Convex tamper better (for La Marzocco?)

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

Back when I had my La Spaz, the Espro convex was my go to tamper. I liked the ergonomics, heft and good build. Also convex always worked better for me than flat.

Now that I have a GS3, I wonder if I should order a 58mm Espro. The tamper that came with the machine is a convex tamper but I do not like its ergonomics. I also got a St. Anthony wedge and a cheap distribution tool and I do not get good results with either without tamping.

Lastly, given the La Marzocco's shower screen screw, I feel that the convex shape has a real advantage if you want to avoid the screw imprint.

Thoughts?

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cafeIKE
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#2: Post by cafeIKE »

Screw imprint = basket overfilled w coffee ground too coarse :?:

There are many convex curves. Some work with some coffees and baskets and some with others, while other coffees in the same basket seem to do better with a flat face.

... all of which is starting to pick the f.s. from the pepper :wink:

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another_jim
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#3: Post by another_jim »

I think the choice is less about the machine than about your workflow. If you are deliberate, using a levelling tool; a flat tamper suits the workflow best, since you won't disturb the surface. If (like me) you are casual, levelling by nutating or a Stockfleth's move; a convex tamper suits better, since it seals the edges and polishes.
Jim Schulman

BaristaBob

#4: Post by BaristaBob »

Interesting that my journey has taken me from flat based tampers to my current go to...the US curve base (ever so slightly convex). I'm assuming the LM tamper is the euro curve which is more pronounced. I also believe LM chose this style because Italian dark roasts extract quicker so they want that centering stream to form before the shot ends...of course this is just my opinion. I've had my time with distribution tools (clover and wedge types) using them solo (depth set deep) or just leveling (set shallow). I'm done with them, after moving to WDT using the LeverCraft needle tool. Besides what Jim said about the positives of a curved base, some recent discussion on HB about portafilter baskets flexing under pressure (the WW Unifilter topic) I'm of the opinion that the US curve base mimics the curve of the basket under pressure therefore equalizing the distance water travels from edge to middle. My curve based tamper is the Force Tamper which offers many different base options...from flat to "wild".
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

katkat (original poster)
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#5: Post by katkat (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:If (like me) you are casual, levelling by nutating or a Stockfleth's move; a convex tamper suits better, since it seals the edges and polishes.
I am more casual... I am also a north Italian roast guy... pretty conservative :-)

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cafeIKE
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#6: Post by cafeIKE »

another_jim wrote:I think the choice is less about the machine than about your workflow. If you are deliberate, using a levelling tool; a flat tamper suits the workflow best, since you won't disturb the surface. If (like me) you are casual, levelling by nutating or a Stockfleth's move; a convex tamper suits better, since it seals the edges and polishes.
Or none of the above :wink:

I consider myself very casual compared to the 30 minute / shot rituals in some UBoob videos :shock:

Never found nutation to work any better that stockfleth-ish distribution. I use a 'spreader' more than a leveling tool today and US convex vs Italian flat is a very subtle visual pull start on the basket face. I think I'd be hard pressed to pick one from the other in the cup.

What nobody every mentions is the hardware or the coffee: I have e61 DB set for ≈8.25bar on the puck and a Niche. Jim has a Niche and a few machines. Methinks Jim changes coffee more often than I. I have a very short shower screen and a drawerful of baskets that I swap for different roasts. I almost never come anywhere near the screen with a dose. And drink mostly 'comfort food' espresso. Hardly ever any very light or very dark. Prefer 'centrals' w African, giving w Pacific Islands a wide berth.

P.S. Jim, there is a program on Sundays out here on the local college station called "Pipe Dreams" with pipe organ music. Yesterday they had piano and pipe organ which was the May 30, 2022 show. Sublime. Available online @ Pipe Dreams.

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cannonfodder
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#7: Post by cannonfodder »

If you gave me an espresso pulled on my kit with a curved and a bottomless I doubt I could tell the difference.

I have quite a few of each and oddly enough I usually just grab one off the shelf with little thought of its geometry. They are all properly sized and my prep/dose is the same. I do change coffees every couple weeks but I also roast my own beans.
Dave Stephens

BaristaBob

#8: Post by BaristaBob »

I've actually been going back and forth using my Force tamper with the US curve and my Bravo tamper with a flat base...both 58.5mm. Right now I'm rotating between three coffees from medium to dark roast. My shot times are identical between the tampers and I can't tell a difference in taste either. I suppose I'd like to believe the curve might help a little if your puck prep is deficient but...
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"