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  • Dumb Question

    What is a tamper and what is it used for?

  • #2
    Re: Dumb Question

    http://www.halfpriceespresso.com/terminology.html
    Tamper
    A tool for firmly packing fresh espresso coffee into the filter basket held by the portafilter. The best tampers are hand held and not connected to the grinder.

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    • #3
      Re: Dumb Question

      Hi justintime.....

      A tamper is a cylinder of hard material... generally metal (stainless steel is the best!) with a handle attached.

      It is used to compress the coffee grinds into the group filter so they are uniformly compressed and will therefore extract correctly. The cylinder must be an EXACT fit in the filter for best results.

      See:

      http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/

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      • #4
        Re: Dumb Question

        Is it just for expresso?

        thanks

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        • #5
          Re: Dumb Question

          You tamp the ground coffee in a portafilter (the bit that holds the basket full of coffee) in an espresso machine yes.

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          • #6
            Re: Dumb Question

            Originally posted by justintime link=1166135689/0#3 date=1166137592
            Is it just for expresso?

            thanks
            Yep, just espresso.


            By the way, it is spelt espresso .... not expresso!!

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            • #7
              Re: Dumb Question

              You can use them on moka pots and the like, but in my experience they generally only need a very light tamp as the pressure generated by heating the water isnt anywhere near as much as what a pump / lever puts out. Dont need it for drip filter, plunger or syphon brewing

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              • #8
                Re: Dumb Question

                I use a cheap ESPRESSO machine to make my normal coffee. Since Im the only one drinking it. It makes 1 cup at a time. I fill the little metal basket shake it a bit to spread the grounds across the bottom and set it on normal. Makes 1 cup of coffee in about 2 min. Sometimes I see that the grounds have parted and there are holes where you can see the metal screen. I suppose the tamper presses the coffee down tight and even to prevent holes.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dumb Question

                  Hmm, a bit hard to get a mental picture of what youre talking about here. It doesnt sound like the filter basket is very deep from your description. Most baskets are just under half as deep as their diameter, but it sounds like you only have a very thin layer of coffee sitting on the bottom of the basket. Is that right?

                  The next anomaly is the 1 cup in 2 minutes. Thats about the speed a drip filter machine would work, not an espresso machine. Is this 30ml of espresso in 2 minutes, or are you filling your cup right up with coffee running through the grounds?

                  If youre getting uneven patterns in the coffee once youve made your cup it means the waters not flowing evenly and therefore not extracting evenly. A tamper would help but I think we need to clear up the above issues first.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dumb Question

                    what sort of espresso machine are you using?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dumb Question

                      My next door neighbour has a cheap espresso machine, from memory a breville, and you set it up to brew and it takes a little while for it to build up pressure before it will pour out. Maybe this is similar to what you are talking about. So still for a 30ml shot but it takes a while to build up I have never timed but 2 minutes would probably be right. When ever we "do" coffee with them it is always at our place nowadays anyway. Now that I have hit snob status I dont really get asked over for coffee instead they arrange to bring snacks in exchange for a coffee.

                      But if this machine is similar to what you are talking about it is a domestic espresso machine still and so would benefit from a tamper.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dumb Question

                        Here is a picture. It had a smaller pot but I broke it and bought a new one. The water is forced through the basket under pressure. The holes are about pin point size. The basket is removable from the holder handle.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Dumb Question

                          Originally posted by justintime link=1166135689/0#11 date=1166153311
                          Here is a picture. It had a smaller pot but I broke it and bought a new one. The water is forced through the basket under pressure. The holes are about pin point size. The basket is removable from the holder handle.
                          Firstly there are no dumb questions and welcome
                          Im not sure youd need to tamp this machine- it looks like it has a pressurised filter handle. This means that under the filter basket when you lift it out there is a little hole or a few perforations, rather than in the non pressurised ones which have a large hole. The purpose of tamping is to provide a hard coffee puck so that the coffee flow is slowed to 30ml in about 25 sec- this is in a non pressurised handle.
                          Looking at your pic Id be filling the basket and if it is the pressurised sort (u can post a pic of the inside of the handle minus basket if u like) not tamping. Get a medicine glass or similar to measure the 30ml because I suspect your getting a lot more than that and after the first 25 sec it will be very verry nasty. Be aware youll probably want to upgrade soon if you stay on this site!
                          All the best
                          Brett

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                          • #14
                            Re: Dumb Question

                            Almost looks like a drip filter but with a portafilter instead of throwaway filters. A hybrid perhaps?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Dumb Question

                              It looks like a steam powered machine, which wont make real espresso due to the lack of a pump. I used to own a similar one and IIRC you werent meant to tamp the coffee at all, as this could cause the pressure inside the filter handle to build up to dangerous levels. Check the instruction book before you splash out on a tamper.
                              All the best.

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