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  • Convex or Flat Tamper

    Im about to buy a Pullman Barista Tamper and theres probably been much written about whether a flat tamper is better that a convex one. I read an article on a coffee site recently (cant remember where now) that argued strongly for flat tampers.

    My question is this... I have a Vimiemme Domobar espresso machine and it has a convex shower screen. Wouldnt it be better in that case to use a convex tamper?

    Ill be interested in your expert opinion.
    Thanks
    Tony

  • #2
    Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

    According to Mr Pullman himself, the idea is to have a tamper matching your shower screen - so yes go convex.

    Search is your friend! http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1220438656/7#7
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1161240704/0
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1202106250/16#16

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

      Gday Shotgun, from what I understand is that the jury is still out on this one. Probably more important that it fits correctly and that you technique is also consistent and level. Im using a convex one at the moment but would probably buy flat next time.

      PS. only a newbies opinion .

      Steve

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      • #4
        Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

        I spoke to Robin today and he said that he seems to get better espresso with a convex, but Greg himself prefers a flat.

        Im in the same position as you - I just cant decide!

        The other thing is that with a convex, the tamper bottom might get scuffed a bit from rolling around - it is a bit harder to store.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

          For what its worth Shotgun, if you ever want to upgrade I suspect the flat base would be a lot easier to sell than the convex.
          Ive got a flat, does a good job for me, cant comment on the convex, never used one.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

            Originally posted by 7A727D7B73292C180 link=1261026787/1#1 date=1261027789
            According to Mr Pullman himself, the idea is to have a tamper matching your shower screen - so yes go convex.

            Search is your friend! http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1220438656/7#7
            http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1161240704/0
            http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1202106250/16#16
            Hmm not so sure about that bjeck14... that view is certainly out there and may have merit but its not a view I am necessarily sold on myself. FWIW I pulled two consecutive shots on my Minore III through a bottomless group handle, 5 days post-roast beans, machine warmed up for 3 hours and spot on grind and dose. First with a flat tamper, second with a convex. The pours looked almost identical, lasted about as long and blonded about the same time. It tells me there are much more important factors to deal with than 1.5mm of curve on the bottom of the tamper, at least in the case of my machine.

            The above should tell me it doesnt matter either way a scrap; but until I have reason to change Ill probably do what most people do and stick with what Im used to, which is my flat tamper.

            Id agree with JonW too that a convex tampers are less popular but that could be because theyre less popular : i.e. most people have only used flat but are very happy with it, therefore they recommend flat (without mentioning theyre not in a position to say its really better than a convex in most cases) so most readers choose to get a flat "cos flat must be better if all those people recommend it".

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

              OK, to put the thing to rest AFAIC.

              I didnt search CSs forums for tampers bases for 3 reasons.
              (1) The first is that Im lazy.
              (2) The second is that I wanted information quickly because today was the last day I could order for pre-Xmas delivery.
              (3) When I do searches on issues, I often seem to end up with obscure results in unrelated threads.

              So what Ive done is go for the convex Pullman Barista. I read the post by Luca (thanks Bjeck14) and with my limited experience with this site and its members, Luca has the ability to cut to the issue and make sense to me. He favoured the convex for consistency as did Robin from Pullman. Add to that the convex shower screen of the VBM and there you have it. Decision made.

              Im sure in the overall scheme of things, the shape of the base of a tamper is relatively insignificant. See Lucas post down this thread http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1220438656/7#7 From my very limited experience I tend to agree that good beans, correct grind and consistent dosing are THE major influences. (did I just say that?)

              So, having said that, why did I even buy a new tamper I hear you ask. Well, mainly because I cant resist gadgets and Im attracted to colourful and shiny objects. Hmmmm!  

              Oh, and by the way, Ive matched the Pullman with a ridgeless Synesso double basket and new spring.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                Sorry to hijack your thread, but while were all here, what are your thoughts on the Jarrah handle vs the Anodised Aluminium in the Barista tamper?

                Ive done my homework i.e. bottom heavy vs balanced, but Ive now fallen in love with the Jarrah handle but I like heavier tampers. Its hard to decide when I havent seen them for myself, but Dimattinas in South Melbourne are all out of wooden handles.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                  Im certainly the wrong person to ask... I bought the Cobalt aluminium because as I said "Im attracted to colourful and shiny objects."

                  As far as I can see, I reckon its got to be a matter of personal choice. If you like the warmth of natural timber, go for it. If you like a more contemporary look, go for anodised aluminium.

                  I cant see that there would be much difference in the wear factor between the two, and once youve worked a consistent and repeatable tamping style, the weight difference shouldnt matter at all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                    Its a pretty personal thing Tashie - the aluminium and acetal handles are primarily aimed at the commercial market due to their durability but obviously the range of colours appeals to more than just commercial users. For home use theres no reason not to consider the hardwood handles if youre that way inclined; the weight of a tamper isnt that much of an issue - whether its 200g or 500g its still not enough to tamp your coffee! The hardwood ones are all hand turned so you can get a bit of variation in the shape of the handle from unit to unit, as well as the natural variations in the wood itself.

                    Greg

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                      To me, a tamper is tamper (as long as its a good fit). Theres a lot more to worry about than the shape of the base as Greg has already mentioned. If you can get your dosing and tamping technique as good as the pros, then you can worry about minor things like the base of the tamper. FWIW, I prefer to use convex Coffeelab tampers.

                      I would dare anyone to pick out the difference in the cup using different bases. Under 9 bars of extraction pressure, I dont think anything really matters.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                        Well said David.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                          FWIW I love my flat base Pullman Barista and its replaced the flat base Espro that I was using previously, 10 times out of 10. However, when @HD lets me onto her machine. Ill grab her Reg Barber Tall w/ Flat-Ripple base and wish one was available for the Pullman - man, I pull better shots with the ripple base than anything else.

                          My second choice in the RB tampers is a convex, then a flat base comes 3rd. And Im craving a c-ripple.

                          Perhaps its more to do with the mental fit, and also how it feels as part of your workflow (eg. the espro always lived in the BNZ doser lid, but for some reason I dont like having gregs beastie there)

                          J

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                          • #14
                            Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                            Originally posted by 4466607B7C7660130 link=1261026787/10#10 date=1261051974
                            I would dare anyone to pick out the difference in the cup using different bases. Under 9 bars of extraction pressure, I dont think anything really matters.
                            While not related to whether it was a convex or flat tamper, there was a difference in body between a shot tamped with a 58mm tamper and a 58.5mm tamper on the fb80 at first pour in brisbane. I thought that was quite interesting. The 58.5mm shot tasted a little more fuller, chocolatey and richer, and the 58mm shot was a bit more caramel. Forget the blend that was on during that day.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Convex or Flat Tamper

                              Originally posted by 4E415B70414E444A4B4C4049494A4A2F0 link=1261026787/13#13 date=1261197587
                              there was a difference in body between a shot tamped with a 58mm tamper and a 58.5mm tamper on the fb80 at first pour in brisbane.  I thought that was quite interesting.  The 58.5mm shot tasted a little more fuller, chocolatey and richer, and the 58mm shot was a bit more caramel.  Forget the blend that was on during that day.
                              Not having a go at you or your palate Ant but it would be very difficult to attribute any such difference to the Tamper alone when you are only comparing a single shot to another. To carry any weight at all, you would need to compare at least ten shot pairs with at least a single blind partition to be able to draw any kind of conclusion...

                              Mal.

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