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To tap, or not to tap, that is the question.

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  • To tap, or not to tap, that is the question.

    When tamping your coffee, do you tap the side and re tamp or not? some say don't tap. could cause channeling? others say do tap. gets the ground beans off the side etc.

    what do you do?
    39
    Yes, I always tap.
    38.46%
    15
    No, I never tap
    58.97%
    23
    I don't know or take much notice
    2.56%
    1

  • #2
    Think of it this way.
    Water under pressure will always take the path of least resistance (don't we all?). If you tap the side of the portafilter, coffe grounds will move away from the sides, creating a weak spot. The water will flow quicker through these weak spots and over extract. It is better not to tap, concentrating rather on getting a nice even tamp through the whole basket so the extaction is even.
    Tamp evenly, wipe the rim of the portafilter clean and you shold be right!

    Cheers

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    • #3
      Tap, don't tap, it make little if any difference.
      Just remember to retamp after tapping to ensure the puck is firmly settled right out to the edge.
      My method is tap to level, tamp and polish, tap to dislodge ground coffee that's found it's way up the edge of the basket then retamp and polish, has always worked well for me, nope, no channelling whatsoever.
      Last edited by Yelta; 28 July 2012, 09:07 PM.

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      • #4
        Agreed Yelta. Tap, re-tamp, shine, COFFEE !!!!!!!!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I tamp, light tap-tap, tamp and polish, wipe the lugs clean and then palm across the basket before locking it in.

          I don't get channelling.

          Whatever you do, do it the same each time.

          Comment


          • #6
            No tapping for me,I level then sit my tamp on the coffee, before any downward pressure I give it a little wiggle that seams to dislodge any coffee between the sides of the tamp and basket,

            Then just one firm level tamp

            keeping it simple seams to be the key

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            • #7
              I used to full tamp, light tap, firm tamp, light polish. It used to work fine but then lately I found it introduced a bit of side channelling... the sides would run really fast. Then i did a bit of reading and found that some people said not to do the tap, 2nd tamp and polish... and watched some WBC and found that they dont do it either. So lately I have been just doing the full tamp, then inverting the handle to let some loose grinds drop off and that's it. My shots have improved a lot, and I don't get the side channelling any more.
              However, having said that I have watched baristas (in good cafes) tamp tap and polish (my old routine) and produce beautiful espresso.
              My tip - experiment and develop a routine that produces the best espresso you can then keep doing that!

              Comment


              • #8
                In my line of work, the most simplest, quickest and most effective way is to correctly dose to a mound,
                collapse grounds by tapping the portafilter once or twice on the bench mat,
                holding the tamper like a torch with thumb on one side and the index finger lying along the other,
                with the portafilter held against the edge or top of the bench , bring tamping elbow up and the lower forearm vertical, bring down the tamper and tamp EVENLY using the weight of the body behind it. Light turn polish then lift off. No tapping on the sides. No fancy levelling around with fingers.
                Wipe the lip of the portafilter and then the lugs. Brew.

                Comment


                • #9
                  My opinion is do as little as possible with one tamp and zero to slight (10 deg.) twist.

                  No tapping, not too much mucking around and I rarely ever see channelling. The critical aspect is good distribution.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I see someone has added a poll to the topic. results favouring the 'no tap' method at the moment.

                    i had been told not to tap it, but then i bought some beans locally (sorry andy) and got chatting with the bloke behind the counter and he was in favour of 'the tap' method, so i thought i'd ask the question on here to get a wider range of responses. i also noticed on the sunbeam dvd i got with my 6910 that the guy on there recommends to tap as well. i guess its one of those topics that there is no real correct answer. if your method works, then alls well that ends well.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by prydey View Post
                      i guess its one of those topics that there is no real correct answer. if your method works, then alls well that ends well.
                      Think you hit the nail on the head there, but as a general rule, most people seem to eventually come to the conclusion that the simpler, the better. I think it depends on your grinder as well. Some clump, some give you lop-sided mounds. Sometimes its enough to make a difference and you need to do some distribution with that particular machine, in other machines its not enough to matter.

                      Pete

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                      • #12
                        I fill and tamp then light taps then tamp and polish. It has worked for me and as they say if you are on a good thing don't change. I think there will be many many different ways of doing the same task and all of them work for the people that use them. So good luck with your search it is all part of enjoying the experience.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
                          My opinion is do as little as possible with one tamp and zero to slight (10 deg.) twist.

                          No tapping, not too much mucking around and I rarely ever see channelling. The critical aspect is good distribution.
                          +1.

                          Tapping is an old habit and old habits sometimes die hard. While I can't say for certain, my understanding has been that it originated from the days before tampers could be had as a good fit, thus being too small they left a big ring of untamped coffee around the edges of the basket. Then someone realised that tapping the portafilter knocked this ring down so it could be tamped, but as others have mentioned, tapping runs the risk of fracturing the puck. These days several people can make tampers that fit the basket properly so there's no ring of untamped coffee to knock down, which in my view is the ideal situation. Failing that, you may get away with a small tap but I'd be inclined to leave the ring of coffee there and keep the rest of the puck intact.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            hey Greg, i intend to get one of your tamps one day.

                            Rob

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                            • #15
                              +1 here too.

                              I had the opportunity to use one of the Pullman tampers during the espresso mastery course at Epic Espresso a while back.
                              Feels really good to use, and it looks to be engineered to fit the basket well without any need to tap the sides in order to collapse the loose ring.

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