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Thread: Tamping - Coffee Club new policy

  1. #1
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    Tamping - Coffee Club new policy

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    When I was starting my journey into exeriencing better coffee I had been learning about espresso making techniques during in my travels watching baristas wherever I could find them.


    One coffee chain, as we have so few, in our shopping centre, is Coffee Club.


    For a long time their technique has involved tapping the basket on the side of the machine, after tamping, to knock the outer grounds back into the middle. This, I had learned in my coffee education, was an old and unnecessary step that causes fractures throughout the recently tamped grounds.


    There has been a curious change on their tamping policy...


    Only within the last week they have, nation wide, changed their policy to NOT tap the basket!


    It is now:
    1. Dose
    2. Tamp lighty
    3. Tamp again and polish
    4. Brush off the loose grounds
    5. Pull the shot


    I had know that tapping was out of date some time ago and always wondered why they kept doing it.


    Good to see that are, SLOWLY, keeping up!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Well, a light tap after tamping, followed by a light polishing tamp never seems to cause any channelling problems for me. Who knows what their motivation was? Might have been to improve workflow when busy.
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    Thanks BOSW! I don't really know from personal experience if it affects the taste. I've just read and seen lots of info on tamping.

    Yes it probably is to improve workflow. I believe the staff member I spoke to said it would make the process go faster. She also noted that since she had been doing the old way for about two years it threw her off, which is understandable.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Well, a light tap after tamping, followed by a light polishing tamp never seems to cause any channelling problems for me. Who knows what their motivation was? Might have been to improve workflow when busy.
    I do exactly the same Barry.

    Tamp > couple of light taps > polish > extract.

    Works for me.

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    Why tap though? I just wipe the grinds off with my palm. I can understand why this might not be desired by some in a commercial setting, but at home?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Why tap though? I just wipe the grinds off with my palm. I can understand why this might not be desired by some in a commercial setting, but at home?
    On the other hand, why not tap?

    Either way, it matters little if what's in the cup is to your taste.

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Why tap though? I just wipe the grinds off with my palm
    I tap because grinds often cling to the side of the basket. My tamper is fairly close fitting.
    But, as Yelta says, if it works for you, then it's OK.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    For the reasons detailed by FlynnAus above. Even though I have a matched tamper, there are typically some grinds that stick the side of the basket above the puck level (not the ones that may be sitting on rim of filter basket). No biggy either way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    On the other hand, why not tap?

    Either way, it matters little if what's in the cup is to your taste.
    Why not? Because I don't see any reason to.

    Do the grinds on the side of the basket cause problems? Dirty group perhaps?

    Perhaps it's an occupational hazard, but I tend to avoid things with no obvious benefit (warm fuzzies aside), but with some potential negative effects. Especially when it involves more work!

    I wonder when Coffee Club will revise the instruction "burn the milk" to something like "stretch the milk until it is microfoam"?

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    Senior Member csutak40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Why tap though? I just wipe the grinds off with my palm. I can understand why this might not be desired by some in a commercial setting, but at home?
    I actually saw that referred to as "blessing" the coffee on a youtube video I saw. Thought it was cute

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    Current standard is no tap, causes possible fracturing of the puck resulting in possible channelling.

    Check out any current competitor in the World Barista Championships and not one will do the old school tap.
    Just spent time in Argentina at their championships and judges will give you a big zero if you tap, they want accurate dosing, tamp, polish and wipe clean.

    So loose the tap, grow a goatie and get some thick rimmed glasses.

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    Thanks CC!

    This is the main reason I came to the conclusion that tapping is old practice that is out of date. Lots of videos from Barista champions stating they don't tap any more.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Oh dear! I had no idea I was placing myself at so much risk.

    Channeling, OH&S issues, fractured puck's (must find a good puck repairer) not to mention the fact that if I find myself in Argentina and dare to tap the PF I will be instantly goose egged, never able to hold my head up in public again, I can imagine the humiliation, on my return to Australia, out and about, people whispering to each other, "he taps his PF" the shame of it all.

