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  • How Much Tamping?

    Im new to coffee snobs. Great to see there are so many people out there who are bigger snobs than I am when it comes to coffee.

    I am buying an ECM Giotto. I was told at the demo that its best to grind the beans as fine as possible and just have a light tamp.

    Elsewhere, I have heard that you need so many Kgs of force and hence the apparent need for expensive tampers which can measure the force.

    Which viewpoint is correct?

    Thanks,

    Dave.



  • #2
    Re: How Much Tamping?

    Sheesh...

    What else did the "vendor" suggest?

    Hope you havent bolted to the supermarket to pick up a kilo of pre-ground Vittoria....

    Frankly, the guy who sold you your machine has no idea  > :

    2mcm

    ps. Welcome to CS Dave- You may notice that were passionate about our stuff here

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: How Much Tamping?

      I think youll find a lot of different opinions on that. I know that Alan from Coffee Connoisseurs Australia recommends a light tamp, but Ive heard of far more people saying that a heavy tamp (about 30/40 pounds) and a courser grind is the better way to go. If youve seen Oz WBC Champion Paul Bassets "Living Coffee" series, youll know he bashes the *&^% out of the grinds with his tamp

      I just got a brand new tamper in the mail today Beautiful, heavy, shiny, 58mm, and FLAT - 30 bucks
      Happy tamping!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How Much Tamping?

        Dave, if its not too late, dont buy it from the guy that gave you that advice! If they cant tell you how to make a coffee, how the hell will they fix your machine if anything goes wrong!

        I urge you to talk to 2mcm or someone similar - you will certainly get better advice and probably a far better deal!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: How Much Tamping?

          you can achieve a nice tasting, good looking pour, albeit a bit quick with a light polishing type tamp - I have been experimenting lately after some comments by Sparky. Interesting twist (no pun intended).

          Cheers

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: How Much Tamping?

            This taken from Alen Frews website- www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/tweaks.html

            (The web site referred to by Richy_4000 above):

            "Too much coffee?

            A very well defined screw impression in the puck.
            The absolute best shots were those I pulled when the double filter basket had as much coffee in it as possible, 15.0g. The coffee itself was in direct contact with the showerscreen, and another 0.5 grams caused leaking around the edges of the portafilter. As it was, the screw impression left in the puck was clearly defined.

            Tamp not a factor

            One thing that putting as much coffee in as possible did was to remove the effects of tamping as a factor in the shot quality. A light “smoothing” tamp to remove voids and ensure good edge contact with the filter basket was just as effective (or not) as the heaviest “grunt” tamp I could manage. To prove to myself that this situation wasn’t exclusive to the Silvia, I tried the same thing out on a 1-group La Marzocco and got the same results."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How Much Tamping?

              Ooooooh, a beat of heat in this thread now  :P lets have a comeback now 2MCM!! Nothing below the belt. Place your bets CSs  ;D

              (Amendment - oops, didnt see the post before last. Much less heated than previously thought :P But still, a difference of opinion )

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How Much Tamping?

                With All due respect to Allan, I havent noticed him pulling shots in any recent barista comps.

                Although you can pull a perfect looking shot with no tamp at all, you will compensate with a slightly finer grind. This increases the risk of overextraction leading to poor shot profile. Things have changed since the 80s and the result is in the cup. I havent noticed any baristi in great cafes throwing their tampers away recently. Perhaps they just do it for muscle tone? :P

                In addition, many beginners struggle with dose consistency and channelling. A consistent tamp will assist in the journey to repeatable dose.




                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How Much Tamping?

                  And 2MCM regains the lead ;D

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How Much Tamping?

                    i think the living coffee series tamp is more to do with the shows sponsor, than anything else....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How Much Tamping?

                      Originally posted by brissydave link=1183372485/0#0 date=1183372485
                      Im new to coffee snobs. Great to see there are so many people out there who are bigger snobs than I am when it comes to coffee.

                      I am buying an ECM Giotto. I was told at the demo that its best to grind the beans as fine as possible and just have a light tamp.

                      Elsewhere, I have heard that you need so many Kgs of force and hence the apparent need for expensive tampers which can measure the force.

                      Which viewpoint is correct?

                      Thanks,

                      Dave.

                      The most followed idea is to grind so that a 15kg tamp produces a 25 (approx) second pour time.

                      Keeping the tamp the same - the finer you grind, the slower the pour should be.

                      You dont need a expensive tamp that measures 15kg, just practice on a set of scales and you will get used to it fairly quickly.

                      There is obviously more to it then this eg. fresh beans will give a slower pour than stale ones, you must tamp evenly, etc.

                      Good machine that

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How Much Tamping?

                        I was not suggesting that light tamp is the way to go...just that some people go for it (like the Barista in Indooroopilly coffee nook the other day when I was there) and I have been doing some experimenting. I think overall I have had more consistency and better shots with a solid tamp than a light one.

                        Cheers

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How Much Tamping?

                          Originally posted by krusty link=1183372485/0#9 date=1183375481
                          i think the living coffee series tamp is more to do with the shows sponsor, than anything else....
                          I dont think so Krusty,

                          Paul has been updosing and tamping heavily for quite some time. You will notice him doing the same in Coffee Crazy which pre-dated Living Coffee. He also did it in the WBC which he won...

                          Whether there is a huge difference in shot profile between an 8kg tamp and a 20kg tamp, I am not so sure. IMHO, dose and distribution lead to consistent, high quality shots- and tamp plays an important role in ensuring a consistent distribution- so like Scott, Im not planning on throwing out any of my tampers in the near future (other than the crappy one which came attached to my mazzer- binned in 15 seconds )

                          2mcm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: How Much Tamping?

                            Here you go ozscott - 2MCM, what about the school of thought that says that a heavy tamp compacts the top of the puck heavily, leaving the bottom less tight ->channeling. Thus, the ultra-professional auto tamping machines use multiple, light tamps (read this off a Coffee Geek article).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: How Much Tamping?

                              At the risk of just going waaaaay too in-depth, Ill throw in some thoughts:

                              First up, lets deal with the (relative) quickie:

                              Here you go ozscott - 2MCM, what about the school of thought that says that a heavy tamp compacts the top of the puck heavily, leaving and the bottom less tight ->channeling. Thus, the ultra-professional auto tamping machines use multiple, light tamps (read this off a Coffee Geek article).
                              Im not so sure that that is what Marks article linked compaction to channeling. What it suggested was that tamping multiple times might lead to more even compaction. I think that everyone inferred that that this might lead to a better shot. But Im not aware of a skerrick of evidence to support that point of view.

                              My own attempts to tamp, dose, distribute and tamp again have been abysmal. My theory is that the more you do, the more likely you are to screw something up. I base that on a whole bunch of experiments with the naked portafilter. I refer to those experiments so much that I really ought to repeat them and photograph ... but I dont know that Ill ever get the time.

                              As for the Swift grinder, it doesnt tamp mulitple times, but has what LM call an "impeller," which is a device that looks sort of like a propeller, with a diameter of 58mm or so. This sits inside the basket. When the Swift grinder is activated, ground coffee falls over the impeller, which rotates and tamps the coffee. As more coffee is added, the impeller travels higher and higher until it hits the switch to stop. Its really quite ingenious. However, I dont think that this system was based on any notion of how one ought to tamp but, rather, Mark Barnett came up with it as a way to measure the dose accurately whilst tamping and allow the dose to be changed by altering how far the impeller can travel before hitting the switch. (I hope that makes sense; Im not all that mechanically inclined!)

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