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Thread: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007

    A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Sorry is this has been asked before but the search engine will only return 15 results.

    As a relatively new addict to seeking the best shot I can with my equipment Ive been thinking a lot about the magic of the tamp and the tamper.
    Im YASEO (Yet Another Sunbeam EM6910 Owner) along with the EM0480 grinder and Ive got the tamper that came with the machine.

    So how big an effect does the tamper actually have? I appreciate that the Pullman Tamper has the handy rings for measuring tamp depth but is that all there is to it? If the depth relates to the denseness of the ground coffee and on to the pour wouldnt a Zen-like feel for tamp pressue with my regular tamper be enough?

    Maybe I should be an Espro? May be wife would eBay after shed killed me :)

    Sorry not trying to bag out the Pullman - the amout of praise speaks for itself. Im just having trouble grasping they why part.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Re: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    Hi Graeme

    From my (albeit limited) experience, a tamper is not a tamper is not a tamper.

    The one you got with the SB is useless - it sadly wont even do as a paper weight. And there, lies part of the answer. The best way I can describe the difference between a plastic or aluminium/plastic tamper and the espro or Pullman...hmmm...imagine trying to drive a nail with a block of timber versus a hammer. You might do it, but not do as good a job.

    For my money, I prefer te Pullman tamper. Every one is absolutel unique, fits the SB baskets perfectly, and most importantly, do a fine job of compressing the coffee. You will defintely see and taste the difference!

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    But while the Pullman tampers run rings around the tamping process 8-) another way of gauging pressure is by using bathroom scales (14 kg pressure), and when you have the feel for that, doing it intuitively without the scales. Call that Zen if you like.

    Tamping compresses the grounds evenly so that water does not drill through one spot, the "path of least resistance", over extracting that area, and leaving the other grounds relatively undiluted.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Re: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    The Pullman tamper other than being a lovely piece of eye candy, sits in your hand better, has a lovely balanced weight and most importantly fits the basket almost perfectly.
    With the Sunbeam one I was having to tamp twice to get all the side bits I missed. But now I just tamp the once and then just a bit of polishing .
    Has definitely improved my technique.

    It can be hard to figure out quantity and grind settings when each pour is being effected by bad tamping.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    Re: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    Welcome dasfreak,

    It must be acknowledged that Sunbeam have done a better job than most with their factory tamper. Its a nicer unit than what you get with machines three times the price in both appearance and ergonomics, and at least its approaching the right size. However its very light and not overly well built, and the stainless steel cap around the base of the tamper is brushed lengthways so it tends to rip the puck if you try to polish.

    There are probably two main differences with Pullman tampers, which is the essence of your question; one is that whenever possible theyre made to fit the basket theyll be used in which ensures all the coffee gets tamped rather than leaving a rim of untamped coffee around the edge of the basket; secondly, the TrueTamp rings help to keep the tamp level so youre applying the same pressure on both sides. There are other little nice-ities like the fact theyre individually numbered and measured, but those are probably the two fundamental differences which set them apart from many others.

    Beyond that, personal preference comes into it a lot. There are numerous tampers on the market as youd probably know by now; most of these supply a generic 58mm size which is the same as the Sunbeam original tamper, but are much nicer to use. Things like aesthetics and ergonomics are fairly personal things so Id encourage you to look around at a few different ones to find something you like. If you can tell us where youre located Im sure therell be some sponsors in your area who would be happy to show you the tampers they carry. Units that spring to mind are the Coffeelab as supplied by Talk Coffee in Vic, Di Bartoli and Coffeeparts in NSW sell tampers, and CosmoreX in ACT carry Pullman as well as possibly some others. Reg Barber is another very popular tamper but the only distributor I know of is in WA.

    Good luck whichever way you go!


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Re: A tamper is a tamper is a tamper?

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    One thing I will add about the Pullman is that it will take a while to get used to when you first start using it.

    Although I noticed a huge difference immediately, it did take me a while to get used to the weight and the amount of force I put into tamping. Basically I do not need to tamp so hard as the weight of the tamper does it for me.

    I also had to change my tamping technique a little as I noticed that I have a habit of not tamping evenly - which the True Tamp rings helped me to adjust so I now tamp evenly and get fantastic shots as a result.

    A good tamper does make a difference, which is why some brands are so expensive.

    I love mine.

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