I'm going to buy... there's been an incredible amount of opprobrium about this on other fora, but I happen to believe (perhaps mistakenly) that Perger does his homework and has credibility.
commercial link removed per site posting policy
In the full knowledge that this might give rise to some less than civil discussion, I still think this is worth taking a look at. Without addressing any of the claims made about compression of grinds and extraction etc etc:
- It's a tamper, designed in consultation with Pullman Tampers
- It reads as though it might be a slightly tighter fit than Pullman Tampers? (but then so is my Pullman tamper...)
- It's a similar price
- You can order a base to screw onto a Nexus, which is cool
- The side of the tamper base is tapered upwards, allowing nutation (if that's your thing) while using a tight-fitting base. I guess that makes it non-self-centering, so I suppose which is preferable is very subjective.
If anyone ends up buying one, I'd be interested to hear what they think of it.
Last edited by Javaphile; 21st June 2014 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Commercial link(s) removed
I'm going to buy... there's been an incredible amount of opprobrium about this on other fora, but I happen to believe (perhaps mistakenly) that Perger does his homework and has credibility.
You have to have a bit of a chuckle.
Now we are told to get the best out of our finicky and very expensive VST baskets we also need an even more expensive and finicky tamper.
Love these quotes
- "Never place the Pergtamp on a hard surface, drop it on the floor or hit the edge against hard objects. This will eventually bend the edge, changing the diameter and resulting in a tight fit, jamming, or uneven tamping"
- "Always pull the Pergtamp out of the basket slowly. Although the tapered sides increase airflow, there is still a vacuum effect if removed quickly. Watch out for any cracks appearing in the surface of the coffee grinds; this indicates that you are removing the tamper too quickly, and air is being forced up through the grinds instead of around the edges of the tamper"
- "This tamper will not fit in or work well with any other brand of basket. You shouldn’t even be using another basket because they’re all terrible. Without exception"
Last edited by Yelta; 21st June 2014 at 03:09 PM.
I agree with you, Matt is no fool or charlatan. If other folks can replicate the kind of results that he claims, it will be a very significant development.
looks like it'd be a right royal pain to machine, though - I can't quite think of how to machine it.
Great to see some true innovation here. It's funny how quickly the sideline doubters feel the need to shoot it down. I'd love to try one.
Yes all very interesting again....but looking at getting 18g VST and this tamper plus shipping its going to be over $200.
Will I taste $200 difference in my espresso? I doubt it.....considering that I find it very hard to get shots anywhere even close to what my little PID caravel lever can make.
Maybe I should get a 2 group Strada to go with the tamper and baskets? oh but then I would have to have a EK43 as well otherwise i would be wasting my time.
Crikey! looks like I hit the jackpot, because I tend to look at things realistically rather than through rose coloured glasses, I've been branded ignorant, insecure, rabid and a sideline doubter.
Steve 82 has it pretty well nailed.
That is, the size of the area that’s actually compressing the coffee grounds. At first this seems quite simple, but almost all tamper manufacturers include a curved edge or ‘fillet’ on the bottom of their tampers. This feature reduces their effective tamping area by a startling amount.He concludes that
But this simply isn't the case; they aren't untamped at all; the radiused edge only results in a marginal decrease in initial force for the area under the radiused edge (because it's 0-1mm higher so doesn't all start compressing the puck until you've tamped 1mm deep. This seems negligible to me, especially since I imagine that the grounds would redistribute during the tamp so there's a fair chance the grounds under the radiused edge would end up the same density as those under the flat base, in my mind.58.35mm Tamper, 1mm edge radius in a VST basket = 2.12cm^2 of untamped grinds
The way he talks the radiused edge doesn't contact the coffee or compress it at all and when he's using that claim to justify the effectiveness of it, that worries me. It also seems awfully hyperbolic to claim that any basket other than a VST is (quoted verbatim) "terrible, without exception". That basically implies that espresso has been completely shit until three years ago.
Of course, this is assuming I'm not misreading what he's written (please tell me if that's the case).
I wouldn't buy one to replace my standard Pullman, but I just might if I didn't already have a Pullman and wanted to play around with nutation (which I can't do with my current one, as I requested that they oversize it slightly).
Sounds like I'll need to buy:
- vst baskets
- microbalance accurate to min 0.01g (preferably 0.001g)
- special tamper- which will of course need to be modified so as to provide a perfect level and tamp pressure to 0.001kg accuracy
- oh yeah. I'll need a EK43 as well as without this none of the above will work
- Strada EP
I'll trade in my palate (clearly not required)....So what's the damage?
