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Thread: tamper advice

  1. #1
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    tamper advice

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi folks, I'm just after a bit of advice. Sorry if this has been covered before.

    I want to get a better-than-stock basket for my VBM domobar jr, thinking of going with VST. I need a matching tamper (currently using the one from my old EM6910, which is honestly useless), and would like to go with a Pullman.

    Question is - should I get a custom matched Pullman big step, which, from what I can tell, will mean the tamper won't work with any other basket, or is the standard pullman barista tamper good enough?

    I ask this because I don't want to end up with an expensive tamper I can't use if I happen to dislike the VST (I know they can be tricky and a bit love/hate).

    Thanks in advance.
    Will

  2. #2
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    Well, I have a VBM Domobar Jr and I use a VST filter. I also have a standard Pullman tamper with a jarrah handle. These I have been using for about five years and I have had no problems whatsoever. The Pullman fits perfectly and feels great in the hand.

    I hope this helps.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    The other option is the Barista Hustle tamper. It's around $70 and will work beautifully with VST baskets.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    A standard size tamper will be fine, I've been using a standard 58 mm tamper for many years, not a perfect fit, but it really doesn't need to be, as long as its close you will be fine.

    Some perfectionists go down the matched tamper/basket road, I have never seen any great benefit.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    A standard size tamper will be fine, I've been using a standard 58 mm tamper for many years, not a perfect fit, but it really doesn't need to be, as long as its close you will be fine.

    Some perfectionists go down the matched tamper/basket road, I have never seen any great benefit.

    Thank you, I was kinda hoping that would be the case. I've rung the bloke from Pullman and he was doing the hard sell on the matched Pullman basket and "big-step" tamper. If I go that route, I'm stuck with a $300 tamper that can only be used with 1 basket.

    Anyone out there have any comment on the matched pair basket/tamper scenario? Yelta, have you tried it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    The other option is the Barista Hustle tamper. It's around $70 and will work beautifully with VST baskets.
    That actually looks quite nice. Have you used it?

    Been to the website, but it doesn't say what the handle is made of; have you got any idea?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    Thank you, I was kinda hoping that would be the case. I've rung the bloke from Pullman and he was doing the hard sell on the matched Pullman basket and "big-step" tamper. If I go that route, I'm stuck with a $300 tamper that can only be used with 1 basket.

    Anyone out there have any comment on the matched pair basket/tamper scenario? Yelta, have you tried it?
    No! as I said in my post, I perceive no benefit, other than perhaps psychological.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    That actually looks quite nice. Have you used it?

    Been to the website, but it doesn't say what the handle is made of; have you got any idea?
    i have one and its made from hard plastic.

    i also use it with my 22g vst basket and fits perfectly fine.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dozerz View Post
    i have one and its made from hard plastic.

    i also use it with my 22g vst basket and fits perfectly fine.
    can I ask why you chose it (rather than any other make of tamper), and whether you're happy with it in all aspects (i.e. build quality, way it feels in the hand/balance, etc)?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    can I ask why you chose it (rather than any other make of tamper), and whether you're happy with it in all aspects (i.e. build quality, way it feels in the hand/balance, etc)?
    i didnt actually choose it, came with some other stuff i bought from another snob as i needed a new tamper and this one was available with the other stuff. i did know that it wasnt particularly heavy which is what i liked. i wasnt expecting much being a kind of lower end but has turned out remarkably well and does have some style to it. i do like the build quality, the plastic is hard but not too heavy and the base is replaceable but i havent had to do that yet. id recommend it definitely for vst and other baskets, i find the shape and weight gives better control and feel.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I posted this many moons ago, still holds true.



    "I get a little annoyed with self proclaimed experts and retailers trying to tout their products telling me (and anyone else gullible enough to listen) that if I donít use a tamper that fits the basket like a piston in an engine and if it doesn't have an ergonomic, height adjustable handle my coffee is gonna taste like crap and I will be doomed to a life of coffee mediocrity.

    Itís scare tactics and rubbish, they know it but ignorance breeds fear, if youíre a novice, or, if you donít know and ask questions, the sermons begin, whatís happening of course is these snake oil salesmen are simply drumming up business, you can almost hear em rubbing their hands together.

    Tamp your coffee with a pickle jar lid attached to a 100mm length of broom handle if ya want, itíll work just fine.

    As a matter of interest I bought a very nice 58 mm Reg Barber tamper 12 years ago, it ainít a perfect fit in the baskets of any of the 3 machines I have owned over the period but it has done an excellent job on each and every one.

    As Mal says, a 1mm gap is nothing, centre the tamper in the basket and it becomes .50mm, which is absolutely bugger all."

    The thread is worth a read through if you have the time.
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...expensive.html

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    +1 for Barista Hustle. Cheap, good quality, and works well. Mine is aluminium with a stainless base.

    I don't like the rings on most of the Pullman bases.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hamburglar View Post
    +1 for Barista Hustle. Cheap, good quality, and works well. Mine is aluminium with a stainless base.

    I don't like the rings on most of the Pullman bases.
    Thanks mate. Do you buy them direct from the BH website, or is there an AU distributor?

