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Thread: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

  1. #1
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    Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

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

    I put this thread in "grinders" cause its kind of to do with matching the grind size to the tamp pressure.

    First some notes on what Ive been doing lately. *I have a Breville BES820, not a great machine I know, but its what Ive got for now.

    I also have the "matching" grinder BCG450 which many people have modified here: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1204007644

    I got an antique Spong for Christmas, and on the finest setting it completely backed up the dual-wall basket :) *The guage went into the red and the lights started fading! *On less fine settings the consistency isnt so good.

    I then purchased an unpressurised Krups Double Basket from the nice folks at CoffeeTamper.com.au and found the finest grind on the Breville grinder was too course for it, and the water flowed through too quickly.

    Ive now modified the Breville according to the various notes about it. I havent wound it as far as it will go in case the burrs meet and I damage it, but a few clicks passed the old "finest" setting is giving me some reasonable results. *Im getting a better crema than before (all the while using fresh beans from Pioneer Roastery).

    The question is: should I grind as fine as possible, and tamp extra-lightly so the machine doesnt block up? *Or should I grind somewhere in the middle so Im still giving some tamp pressure to get the right extraction pressure?

    Is this behaviour of the machine where it makes a funny noise and little/no coffee comes out usual if you grind too fine, or is the pump just too weak?

    Finally, how could I get the most out of my combo? *Do you think its worth getting a temp probe, or a pressure guage with actual numbers on it (rather than just colours?!)

    Thanks for your wisdom!

  2. #2
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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Welcome to the journey, what you are after is what tastes good. Generally speaking the "medium" tamp with appropriate grind setting to give you 25-30mls in 30secs will give you a starting point and from there you can figure out what you like by playing with the variables. You will be limited by your equipment to some extent but after playing with a krups for a few days it is possible to get a nice coffee out of cheap equipment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    The absolute tamp pressure is really not very critical, nor do reasonable variations affect the taste nearly as much as the dose and the grind do. (I hope you have fresh beans. ::) )

    So my recommendation goes something like this:
    Practice tamping on a set of bathroom scales until you are reasonably consistent in the 15 Kg range.
    Practice dosing and tamping (do a search for the 5 cent test) until you know how much to dose.
    Then begin varying the grind until you get the taste you want. (As moto coffee said this will probably be in the range of 30 mls in 30 seconds--but this is only a guideline, its whats in the cup that counts.)
    Sit back and enjoy a fine cup of coffee.

    Greg

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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    What Greg says

    Ive gone through stages of having to tamp the poor grounds to hell and back and also now to a lighter tamp

    Lighter tamp is waay easier to replicate consistently than a heavier tamp (thats what I find anyway), easier to back your tamp off a bit than try and force it and end up with inconsistent results

    Took me several weeks to get the right balance with pre bought beans from CS, then I went and started home roasting which changed things again

    One grind setting / tamp doesnt always work with all beans, so youll find that small grind adjustments will be needed every now and then

    Funny noise from the machine with little or no coffee is a sign of the pump being overworked by the combination of too fine grind / too hard tamp, I had a similar problem with my Sunbeam machine with grind being too fine jamming the machine and causing bad noises

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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Thanks guys, it is indeed a journey! We had a friend over recently who was a self professed coffee lover, and she was impressed at the taste, but I know I can do a lot better. :)

    So given my Spong hand mill can go super-fine, should I use that all the time?

    And the 25-30s rule of thumb, is that for a single or double shot? Or doesnt it matter?

    thanks heaps!

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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A222A2D2721430 link=1263971255/4#4 date=1264026103
    And the 25-30s rule of thumb, is that for a single or double shot?Or doesnt it matter?
    That is for the single filter basket. With the double basket it will be half so say between 15-20 seconds or 25-30 for 60 ml using the double basket. Correct me if im wrong someone.

    For your original question:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2A222A2D2721430 link=1263971255/0#0 date=1263971255
    The question is: should I grind as fine as possible, and tamp extra-lightly so the machine doesnt block up?
    I have to agree with moto coffee. It needs to be a medium tamp and right grind. i.e not too fine/course. But at the end of the day, its what in the cup that counts. If it taste fine using light tamp and really fine grind then go with that. :P

  7. #7
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by 7F777F787274160 link=1263971255/4#4 date=1264026103
    And the 25-30s rule of thumb, is that for a single or double shot?Or doesnt it matter?
    It doesnt matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by 7778636F77727760160 link=1263971255/5#5 date=1264029783
    That is for the single filter basket. With the double basket it will be half so say between 15-20 seconds or 25-30 for 60 ml using the double basket. Correct me if im wrong someone.
    Youre not wrong anu but what you wrote was a little confusing. :-?

    In 25 - 30sec you aim for 30ml (single shot) or 60ml (double shot).

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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Hi TG,

    Quote Originally Posted by 764A574C464750454D46220 link=1263971255/6#6 date=1264030690
    In 25 - 30sec you aim for 30ml (single shot) or 60ml (double shot).
    Yep thats what i meant. I was reffering to the double basket. ;D

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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Well, whats in the cup is much better with the modified grinder and "real" basket than it ever was with the dual-wall basket, so I think Im on the right track :)

    And something you may find interesting: I was making plunger coffee while away from home these holidays. *I bought some fresh beans from the best coffee house Ive ever bean[sic] to. *I ground them using the hand mill, and I got about 1cm of crema in the plunger pot just by adding hot water! *Ive never seen crema in a pot before! *It was the best plunger coffee Ive ever tasted (but then, everyone I know makes it with pre-ground!)

    Thanks for the tips, I might post a photo of my successes later :)

  10. #10
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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure


    Yea its amazing the effect fresh roasted beans can have with any method of brewing. Thats why i always buy small amounts of fresh roasted beans and use them within 2 weeks. This way ensures they are always fresh. 8-)


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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    I agree. Ive convinced my work to buy freshly roasted beans from one of the sponsers - about 3kg/fn. I also convinced them to "sell" them on in small quantities for those at work who like fresh beans, so we always have a nice supply of quality beans.

    Most people dont realise what a difference freshly roasted freshly ground beans make - until they taste my coffee! And Im not even making it great yet!

  12. #12
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Fine grind vs Tamp pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by 333B33343E385A0 link=1263971255/8#8 date=1264031403
    And something you may find interesting: I was making plunger coffee while away from home these holidays.I bought some fresh beans from the best coffee house Ive ever bean[sic] to.I ground them using the hand mill, and I got about 1cm of crema in the plunger pot just by adding hot water!Ive never seen crema in a pot before!It was the best plunger coffee Ive ever tasted (but then, everyone I know makes it with pre-ground!)
    I started a former work colleague on fresh beans and then sold him my old Sunbeam 0450 so he could keep at it.

    He only uses a plunger at home (only meaning thats all he has not that its "only" a plunger) *and he told me that the first coffee he made with his new grinder and fresh beans (I supplied) made the best coffee hed ever had at home.

    Since then hes made adjustments to his dosing and technique and says the coffee is now even better.



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