Are tampers overrated? - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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cafeIKE
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#21: Post by cafeIKE »

The correct order is Miscela, Macinadosatore, Macchina and lastly, Mano on an 8 : 4 : 2 : 1 ratio.

On the Mano side of things Dose*, Distribution*, Temperature and Tamp on the same 8 : 4 : 2 : 1 ratio.

Put another way, tamping is about one half of 1% of what it takes to make espresso.

* [EDIT]
Dose trumps distribution for lower doses on e61 machines. The reverse maybe true for higher doses and / or machines other than e61.

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GVDub

#22: Post by GVDub »

zin1953 wrote:Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson! Boring philosophical thread drift ahead!


Far be it for me to be a contrarian, but . . .

Let's make vast over-generalizations and -simplifications for a moment and proclaim there are only three types of people on this site: lurkers and true newbies, true experts and/or professionals, and the rest of us -- who possess varying degrees of experience ranging from a "10" to a "90" on some mythical scale; with the lurkers being a 0-10, and the pros being 90-100. (This is a variation on the famed "80-10-10 Rule.")

It often seems to me that, in terms of importance, the "Four M's" are typically listed in reverse order of importance: rather than Macchina espresso (machine), Macinadosatore (grinder), Miscela (blend of coffee beans), and Mano dell'operatore (us -- the people who pull the shots), it should be the other way 'round. And yet, it is that order which dominates the discussion . . .

Thus, it is distinctly, possible if not probable, that many new people to espresso focus too much on the equipment and not enough on the coffee itself and upon the technique . . . that's all I'm really saying here.

Cheers,
Jason
That's because it's dead easy to do something about your equipment and grinder (provided you've got a credit card with enough available), simple to do something about the beans (find a new place to get 'em from), but hard to work on your skills, 'cause it's, ya know, actual work. I see this constantly in my other life as a musician, where I know people who spend thousands on collecting nicer and nicer guitars, but never spend a cent on improving their actual facility on the instrument in question. It's all too easy to get hung up on the stuff that's easiest to do something about. Doing the hard stuff first? That's the sign of a real pro.
"Experience is a comb nature gives us after we are bald."
Chinese Proverb
LMWDP#238

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#23: Post by cannonfodder »

Since we are on the topic, also see Tamp and Dose Techniques Digest. I should add a new video or two on that thread.
Dave Stephens

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takeshi

#24: Post by takeshi »

GVDub wrote:I see this constantly in my other life as a musician, where I know people who spend thousands on collecting nicer and nicer guitars, but never spend a cent on improving their actual facility on the instrument in question.
It happens in every field of interest out there. It's easy to blame and replace equipment.

On the other side of the coin you have equipment fetishists as well. Some people get fixated on tampers. Whether one particular piece of equipment is "overrated" or not depends more than a bit on your perspective on things.

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michaelbenis

#25: Post by michaelbenis »

A tamper's just a tool.

Frankly I'm not sure whether they're overrated because I'm not sure anyone's put them in a table.

A good fit helps and nice construction provides good feedback. This can make a tamper a helpful purchase considering even some quite good machines are supplied with tampers that are the wrong size - but this only makes things a bit more difficult rather than impossible. A good tamper can increase someone's confidence and feel for the grind, though, which can help get them "in the zone".

A good tamper will also help a pro barista relax a bit as they pull shot after shot easily in a rushed and stressful environment and can make life more pleasurable (in a tactile sense) for a home barista.

Overall, though, I agree with others, we have a tendency in this day and age to concentrate too much on what we buy at the expense of what we do....

Cheers

Mike
LMWDP No. 237

clausbmortensen (original poster)

#26: Post by clausbmortensen (original poster) »

Don't mean to bump this post but having just upgraded my machine I caved in and bought a nicer tamper.

It's a nice local Hong Kong design:

http://www.coffeebumper.com/images/Picture_022.jpg (I got the one on the left, which was the only one available in the store).

Although I'm not too impressed by the finish (the handle is not quite straight and the rubber ridge across it should have been removed) it's certainly very nice to use. I'm not sure that I'm making better espresso because of it but it's a slightly nicer experience now :)

C

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#27: Post by cannonfodder »

That is a bumper tamp, those are made by Paul Pratt, a regular on HB and all around nice guy. I can assure you that the handle should not be crooked. If it is I would look him up (Members icon between the FAQ and Logout in the page title bar) and let him know. He makes a very nice tamping station/stand as well. Been using one for a couple of years or so.
Dave Stephens

zin1953

#28: Post by zin1953 »

Claus, Dave is correct: I have two Bumper® tampers, as well as two of Paul's Bumper® tamper stands, and two Bumper® knockboxes -- one set at home; the other in my office -- and I can assure you the fit and finish of Paul's stuff is excellent.

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

clausbmortensen (original poster)

#29: Post by clausbmortensen (original poster) »

Well, perhaps Paul's people have started to slack on quality control - or perhaps he just export the "good stuff" and sells the poorer batches in Hong Kong :?. I've seen the tamper in two stores here in HK - and both had the same problem as you can see on this picture:



It's not a huge deal and it's still very useful - but it does annoy me slightly.

The tamper stand is tempting but it's rather over-priced at the only shop I've seen carrying it here.

Cheers,
C

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Marshall

#30: Post by Marshall »

Knock-off, perhaps? I've notified Paul.
Marshall
Los Angeles