    Add to all of this the stigma of using an "old practice" not sure I'm able to cope, may well have to seek the help of a psychoanalyst.

    Guess I'm gonna have to mend my ways, or perhaps not.
    Last edited by Yelta; 12th August 2013 at 05:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by javaNOTcode View Post
    When I was starting my journey into exeriencing better coffee I had been learning about espresso making techniques during in my travels watching baristas wherever I could find them.


    One coffee chain, as we have so few, in our shopping centre, is Coffee Club.


    For a long time their technique has involved tapping the basket on the side of the machine, after tamping, to knock the outer grounds back into the middle. This, I had learned in my coffee education, was an old and unnecessary step that causes fractures throughout the recently tamped grounds.


    There has been a curious change on their tamping policy...


    Good to see that are, SLOWLY, keeping up!
    Yelta makes a point:

    Has the coffee improved (customer experience) as a result?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    It's ok everyone. Just wait for the impending 4th wave of coffee enthusiasts. The hipster zeitgeist will disappear, to be replaced by urban lumberjacks with big bushy beards and tough blue jeans, and you won't be seen dead behind the counter of an avant garde outlet unless you 'tap' the handle with a block splitter.

    Seriously though....it's all good.

  16. #16
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I've been a "light tamper", followed by a light tap with the handle of the Tamper, then the tamp proper for more than a decade now... Never caused me a problem. Appreciate why people recommend that you don't do this but it probably has more to do with the adoption of a common technique for a workforce, to avoid too much variation... So long as you're aware of the potential pitfalls, I can't see the problem.

    Mal.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    it probably has more to do with the adoption of a common technique for a workforce, to avoid too much variation...
    Mal.
    This is pretty much the crux of it Mal.

    I suspect it has more to do with standardisation of technique in the pursuit of repeatability/excellence than anything else, of course there are those barista's who have repeatability down to a fine art and can be guaranteed to serve you a cup of swill each and every time.

    We employed similar methods with geo sample preparation, every operator was required to use exactly the same preparation procedure in an effort to remove operator error from the equation, regardless, there were always the tech's that still managed to stuff things up regardless, guess they face similar problems in the coffee industry.

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    I've yet to meet someone who can taste a shot and distinguish if I've tapped or not.. If it works for you, keep doing it. Until there is a unified world government administering the hobbyist barista community I don't believe anyone has the authority to label a technique as incorrect, no matter how archaic it may be. Do what makes you happy, what other purpose is there in life?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewfiend View Post
    I've yet to meet someone who can taste a shot and distinguish if I've tapped or not.. If it works for you, keep doing it. Until there is a unified world government administering the hobbyist barista community I don't believe anyone has the authority to label a technique as incorrect, no matter how archaic it may be. Do what makes you happy, what other purpose is there in life?
    Welcome to Coffee Snobs Brewfiend.

    I like your philosophy, it smacks of something we don't see a lot of nowadays, common sense.

    Keep up the good work.

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    Incorrect or not, it's pointless regardless.

    I have no issue with personal preferences but I find it hilarious that someone justifies an extra step in a process, by stating that in their own testing there is no difference in result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Oh dear! I had no idea I was placing myself at so much risk.

    may well have to seek the help of a psychoanalyst.
    Might have to agree with that!

    My ten cents worth; This is 'over the top' sarcasm, is easily open to misinterpretation, and could turn posters away from expressing their opinions and views.
    (Not me )

    Yes, It is all "tongue in cheek" stuff Yelta, just an over-kill (as I see it).

    Freedom of speech? Along with freedom of choice; "John" chooses to tap, Bill doesn't. "John" enjoys his coffee, so does "Bill".
    Everyone's a winner!

  22. #22
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    I tap and then do a final tamp, because I'm borderline OCD and specks of coffee on the side of the basket would irritate me. But then again, I'm the sort of person that will replace four fasteners rather than one so that they all match, on some internal part of a machine where it doesn't matter and no one will ever notice.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Incorrect or not, it's pointless regardless.

