Crema vs ALSAINTÉ Espresso Tamper & Distributor

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
raeyn

#1: Post by raeyn »

Hi,

I want to get my first real (non-machine) tamper & I'd like to get a distributor combo. I've been looking at several on Amazon like the Matow but I'm considering spending a little more and getting the Crema or ALSAINTÉ Espresso Tamper & Distributor (I need one to fit a 58mm portafilter) and I like that both of these should fit a little tighter.

Do you think there's any real difference in any of these (particularly the Crema vs ALSAINTÉ)? Would they be a reasonable choice? I don't have the extra funds (or even really want to spend) more at this point. Thanks for any info!

Quester

#2: Post by Quester »

My daughter has the MATOW combo tool, but is getting better results using a homemade 0.4mm WDT tool. She is now only using the tamper side of the MATOW tool after carefully distributing and leveling with the WDT tool. In hindsight, spending those dollars on a self-leveling tamper might have been better.

Having said that, the MATOW tool does what it is supposed to do. It's relatively easy to adjust and coffee doesn't stick to the surfaces. However, I don't like the way it feels when tamping because it has no handle.

What's your primary objective? If ease of preparation is more important than getting that last bit of flavor improvement, a leveler works well and helps with level tamping. If getting the best shot is the objective, a WDT tool with fine wires and a bottomless portafilter (so you can see what's going on with the shot) helps a lot.

raeyn (original poster)

#3: Post by raeyn (original poster) »

I just wanted to reply to give more info, as I've learned more - in case it might be helpful to others who find this later on.

Turns out neither of these are great for a few reasons. Seems it's not easy or possible to adjust each side separately and the threads are on the outside and get coffee stuck inside. If you need lowest budget, Rosebear has one with internal threads and ability to adjust separately. But even better yet is the newer option from Normcore. It has a really lovely distributor on one side and a 30lb *spring* tamper on the other side. It works flawlessly! It's compact, no external threads, the distributor side is adjustable (the other side isn't due to the fact that it has the spring). The spring sort of makes it self leveling, too since it touches the sides of the basket in many cases.

I've been totally loving it and it's helped my technique to be much more repeatable. I plan to add a home-made or 3D printed, or inexpensive 0.4mm puck rake (WDT) tool next. Hope that ends up being helpful!