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  • custom made tamper not working properly

    Gday everyone,

    I got my custom made tamper (58,7mm diameter):



    which fits my Gaggia double basket perfectly, but works worse than my Torr tamper which is slightly smaller. The new one has a flat head, not convex like the Torr and it gives express extractions, with fast blonding, spitting, and dancing cones. When I tamp with my Torr I get nice, slow ristretto like shots and when I tamp with the new custom made tamper it doesnt work:| Could someone explain me what the hell is going on?

    Does anyone with a perfect fit Pullman tamper have similar problems?

    Cheers,
    dsc.

  • #2
    Re: custom made tamper not working properly

    .....????????????????

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: custom made tamper not working properly

      ......?????????????press harder???????....

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: custom made tamper not working properly

        Could be a few things. The Torr is quite different in physical shape to your new one so its likely you have to hold them differently, which in turn could mean youre not exerting the same amount of pressure, or as evenly. Check your tamp pressure with some scales. Also make sure the tamps level; your new one doesnt have any rings or anything to assist with this, but do your best - tamp, then let the tamper sit in the basket on top of the coffee and get down at eye level and see if its level from every side.
        Some feel a convex base is more forgiving of poor distribution technique so you could be bringing on more channeling as a result, the solution to which is get your distribution right rather than hoping the tamper will fix it up.

        Of course this all presumes all other things are equal, e..g same grind, distribution technique, beans, dose, etc.

        I certainly havent had any feedback from Gaggia customers saying they have these problems after using my tampers, so Id suspect your technique more than anything else in this case. Heres a sample feedback from a new Pullman tamper customer with a Classic (found on the testimonials page on my website):

        I have been making espressos of inconsistent quality for years. I became a bit of an expert of inconsistency. Sometimes they were overextracted, sometimes underextracted, and almost always badly tamped with a cheap, misfitting, plastic tamper. Quite often (and certainly more often than I would be willing to admit) the coffee would be so bad that I would pour it out and start over.
        All this changed overnight with the arrival of one of Gregs beautiful custom fit tampers. Now all I have to do is use the same amount of coffee every day (35 seconds of grinding with my Gaggia mdf grinder) and apply enough pressure to come up to the last line marked on the tamper. Thats it!!! Perfect, thick, sticky, viscous, syrupy, sweet, aromatic, caramel-brown crema every time!
        Enough crema to hold not just a spoonful of sugar, but maybe even a small coin Every single time!!! Gregs tamper is truly a work of art. I love using it, but I also love looking at it sitting on top of my gaggia classic, inviting me to yet another perfect ristretto. (hold on, ill be there as soon as i finish typing these lines.)
        Dealing with Greg was an absolute delight. One of the few artisans that I have ever dealt with who takes that old world pride in his work. His tampers are perfect in every way. Beautiful to look at, as well as the most functional piece of coffee paraphenalia that you will ever buy. Certainly more important than upgrading from a good to an excellent espresso machine, and almost as important as quality coffee beans.
        If I knew the difference that his tamper would make to my daily coffee experience I would have been willing to pay three times as much. This is not just something to say. Three times as much! Literally!!!
        If you are still undecided about purchasing one of Gregs tampers, its simply because you do not yet know that what you will be getting is more than you can possibly expect. Far more!
        Overall Score: 10/10
        The design of your tamper could in some way be encouraging poor technique, but dont write it off just yet; try the above tips and let us know how you go.

        Greg

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: custom made tamper not working properly

          There are countless debates re convex vs flat base tampers.
          Ulltimately it comes down to preference, but as ozscott suggests you may need different grind adjustments and/or tamp pressures for different profiles.

          Though I have never used one, I suspect a convex tamper
          may have a slight self-centering/leveling advantage over a flat base.......do you level prior to tamping?

          Even the shape of the handle may have some ergonomic bearing on the pressure.

          The Pullman [flat base] is by far the best tool I have ever bought for my coffee making.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: custom made tamper not working properly

            Gday,

            ozscott: tamping harder is not an option, I already tamp so hard that the coffee wont compress more. With my Torr I use a very light tamp and it gives a nice ristretto-like extraction.

            Greg: the tamp is always level, I simply put three fingers on the base of the tamper and check around the perimeter if its even. I also level before tamping, so thats not an issue. I also use WDT for distribution and the coffee is pretty level before tamping, because I move it around the basket with a small needle tool. When I use my TORR it all seems to work, nice thin stream, slow extractions, nice crema. When I use this new tamper the coffee appears at the whole surface of the basket on my NPF at the start but the stream is not steady. It dances around the basket and sometimes blond spots appear for just a moment in different parts of the basket. I will try to make a short clip and show you what Im talking about.

            reubster: the convex tamper is smaller than the basket dia, so its even harder to get level tamps with it, but even if that happens I get nice extractions. With the new flat one it all seems to work nice, but when I hit that brew switch and watch the extraction on my NPF its not so pretty:|

            Cheers,
            dsc.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: custom made tamper not working properly

              dsc,

              Two things come to mind....

