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How to tamp a pressurised basket?

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  • How to tamp a pressurised basket?

    I heard someone say in passing that for a pressurised PF basket (I have a Cafe Roma ESP8), that the tamping pressure should be less than "normal".

    What is normal, and how true was this statement?

    I am still trying to get my grind right (Mazzer SJ), but want to try to control the variable of the tamping pressure so I can then be sure of getting the "correct" grind for the tamping pressure.

    The last shot I pulled was pretty good, and I used my plastic tamper (yes yes) to just apply pretty light pressure. Just as much as needed to shape the puck together. Is that the correct pressure?

  • #2
    Re: How to tamp a pressurised basket?

    Well the most commonly repeated accepted wisdom is that normal tamping pressure is 15kg, however thats not really all that critical. Just be consistent in your routine and apply a consistent tamp each time. Personally Id probably use a bit more pressure than you have been. The dose and grind are far more important than tamp pressure.

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    • #3
      Re: How to tamp a pressurised basket?

      ahmad,

      my experience with lower end domestic machines has been that hard tamping has negatively impacted the shot. i havent had experience with pressurised pfs, so i cant say that this would definitely apply to your sitch.

      i would guess that a good starting point is somewhere in the accepted mid range (as bill suggested ~ 15kgs) and then experiment for yourself. a harder tamp with usually lengthen the dwell time (the time between hitting the brew switch and seeing the first drop of espresso) and a softer tamp will have the opposite effect.


      hope some of that helps (i didnt seem to answer your question really)

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      • #4
        Re: How to tamp a pressurised basket?

        I believe that it could have been my good self that expressed this little gem of info... Based on personal experience and NOT on anything Ive read or been told.

        Because of the design of the pressurised basket, the back pressure needed to extract the best from the coffee is provided by the minuscule pin-hole in the base of the filter. There is no need to provide additional restriction to the passage of water through the coffee other than the correct grind, dose, distribution and enough of a tamp to ensure that no voids exist in the coffee puck.

        The correct grind for the baskets Ive tried always seemed to be coarser than that required for a standard basket of the same size.... Typically around the size of table salt as opposed to fine (Gold Coast)beach sand when rubbed between the fingers. The best thing to do is to start the grind a little too coarse, keep all other variables the same, and then slowly work your grind a little finer each time until youre achieving shots that fall within the envelope of the "Golden Rule" and most of all, by taste.

        All the best,
        Mal.

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        • #5
          Re: How to tamp a pressurised basket?

          Heres a thought Mal.

          Even though theres only one small exit hole, if the tamp isnt a good one, channeling could lead to overextraction via the path of least resistance to the hole.

          Thoughts?

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          • #6
            Re: How to tamp a pressurised basket?

            Originally posted by Thundergod link=1227776742/0#4 date=1227831192
            Heres a thought Mal.

            Even though theres only one small exit hole, if the tamp isnt a good one, channeling could lead to overextraction via the path of least resistance to the hole.

            Thoughts?
            Yep, agree TG...

            There-in lies one of the many problems with using pressurised baskets. Theyre meant to make it easier for a newbie to use but in order to be able to pull consistently acceptable espresso, one needs to pay a lot more attention to ones technique because of the additional variables to the process that the "pin-hole" creates.

            Have to say though, if you are using a half-way decent Tamper or a very decent GP one 8-), the tamping process is a lot easier to manage and become consistent with. In all honesty, I find it a lot easier to pour consistently excellent espresso using standard baskets than I ever did trying to get the best out of pressurised ones. Of course, it necessitates the acquisition of a capable espresso grinder (extra cost) but providing the "buy the best grinder you can afford" rule is adhered to it is not money wasted.

            Best thing anyone can do, who are still struggling with pressurised baskets, is to either convert the originals or purchase standard baskets. Makes such a huge difference to the quality in the cup 9 times out of 10. I stopped counting the sink shots with my old SB machine once the count reached 20+ per week. Very disheartening when youre using top quality coffee to do this with.....

            Anyway, Ive rabbited on enough I think... :

            Cheers mate,
            Mal.

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