Surely then if I obtain some virgin picked coffee and develop a 15 minute spiel and wow 'em all with technology, I'll be the next WBC. The numbers tell it so. I'll just send a tape as there will be no need to enter. The judges will just know I won it.
I'm wondering if someone may consider approaching one of the more prestigious machine manufacturers about designing a new machine based solely around VST baskets and dedicated tampers.
Absolutely agree with Dragunov21 that hyperbolic statements around how much better VST baskets are than any others are silly and don't help Perger's cause. The thing I am particularly interested in is the different extraction yields that he is claiming for the tamper... again I am likely being very naive but I find it hard to believe that he is being intentionally fraudulent with this and that Pullman (a site sponsor no less) is implicitly supporting this sort of behaviour.
Fradulent. Nope; however there is nothing new about creating something different for the sake of being different and then backing it up with reams of well chosen data to create a want. Noobs then read the blurb and come to the conclusion that they need to spend another $x bucks if they want fantastic coffee. The reality is that nothing could be further from the truth. When this stuff scares people away, it hinders rather than helping.
Cut down credit cards, pyramidal tampers, tampers with inbuilt springs, theodolites or gyroscopes et al- snake oil. People spend and those responsible for their production (or those who bankroll those responsible) make more $$$.
For 99.999% of home users, I suspect that this gear has little, if any relevance whatsoever other than to make them ponder where their $200 went when it delivers nothing at all in the cup. They're the ones without refractometers, ek43 grinders and whatever else is currently spruiked as being this month's flavour.
I may be a cynic, but a goodly proportion of this is just taking the pi$$, and I am spending more and more time each week on the phone and in email picking up the pieces. Crutches are never gonna make you do anything other than hobble unless you're already damn good at walking.
Last edited by TC; 21st June 2014 at 07:04 PM. Reason: typolexia
Does anyone here actually have any hands-on experience with this yet to be released product? Without it I'd say it's difficult to start drawing conclusions.
I agree with Chris...
Sure, maybe a top10 world class barista could, maybe , detect very slight improvement in a few measurable criteria of an end result with this. For the rest of the espresso shot pulling fraternity, I very much doubt it. And, if you think you need this single device to make your shots drinkable or better in some way, I think you've got expectations that will never be satisfied no matter how much extra wizz-bangery you spend your hard-earned on... Get the basics (technique) right first and then improve on this over time. Far more rewarding...
His working theory on evenness and pursuing higher extraction yields is well founded. The same theory that got him second place in the WBC also won him the world brewers cup. He's found and demonstrated that he gets a 1% increase in extraction yield with this tamper, which would indicate he's actually getting nearly 5% more coffee in each cup. Just from having a better fitting tamper.
The thing that bugs me is that having a well fitting tamper is not a new concept on this forum. Greg Pullman developed and started promoting the idea 10 years ago, we were all going out and getting out tampers machined to match our baskets. No one disputed then that it could have positive effects on cup quality. Members of this forum, whole threads in fact were dedicated to the benefits of a properly fitted Pullman tamper. The anecdotal evidence was even the same. Sweeter more clearly defined shots. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...2-tampers.html
What Matt Perger has done is a further refinement on the same principle, he's discovered that by tapering the edge it reduces suction, so he can go for a finer tolerance and he's found that by keeping the edge sharp their is also a benefit. He's then gone and measured his extraction and has some objective evidence to prove it's efficacy.
Why the skepticism, why the off the cuff rejection of anything in coffee that aims to progress our understanding?
Matt Perger isn't interested in the training and equipment requirements of home baristas. There is a certain level of proficiency that is assumed before you are going to see any benefits from this kind of thing. So yes, you will need scales, a resolution of 0.1gm should be good enough, you will need VST baskets it's designed that way. Your going to be the kind of person happy to dial in your coffee so that you know the weight of your coffee going in, your yeild coming out and the time it's taken. You are going to take care with distribution.
Yes, VST baskets are better then anything else out there, not just on manufacturing tolerance but also by design they force a finer grind.
The holes go closer to the sides, the side walls are straighter, hence the extraction is more even. If you compare them directly to Precision baskets you will find that they are actually an opposite design in what they do. Precision baskets have a smaller area of holes in the bottom and greater taper than even synesso baskets, this forces a courser grind, and it makes it easier to get nice looking naked pours.