  14. #14
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    The current Barista Hustle tamper is black anodized aluminium. Iíve had a range of tampers with the last two being the Pullman Barista and Barista Hustle. I liked both of them and would be happy with either. I think the matched pair is a little unnecessary, but having something that isnít too much of a loose fit definitely makes a difference in my experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    Thanks mate. Do you buy them direct from the BH website, or is there an AU distributor?
    I bought mine from the Australian distributor. They often have email discount codes. I paid $59.25 shipped

    My old Pullman has been machined down to fit a smaller LSM group. It's a lot better without the rings.
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  16. #16
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    Thanks chaps - it it sounding like a matched pair might be overkill for a noob like me. Now just to decide whether I go with Pullman, Bogav or barista hustle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    The current Barista Hustle tamper is black anodized aluminium.
    sorry i just checked mine and its not plastic but indeed anodized aluminium. +1 recommending the hustle.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    Hi folks, I'm just after a bit of advice. Sorry if this has been covered before.

    I want to get a better-than-stock basket for my VBM domobar jr, thinking of going with VST. I need a matching tamper (currently using the one from my old EM6910, which is honestly useless), and would like to go with a Pullman.

    Question is - should I get a custom matched Pullman big step, which, from what I can tell, will mean the tamper won't work with any other basket, or is the standard pullman barista tamper good enough?

    I ask this because I don't want to end up with an expensive tamper I can't use if I happen to dislike the VST (I know they can be tricky and a bit love/hate).

    Thanks in advance.
    Will
    G'day Will / StratosOZ

    Firstly, a Pullman Bigstep should fit most other baskets unless they are smaller in diameter - pretty unlikely as VSTs are about small to middling in diameter compared to most (see below reply).

    The only 58.4mm(ish) Pullman tamper (i.e. standard commercial size) in the photo below which will not fit any double basket I have tried over the years is my Wenge one - it only fits slightly over diameter baskets. Hauled out of my drawer for the photo tonight and it is dusty... Personally, I have found VSTs prefer a flat base compared to all other variants (and yep, I have tried a big step twice at home, once for over a week), however I strongly suspect that is coffee gear / barista technique dependent. FWIW, so are VST baskets - the grinder (especially) can affect them.

    Hope this and the following reply helps.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hamburglar View Post
    +1 for Barista Hustle. Cheap, good quality, and works well. Mine is aluminium with a stainless base.

    I don't like the rings on most of the Pullman bases.
    G'day Hamburglar

    I ordered my matched Pullman 316 Barista (name changed later) without tamping rings for the reason that all they do IMO is trap grounds. To me the whole idea of using 316 is that they are impervious to static and they do not collect grounds...

    All mine have flat bases (to replace a pair of perfectly good RB's with curved bases - which VSTs are allergic to) plus sides which are tapered to match the internal slope of the basket. My 3 Pullmans have slightly different diameters to match the slightly different baskets I have (one for initial tamp of 2mm of "fluff", the other two are for final tamping).

    My single tamper is also 316, although not made by Pullman (the wooden handle is).

    IMG20190403220030 3+ Pullmans.jpgTamperPreSingle.jpg

    The two photos show
    1) initial tamper (redgum), final for VST / standard commercial double baskets (Jarrah), final for EQ "Precision" and my original "very early VST" doubles (Wenge, unused for a while as the EQ basket is no "VST clone") and the prototype single (Zebra wood handle). Note: no tamping rings... I also have a Pullman Huon Pine handle with yet another flat Pullman base in my other "very secondary" coffee setup for final tamping VST doubles and a machined flat "304 stainless" Incasa as the initial tamper - which attracts grounds like a demon.
    2) The side taper of the single (the double's taper is not quite as pronounced).

    The other issue - do you need these tampers to make a good cuppa? No way, Jose.

    They are a delight to use and I do not regret the price every time I use them, however in the right hand background of my newest coffee toy is a 2.2 litre fruit juice bottle (connected to the catering kit - no inconvenient refills any more). I used that plus a Smartwater Lime and xxx (Guava?) for over a year on my single and my coffee taste was not adversely affected.

    So when I hear about tampers my recommendation is to work out what fits your hand. Pullman wood handles in my case after about 50 or so rejects in my shed. Whether you prefer to wood to acetal / aluminium / 304 stainless / glass / plastic or whatever as a handle and whether you are willing to spend the bucks to get exactly what you want to fit your hand. Then you can start on the bases... what fits the basket in front of you, and how much are you willing to spend to keep you coffee workstation clean.

    Enjoy your cuppa - that is the critical point.

    TampIt
    I posted this yesterday, which indirectly points out more info about gear.
    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-e...tml#post649067

  19. #19
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    tamper advice

    They fulfill somewhat different desires. The BH tamper is functional and easy to use with a nice weight without being too heavy. The others are more bulky and heavy, but more aesthetically pleasing as well. Donít discount the basic Pullman Barista if you like the idea of buying Pullman. Itís a really nice tamper and a fair bit cheaper than the Big Step.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by StratosOZ View Post
    Thank you, I was kinda hoping that would be the case. I've rung the bloke from Pullman and he was doing the hard sell on the matched Pullman basket and "big-step" tamper. If I go that route, I'm stuck with a $300 tamper that can only be used with 1 basket.