    I have no issue with personal preferences but I find it hilarious that someone justifies an extra step in a process, by stating that in their own testing there is no difference in result.
    Fair point, but to my amatuerish eye the (light) tap also eliminates (reduces) a source of error in diagnostics. If, after pulling the shot, you've got grinds where they shouldn't be you've either got an over dose or the group seal has seen better days. I claim no expertise at that level however...just based on my own observations.

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    I might have to agree with you Kevo, although I don't post a great deal here I am an avid CS fan.

    All I stated above was common current practice and Yelta believes it is an opportunity to tell someone their a wanker through his articulate sarcasm.

    Why bother contributing with facts, thought this was a quality forum, must have been mistaken.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevo View Post
    Might have to agree with that!

    My ten cents worth; This is 'over the top' sarcasm, is easily open to misinterpretation, and could turn posters away from expressing their opinions and views.
    (Not me )

    Yes, It is all "tongue in cheek" stuff Yelta, just an over-kill (as I see it).

    Freedom of speech? Along with freedom of choice; "John" chooses to tap, Bill doesn't. "John" enjoys his coffee, so does "Bill".
    Everyone's a winner!
    Seriously Kevo, this subject has been covered so many over the years it's worn threadbare.

    Tamping is a simple, quickly acquired procedure, I guess every new batch of Snobbers that comes along feel the need to expound their newly gleaned knowledge, hence the repeat threads.

    ""John" chooses to tap, Bill doesn't. "John" enjoys his coffee, so does "Bill".
    Everyone's a winner!"
    My point exactly, as I said in post #6 "Either way, it matters little if what's in the cup is to your taste."

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    I believe the origin of the non-tap came from usage of the naked portafilter, and observations of people who did it both ways.
    I think it might have been Luca Costanzo and Andrew Lew at Cafe Maltitude, all those many years ago on another forum.
    I could be wrong though..

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    Wow! I had no idea that tapping and tamping would create so much discussion (and raise so much ire ).

    I don't personally have a machine/grinder setup even close to what most CSers seem to have, so if the discussion has turned to if it affects taste, I have no idea. I'll just have to try both when the time comes for me! But then again, I'm a less is more person when it comes to procedures. Hell, I got an AeroPress, and after looking at all the recipes, been considering leaving it in the cupboard until I have more time & patience.

    It has been great to see how each individual handles their gear. For my coffee education, it allows me to compare methods.

  28. #28
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by javaNOTcode View Post
    But then again, I'm a less is more person when it comes to procedures. Hell, I got an AeroPress, and after looking at all the recipes, been considering leaving it in the cupboard until I have more time & patience.
    Don't do that mate. Grind a touch coarser, roast a touch lighter (or buy slightly ligther roasted beans) and keep experimenting. I've got some quite decent espresso gear, but start every day with an O'Speedwagon (that's an Aeropress strong long black with a bit of heated milk). When you get the Aero right it's unreal.

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    WBC 2013 Finals: Matthew Perger, 2nd Place - YouTube

    This video shows a Barista from Melbourne who has a very unique tamping skill. btw he is the participant of the world barista championship.
    I'm just wondering if that kind of tamping helps to create a perfect shot.

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    Thanks BOSW! I really am keen to try it, but the little ones have been trying my patience lately and not had much time to change my coffee regime.

    Thread derailed!!!

    Had good results with espresso grind (commercial grinder) and non-inverted. Tried inverted with just under coarse grind (my grinder) and it was TERRIBLE!

  31. #31
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    My current method is

    1. Dose (make sure the grinder is set to the correct grind for the given roasted coffee beans)
    2. Tap the portafilter (not with the tamper but with a tap mat or stand or knock box to settle the grounds)
    3. Light Tamp
    4. Light Nutation
    5. Light tamp again and polish
    6. brush off loose grounds
    7. Pull the shot

    Here's my latest video...I really need to do something about my lighting...


  32. #32
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_machinist View Post
    I'm the sort of person that will replace four fasteners rather than one so that they all match, on some internal part of a machine where it doesn't matter and no one will ever notice.
    I like your work ethic CM, your the kind of person I would like to have servicing my equipment.

    So many repairers simply don't care any more.



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