You get nicer 'looking' naked pours with Precision baskets for two reasons, the courser grinds cause less clumping and secondly the smaller area of holes on the bottom allow for a bigger margin of error in distribution. Lovely if you like taking photo's of your shots but from an extraction point of view imho they are not ideal. They promote under extraction, in more lightly roasted coffee's its harder to get a balanced cup, I found using them that when using a lighter roasted S/O coffee I was needing to use very low doses in an effort to fine up the grind and bring more sweetness out.
You won't need a Strada or an EK43 to see benefit. Strada's allow control over extraction length and style, I havn't seen anyone claim to get higher extraction yeilds with them. ST.Ali are still using Lineas with volumetrics last time I was there.
Also he says in the blog he uses Roburs, the extraction numbers reflect that, EK's tend to be up over 20% rather then the 17-19% in his comparisons.
There's so much anecdote and voodoo in the making of coffee. Some people seem to prefer it this way.
For me its always nice to have a discussion that uses some actual reasoning and a product that is an extension of that reasoning, rather then just reminiscing on how good coffee used to be.
I'd also question why the link was removed, if it was to the blog post, then its actually not a commercial link as it's Matt Pergers personal blog page with a discussion about extraction rather then to a competitors commercial store, further, the store in question is currently the only place where a site sponsors product can currently be purchased. So what gives?
The link was removed because it included a link from his blog to a non sponsor commercial enterprise.
https://www.beanscenemag.com.au/arti...ing-reg-barber whist Greg Pullman has done a great job developing and marketing his iteration of what a tamper should be, he certainly cant claim to have developed the concept.
Sponsors are free to advertise their wares. Non sponsors are not.
The original post was placed here by a member, not a sponsor and the blog entry included a link to a non-sponsor. As such, the member breached Andy's sales and posting policy and the post was edited by one of the site moderators.
If I was to place a link to an espresso machine that I decided to sell on evilbay for instance, I'm sure the mods would deem it a breach and probably kill that as well.
Just to cut off any accusations of censorship or anything amiss:
- I misunderstood the policy; I was under the impression that as long as the site/domain linked to was not commercial (in the sense of directly offering products for sale), it was allowable.
- I interpreted the mattperger.com domain as a blog, which is is, but there's no denying that it has a commercial bent and to be fair, the linked item does directly compete with sponsor offerings, which I guess falls under the "commercial" definition. It was removed on this basis and I think that's completely understandable.
- I could (indicated by mods) quote/excerpt text and images from the linked page, minus the links to the SensoryLabPro storefront, but I chose not to bother since people seemed to have no trouble finding the page/item being discussed. It might seem pointless given how easy it is to find the initial page and storefront, but that being the case, it's not like anything's really been censored, is it?
Great comments muppet_man67.
I find it so strange that the reason this forum exists is essentially being questioned by most of the posters here. This forum exists, essentially, to assist members to make better coffee.
(Side point: some people will claim this forum exists as a commercial vehicle for the sponsors but i disagree. They keep the discussion about hoe to make better coffee alive with financial backing, and get to advertise as part of the deal)
The numbers behind VST baskets, precision tampers, stable group temperatures, EK43s, etc etc show, objectively, that using such produces consistently higher extractions. Without exception. Since taste is subjective, we can't really base anything on that. If you like a 25% extraction - fine, drink it. If you like a 14% extraction - fine, drink it. If you like Nespresso - fine, drink it.
The numbers suggest that Matt Perger's new tamper assists with this - as do VST baskets, which seem to get hated on by a lot of members and sponsors who don't sell them. But more stable group temperature, a better quality grinder, better quality coffee, better quality water, all do the same thing - assist in making better coffee. The latter don't get hated on by the same haters that pile hate on the former, which do the same thing, help people make better coffee.
And I'm seriously over the "VST et al are too finicky" argument. You spend $,000's of dollars of your coffee equipment in the pursuit of better coffee, but refuse to spend an extra $30 on a precise basket, $50 on a good scale, and 30 seconds of extra time in dosing and distributing. Are you serious? Just drink instant and be done with it if you don't want a finicky process.
Bottom line. This forum exists to discuss how to make better coffee. If you think VSTs et al make worse coffee - fine, make your case and argue it. If you agree that given the right attention to detail, they can make better coffee but they're just a bit too much work for you, then join Nespresso-snobs or just pipe down.
