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  • The importance of tamping pressure.

    This is an interesting piece by Alan Frew, I tend to agree with his observations.

    (Now thats out of the way, on to the "most requested" topic,
    Espresso Tamping.

    Customers are always asking about tamper sizes, tamp pressures,
    tamper shapes etc. and tamping technique seems to be important in
    the World Barista Championships. Funnily enough, in Italy the
    most experienced baristas barely bother, simply using the plastic
    protrusion on the front of the grinder. Watching them might lead
    you to believe that tamping isnt all that important, and youd
    be right.

    Most of the original emphasis on tamping comes from David Schomer
    of Espresso Vivace in Seattle USA, who wrote a couple of books on
    espresso in the late 1990s. These books are the origin of the
    much-quoted "30lb tamp" pressure.

    Then in 2006 another American, Michael Teahan of Espresso Part
    Source, gave a presentation at SCAA Charlotte (one of the reasons
    I attend these things.) Among other gems he demonstrated that
    varying tamp pressure from zero to 300lbs made absolutely no
    difference to the quality of the shot. The really important
    factors are coffee dose, distribution and levelling. (And getting
    a level tamp - at any pressure - is harder than youd think!)

    So these days, when people complain they are getting poor shots
    and blaming their tamp, I tell them, "Grind finer, dose accurately, tamp lightly and evenly" which seems to work in most cases.)

  • #2
    Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

    Originally posted by 1B272E3623420 link=1276139369/0#0 date=1276139369
    So these days, when people complain they are getting poor shots
    and blaming their tamp, I tell them, "Grind finer, dose accurately, tamp lightly and evenly" which seems to work in most cases.)  
    Yes I have to agree to some extent

    Originally posted by 1B272E3623420 link=1276139369/0#0 date=1276139369
    in Italy the
    most experienced baristas barely bother, simply using the plastic
    protrusion on the front of the grinder. Watching them might lead
    you to believe that tamping isnt all that important, and youd
    be right.
    However one thing that is in favour for the Italian barista is
    The roast depth
    In international roasting terms an Italian Roast is to my eyes about CS 10 to CS11 with an oily sheen

    I feel that with these statements & observations with the associated user problems that come out from the USA is all related to roast depth

    One will always struggle to pull a shot with an espresso machine if the roast depth is a little light

    KK

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

      Originally posted by 4D6960606363594D69756B69060 link=1276139369/1#1 date=1276140541
      Jon. wrote on Today at 13:09:
      So these days, when people complain they are getting poor shots
      and blaming their tamp, I tell them, "Grind finer, dose accurately, tamp lightly and evenly" which seems to work in most cases.)  


      Yes I have to agree to some extent
      Yes.. To a large extent..

      Thus 2 + 2 = 5 where 5 is great coffee

      The issue is that people read or are told something.. They do not realise or understand the detail... Thus revert to NUMBERS.. To make it simple... Coffee by numbers does not work.

      1: Grind = setting 21
      2: Gauge is exactly 1:00
      3: Beans are fresh ( got an expiry date of 2years)
      4: Machine is all BLING and has leva
      5: Tamp is exactly 15kg
      6: etc etc etc

      Sorry... does not work.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

        Originally posted by 7E5A535350506A7E5A46585A350 link=1276139369/1#1 date=1276140541
        In international roasting terms an Italian Roast is to my eyes about CS 10 to CS11 with an oily sheen
        I have noticed roasting to the point of oiliness is regarded by many Coffee Snobs to be verging on a cardinal sin, I certainly prefer my roasts to be showing traces of oil.
        Originally posted by 7E5A535350506A7E5A46585A350 link=1276139369/1#1 date=1276140541
        One will always struggle to pull a shot with an espresso machine if the roast depth is a little light
        No argument from me on this point KK.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

          Originally posted by 4B646D6F78476B646B6D6F676F647E0A0 link=1276139369/2#2 date=1276141699
          Originally posted by 4D6960606363594D69756B69060 link=1276139369/1#1 date=1276140541
          Jon. wrote on Today at 13:09:
          So these days, when people complain they are getting poor shots
          and blaming their tamp, I tell them, "Grind finer, dose accurately, tamp lightly and evenly" which seems to work in most cases.)  


          Yes I have to agree to some extent  
          Yes.. To a large extent..

          Thus 2 + 2 = 5  where 5 is great coffee  

          The issue is that people read or are told something.. They do not realise  or understand the detail... Thus revert to NUMBERS.. To make it simple... Coffee by numbers does not work.

