The Bravo Tamper and Distributor

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belegnole

#1: Post by belegnole »

Good day All;

Like many others I have been searching for coffee nirvana, and in that search I determined that I personally like both a tamper and distributor. I found a machine that I love in the Izzo Alex Leva, which caused a small problem. I could no longer use use any of my old @58mm tools. So the search began an I have tried a few. Recently I purchased the Bravo Tools from Gilberto and I told the people in the Izzo Alex Leva - Dosing, baskets, accessories and springs thread that I would do a short review. I had chosen Bravo for two main reasons. I had already known of them and liked what I saw, and Gilberto was not just making them in 58 mm but also a size for the Dalla Corte who's basket size just happens to be the same as the Alex Leva. As I have been using the tamper and distributor for just over a week now it's time for my thoughts.

First, I purchased these from GIlberto who was wonderful to deal with. I was sent pictures of what was available and was able to choose what I wanted. As the 54.7mm is a stock item I chose that. Gliberto may make custom sizes, but I have not had that discussion with him. Once everything was agreed upon and the tools were ready I paid via PayPal (in Brazilian Reals) and GIlberto shipped via FedEx. Shipping was quick and I received them 4 days later.



Of course I had to compare them to what I have been using with my Alex up to this point.



Tools:

Bravo Tamper - 54.7 mm
Bravo Distributor - 54.73 mm
Torr 54.4 TF SE - 54.42 mm
Joe Frex 55 - 54.78 mm
IZZO included Tamper - 53.09 mm

Baskets that I have:

Izzo Single - 54.53 mm
Izzo Triple - 54.64 mm
LF 14 - 55.05 mm
LF 16 - 55.43 mm
LF 18 - 55.23 mm
LF 21 - 55.23 mm
IMS B662Th32M 18/20 - 55.34

The Distributor:



The Bravo Distributor is much like other distributors except for a couple of things. First instead of having to adjust the depth for each basket or dose the Bravo does it for you. It uses a floating piston in the handle, which lowers itself into the basket while being used. The speed that it lowers can be adjusted by removing any or all of three small hex screws on the top of the handle. The minimum starting depth of the piston can also be adjusted by adjusting the depth of the cap on the handle.



In use the distributor is placed on the basket and turned clockwise a few times. This will use the raised ridge to move the grounds around like a little plow. Then you spin it counter clockwise a few times allowing the ramped part to smooth the bed.




The Tamper:



The tamper fits nicely on and in the baskets I've used it with. Primarily that has been the LF 21 gram basket as it works with 18 - 21 grams well. It also disassembles easily for cleaning through the top cap. Day to day cleaning between the base and plate can easily be done without disassembly. There is also a hex bolt in the cap which can be used to adjust how much the main spring compresses. I have left mine as it arrived.



Usage is the pretty much the same as with other self leveling tampers. You place it on the basket and push down until you get a click or resistance. In this case you get a bit of a click and you bottom out. The results look nice and level and in my case the sides of the basket are acceptably clean.

Start to finnish:



Ground from my Niche Zero using a funnel.



After a bit of WDT



After a tap..



After distributing.



And after tamping.

My thoughts after a week of use:

For the distributor there isn't much to say. It works, can be adjusted, and can be disassembled to be cleaned. I'm not sure if it really distributes the coffee all that much, but it leaves the bed looking nice. There have been discussions on whether distributors actually distribute and I'll leave those there. For those who only use a distributor and don't tamp this may work well for you.

The tamper; well it's large, really big compared to what I consider a normal tamper. But, I find that it fits my hand and when I push down I use it like a button tamper. It leaves a nice level bed and can be disassembled and is easily cleaned. The one negative for me is that the adjustment on the tamper only adjusts how much you compress the spring.

Overall I like them and I think that they work well. I think that they are well made and that I'll enjoy them for quite some time. One can debate the use of a tamper or a distributor but for those that like them these may fit the bill. They don't only come in 54.7 mm, but also come in 58.4 mm. I have heard rumors that custom sizes may exist but one would have to as Gilberto about that.

For those that are interested in these there are a number of color and wood variations currently available. These can change over time as Gilberto updates the tools and his design. I have not spoken about the price as with currency changes it could vary from day to day. But, I will say that the price was much less than expected and quite reasonable for this quality as well.

