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Thread: Dose and tamp methods

  1. #1
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    Dose and tamp methods

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi!

    I just have a couple of questions about tamping!

    After reading a forum here about tamping, it seemed roughly 50-50 weather to tap the side of the PF after tamping, to loosen the grind on the side. Some say if you tap the side of the PF you create channelling, others say its needed to loosen grinds stuck to side etc. I also read in coffeegeeks.com about the bottom 1/3 never gettin compressed etc which was interesting... some say to only tamp once and not to polish while others *tamp a couple times...

    What I do is:

    1) Slightly over-fill basket
    2) Tap over-filled basket on grinder doser
    3) With index finder level off - grinds (not many!) go back in grinder doser
    4) Tamp with X amount of pressure
    5) ----> (Here is where some wud tap then maybe re-tamp?)
    5) Polish without further tamping
    6) "Lock and load!"

    A very good barista, (our cafes bean suppliers main guy) told me that I should half the PF, then tap it on top of the doser then over fill etc. This allowed more grind to fit in the basket, but I found I couldnt help but overdose with this step. He also said to always tap (step 5 on list).

    I also found it slightly harder to be consistent with this step as you cant accurately say the PF was half full. Sometimes it worked fine others *the basket varied from slightly over-full to over-full. Not that it mattered as much on the machine we use tho.

    Does anyone do this?

    Cheers for any feedback!


  2. #2
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    Re: Dose and Tamp methods

    Kiwi Jonno

    IMHO,

    If you use a "normal size" tamper you will get pesky grounds forming a ridge around the wall of the basket - requiring a sharp tap to dislodge- and then a retamp..... which will damage the seal against the wall of the basket. But it is evidence of a bigger problem.... the grounds under the tamper will also not be as compressed against the wall of the basket.... and as water takes the easiest route.... channelling!!

    The half volume tamp does produce a better seal but must be at a lower weight - just a couple of kilos - or you end up with two pucks sitting on top of each other!

    The NSEW tamping method (tamp 4 times at the compass points within the basket) also produces a better seal against the edge of the basket - but each tamp disturbs the puck - so you can get channelling elsewhere.

    The best method is one tamp - and one tamp only - using a fitted tamper (like Greg Pullmans. The proof is that pours are longer, the espresso tastes better, and the spent puck is harder to tap out...... all because it is uniform right to the edge..... with almost zero chance of channelling (and you can do the half full tamp if you wish - and that will prolong the pour time even more).

  3. #3
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    Re: !

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1171315322/0#1 date=1171318728
    Kiwi Jonno

    IMHO,

    If you use a "normal size" tamper you will get pesky grounds forming a ridge around the wall of the basket - requiring a sharp tap to dislodge- and then a retamp..... which will damage the seal against the wall of the basket. But it is evidence of a bigger problem.... the grounds under the tamper will also not be as compressed against the wall of the basket.... and as water takes the easiest route.... channelling!!

    The half volume tamp does produce a better seal but must be at a lower weight - just a couple of kilos - or you end up with two pucks sitting on top of each other!

    The NSEW tamping method (tamp 4 times at the compass points within the basket) also produces a better seal against the edge of the basket - but each tamp disturbs the puck - so you can get channelling elsewhere.

    The best method is one tamp - and one tamp only - using a fitted tamper (like Greg Pullmans. The proof is that pours are longer, the espresso tastes better, and the spent puck is harder to tap out...... all because it is uniform right to the edge..... with almost zero chance of channelling (and you can do the half full tamp if you wish - and that will prolong the pour time even more).

    Thanks JavaB!

    BTW whats IMHO mean???

    So if your doin a one-tamp with a Geg Pullman is there any real benefit of a halfway tap to level the grinds or a light tamp? Surely this will just complicate things, making it hard to judge the halfway mark and keep the same end level of grinds?


    Thanks again :-)

  4. #4
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    Re: Dose and Tamp methods

    Jonno...

    IMHO means In My Humble Opinion..... *

    I like to use it rather than stating something as if it were absolutely correct...... few things in this coffee hobby are that black and white ;)

    There is no real benefit from using the half tamp..... but what I do is fill the basket, level, sharp downward tap on the bench, very light tamp to settle the grinds, refill, level, sharp downward tap on the bench and then the real tamp.....

    It gets a little more grounds in that way (I get 19.5 grams in my double) and that makes for a smoother espresso.

    By the way the Mazzer Swift grinder tamps as it doses.... so every mm or so of grinds the machine retamps..... if you are feeling like a masochist you could try that by hand :o..... apparently works very well.