          1: Grind = setting 21
          2: Gauge is exactly 1:00
          3: Beans are fresh ( got an expiry date of 2years)
          4: Machine is all BLING and has leva
          5: Tamp is exactly 15kg
          6:  etc etc etc

          Sorry... does not work.
          Most newcomers seem to think that the answer lies totally in the numbers, hence the use of vernier gauges, scales, micrometers and all manner of measuring devices, trying to duplicate the results of others using different machines, baskets etc.
          Im not suggesting measuring and record keeping is a bad thing, just the opposite, it certainly narrows down the variables in our search for consistency, just dont expect to duplicate results by using similar numbers/settings in different make machines, while learning from the experience of others is always helpful, when it comes to espresso machines its very much a case of getting to understand your own combination of machine, grinder, baskets etc and of course the importance of freshly roasted and ground beans, it seems to be pretty much a case of some get it and some dont. :

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

            I never encourage newcomers to espresso preparation to robotically adhere to a 30lb (13.6Kg) tamping force. Rather, I encourage them to develop a tamping technique that allows them to apply the same degree of force (give or take) each and every time; what ever that might be. Anything from 2Kg to 50Kg is fine, so long as the person is comfortably able to replicate this manoeuvre ad infinitum....

            My tamping force sits nominally at around 10Kg and from watching exponents of the art, such as the current WBC Champion, Id reckon it would be lucky to approach 2Kg. The numbers are really just a guideline, as much of everything to do with espresso preparation seems to be... :

            Mal.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

              The tamping pressure itself is not important.

              Whats important, is that whetever pressure you do tamp at, is done consistently from coffee to coffee.

              Most ladies we teach are not tamping at 13 kg, more like half of that. As long as they are consistent, thats all that matters.

              Their flow rate then comes from the relationship between grind /dose / tamp. The lighter you tamp, the finer the grind for the same flow rate.

              Given that you realise, that varying these things gives your "wet" coffee different character in the cup (for the same beans), and when you find that something you did resulted in something you like better, you repeat it. That consistency in your technique, then gives you what you want.

              Too easy!

              Regardz,
              Attilio
              very first CS site SponSir.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                Originally posted by 635740564D7A664A43434040250 link=1276139369/6#6 date=1276238107
                Too easy!
                Agree with everything you say up to this point, if it was in fact easy there would be no need for $150 barista courses and forums like Coffee Snobs, of course some of us may well find it easy but I suspect they are the exception rather than the rule.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                  Arhha! That brings to mind the next cliche being....with espresso, you either get it, or you dont!

                  Regardz,
                  A.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                    Originally posted by 043027312A1D012D24242727420 link=1276139369/8#8 date=1276241532
                    with espresso, you either get it, or you dont!
                    Aint that the truth. :

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                      Jons opening comment than you can pull a good shot with any tamp pressure is backed up by Attilios that consistency of pressure is very important. Yes you can set up the variables so that at any given pressure you can achieve a good shot, but change the tamp pressure without compensating those other variables and youre likely to run into trouble.

                      Something like the Espro is good if youre looking for a precise pressure. I did some tests a few years ago and found that the majority of the compression of the grounds occurs during the first few kilos of tamping and that once you pass about 5kg the puck is hardly compressing at all. So I dont think a small variation in the 10+kg range is going to make a big difference to whats in the cup. What would cause a problem is if you went from:
                      * dose to full, 1kg tamp, dose to full, 10kg tamp, to
                      * dose to full, 10kg tamp, dose to full, 15kg tamp

                      as youd end up with more coffee in the basket in the second scenario.

                      So grind, dose, distribution, and tamp can all have an impact on each other. Which gets back to what we always get back to - consistency is critical, and if something has to change, you can easily change one thing at a time.

                      Greg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                        Originally posted by 584D5A584F4A5353525E513F0 link=1276139369/10#10 date=1276245310
                        change one thing at a time.
                        Words of wisdom Greg, this applies to your whole post, but in particular to the practice of only changing one variable at a time, makes monitoring the results of the change so much simpler.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                          Originally posted by 4C786F79625549656C6C6F6F0A0 link=1276139369/8#8 date=1276241532
                          you either get it, or you dont! Smiley
                          Hey, just realised I already said that.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                            This

                            Originally posted by 46696062754A66696660626A626973070 link=1276139369/2#2 date=1276141699
                            Coffee by numbers does not work.
                            with the same author of this

                            Originally posted by 46696062754A66696660626A626973070 link=1276139369/2#2 date=1276141699
                            Thus 2 + 2 = 5where 5 is great coffee
                            seems amusing to me ;D and its the favourite quote.

                            I found that a heavier tamp seems to effect the pre infusion of the coffee more than anything else.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: The importance of tamping pressure.

                              Originally posted by 705C5F5A5D6C64330 link=1276139369/13#13 date=1276321856
                              I found that a heavier tamp seems to effect the pre infusion of the coffee more than anything else.
                              Not every machine has pre infusion

                              KK

                              Comment

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