Without getting into it too deeply, I think that everything has it's place, including those who've looked at the finicky stuff and decided it's not for them, whether commercially or for home. What I don't think is helpful is condescending to those who have found a way to make it work easily or feel that the extra effort is worth it to them.
If there's something I feel isn't worth the effort (weighing shots as more than a per-bean-change dial-in tool is one example) I'll try and make the case objectively to people who are trying to decide one way or the other. When proponents and antis start pitching rhetoric at one another it just turns into a big mess.
I'd never recommend VSTs to someone who didn't already have a strong grasp of extraction and how to keep pours consistent. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who does, and suggest they stick with them until they can produce consistent even pours with no dead spots/channeling/early blonding on a naked before making a decision as to whether or not they find the taste improved. At the end of the day, if they do, don't, or do but don't like it, it shouldn't make any difference to me.
I'm more concerned as to why Matt has decided to name the tamper after a retired Dutch footballer who didn't like flying.
site posting policy and were dealt with accordingly.
Just because a site is labeled as a blog does not magically make it a non-commercial venture. If a site is used to promote the sale of goods or services or offers them for sale then it is by definition a commercial site. This is especially true when the sale of said goods or services directly benefits the owner of the site as is the case with Matts 'blog'.
Java "And now, back to the tamper discussion" phile
Toys! I must have new toys!!!
The CS community is amazing and the learning potential here is huge but why shoot down people with contrary opinions as "haters"? Every conversation has at least two sides so why shy away from anyone who does not see things your way? If you truly believe that CS is all about the community then you might want to consider lightening up a bit and enjoy the diversity of opinion on offer... you'll be amazed how much more you can learn with eyes and ears wide open.
Finally... just so you know... those of us who don't seem to need to bother with the time consuming rituals you seem to need to make a decent cuppa, we're not saying that we accept that your way is better and that we just couldn't be bothered with all the extra effort... what we're really saying is that we know that we can put out cup after cup of coffee at least as good as yours without the song and dance. No insult intended... there are coffee technicians and then there are coffee artists... two sides of the same coin and striving for the same thing. So instead of focusing on the differences between us, why not recognize that we all seek the same thing and hold hands and sing Kumbaya?
Since taste is subjective, we can't really base anything on that.
- Really? this shows just how out of touch with the real world you can become when you get too wrapped up in a subject, are you suggesting the average Joe carry a refractometer (and use it) interview the barista and examine the machinery before declaring his cuppa good bad or indifferent, taste is everything.
- Hated and hater's: emotive words that would probably be more at home in a post coming from a spammer, most certainly designed to stir the pot, fwiw, I have invested in a VST basket (I certainly didn't spend my money simply so I could give the product a negative review) I worked with it over a period of months in a conventional as well as a naked portafilter, in the end I did not say I "hated" it, what I said was at the end of the day there was not much in it, the VST certainly produced good coffee, was it better or worse than what I was producing with my other basket, neither, about the same, what won me over was that my alternative basket was a touch more forgiving, so the VST has found a home in the drawer with seldom used stuff, not being completely closed minded I pull it out now and again and have a play, my opinion is yet to change.
- As for your "bottom line" I can express an opinion or preference without having to argue my case scientifically, "too much work for you" rubbish! and "just pipe down" guess this means agree with me or shut up.
At the end of the day I and others are quite at liberty to express an opinion on any subject in Coffee Snobs without being branded haters or Luddites.
How did a simple discussion about a new product end up in a table tennis game of whit and grammar. The first few posts were a great read and then the rest forced me to get the popcorn out.
I think it's a great idea, I also share Chris' thoughts on it's "wank factor". But, curiosity always gets me and it wouldn't surprise me if in the medium term I end up with one on the bench 😁
*I just came here to read the comments...* I did just have some popcorn earlier so good timing! What we have here brendogs is the classic old CoffeeSnobs barista bashing But to the tamper!
This is definitely a tamp that's verging on lab equipment. Really technical stuff here that has a decent amount of research behind it! But to what end? Consistent, evenly extracted espresso with a higher extraction ratio. Now when we talk about consistency over 5 cups or so, we are going into commercial 3rd wave cafe's or roasteries. My guess is, is that this tamp isn't really designed for the home market. Hence the high price and all the technical mumbo jumbo. Yes, I do work in a specialty cafe but honestly, at home, I'm not all that fussy so I don't see myself purchasing this for home use.