              Is your fitted tamper an exact (almost tight) fit in the basket.... Pullman tampers leave a small gap (the size of which is confidential).... to give best performance.

              The other thing is what is the shape of the bottom of your showerscreen? Is it convex or is there a bolt in the centre which projects down into the puck?

              If there is a "low spot" in the centre and you are an updoser, the additional space in the centre from the convex tamp will result in less disturbance of the puck.... and a better flow. I get this to a slight extent with the La Cimbali.... getting a slightly longer pour from a convex Pullman than the flat (both "fitted").

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                DSC, how long have you had the tamper? With my Pullman it took me a few weeks to adjust to the flat base of the tamper and also the weight etc etc. Although I did notice a dramatic difference in quality of tamp .

                I still sometimes have an issue with an uneven tamp - though that is more me than the tamper especially if I am not payig attention to what I am doing.

                Maybe it is just a matter of patience and practice?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                  DSC,

                  Put the tamper in the basket empty and see if its actually the coffee compressing or the basket stopping the tamper moving any further.

                  I dont see what would cause such a big difference otherwise...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                    Even with my Pullman I noticed poor tamping technique when I first got my NPF.
                    I suggest it will just take some getting used to.
                    Something as simple as the handle shape (as suggested by reubster) might be all it takes to throw you off.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                      Gday,

                      so finally I managed to make a short clip that shows the difference between my TORR and my custom made tamper:

                      http://video.google.pl/videoplay?docid=8488704337577349273&hl=pl

                      The NPF is spitting, but the coffee Im using now is a bit old, so that might be the cause.

                      itsme5k: nope the coffee is being compressed and the tamper is not pressing against the basket.

                      lucinda: Ive had the tamper for two weeks now. Its pretty easy to get a level tamp, keeping three fingers on the perimeter and turning the tamper. I will check how it works with some fresh roasted coffee, because maybe thats the problem.

                      JavaB: its almost an exact fit, but theres still 0.1-0.2mm space left. The shape of the screen is convex with no bolt (I mean theres a bolt but its not projecting into the puck).

                      Thundergod: the handle is in fact a bit too short, but I still usually tamp with my fingers on the tamper base, so it shouldnt be an issue.

                      I will try to post a video that shows my tamping routine. Maybe you will spot some errors.

                      Cheers,
                      dsc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                        Just watched the video.
                        Very strange.
                        Definitely a faster pour.
                        I wouldnt have thought thered be that much difference.

                        I go back to my suggestion about closely checking your tamping technique.

                        I know when I first got my Pullman it helped me see where I was off level etc.
                        Im a black belt in karate if you didnt know and pride myself on control.
                        So showing up where I was not tamping level meant I could correct myself.
                        It was a matter of noticing what Id been doing and taking care not to make the same mistake again.
                        After a while of consciously avoiding the errors, your muscle memory takes over and you can concentrate a bit less on what you are doing.

                        I stand to be corrected, but youve admitted that the handle is a bit short.
                        As its not what youve been used to, the difference may be the cause.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                          Originally posted by dsc link=1185707785/0#0 date=1185707785
                          ... it gives express extractions, with fast blonding, spitting, and dancing cones. ...
                          If we ignore for the moment that we are comparing this to another tamper and just look at the symptoms. To me it would seem that you need to grind finer.
                          (edit: I am basing this on your description. I have not seen your video as I am on dialup for the next few days and google video is not working properly for me)

                          Maybe with the new tamper, for some reason you need to grind finer than you had to for the old tamper? You did mention "spitting" though and I think that is an indication of channeling so that would go back to the other suggestions of technique rather than grind fineness, so it could go either way.

                          You mention tamping really hard with the new tamper and lightly with the torr. Why the difference? Have you tried tamping lightly with the new one?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                            Gday,

                            yup its a bit strange, heres how I tamp:

                            http://video.google.pl/videoplay?docid=8770026968198757682

                            the quality is low, but you can see the things I do when tamping. It was a one tamp only method and unfortunately 18,5g was a bit too much and the coffee cake touched the screen when locking the PF in the group. But it was still a nice extraction, with no spitting what so ever.

                            For this shot I grind finer and got a slower pour, but the grinder setting is dangerously close to the "0" position. I tamp pretty hard, because tamping lightly with the new one gave very fast extractions.


                            Cheers,
                            dsc.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: custom made tamper not working properly

                              Originally posted by dsc link=1185707785/0#13 date=1186430375
                              Gday,

                              It was a one tamp only method and unfortunately 18,5g was a bit too much and the coffee cake touched the screen when locking the PF in the group. But it was still a nice extraction, with no spitting what so ever.
                              This would be called Updosing ;-)

                              Comment

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