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Thread: Tampers 101...

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    Tampers 101...

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello All,

    Im new to the Dark Arts revealed in this site, so I apologise in advance if this seems a silly question. * ::)

    I thought Tampers were just a way of leveling out and squashing down the coffee (I assumed this was to get rid of any air pockets and even up the density). *We use a piece of hardwood turned by my husband to fit the basket, and just use an intuitive firm pressure. *

    However, in reading this site I have realised that tampers are taken very seriously indeed (possibly second only to grinders) and that people are prepared to spend what seems a large amount for a very simple tool.

    Could someone please explain the whys & wherefores of Tamper theory? *How/why do different Tampers change the coffee? *And what should I look for when choosing one?

    Cheers - Carrie * :)

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Hi Carrie

    If your husband has turned your wooden tamper to be a near snug fit
    there is nothing wrong with that.
    I would be happy using your tamper.

    Given that your grind is correct for your machine
    The pressure you apply, should be in the ballpark of 15 to 20 kg
    You can use a set of bathroom scales to get the routine down pat

    Post us a picture so we can have a look

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Thanks KK

    No... its not snug, apx 10mm less in diameter. We just "bounce" it all over ;) (we DO take care though, and make it as even as humanly possible) ::)

    -Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Hi Carrie, and welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK link=1226715794/0#0 date=1226715794
    Hello All,

    Im new to the Dark Arts revealed in this site, so I apologise in advance if this seems a silly question. * ::)
    There are no silly questions!

    I thought Tampers were just a way of leveling out and squashing down the coffee (I assumed this was to get rid of any air pockets and even up the density). *We use a piece of hardwood turned by my husband to fit the basket, and just use an intuitive firm pressure. *
    Youve got it in one! Its just that this is not always easy to do, especially with the poor fitting tampers often delivered as standard.

    However, in reading this site I have realised that tampers are taken very seriously indeed (possibly second only to grinders) and that people are prepared to spend what seems a large amount for a very simple tool.
    Yup, I spend a fair bit on my new Pullman Barista (how much did your husbands lathe cost?). Some of that was to get a good fit to the basket, the rest was to get the fancy trimmings like balance, polish, and my favourite colour. I have always enjoyed quality tools.

    Could someone please explain the whys & wherefores of Tamper theory? *How/why do different Tampers change the coffee? *And what should I look for when choosing one?
    Go back to your first statement--if it gets rid of air pockets and evens the density from edge to edge, you are basically finished as far as the task goes. A nicely smoothed top to the puck helps as well, but that can be done with a home-made tamper as well as a professionally produced one.

    The end product is what counts--the coffee in your cup. Enjoy.

    Greg

    Cheers - Carrie * :)

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Tell him to make one that is .5 mm smaller than the basket
    Itís the best way to get even pressure to the puck in one easy press ;)


    While he is at it he can make the depth to suit the head space of your machine

    I suggest he looks at the site sponsor / Pullman Tamper web site <<<<<<
    to get an idea of what he should aim for



    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Hi Greg,

    Im not criticising the price of Tampers, it is just one of the things that has made me realise that they are more important than I had known before. That is why I was asking for advice on what to look for when buying one :o

    Cheers - Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Good advice KK, Thanks :)

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    We are big on DIY if you have the resources and know-how
    Here is a wooden one I found on the net
    However I donít like the angled bottom edge



    Another thought does your hubby have metal turning experience
    If so whats to stop him from making one from S/Steel or Brass or Aluminium ??

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Thanks KK,

    Yes, metal turning is where hes most experienced (hes a blacksmith) so we were thinking brass or bronze.

    Cheers - Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK link=1226715794/0#8 date=1226719765
    Thanks KK,

    Yes, metal turning is where hes most experienced (hes a blacksmith) so we were thinking brass or bronze.

    Cheers - Carrie
    Ohhh my mouth just started to drool... EVERY where.

    I was also a Fitter and turner in an earlier life and look to the day where I can have a little lath in the shed :-)

    Some mates from years ago where blacksmiths and my dad has done some, as required in the bush... Rough by some standards but the needs demanded something... Not least to say that it was some 50 plus years ago and every station had their own forge of sorts... Drays and many other property equipment needed metal work of one kind or another.

    Now, a raw iron tamp with a special base that was polished (Brass, bronze or the base metal) could look great and could even perform very well.

    OH... Let me be the first to trial one..... It would bring tears to my old mans eyes.





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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK link=1226715794/0#8 date=1226719765
    Thanks KK,

    Yes, metal turning is where hes most experienced (hes a blacksmith) so we were thinking brass or bronze.