BUT! At work? New situation, new needs and a totally different perspective. When we used a VST 58.35mm tamp for the first time, it was a massive learning curve! Had to re-learn dosing, grooming and tamping. Almost zero margin of error but the shots were blonding later, looking better and tasting more flavoursome. Will the extra 0.075mm make a difference in the taste? Perger seems to thinks so.
Will it require a difference in technique? Apparently so as well. A slower pull out is needed. Perger claims, "I have used this tamper on busy 800-coffee days at St Ali without a single channelled shot." But how many staff does he have on? Is he just on dosing and tamping and someone is doing the other stuff? Perhaps he is just on tamping! Vague comment and would love some clarification. If he is weighing out every shot, grooming to perfection, tamping slowly, purging the groups clean and backflushing throughout the service, I would really like to see that.
So his arguments are compelling, but not totally sold on it yet..perhaps a video of it in use is due.
What you've basically said here is "We're better than you, or on-par-with-less-effort at worst, no offence". No insult intended, I can believe, but it still strikes me as arrogant to discount the possibility that someone else makes better coffee (though what "better" means in the context of subjective taste is anyone's guess).Finally... just so you know... those of us who don't seem to need to bother with the time consuming rituals you seem to need to make a decent cuppa, we're not saying that we accept that your way is better and that we just couldn't be bothered with all the extra effort... what we're really saying is that we know that we can put out cup after cup of coffee at least as good as yours without the song and dance. No insult intended... there are coffee technicians and then there are coffee artists... two sides of the same coin and striving for the same thing. So instead of focusing on the differences between us, why not recognize that we all seek the same thing and hold hands and sing Kumbaya?
No doubt you've got a lot of experience and make good coffee, but without having tasted what others are putting out I don't see how anyone can be in a position to discount that it could be something better. ~shrug~
I never said "better". What I said was "at least as good as" which, of course, was in response to Bames' various inflammatory comments, including the following: "given the right attention to detail, they can make better coffee but they're just a bit too much work for you, then join Nespresso-snobs or just pipe down."
And... the tone of that opinion wasn't all that friendly.
Have just taken a look at the pergtamp page, and must say I do see some inherent flaws in understanding there, at least from my very limited base of knowledge. The highlighted point made is that the area of contact is greater, which is evident and easy to understand, but there are then diagrams that show that the grounds compressed are ONLY those vertically underneath the face of the tamper..... I don't see this as being possible, once again my understanding is coming from an engineering background, and I am transposing my understanding of the properties of a very fine silt or clay onto coffee grounds, which could also be incorrect, BUT, pressure from a surface does not radiate straight downward, it is transferred through a medium at an angle which relates to its cohesion as a mass (its friction angle in engineering speak). Even with a pitiful cohesion property, the pressure from the tamper would very quickly radiate to the edge of the portafiter and encompass all the grounds from there on in. I honestly could not see the vertical depth being more than 2mm at the very most, before the pressure is transferred to the portafilter wall, at which point a normal well fitted tamper and the "SUPER" tamp would be identical.
Without testing the cohesion properties of coffee grinds (which a quick search on google scholar has not highlighted) it is impossible to know for certain at what angle the pressure downward from the tamper radiates outwards, but from my limited understanding it WILL radiate outwards.
How this all relates to channeling, and the taste in the cup is far beyond my understanding, but I must agree with what many others on this thread have said already, once your tamping technique is solid you shouldnt have channeling issues anyway......... And think of all the left over money you will have to buy AMAZING beans with
Last edited by stilloutthere; 24th June 2014 at 07:28 AM. Reason: typo
stilloutthere... great post. However, I remain intrigued by the claimed extraction yield differences.
I know many a nespresso lover who will emphatically tell me that his nespresso machine makes as good coffee as the best cafes. If my friends like the subjective taste of nespresso - good luck to them, but it DOES NOT make as good coffee as proper equipment. No question. What is the difference then between that and saying that your other gear make as good coffee as a VST, Pergtamp etc, when the numbers will, other things being equal, ALWAYS suggest differently?
In regards to taste, obviously taste is the absolute bottom line. But my comment about not being able to take taste into it is absolutely right. You might say "I like the taste of X espresso and don't like that taste of Y espresso", and I might say "I don't like the taste of X espresso and do like the taste of Y". Who is right? Both and neither. Because taste is subjective. You can't compare it.
