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  • How tight should a Tamper be?

    I got a Rancilio logo tamper with my Silvia for an extra dollar from Coffee-A-Roma and it seems a bit loose. It is a good quality tamper with a stainless base. No matter what I do, I constantly have grounds up the sides of my filter basket after tamping.

    Is this normal? It has a good mm gap on one side when pressed against the other. Is a Pullman tamper the only way to get a perfect fit?

    Jai

  • #2
    Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

    Originally posted by 0229213B20293A480 link=1334706506/0#0 date=1334706506
    I got a Rancilio logo tamper with my Silvia for an extra dollar from Coffee-A-Roma and it seems a bit loose. It is a good quality tamper with a stainless base. No matter what I do, I constantly have grounds up the sides of my filter basket after tamping. 

    Is this normal? It has a good mm gap on one side when pressed against the other.
    Hi Jai,

    Yes its normal, because for simplicity most tampers are made to whole millimetre sizes (e.g. 58mm, 57mm, 53mm) but baskets vary all over the place. Most 58mm baskets are between 58.4mm and 59.4mm meaning a 58mm tamper could be a bit loose or really loose in any of those baskets. Even within a specific basket brand there can be variation - weve had genuine Silvia baskets with the same part number ranging from 58.12 to 58.72mm (http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/information/faq.html#basket-discrepancies). Some LM baskets and Cimbali are smaller than 58mm. Yet theyre all supposed to be 58mm baskets!

    Trying to get a tamper to properly fit such a variation is difficult and would require lots of stock, so most people just sell straight 58mm tampers which is what most people use, which is why its normal to have the situation youve got.

    Is it ideal? No. But many people would be in the same situation as you and just put up with it, or not care enough to do something about it.


    Originally posted by 0229213B20293A480 link=1334706506/0#0 date=1334706506
    Is a Pullman tamper the only way to get a perfect fit?
    Not necessarily. Youd just have to get a tamper made to fit your baskets properly. However as far as Im aware Reg Barber in Canada is the only other person offering this service if you order through his website. Im pretty sure the Australian RB distributors just carry whole millimetre sizes but shop around and you might find someone offering incremental sizes. Alternatively you might be able to find a second-hand version thats a bit bigger than 58mm. Exactly how big you need will depend entirely on the size of your baskets, which as mentioned could be anything.

    The only other thing we offer which as far as Im aware no-one else is doing so far is supplying a tamper matched to a filter basket we supply (currently VST and Synesso in 58mm, or unpressurised Krups in 51mm), so you can get a tamper matched to a basket without having to send your baskets away or take a risk on making an accurate measurement yourself. So a Pullman is probably going to be the *easiest* way to get a perfect fit, but its not the *only* way.

    Greg

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    • #3
      Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

      Thanks for your answer Greg.

      Your Tampers look excellant by the way. I think Ill have to put up with the less than ideal fit for now, and hopefully work on the missus for a nice fathers day pressie from yourself!

      Jai

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

        I had a standard tamper for ages on a Lelit type machine, and always had trouble with pin holes in the extraction (easily visible with naked PF) and when I started using a more closely fitting tamper (happens to be a Pullman) I have not had it happen yet, I get more even extraction,  and pay less attention to distribution.  the first tamper was not that loose, probably half a mm less in diameter, but it made a huge difference.

        I bought a pullman barista tamper and matching synesso basket last year, and its a joy to use.  It was a bit of a splurge but I think of it as an investment, if you stay with 58mm machines, you should be able to keep using your basket(s) and matching tamper if (when?  [smiley=grin.gif]) you upgrade!!

        Cheers


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        • #5
          Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

          I too had a badly undersized tamper for over a year and managed to learn how to use it ok. I have now bought a Pullman with maching vst baskets and could not believe the difference I made. So much easier and consistent now. I was looking at tampers for a while and finally decided to just buy the Pullman instead of trying cheaper ones and always wanting the better one. Definitely a great decision and the Pullman is well worth the extra money.

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          • #6
            Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

            I meant to say I couldnt believe the difference it made.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

              I wonder what constitutes an ideal fit? I bought a Pullman tamper and Synesso basket last year, the tamper has a diameter of 58.64mm and the basket measures 58.80mm. Is this considered a good fit?

              Cheers
              Steffen.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                .14mm sounds too tight to me which makes me suspect that basket measurement is a bit low. If its that tight youd often have trouble getting the tamper into the basket. Measuring the ID of baskets can be tricky and its easy to get a low reading if the calipers arent perfectly opposite each other and parallel with the basket walls.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                  Thanks Greg,
                  it was certainly a challenge to get a consistent measurement for the basket, and Ill try again tonight. However, I had suspected my basket/tamper combination was a bit on the loose side so Im glad to hear that its tight, if anything. I have no trouble getting the tamper into the basket with ease. What I need to practise is getting it in straight.

                  I have nothing to compare with, so I wasnt quite sure what to expect.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                    Yes, this is completely normal and hence why the light knock on the side of the group handle when tamping is recommended, just to move the grind to the centre.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                      Originally posted by 7D776F7A737879160 link=1334706506/9#9 date=1337082975
                      Yes, this is completely normal and hence why the light knock on the side of the group handle when tamping is recommended, just to move the grind to the centre.
                      I would not say that tapping the side of the PF is "recommended", in fact, rather the opposite. There is a line of thought that this just disturbs the coffee and breaks it from the edge of the basket.

                      There has been a fair amount of discussion on the subject over at the home barista site over the years and I would suggest the consensus is no knocking of the PF.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                        So if knocking of the portafilter isnt recommended. Do you just leave the grinds coming up the side of the basket?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: How tight should a Tamper be?

                          Originally posted by 765D554F545D4E3C0 link=1334706506/11#11 date=1337120447
                          So if knocking of the portafilter isnt recommended. Do you just leave the grinds coming up the side of the basket?
                          Not really. You use a clean and dry p/f and learn to dose accurately and clean. At the most, a brush off with a finger should be all that is required. My view is that within reason, the less you mess around withthe puck the better. No knocking and no torsion either.

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