    Cheers - Carrie
    Blacksmith hmmm
    I see more than tampers for him to make
    I also see coffee roasters ;)
    Carrie strike while the iron is hot

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by AngerManagement link=1226715794/0#9 date=1226722394
    I was also a Fitter and turner in an earlier life and look to the day where I can have a little lath in the shed
    Ive been eying these on the bay of evil lately.
    http://www.mini-lathe.com/

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Hi Carrie,

    Yeah the basic principles of tampers are pretty simple and cheap. Whats not so simple and cheap is getting the aesthetics right, making it comfortable and functional for repetitive use and getting the size right! A Vegemite jars never going to win any ergonomics awards, but you might strike it lucky and have one thats just the right size for your basket. But if you dont then you need a lathe to get it to just the right size, and thats where the dollars suddenly start mounting! The tamper youve got, being as small as it is, means you have to stamp all over the coffee, which is very hard to do consistently every time. If the size is just right you only have to do one tamp, which is a lot easier to repeat consistently.

    Ergonomics is another big thing, and the design of the tamper can affect how easy it is to be consistent with what you do. Something like a Vegemite jar would be pretty hard because youve got nothing positive to grab onto. It would also be a shocker for RSI. Its all these sorts of things that go into making a top quality tamper thats comfortable and easy to be consistent with for the home user, but is also up to the task for high-volume commercial users, wont break, wont rot or swell with moisture and stay looking good. Thats what you pay for. ;)

    Greg

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Pullman link=1226715794/0#12 date=1226737908
    Hi Carrie,

    Yeah the basic principles of tampers are pretty simple and cheap. Whats not so simple and cheap is getting the aesthetics right, making it comfortable and functional for repetitive use and getting the size right! A Vegemite jars never going to win any ergonomics awards, but you might strike it lucky and have one thats just the right size for your basket. But if you dont then you need a lathe to get it to just the right size, and thats where the dollars suddenly start mounting! The tamper youve got, being as small as it is, means you have to stamp all over the coffee, which is very hard to do consistently every time. If the size is just right you only have to do one tamp, which is a lot easier to repeat consistently.

    Ergonomics is another big thing, and the design of the tamper can affect how easy it is to be consistent with what you do. Something like a Vegemite jar would be pretty hard because youve got nothing positive to grab onto. It would also be a shocker for RSI. Its all these sorts of things that go into making a top quality tamper thats comfortable and easy to be consistent with for the home user, but is also up to the task for high-volume commercial users, wont break, wont rot or swell with moisture and stay looking good. Thats what you pay for. ;)

    Greg
    ergonomics ... *Umm I was thinking of something along an additional wrought iron *caltrop designed tamper for work; *thus I could leave it out for the sneak users at work *::)

    However, Greg has summed it up and not unlike every thing else with coffee, the actual TAMP can and does have an impact... Either directly or indirectly on the outcome and on the baristr...

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    I reckon one of the smartest things I ever did (after buying an espresso machine and decent grinder), was to discover Gregs Tampers and buy one. That was years ago and as I followed the upgrade trail (that is pretty common with folk around here ::)) I have updated my Pullman Tampers along the way. Have quite a collection now but would never think of letting any of them go.... What price a unique piece of art that also functions perfectly 8-)

    Mal.

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Same here.
    I didnt need my second Pullman but found an excuse to justify buying it.
    Beautiful.

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    I sold my older Pullman with LM basket to fund the new Pullman Barista
    One good tamper is all I need

    Donít like to see good things made for work left idle
    That said. It went to a good CS home


    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Thanks all,

    Angermanagement, if Phil makes a Tamper Im afraid Ill bags it first...

    Unfortunately though, like mechanics who never quite have the time to get their own cars running perfectly, things for home are always at the bottom of the to do list. *Hence the request for advice on buying one to use while Im waiting * :D *I had a laugh

    -Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    In that case I recommend a Pullman because it will last forever and it sounds like thats how long youll be waiting. *;)

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Yes, I think it sounds like an open & shut case for the Pullman. *And when Phil has a go at making one, well have something decent to compare it with *:)

    ;D *I didnt intend to sound mean before, *it doesnt take FOREVER to get things for home... *just long enough that theyre a nice surprise when they turn up unannounced & unexpected. * ;D

    -Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Good choice Carrie

    Pullman tampers are made with care and precision
    May I suggest the new Barista model for its balance and comfortable handles
    Make sure you have you husband measure your basket to have the tamper made to fit or buy a new fitted basket

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Thanks KK, *Ive just been off looking at the Pullman site and thought the Barista looked great too. *

    Now Im going to push the friendship and ask......