  5. #5
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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Hi Jonno,

    Re: Half-fill and then rap to settle

    The reason why you are getting conflicting advice here is that different machines have different shower screen levels (and perhaps other factors), leading to different optimum doses for each machine. *For example, with the Expobars and a few other prosumer machines, I got the best results by just filling and striking off without rapping down. *I agree with you that it is more repeatable to overfill and settle, so thats what I do at home and at work.

    Remember that there might also be a variety of ways to dose and grind to get a satisfactory result (which might taste slightly different in their own ways). *I heard that one high-quality US chain uses triple baskets, overfills and strikes off without settling. *Although they are using triple baskets, they only end up with about 20g of coffee in the PF and a lot of headroom for expansion.

    Re: Tapping

    Personally, I wouldnt do it. *I used to, but at the beginning of last year we got a new machine in at a cafe where I was working and I decided to work out how to dose for it properly, so I got the bottomless portafilter out and spent about an hour trying different methods. *The pour often spurted all over the place when I tapped.

    Re: Polishing

    Heres something controversial for you - my naked PF study also showed polishing to lead to channelling unless done very lightly. *The La Marzocco Swift has an impeller (like a reverse propeller) that tamps progressively up from the bottom. *I dont think that it actually goes all the way to the edge, so there are always a lot of loose grounds around the edge and some on top of the puck. *Yet when you extract with a bottomless portafilter, you get picture-perfect pours every time and they taste great (if the machine is dialled in). *Surprising, but true! *An hour with a LM Swifta and a bottomless portafilter will turn even the most ardent sceptic. *So I dont think that loose grinds around the edge or on the top are really that much of a problem. *

    If youre a theoretical type, I guess that the explanation is that they are going to be hit with enough pressure to force them on to the puck anyway, so as long as the underlying puck has good integrity to prevent channelling, I dont think that theres much of a problem. *Perhaps a decent proof of this is that if you have a lot of loose grounds on top of the puck and the right dose/tamp, you still get a solid puck when you knock it out - there are not loose grinds on the top after. *

    Of course, the practical issue is that loose grounds around the edge do make the group seals messy.

    In general, the best thing that you can do is to actually dedicate an hour or so to working out the right grind/dose/tamp combo. *It will vary depending on your blend, your machine and what flavours you want to get out of your espresso.

    Just my $0.02 ...

    Luca

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Hi,

    Ive found that the HalfFill-LightTamp-Fill-Tamp is more useful when, after trying to Fill-Tap-OverFill-Tap-Tamp, the level of tamped coffee is still not as high as youd like (depends on personal preference and/or how low the shower screen sits)...And if trying to make an even higher mound before tamping just results in coffee falling out the side, uneven tamping, or inaccurate dosing.

    Eg.
    * Small diameter baskets (cheap home espresso machines)
    * Machines whose shower screens dont sit very deep into the locked-in basket

    I cant comment on whether it makes for a better tamp in the general case cos I dont have to do it on my machine *:)

    -Paul

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    Re: Dose and Tamp methods

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1171315322/0#4 date=1171325467
    The reason why you are getting conflicting advice here is that different machines have different shower screen levels (and perhaps other factors), leading to different optimum doses for each machine.
    beat me to it ;)

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Luca,

    Is the Swift made my Mazzer or LM because it is sold (by Mazzer agents) as The Mazzer LM Swift?

    Although I havent had a play with one (Id love to!) I read a very interesting article by the design team.....

    After lots of testing they proved that tamping depth - even when done properly - is only a percentage of the puck - the grinds barely flow at all under the pressure of the tamper- so you get a compression gradient from the surface to the bottom with little or no tamping effect at the bottom of a double basket..... (and reduced compression near the edges if the tamper is smaller than the basket)....

    So they hit on the idea of tamping as you dose.... so there is uniform tamping and compression from the bottom up..... It also doesnt matter as much if the grounds near the sides of the basket are less tamped as there is a much longer path down the side and across the bottom to the exit holes (and remember the bottom layer is compressed with their system - unlike normal tamping)!

    It must work because the swift single basket is just a half height double....no necking in or reduced base.... It can only be used with the swift grinder because of the constant tamp which it provides - and by all reports produces a perfect shot. If you use the swift single basket with a conventional dose and manual tamp - you get a real gusher!! (unless of course you make the grind much finer)

    EDIT:

    Forgot to mention the other fact which confirms uneven compaction.... for the same grind and extraction rate the swift only uses 8 pounds of tamping pressure throughout the puck compared to a normal tampers 30 pounds (basically just at the top)

  9. #9
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    Re: Dose and Tamp methods

    Yep...When I used the Swift, I was surprised that even though the LM Swift left lots of lose grinds on top that it produced an excellent shot.