You can come here and say "I don't like the taste of espresso made with an EK43, a VST, and a pergtamp, but I do like it made from ..." Fine. Great. But don't say that just because you don't like the taste or the taste is indistinguishable from other equipment and preparation methods to your palate, that therefore VST et al. are pointless wank factor from people just trying to make money. And many people here have claimed exactly that. This is why taste can't be used because it subjective.
What is not subjective is numbers. If all other things being equal, VST et al can make espresso at 20% extraction and other gear can make at 18% extraction, bang you have a winner. Higher number wins if your goal is getting a better extraction. If you goal is getting a lower extraction because you like the taste, then fine, make it that way but own up and say "it's because I like my espresso this way" - not because this gear is a wank and waste of time. May be a waste of time for you based on your tastes, but that's all it is - subjective.
This stuff doesn't claim to make coffee taste better according to everyone's palate, that's impossible. What this stuff DOES claim is to enable higher extraction. And it does. No question. Numbers don't lie. My issue is that some here question it under the subjective and in-comaprable guise of taste.
You were the one (in your previous rant) who kept on suggesting that the use of tools such as the Pergtamp would yield "better" coffee. That sounds like a subjective evaluation to me. Do you have any numbers to back up this observation?
10 years ago it was all about updosing and buckets. Now let's go low and fine and use a whole heap of gear to analyse it before it goes cold. Crazes come and go and for me, this is merely another. Perhaps it's more relevant to extractions of lightly browned green beans in the hope of getting something palatable.
Numbers- meh. What I care about is what's in the cup and on the palate. No doubt Matt and his backers will enjoy this all the way to the bank.
When the 3rd wave breaks and dumps, the coffee will still be here.
Vinitasse - nope not subjective at all. The numbers back it up - 1 percent more extraction (might not seem like much but 1% of a 19% extraction represents 5% more coffee in the cup). Look at Perger's blog (which can't be linked) and you will see how across 5 shots with everything else being equal, higher extractions were had with the Pergtamp than with the others.
I love the "this far and no farther" mentality. "You must have fresh coffee and equipment better than X, but anything more than Y is also wrong." Kinda sounds like the good old world is flat argument.
As previously stated, if one likes coffee produced in one way, then that's fine. But they can't say that someone who like coffee produced in a different way is a wanker. That is the same mentality that has started wars. Real wars.
If anyone here subjectively doesn't like it, then have the guts to say that's your subjective opinion and quit implying that any other opinion is wrong.
OK... so extraction percentages are up. Now tell me why more extraction = "better" coffee.
In the past few years we have heard all kinds of talk about coffee plant disease, shrinking coffee farm habitat, climate change, etc, all of which make the supply of great coffee smaller and smaller. So IMO, the job of a competent pro barista is not only to make great-tasting coffee, but to do it with as little waste as possible.
One can make an espresso using a Compak grinder, a Precision basket, a 58mm tamper, a 22g dose and an 18% extraction yield. One can also make an espresso using an EK43, a VST basket, a Pergtamp, a 17g dose and a 23% extraction yield. Both deliver about the same amount of coffee solids into your cup.
IF -- and obviously this is an important IF -- one's customers are just as happy with the latter shot, then it is a far better way to use a really good quality coffee. If they like the second shot better, fantastic.
To me it's becoming harder and harder to justify wasting great quality raw material with old school techniques and equipment.
Matt seems like a very bright and motivated individual. If all he was interested in was his bank account, I'm sure he could find other, easier ways to make money.
- According to SCAA, SCAE and NCA, ideal extraction ratio is between 18%-22%. Less is sour and more is bitter. Usually.
- If the goal of making coffee is to extract coffee solids into the cup, this gear does it more better.
- Getting higher extractions (20%+) usually meant more bitters because fines were being over extracted, while boulders and areas of the puck that are not packed as tightly were still being under extracted. This equals a muddle between some sour some bitter and the rest right. What this gear helps to do it extract more out of the coffee in the basket more evenly. This equals less on the sour end and less on the bitter end and more of the right in the middle. This means more clarity of flavour and enables you to taste the particular nuances of the coffee more.
Then it comes down to green coffee selection and skill of roaster. If you have average coffee and and average roaster, a higher extraction will probably taste worse because you're tasting more bad coffee bean and bad roasting. But if you have great coffee roasted well, you will taste more of the good stuff with a higher extraction.
Then, as always, it comes down to what you like as whether you will like a higher extraction or not. As stated a zillion times before, this can't be compared because people's tastes differ. But what can be compared is whether you've been able to extract more out of your coffee. The gear helps you do it.
PS - also what ASchecter said.