    Flat or Convex???? * *:o

    Cheers - Carrie

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    Re: Tampers 101...


    Carrie it depends on you machine
    Most people go for a flat profile and will suit all machines

    I however I own a Convex Barista to suit the profile of my machines shower screen which is convex (just a personal preference)

    My older Pullman was a flat profile and it worked just as good

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK link=1226715794/20#21 date=1226815739
    Thanks KK, *Ive just been off looking at the Pullman site and thought the Barista looked great too. *

    Now Im going to push the friendship and ask......

    Flat or Convex???? * *:o

    Cheers - Carrie
    One well known sponsor ;) (Greg) would be able to give some detail on this and I am sure that others also have their perceptions...

    However for me; I have always assumed that the biggest impact is the shape and profile of the shower screen...

    Thus all my tamps to date have been flat.

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by CarrieK link=1226715794/20#21 date=1226815739
    Now Im going to push the friendship and ask......

    Flat or Convex???? * *:o

    Cheers - Carrie
    Hi Carrie,

    Well Im not Greg..... but the other half of the "Pullman empire".... ;)

    Re flat or convex.... to be honest that really depends on you, your technique, your machine and what, in combination, gives you the best and most consistent results.

    I personally believe, as AngerManagement said above that best results are obtained when the shape of the base matches the shape (profile) of the machines showerscreen - but not everyone agrees this is true.

    With my La Cimbali (convex showerscreen) I get the best results with a convex base..... and have always preferred convex bases..... Greg, on the other hand prefers flat bases.

    Most of our customers in Australia purchase flat based tampers for a wide range of machines whereas our overseas customers purchase more convex..... and all are happy with the results!

    I guess what Im trying to say is that there is no "definitive" answer to your question..... both work very well.... customers are happy using both base profiles with a range of different machines..... so it is really down to what works best for you..... and that is a bit hard until you have tried them both.

    Im sure that you will be happy which ever profile you choose.

    Robin.

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Would a tamper that weighs 15-20kg be useful in ensuring the correct pressure?

    I was thinking of turning one out of a large solid bar of steel i had laying around...
    Then i thought "hey, this thing weighs about 15kg"

    After further thought, I realised "I could just leave it as a bar!"

    Okay so ergonomics would suffer (in theory).

    ...but should the pressure be 15kg/cm2 (meaning my mega-tamper wouldnt really work) or is the 15kg applied evenly over the entire surface area?


    Thinking on another level again, one could imagine a pile driver type of setup...
    - A heavy bar, maybe 7kg, fitted inside a tube.
    - Placing the group under the tube and dropping the bar onto it = correct pressure applied.
    - Adjusting the height of the drop would vary the pressure applied (according to law of gravity)
    - Markings on the bar would read 12..13..14...19....20kg.

    Sensible? Or no?

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 3129272E2E3B420 link=1226715794/25#25 date=1246929003
    Would a tamper that weighs 15-20kg be useful in ensuring the correct pressure?

    I was thinking of turning one out of a large solid bar of steel i had laying around...
    Then i thought "hey, this thing weighs about 15kg"

    After further thought, I realised "I could just leave it as a bar!"

    Okay so ergonomics would suffer (in theory).

    ...but should the pressure be 15kg/cm2 (meaning my mega-tamper wouldnt really work) or is the 15kg applied evenly over the entire surface area?


    Thinking on another level again, one could imagine a pile driver type of setup...
    - A heavy bar, maybe 7kg, fitted inside a tube.
    - Placing the group under the tube and dropping the bar onto it = correct pressure applied.
    - Adjusting the height of the drop would vary the pressure applied (according to law of gravity)
    - Markings on the bar would read 12..13..14...19....20kg.

    Sensible? Or no?
    giggled like a schoolgirl... Tampers 101 - what not to do...

    It comes down to managing all the variables and the so called rules are only guidelines...

    I want to see the rubber shock mounts / system your going to use to protect the bench top:-)

    I use may be 5 to 8 kg at best... Measure it on a set of scales by pushing down... Would hardly squash a mossie but works for me.

    Still giggled like a schoolgirl just thinking about a pile driver...

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 78606E6767720B0 link=1226715794/25#25 date=1246929003
    Would a tamper that weighs 15-20kg be useful in ensuring the correct pressure?

    I was thinking of turning one out of a large solid bar of steel i had laying around...
    Then i thought "hey, this thing weighs about 15kg"

    After further thought, I realised "I could just leave it as a bar!"

    Okay so ergonomics would suffer (in theory).