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    Re: Dose and Tamp methods

    I use the half fill tamp, finish filling tamp method for my machine, it took me quite a while to find this suited my machine and me.

    Really it is what you find suits you and your machine. I have found there is no perfect tamping that works for everyone.

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1171315322/0#7 date=1171327266
    Is the Swift made my Mazzer or LM because it is sold (by Mazzer agents) as The Mazzer LM Swift?
    The Swift was invented by Mark Barnett when working for LM. (He left to found Synesso.) I dont think that the grinder has a single thing to it that is anything like what mazzer does. The adjustment and casing are like a more polished version of the cimbalis, if anything. If anything, Mazzer might manufacture the burrs, as I have heard that the Swift burr set is interchangeable with a Mazzer burr set ... but Mazzer dont seem to do any other ceramic burrs, as far as I know. The other LM grinders are rebadged conti valerio grinders, but I heard that the new "S" grinder uses three phase robur burrs, so maybe LM are now working with mazzer to some extent ... but the Swift was invented quite a while back.

    It also doesnt matter as much if the grounds near the sides of the basket are less tamped as there is a much longer path down the side and across the bottom to the exit holes (and remember the bottom layer is compressed with their system - unlike normal tamping)!
    Wouldnt that line of reasoning apply to any tamper that doesnt go all the way to the edges?

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1171315322/0#10 date=1171352826
    It also doesnt matter as much if the grounds near the sides of the basket are less tamped as there is a much longer path down the side and across the bottom to the exit holes (and remember the bottom layer is compressed with their system - unlike normal tamping)!
    Wouldnt that line of reasoning apply to any tamper that doesnt go all the way to the edges?
    luca,

    Thanks for the info....

    IMHO, the answer is no. If the grounds near the top of the basket are the only ones compressed when using a standard tamper (according to Blackwell from LM) then once water gets past the edge near the top it has a clear passage through the less compressed (or not compressed at all?) grounds near the base...

    But with a swift, the grounds near the base are just as compressed as the ones at the top - no easy path out.

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    I think a naked PF really provides a great tool to analyse your tamping method. After many unsuccessful naked PF pours that ended up all over the machine and me I found the biggest improvement occurred when I removed any clumping by grinding into a takeaway cup first and giving it a quick stir with a mini beater (not electric!) to break up any clumps.

    After the stir the grounds were much more uniform in consistency and all I needed to do was slightly overfill the PF, level and one tamp. No knocking, mid fill tamping, bench tapping etc.

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    I use the fill to just about over-flowing, then gently tap the pf once or twice to knock the grinds into the basket, then press and polish twice, before brushing off.

    But this only works if your grinder has been set up to over-dose or if you are confident with manually dosing yourself.

    Cheers

    pat

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Quote Originally Posted by askthecoffeeguy link=1171315322/0#13 date=1172579115
    I use the fill to just about over-flowing, then gently tap the pf once or twice to knock the grinds into the basket, then press and polish twice, before brushing off.

    But this only works if your grinder has been set up to over-dose or if you are confident with manually dosing yourself.
    This is sort of the method Ive been using for a good while now, with a couple of additions that dont add significantly to the time and effort required, namely......

    Ive got a D/L Rocky so generally collect the grinds into an old Tupperware 1/3 Cup measurer which is about the perfect height to sit unaided under the spout :). Anyway, after the coffee is ground and ready, the PF (with basket) is removed from the Group and quickly dried out with a clean tea-towel, coffee emptied into the PF such that a small mountain of coffee results. Tap the PF on the bench 3-4 times to settle the coffee down a bit. Add more coffee to recreate the little mountain on the PF, tap the PF on the bench twice more and then level off the coffee with the edge of the plastic coffee measure that came with Rocky. Tamp down with my beautiful Pullman Tamper and while applying the 10-12Kgs force, rock the Tamper from side to side and front to back a little then bring the Tamper back level and polish off.

    Takes a while to explain but seconds to actually apply ;D. Since doing it this way have never had a bad pour and an awful lot of really Mmmm-mmm pours, so seems to work ok.

    Mal.

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    Re: Dose and tamp methods

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Oh yes, and ALWAYS use a dry pf, one that has been wiped clean with a tea towel, but NOT rinsed under the group head, as any residual water in the pf will break up the grind and produce a loose and soggy puck!

    I also use a doserless Rocky at home (Im waiting on a 2nd hand Compak K-5 as well!), although I have removed the forks from the Rocky, and I generally tap the pf myself with my hand a couple of times during the dosing process, if needs be, to ensure a maximum fill.

    Che Phat



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