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57mm vs 58mm tampers

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  • 57mm vs 58mm tampers

    I have a 57mm tamper for a standard, deep double E-61 basket. The 57mm tamper I have SEEMS to do an OK job (no naked PF to check), and although there is 1mm of wriggle room at the top of the basket, the slope of the basket means its a good, tight fit once its tamped down a bit.

    What are your experiences with 57 vs 58mm tampers? Should I be switching to 58mm?

    Cheers!

  • #2
    Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

    If your shots taste good, I dont think that you have much of a problem. That said, a 58mm tamper might make it less work for you to prevent ground coffee from getting up around the seals.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    • #3
      Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

      Hi SoS,

      1mm probably isnt that much to worry about (my first tamper was about 3mm undersized!), but obviously the bigger gap you have between the tamper and the side of the basket the more chance there is of water escaping around the untamped edges of the basket and avoiding the coffee in the middle areas. As Luca mentioned, having the tamper as a better fit in the basket also means you dont get as much mess around your group gasket, which in turn affects how well the portafilter seals and how much cleaning you have to do. Finally, if theres no ridge of untamped coffee you dont have to do a portafilter knock and a second tamp, so it eliminates one potential variable in the process.

      Anecdotally, the number of people who have bought the right size tamper for their basket and have reported a marked improvement in the quality of their shots is too great to ignore, for example http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/testimonials.html. However the level of improvement obviously depends on what the person was using to start with and their technique.

      However, there are various schools of thought on fitted tampers, just as there are on almost every aspect of coffee, and some will say size (or tamping full stop) doesnt matter.

      My 2c.

      Greg

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      • #4
        Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

        Whaddya mean size doesnt matter? I mean, I know technique counts for a lot, but you can learn technique, however if you aint got the right size...

        ...er...back on topic...

        Although the shape of the basket (tapered) means that the puck itself is well tamped to the edges, I have noticed a ridge of untamped grounds around the edge of the basket (the 1mm rim) which demands a couple of knocks and polishing tamps, just as you guys describe.

        Given the diminishing returns theory of much of what we do at this level of coffee geekness, Ill have to trial a 58mm sooner rather than later - although end result is pretty good at present, it can always get a little better!

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        • #5
          Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

          Yep try a 58mm unit and see how you find it. Itll make a difference to the preparation speed if nothing else as you wont need to do the knock to dislodge that rim of grounds (presuming the 58mm tamper is a good fit in your basket - there are variations in basket sizes as well as exact tamper sizes).

          If your basket walls taper in youre not as badly off as many (as far as using an undersized tamper goes) because as you describe you get some compression against the tapering wall. As you move down the puck the compression concentration decreases so it wont necessarily be a real tight compression but its better than nothing. Itd be interesting to see how you find one thats the right size.

          Greg

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          • #6
            Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

            Originally posted by Greg Pullman link=1188107748/0#4 date=1188213001
            If your basket walls taper in youre not as badly off as many (as far as using an undersized tamper goes) because as you describe you get some compression against the tapering wall. As you move down the puck the compression concentration decreases so it wont necessarily be a real tight compression but its better than nothing. Itd be interesting to see how you find one thats the right size.
            Indeed! Ive just had the idea that a larger tamper may in fact result in reduced tamping performance, as the slight basket taper means the tamper may get stuck higher up! All shall be revealed I suppose once I trial a 58mm (preferably with a nude portafilter).

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            • #7
              Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

              It depends on exactly how large your basket is, how closely fitted the tamper is to the basket and how much the walls taper. This is all stuff we automatically take into account when we fit a tamper to a basket, i.e. we dont just make sure it goes in at the top, it has to have sufficient travel to allow the tamper to reach a certain basket depth without jamming to ensure normal operation can occur.

              The other alternative is to buy both a tamper and a basket.

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              • #8
                Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

                I get my tampers a tad to large, then calibrate them myself so that they are a perfect fit!

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                • #9
                  Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

                  Thats interesting, Askthecoffeeguy. How do you recalibrate?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 57mm vs 58mm tampers

                    Update: I got a really nice heavy, Rimu (a New Zealand native wood) 58mm flat base, stainless steel tamper (will post a pic if I ever get a digital camera!), and its a much nicer fit in the basket and has definitely improved shot-to-shot consistency by a half dozen percentage points!

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