall average is a 5 (in this world average is not such a bad thing) obviously to achieve this mark we would have a percentage below 5 and a percentage above, so a 5 simply means its an average drinkable coffee, you would expect that most cafes would be around this mark.

    So surely it follows that anything rated above a 5 automatically implies above average, we would hope a score of 1 would be very unusual, as would a score of 10, my feeling is that any barista (home or cafe) who can consistently produce shots between 7 and 9 is doing pretty darned well.
    As for 10's, perfection is the aim in most fields of endeavor, obviously seldom achieved and I guess that what keeps us trying.

  43. #43
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    Just for information purposes...

    The implementation of a Nutating Action with a Tamper before applying the actual Tamping Force, is a simple method utilised to improve distribution throughout the basket. I've been using it for more than a decade and it both saves time and enhances consistency. If you are able to achieve similar results via another method, then good on you but don't rubbish a method that is used by many people who find it both useful and effective...

    Mal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post

    If you don't get flamed occasionally, then what's the point of posting, right?

    I've only prepared about 30 shots with it so far, but it seems very consistent. I can give you a more thorough assessment in a decade or more, please be patient. :-)
    Flames: love it! I am new to online posting stuff, and I am beginning to come to that perspective. Seems to be close to a war between those who have always done it that way and those who chose to tinker, learn, develop new stuff and basically push the envelope. Have these guys ever heard of cooperation? Or is adversarial the only concept they have?

    EK43: Now I am even more curious, a further request: After a month or three, please PM me with whether it has a bedding in period or not. The old one here is several owners ago and no one remembers whether it just worked straight out of the box (make that a large crate) or not. FWIW, they had an earlier one as well, this one is still on its original auger / burrs / whatever. Impressive after a ton or more (possibly a lot more) of heavy use and little love. It still generates a lot less fines than any other grinder I have tried (gen2 Vario a possible exception).

    Have fun experimenting.

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Just for information purposes...

    The implementation of a Nutating Action with a Tamper before applying the actual Tamping Force, is a simple method utilised to improve distribution throughout the basket. I've been using it for more than a decade and it both saves time and enhances consistency. If you are able to achieve similar results via another method, then good on you but don't rubbish a method that is used by many people who find it both useful and effective...

    Mal.
    Hi Mal

    If that is aimed at me, I didn't rubbish the nutating technique per se. I have used it for years (and Carl Staub before that) if the tamper fits poorly. My point is that a correctly fitted tamper simply cannot be nutated or Staubed (if they are words). It lacks the clearance to do so.

    One of my posts from a week ago http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...em-6910-a.html points that out at the top.

    Also, while I am mentioning distribution techniques: Weiss (WDT) is brilliant if a grinder clumps and you are under the pump. A better, longer term answer is to fix the grinder. A little tricky "on the spot" when the cook has just done a snafu by rupturing a major steam line and the whole cafe is trying to turn to mist & mud whilst you are facing with a queue of twenty+ hanging out for their fix. Did wonders for the grinder clumps! Coffee soup anyone? I hope the stuff I churned out was actually drinkable that day, however I couldn't even sample it due to the slavering masses looking on.

    FWIW, I truly believe all these techniques have their place, however as a coffee fiend I believe it is also important to clearly distinguish between temporary band aids and permanent fixes.

    Having said all that, if I was silly enough to try to compete at world barista level (now semi - retired and well past wishing to knock out dozens of coffees an hour these days) I would be making damn sure my tamper fit the basket(s) properly. That is partly why I have accumulated over 50 of them over the years. There are very few baskets "in the wild" where I can not find something that fits snugly. If any coffee rides up the sides some channeling or at least uneven extraction is a given.

    Enjoy your new tamper! Looks awesome.

    TampIt

  46. #46
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Flames: love it! I am new to online posting stuff, and I am beginning to come to that perspective. Seems to be close to a war between those who have always done it that way and those who chose to tinker, learn, develop new stuff and basically push the envelope. Have these guys ever heard of cooperation? Or is adversarial the only concept they have?
    Don't forget those who have read a bunch and with no experience, think they know everything.

    As for the adversarial approach, it differs between online communities; CS would have to be one of the most unnecessarily snarky places I've come across. Many forums won't stand for that (either by moderation or community reaction), so don't mistake it for the norm (unless you plan on posting on YouTube or SomethingAwful)
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    Perhaps, but I prefer to think of the CS forum, in particular, as a group who is intensely passionate about their coffee... Surprisingly, it's a very emotive topic....
    There are some very opinionated people and more than a few big ego's, but to me, that's what makes it so interesting...

    The tone here is very much regulated by our fearless leader, Andy, who has never been shy about flexing his opinion, or moderatorial muscles when he feels it's appropriate. I've crossed the line previously and been pulled back into line too, it's all good. Surely, we can be all grown up about it.

    I've previously practiced Martial Arts, and despite the best training, in bouts, there are times when emotions get the better of training- that's when the umpire steps in and calls, "Break".... Time- out and then move on.... It's all good....

    There are many sandpits to play in, this one, I agree, can be a fiery one, on occasion....

    Perhaps, that's what makes it so popular? : dunno

    I certainly have never heard the word 'boring' mentioned about this forum......
    Last edited by Ol_Grumpy; 27th December 2013 at 09:58 AM.
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    That's true enough. Really I'm just making the comparison, no judgement.

    I prefer a more relaxed/cooperative atmosphere, but really that's neither here nor there.

  49. #49
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Seems to be close to a war between those who have always done it that way and those who chose to tinker, learn, develop new stuff and basically push the envelope. Have these guys ever heard of cooperation? Or is adversarial the only concept they have?
    TampIt
    I've been a member here for quite a while and noticed this (them and us thing) has escalated dramatically over the past six months or so, prior to that there was the odd niggle but no big deal, moderation also seems to be less stringent which doesn't help the situation.

    The issue has developed to such a degree that many of our very experienced members are seldom heard from nowadays (what a loss) it does get a bit wearing to offer sound advice to a newcomer only to have it challenged and often denigrated by one of our newer experts.

    It's reached the stage that there seems to be a conflict thread running constantly somewhere in the forum, and it also seems the same few members are constantly stirring the pot, I suspect a few of our newer members would be more at home in a debating forum.

    I'm seriously considering my participation level (I can hear the cheers from some) its simply not worth the effort of offering well meant advice only to have it challenged, then having to defend your position, I have better and more interesting things to do with my time.

    Its a shame, I have always enjoyed Coffee Snobs but lately, not so much.
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    I'm seriously considering my participation level (I can hear the cheers from some) its simply not worth the effort of offering well meant advice only to have it challenged, then having to defend your position, I have better and more interesting things to do with my time.

    Its a shame, I have always enjoyed Coffee Snobs but lately, not so much.
    Hi Yelta

    Although we may not always agree, I always enjoy reading your posts. I also admire your willingness to reexamine any issue with as much objectivity as any human can summon up. This newer CS'r, or to be more precise, new internet poster would notice your absence and be regretful if I had a part in that decision. I have never been known for tact, however I would like to think I have not "played the man" with any CS'r. Even the solitary poster who kept pushing despite a lack of fact (who also seems to regard me as a fair target for some unfathomable reason) only got asked (twice) to put up or shut up. Mind you, after some of the flames I received about one thread in particular, I have considered & am currently considering the same option. The number of appreciative posts / PM's / whatever are the other side of the coin for me.

    Enjoy your NY. I will.

    Cheers


    TampIt



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