Can't get a level tamp, should I Puqpress? - Page 3

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
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Randy G.

#21: Post by Randy G. »

Are you using a bottomless portafilter? I quit using spouted portafilters a long time ago and that makes things a lot easier. If you are using spouted portafilters then a stand is a must for most users. I also use a leveling/distribution tamper (TheForce Tamper). Sort of three tools in one. The last off-kilter tamp I had was when I banged the portafilter on the group attempting to lock it in. It was a treacherous eighteen inches, I can tell you!
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erik82

#22: Post by erik82 »

LindoPhotography wrote:PuqPress is nice but pricey, more of a luxury item and good option if have a wrist or similar injury, or you're working in a cafe or making a ton of coffee everyday and want to avoid repetitive stress injury!
That's due to tamping way too hard. You only need to tamp with a bit of pressure which should never lead to RSI if you do it right. But a lot of baristas seem to want to push the puck through the filter basket which has absolutely no positive effect except that you're hurting your body and a very big chance of tamping crooked.

So use less force which will make tamping straight a lot easier and has no downsides.

Franklin

#23: Post by Franklin »

I am with you. I struggled for years with an uneven tamp. From your nice equipment list I assume you have proper tamper (i.e.. not plastic), and the right pressure, and grind.
I am a firm adherent to the KISS principal. The less equipment I have, the more I enjoy the process. have used a mat before and find it very useable, but it gets messy. They only cost about 3 bucks at Amazon so it is worth a try.
I fill up my basket 1/4 to 1/3 , shake and knock it on the counter a couple of times and then tamp and slightly polish at about 3-10 lbs. pressure. I will then fill my basket the rest of the way and use 20-30 lbs., and polish simultaneously while watching evenness and depth of the tamper.
It is simple and quick. YMMV

RJB83 (original poster)

#24: Post by RJB83 (original poster) »

I ended up with a $50 normcore leveling tamp, and haven't had issues with a level tamp since.

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SteveRhinehart

#25: Post by SteveRhinehart »

erik82 wrote:That's due to tamping way too hard. You only need to tamp with a bit of pressure which should never lead to RSI if you do it right. But a lot of baristas seem to want to push the puck through the filterbasket which has absolutely no positive effect except that you're hurting your body and a very big chance of tamping crooked.

So use less force which will make tamping straight a lot easier and has no downsides.
The amount of force applied is part of it, but the larger culprit is counter height. Improper working height puts additional strain on the joints, so ideally every individual barista should have a tamping surface tailored to their specific physical dimensions. Aside from putting an adjustable height work surface into a cafe, which probably isn't feasible if you have flexible work roles and for obvious cost of upkeep reasons, you can simply install a tamping device which alleviates just about all of the potential joint strain for that task.

erik82

#26: Post by erik82 »

Partly true because then your end goal is also that a workspace is ergenomically sounds to be able to put pressure without the physical problems arriving from it. It's just not needed to put so much pressure on a puck in the first place thus all of the ergonomically improvements will have less effect.

I can tamp using my 4 fingers to guide the tamper in level and that takes absolutely no force nor extra time, it even doesn't allow me to put much force on it. That's a movement that won't get you into trouble in terms of physical downsides. Tamping oldschool with your elbow up high and putting pressure on it is a movement that puts much strain on the body in the fist place. It's just not the best of movements when looking at human anatomy so why haven't professionals examined that to solve the problem? You're trying to do somethng about the effects of the bad movement instead of trying to fix a bad movement.

MatGreiner
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#27: Post by MatGreiner »

My palm tamper gives effortless, excellent results. WDT makes an even bed, and the palm tamp has a set depth that levels against the basket rim.
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cafeIKE
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#28: Post by cafeIKE »

MatGreiner wrote:...the palm tamp has a set depth that levels against the basket rim.
Anything fixed in making espresso is a sure way to sub-optimal shots.
Hopefully the palm tamp has adjustable depth :?:

MatGreiner
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#29: Post by MatGreiner »

Yes, it is adjustable. And that's what I'd recommend.

Machines seem to be sensitive to headspace, each in their way. I do tend to set a light tamp that maintains a certain headspace and leave it there. It's not a control variable, the tamp pressure shouldn't be a control variable, but shots are better/more consistent if the right headspace and tamping are present. To maintain a light compression from the tamp, I coordinate dose with baskets.
LMWDP #716: Jeez, kids! Don't swing on that!