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  • Consistent tamping

    Im at it again, trying to improve my knowledge and understanding.

    My perception is that tamping is the greatest inconsistency in my barista endeavors. I can get the grind right and score a perfect extraction occasionally, but the next three shots might just be crap in comparison.

    I dont think the nature of the beans will change that quickly so it must be my packing and tamping. I reckon my packing is reasonably consistent so Im staring right down the barrel of inconsistent tamping.

    For all of you pros and experts, is there a way, other than years of experience or expensive equipment, I can tamp with consistent pressure? Maybe a procedure or something that might help me achieve that 15kg tamp consistently.
    Thanks once more all.
    Tony

  • #2
    Re: Consistent tamping

    Originally posted by 5A61667D6E7C67090 link=1260003568/0#0 date=1260003568
    Im at it again, trying to improve my knowledge and understanding.

    My perception is that tamping is the greatest inconsistency in my barista endeavors. I can get the grind right and score a perfect extraction occasionally, but the next three shots might just be crap in comparison.

    I dont think the nature of the beans will change that quickly so it must be my packing and tamping. I reckon my packing is reasonably consistent so Im staring right down the barrel of inconsistent tamping.

    For all of you pros and experts, is there a way, other than years of experience or expensive equipment, I can tamp with consistent pressure? Maybe a procedure or something that might help me achieve that 15kg tamp consistently.
    Thanks once more all.
    Tony
    1: I dont use 15kg... I use what I need.. Dependant on the beans / grind etc

    2: Use a fancy spring loaded tamper...

    3: Your method is faulty.... Go and spend some time with a Sponsor...

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Consistent tamping

      Try just tamping with the weight of the tamper and see what happens, there is a school of thought that considers the tamp fairly irrelevant, I was reading threads about it last night so a quick look through this forum section should find it

      and it did

      http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1255338119

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Consistent tamping

        Hey Tony,

        If youre getting inconsistencies between shots in a single session, Id probably investigate the amount youre packing. I bought some jewelry scales off feebay which measures in .1 grams. I then measured each shot before extracting for a couple of weeks and was surprised to find that the level Im packing was quite different each time - up to 1.5 grams difference each time.

        1.5 grams may not sound like a lot, but it can mean the difference between a gusher and a good shot, or a choked extraction.

        While Im not making enough coffees to really get a good trend happening, I think my dosing has improved.

        If youre still keen on improving your tamping, you can either get a fancy spring loaded tamper as AM suggests or get a pressure sensitive tamping mat. My understanding is that the mats can be configured for different weights, whereas the tampers cannot.

        -ACog

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Consistent tamping

          Originally posted by 2B2D3A312B2C34365F0 link=1260003568/2#2 date=1260010227
          there is a school of thought that considers the tamp fairly irrelevant
          Ive heard of this. While Ive not played around with tamping too much, I do know last week I accidently ripped the surface of the puck before locking the GH in. I was in a hurry, so proceeded despite, and what came out was one of my best shots pulled this year. Later on I had a look at the spent puck and there was no signs of fractures that youd expect from a bad surface.

          Just another one of those things to keep us guessing and in pursuit of the perfect espresso.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Consistent tamping

            Originally posted by 3A3F383225372F2437560 link=1260003568/5#5 date=1260011186
            - gravity is constant
            Bwahaha. Love it.

            But what about the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Consistent tamping

              African or European swallow?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Consistent tamping

                Oh, I pressed send before adding anything useful.

                ShotGun - Im with ACog (and whoever) in saying that dosing (the amount of coffee) and distribution (how evenly it sits in the basket) are more likely the problem.

                Since you have a Mini - and Im assuming you mean manual (ie. it has a doser) - you have a slight advantage here. Thats because the best way to dose consistently - incidentally killing the distribution bird with the same stone - is to fill the basket until its full (ie. full at the edges and mounded up in the middle). You then tap the handle on the bench (or something) X* number of times. Then, gently swipe the remaining "mounded" coffee back into your doser for the next dose (assuming itll be made immediately - otherwise chuck the grounds out) and tamp. Doesnt really matter how heavily you tamp, in my opinion; just make it consistent.

                * - the number of times you tap the handle on the bench will determine how much the coffee settles down on itself. Since you are then swiping off the excess, it will ultimately determine how much coffee ends up in the basket. The "correct" amount will depend on your machine and what-not, but for me its when the spent puck (after the shot) feels somewhat springy to the touch (not hard, not squishy or wet). Once you have the dose right, and a consistent tamp, fine-tuning the grind should be the main thing you fiddle with.

                Thats how I handled it, anyway.
                Cheers
                Stuart.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Consistent tamping

                  Originally posted by 45474B43434D4A57240 link=1260003568/3#3 date=1260010494
                  I bought some jewelry scales off feebay
                  Did you buy them locally of from an overseas supplier? spoke to another CS the other day who bought a similar scale, weighs to 1kg in .1 increments, he paid around A$10 post paid from Hong Kong, pretty darned cheap.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Consistent tamping

                    ACog has given you great advice, IMHO.

                    Cheers,
                    Luca

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Consistent tamping

                      Jon,

                      They came from HK. Cheap and fast shipment.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Consistent tamping

                        Originally posted by 787A767E7E70776A190 link=1260003568/10#10 date=1260067969
                        Jon,

                        They came from HK. Cheap and fast shipment.
                        Thanks ACog.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Consistent tamping

                          Hello all and thanks once more.
                          OK a lot to digest here. Firstly, I use a grinding/dosing system based on this http://www.espressocompany.com.au/grinding-dosing-video.htm and thats why I thought my dosing was probably OK. I try to follow the same procedure each time but the way the Mini doser loads my basket when the doser is only partly full can be inconsistent in itself. Sometimes it doses very small amounts of coffee and then out of the blue it will dump a huge pile on, so I basically do the best I can by trying for a consistent workflow.

                          Thats why I thought it must be my tamping but I really dont want to go out and spend more money and commandeer even more of our limited kitchen space.

                          Is this video good practice and when youre grinding/dosing on demand and only have small amounts of coffee in your doser, how can you dose consistently?
                          Cheers and thanks again guys.
                          Tony

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Consistent tamping

                            The video looks about right to me. It depends on what your espresso machine likes though and they are all different.

                            For me personally when i was using a doser model i would collapse the coffee down with 1 tap after 3/4 filling the basket then dose a mound over the top of the basket, collapse again, level off then tamp.

                            The pressure of the tamp is as important as it being level and consistent. If you can maintain a consistent tamping routine then you can adjust the grind to suit the different conditions.

                            The guy in your video is doing a bit too much collapsing in my opinion but thats just me

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Consistent tamping

                              Originally posted by 5F6463786B79620C0 link=1260003568/12#12 date=1260069290
                              Hello all and thanks once more.
                              OK a lot to digest here. Firstly, I use a grinding/dosing system based on this http://www.espressocompany.com.au/grinding-dosing-video.htm and thats why I thought my dosing was probably OK. I try to follow the same procedure each time but the way the Mini doser loads my basket when the doser is only partly full can be inconsistent in itself. Sometimes it doses very small amounts of coffee and then out of the blue it will dump a huge pile on, so I basically do the best I can by trying for a consistent workflow.

                              Thats why I thought it must be my tamping but I really dont want to go out and spend more money and commandeer even more of our limited kitchen space.

                              Is this video good practice and when youre grinding/dosing on demand and only have small amounts of coffee in your doser, how can you dose consistently?
                              Cheers and thanks again guys.
                              Tony
                              Good link Tony.

                              Comment

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