    ...but should the pressure be 15kg/cm2 (meaning my mega-tamper wouldnt really work) or is the 15kg applied evenly over the entire surface area?


    Thinking on another level again, one could imagine a pile driver type of setup...
    - A heavy bar, maybe 7kg, fitted inside a tube.
    - Placing the group under the tube and dropping the bar onto it = correct pressure applied.
    - Adjusting the height of the drop would vary the pressure applied (according to law of gravity)
    - Markings on the bar would read 12..13..14...19....20kg.

    Sensible? Or no?
    If you do that you are going to be hitting the coffee bed not pressing down on it. The difference being using an impacting force will probably cause ripples through the bed albeit very small (kinda like those super slo mo videos of people being hit). I see this resulting in more tiny airpockets and cracks and a very uneven extraction.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Dennis's Avatar
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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 705C4F49545C51627052535658443D0 link=1226715794/27#27 date=1247472700
    I see this resulting in more tiny airpockets and cracks and a very uneven extraction.
    I think youre being kind. I see it more as a coffee explosion with not much of it left in the basket. ;D


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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Ive just being browsing around, still fairly new and came across this thread. It has a common message - Pullman tampers are highly recommended. However, still be very new to the world of coffee, I am going to ask what may be a stupid question: Flat or Convex? I have read it is dependable on the showerscreen of your machine. What is the showerscreen and where can I find this out about my machine?

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 7570757A7675190 link=1226715794/29#29 date=1248261118
    I am going to ask what may be a stupid question: Flat or Convex? I have read it is dependable on the showerscreen of your machine. What is the showerscreen and where can I find this out about my machine?
    I am of that view
    Get a tamper that matches the shower screen

    The shower screen is where the water comes out when you turn on the brew switch

    And it looks like this


    KK ;)

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 6164616E62610D0 link=1226715794/29#29 date=1248261118
    Ive just being browsing around, still fairly new and came across this thread. It has a common message - Pullman tampers are highly recommended. *However, still be very new to the world of coffee, I am going to ask what may be a stupid question: Flat or Convex? I have read it is dependable on the showerscreen of your machine. What is the showerscreen and where can I find this out about my machine?
    Um, stupid question? I dont think so. In the world of tampers its probably the one most commonly asked! ;D

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Call me a tree hugger if you will but I was wondering where the timber is sourced for the Pullman tamper handles? Plantation?

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Im led to believe that Greg recycles tired old unloved thunderbox seats Annzy ;D

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Im led to believe that Greg recycles tired old unloved thunderbox seats
    ;D

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    ;D Hahahaha, that would be classic!

    "Fantastic coffee."

    "Thanks, I tamped it with a recyled toilet seat!"

  37. #37
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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 2F70687E757E727B7B7878707C731D0 link=1226715794/33#33 date=1250653422
    Im led to believe that Greg recycles tired old unloved thunderbox seats Annzy *;D
    Does that make them well seated :D

    KK

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    I knew there was a reason for going with the Grape aluminium. :P

    Greg

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 633C243239323E373734343C303F510 link=1226715794/33#33 date=1250653422
    Im led to believe that Greg recycles tired old unloved thunderbox seats Annzy *;D
    Kopi Luwak- run through a civets digestive tract. People pay for that! A friend who is a roaster suggested he should get some local possums "on the job."
    Makes Gregs Thunderbox Specials sound very attractive

    Brett

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Quote Originally Posted by 5C4D444D45495B5C4D5A280 link=1226715794/38#38 date=1250672171
    Kopi Luwak- run through a civets digestive tract. People pay for that! A friend who is a roaster suggested he should get some local possums "on the job."
    Makes Gregs Thunderbox Specials sound very attractive
    I should get my cat "on the job!" Then the lazy fatso could generate me some moolah instead the opposite. Hehe!

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    Re: Tampers 101...

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 5679796D6E170 link=1226715794/32#32 date=1250653306
    Call me a tree hugger if you will but I was wondering where the timber is sourced for the Pullman tamper handles? Plantation?
    OK having dealt with the frivolity...! ::) As far as is possible the wood we use is recycled wood (NOT from toilet seats!) - Jarrah is often from old floor boards and Huon Pine is from what was salvaged before Lake Pedder was flooded. Red Gum is normally from individual trees which had to be felled for safety reasons, or under council regulations, for housing developments and so on. New stuff is supposed to come from plantations as opposed to old growth; as far as I know Wenge and Aussie Oak are plantation timbers but some of them could be from recycled sources.

    So if your question is do we use old growth forest to source our timbers, the answer is still no, so long as what were being told is accurate.

    Greg



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