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Thread: Espresso HELP!

  1. #1
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    Espresso HELP!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,

    I am questioning my coffees lately. I had a friend come over who used to work at a large commercial mob and she questioned my tamping and grinds. I did a brief course in Italy last year and was told the tamp should be quite strong using a fair amount of pressure. My friend tells me that they were taught to use a soft tamp in order to allow better flow through the oils....i tried her coffee and i was actually really impressed.

    I've attached a picture of a quick shot i did using 'her' technique. The reason i post this pic is because i am wondering what the browning colour is from on the left of the photo? This seems to be more prevalent when i pull a shot with my hard tamping approach. Any ideas? I only have a little nuovo simonelli Oscar if that helps.

    I have always tried to pull approximately 25-30ml within a 25-30sec time period. I've also just downloaded a book off amazon in an attempt to determine shot basics. I love my coffee and generally always pull a better shot than what i can buy in most cafes but i am always looking to improve.

    Any help and info would be most appreciated! Cheers in advance!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    see this thread for a discussion on the importance of a hard tamp:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...you-think.html

    does a soft tamp produce better espresso compared with hard tamp? keep in mind that different machines may require different techniques.

    at the end of the day, do what you think produces the best tasting espresso.

  3. #3
    caffeinated lemoo's Avatar
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    Mottling is the in-cup indication of a good extraction; it is the darker brown speckling and reddish-brown splotches formed on the surface of the crema.

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    I'd say i'm in the moderate tamping camp. As with a relatively tight fitting tamper I find if you bed the tamper to deep into the basket it can get caught on the sides of the basket and cause an uneven tamp. So I find grinding finer with a moderate tamp to produce the results I look for. That said the tamp should be heavy enough to cement a firm puck which can be knocked out cleanly and not a muddy pool of water and a sloppy puck.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    I'm definately in the 'hard-tamp' camp. I have always worked on the basis that a loosely packed porta-filter will result in a rapid watery pour. That has always been my experience. I'm not sure how it could be any different - but I am always open to a better way of doing things.

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    I'm definately in the 'hard-tamp' camp. I have always worked on the basis that a loosely packed porta-filter will result in a rapid watery pour. That has always been my experience. I'm not sure how it could be any different - but I am always open to a better way of doing things.
    This is me too. Maybe it's just the Perfetta, hey Rocky? :P

  7. #7
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InTheCup View Post
    I'd say i'm in the moderate tamping camp. As with a relatively tight fitting tamper I find if you bed the tamper to deep into the basket it can get caught on the sides of the basket and cause an uneven tamp. So I find grinding finer with a moderate tamp to produce the results I look for. That said the tamp should be heavy enough to cement a firm puck which can be knocked out cleanly and not a muddy pool of water and a sloppy puck.
    Agreed! Consistancy is the key.
    Hey ITC! What happened to all your post counts??

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    I'm happy to see that people are on my side of the camp....i thought people would suggest hard tamping is not the way to go. I so often watch a coffee being made at a cafe and i see the soft tamp not even pressed on a flat surface...i just expect a watery bitter coffee. I think i will stick with what i know. I sometimes find a finer grind and a moderate tamp works well with some beans.

    As with the 'mottling' - this an indication of a good cup? I wouldn't have thought. I'll have a read of the suggested links- cheers for the advice.

  9. #9
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    Hey Saoye

    Check out this vid for my technique, may be of some help?

    Rocket Espresso Giotto - VST puck - YouTube

  10. #10
    Senior Member askthecoffeeguy's Avatar
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    I find that using a hydraulic tamper gives me the most consistent results by eliminating variable pressure - and, I have to say, I seem to get much better pours using the hydraulic tamper than others, but I do like to mix it up a bit with my tampers so as to avoid RSI

    But to me the crema in the photo looks a bit pale - what sort of coffee are you using and is it ground to order - can what size baskets are you using?

    Personally I use 20g baskets for every extraction as the seem to produce a darker richer shot...


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    Hey Calaper,

    Here is a thought for you, if your machine is delivering 9 bars of pressure, that equates to over 9kgs per square centermeter or 130 PSI, that is a lot of pressure!
    The most important thing about tamping is to get an evenly packed, level tamp. Water is lazy and will take the path of least resitance.

    But as johnsmith says - do what makes the best coffee for you! You are the one drinking it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Hey David8 - Are you saying that all the Perfetta guys are hard cases?
    OK, guilty.
    (nothing worse than a sloppy puck, in my opinion)

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Hey David8 - Are you saying that all the Perfetta guys are hard cases?
    OK, guilty.
    (nothing worse than a sloppy puck, in my opinion)
    Not all. Just the two of us. :P I don't mind a sloppy puck, it is a pain to clean. But I'd rather a good shot + sloppy puck then a perfect puck and a dodgy shot...

  14. #14
    Senior Member Rocky's Avatar
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    Yeah, point taken.
    I guess anything that varies too much from the 'ideal' is a sign of potential problems however.
    About the only abberation I have on the Perfetta is the occasional extended pour which points to bad grind/tamp technique on my part.
    I guess 'hard tampers' don't suffer too much from the 'sloppy-puck syndrome'.

  15. #15
    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Rocky View Post
    Yeah, point taken.
    I guess anything that varies too much from the 'ideal' is a sign of potential problems however.
    About the only abberation I have on the Perfetta is the occasional extended pour which points to bad grind/tamp technique on my part.
    I guess 'hard tampers' don't suffer too much from the 'sloppy-puck syndrome'.
    You should have seen mine this morning... I pretty much jumped up and down on the tamper, nice shot, ugly puck... :P Bit of an exaggeration, but you get my point.



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