Gilberto can be contacted at: bodnariuc@msn.com
LMWDP #641

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

I, also, just purchased a Bravo Tamper direct from Gilberto. I agree that it seemed huge at first, but it quickly replaced my other tampers (early Espro and a well-loved, classic, c. 2005 one from Chris Coffee). The force indication can be easily adjusted between ~27# and 37# with a 2.5 mm hex key and a tiny piece of PTFE plumper's tape (to keep the screw inside from rotating).

It does what it is supposed to, tamps squarely and indicates when the pre-set force is reached. The size is not an issue, as it will sit on the basket and then you can press down with any grip you want, in reason.

The machining is top rate, with a near mirror finish on the tamper face. It disassembles easily for cleaning without tools for the base and alignment collar.

I'm talking with Gilberto about a slightly lighter spring, as I've been hoping this would help the other espresso appreciator in the house be able to easily prepare their own drinks. The 27# I have it set at is reasonable, already a bit lighter than the Espro. The force is manageable with moderately limited finger/arm strength and dexterity, since the alignment is set by the basket. A lighter spring would be "icing on the cake". I have heard that tamping forces as low as 10-15#, properly applied, are sufficient. I'm hoping for something in the 20# range as a compromise between "conventional wisdom" and enlightenment (pun intended).

Delivery was also within a week of shipment to California, US. (Gilberto didn't have the base size I was looking for in stock, which he advised me of long prior to placing the order.)

silkypull

#3: Post by silkypull »

Wow thanks for sharing the review.
Does he have a website to order from? Or an email?
Also I'm surprise to see the tamper that Izzo included is a 53mm when that basket is 54.5-54.7?. Seems kinda odd they would do that.
LMWDP #663

LuckyMark

#4: Post by LuckyMark »

Thanks Belegnole for such a detailed review!

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

Send him an email directly. English is not his first language, but all my communications have been very clear and professional.

Prices at the beginning of July, 2020, were R$490 for the tamper and R$195 for shipping. Be aware that these may change depending on the current state of the Brazilian economy. With the current exchange rate, that's around US$125-130, delivered, plus any exchange fees your bank charges you, or if you decide to use PayPal to bill in your local currency. There were no customs fees due on arrival of my order in the US.

You can see some of his work at https://www.flickr.com/photos/148785676@N08/ as well as in http://forum.clubedocafe.net/topic/3693 ... o/?page=31

belegnole (original poster)

#6: Post by belegnole (original poster) »

silkypull wrote:Wow thanks for sharing the review.
Does he have a website to order from? Or an email?
Also I'm surprise to see the tamper that Izzo included is a 53mm when that basket is 54.5-54.7?. Seems kinda odd they would do that.
As Jeff said, email Gilberto directly.

The Izzo tamper is rather par for the course with included tampers. Though it is much better than many, it is a bit small and cheaper made.
LMWDP #641

rakeshsubbiah

#7: Post by rakeshsubbiah »

This is a great review. I am still deciding if I should get the distributor. I currently have a wedge distributor which works well but it does retain some grounds at the edges and I have to adjust it if I change coffee. As for the tamper I already have an eazytamp which works the same as the bravo tamper.

1. Does the distributor retain a lot of grounds?
2. Do you think the distributor is actually tamping as well (force) or it is just distributing the top?

I know there is a lot of debate on these distributors but my workflow is this

niche grinder - direct into PF (via decent portafilter stand with funnel) - distribute with homemade distribution needles (waiting for the puck rake from decent espresso) - distribute with wedge tool - tamp with eazytamp.

Thanks for a great review.

belegnole (original poster)

#8: Post by belegnole (original poster) replying to rakeshsubbiah »

Thank you.

1. No, the distributor doesn't seem to retain grounds. The times where it has been a greater amount the grounds have had more chaff and been more static. Of course my idea of next to nothing may be too much for you.

2. A small amount of compaction is definitely happening. However I doubt that I will every go to the lengths required to test how homogeneous the grounds are under the surface. I do know that the tamper does compact the grounds further. Which happens to allow me to get 18 grams into the LF21 basket without touching the group screen. For those that don't know; the LSM lever group screen sits lower in the basket than one would think.

For what it's worth, I still enjoy using the Bravo set. While I think they're great kit I can't say that do all that much better than other community favorites. Personally I'd like to give the Force Tamper a try at some point just to see what is like. The idea of turning a center punch into a tamper has me curious.
LMWDP #641

rakeshsubbiah

#9: Post by rakeshsubbiah »

alright thank you.

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Randy G.

#10: Post by Randy G. »

To test the distribution, try tapping the portafilter downward a few times after distribution but before tamping. Watch for any area that settles unevenly. Not terribly scientific, but it is easy.
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