    Anyone out there have any comment on the matched pair basket/tamper scenario? Yelta, have you tried it?
    I bought a Pullman Big Step to use with my ridgeless VST baskets. As it happened I finally unpacked it this morning to use with a 20g VST which is slightly tighter than my other VST baskets. I had been using a standard 58mm tamper with the 20g for a few days as my regular 58.7mm tamper was too big.

    I didn't think there would be but there was a noticeable difference using the 58.55mm BigStep. Using the same grind setting, temp. & beans, there seemed to be a more uniform flavor with chocolate notes which I haven't had since I started using the 20g a few days ago. The knocked out puck also looked tighter with the edges holding their shape without any crumbling. Maybe it's just the right fit for my 20g VST. I haven't tried it in the other sizes yet as I've been using the 58.7mm.

    I wouldn't have bought the Pullman Big Step at full price. I was lucky to get it heavily discounted. One thing I don't like about it is the weight. For me with the anodised Alloy handle it feels too light when compared to my Protamp tamper. I believe it's a design feature that maybe just takes some getting used to.

    Noticed Pullman currently have these funky handles made from Banksia cones (I think) with the holes filled with resin.

    Resin pine 2b-500x500.png banksia resin long 1-500x500.png
    Last edited by CafeLotta; 13th April 2019 at 02:42 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Wow! Love those handles - Beautiful...

    Mal.

  22. #22
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    I am sorry to steal the thunder...
    But it seems related.

    Does EszyTamp complexity (calibrated spring, levelling flanges) make sense?

    (not sure links are allowed)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerbi View Post
    I am sorry to steal the thunder...
    But it seems related.

    Does EszyTamp complexity (calibrated spring, levelling flanges) make sense?

    (not sure links are allowed)
    I think I know where your coming from Gerbi, a tamper is a simple device.

    For some reason people have a desire to complicate the simplest of tasks.
    Rube Goldberg.jpg
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  24. #24
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerbi View Post
    Does EazyTamp complexity (calibrated spring, levelling flanges) make sense?
    The levelling flanges are the only part that makes sense, and only if that's something you struggle with. The spring set up in this tamper is different to most "click" type spring tampers (which only ensure you tamp at least the set pressure or often more, they don't ensure a consistent temp pressure), and at first glance it sounds ok but I would recommend against it.

    From what I read on their website it works like this:
    • The tamper is placed on the basket, the levelling flanges ensure it is level.
    • The user then pushes down on the handle and the piston decends into the coffee.
    • Once it has traveled 3mm the spring pressure releases a catch and the piston is raised back into the handle by the spring.


    If you want to change the depth of the tamp you need to change the piston for one of a different depth. You can also change the spring from 15kg to 10kg.

    Major flaws I see with this design:
    • The only thing apparently consistent is depth. Now being able to easily adjust this to fine tune it is a bad thing. What if it's not quite right for your basket/dose? You have to buy another one. What if you change beans and the new beans work better with a different dose/tamp depth? What if you want to switch between beans? A costly and fiddly exercise. What if your grinder has stepped adjustment and you need to slow the pour down just a smidge by tamping a bit harder? Not possible, you'll have to adjust the dose instead.
    • The spring match release and sudden retraction of the piston all happen while the tamper is in firm contact with the basket. Some years ago it was common practice to be taught to knock the side of the portafilter between or after tamping. This is no longer taught as it does nothing but invite channelling. I am worried that the spring release could easily have the same effect.
    • Sure it might encourage consistency in tamping (as stated above even if it's consistent, I don't think it's consistently good), but it removes the ability for the user to adjust their tamp with different beans or doses, it also removes the manual feel of tamping and the skill learned in manually tamping.
    • It's complicated and expensive. If part of it brakes or changes you're completely in the dark until you replace/repair said parts. The only way a manual tamper can brake is if you apply enough force to it to physically distort it, and even then only the base.


    My advice: as Yelta said keep it simple. You only need something flat and the right diameter to tamp with, if that's a purpose built $250 tamper or a repurposed jar lid your coffee won't taste any different (assuming the physical dimensions and shape of their base is the same). Learn the ropes with the manual tamper, they're cheaper and set you up for success longer term. Check out the Barista Hustle tamper, huge bang for the buck.
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  25. #25
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    eazytamp is not that complicated.

    the spring retraction is only revalant to the leveling disk which does not enter the basket, thus not having any knocking effect on the puck.

    the actual tamping disk will start to loose force once 15kg is achieved, but if you keep pushing down you can bottom out the spring and go as forceful as your like.
    if you keep the levelling disk attached there is about 20mm of travel available.
    if you remove the levelling disk you can go as deep as you like.
    also the 15kg spring can be easily removed if you would like the tamp to operate as any standard made tamp does.

    i personally think itís a great simple design.



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