ECM tamper - 40 pounds too much?

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#1: Post by TeeGreeThree »

Just got an ECM pressure tamper. At 40 lbs it's a bit more than the 30 lbs I've seen more often. This is my first using a pressure tamper. It's a bit hard to press but I can handle it. Any opinion on whether 40lbs is too much, since it seems beyond standard...?


#2: Post by Davi-L »

The taste in your mouth will tell you if it's an improvement. The basket however may suffer early distortion at the bottom if held in a portafilter. Now if the bottom of the basket is on a flat surface, then that's back to your taste buds.


#3: Post by CSME9 »

Tamping to level and remove voids should be enough, 20-30 lbs. Gorilla grip is not needed is my experience.


#4: Post by coyote-1 »

Part of the answer depends on the flow. If your flow was too fast before this tamper, but is now good, then don't worry about 'standard' (= "what other people think").


#5: Post by BaristaBob »

40 lbs. is way overkill. Most experienced baristas today will recommend 15 to 25 lbs. Once the void spaces are taken out, more pressure does nothing but destroy wrists and equipment. I was taught 30 lbs. was the correct amount of pressure some years ago...nope, even that was too much. Just my 2 cents.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

TeeGreeThree (original poster)
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#6: Post by TeeGreeThree (original poster) »

This raises a question I was wondering. Flow. Let's say you've got one basket with more finely ground coffee but tamped only to 15 lbs. Another coffee with slightly coarser grounds but tamped to 40 lbs. And let's say the flow is the same - that at 10 psi, in 24 seconds, with 20 grams of grinds, I get 40 grams of espresso (my actual numbers). I know I can see what my taste buds think. But do you think those two different espressos will taste about the same?

Part of why I'm asking: I might use different coffee beans in a given day (one I prefer for espresso, the other for americanos). But, withy previous fairly light hand tamping, one coffee requires a finer grind to result in proper flow, and the other coffee requires a coarser grind.

However, in my initial experiments this morning it seems that with the 40lb tamp, i might be able to get away with one grind setting for both coffees - which would be easier - the tamp taking up some of the slack of the coarser grind, I guess?

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#7: Post by Milligan »

It has been pretty settled that tamping past the fully packed point will not do anything. You shouldn't use tamp pressure to adjust your shot. If you can then you aren't fully packing them in the first place. Tamp should be a constant. There are enough variables to play with as-is.

I've measured my Normcore tamper at around 28lbs.


#8: Post by travis_rh »

Second that.

Check out this article from Socratic back in 2017. No significant difference between tamping at 5, 10, 15, and 20kg. ... xtraction/

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#9: Post by joalepins »

I would say too much but not going to change anything other than hurting your wrist over time vs a 25-30 pounds tamp.


#10: Post by erik82 »

A pressure tamper is a totally useless product as has been shown before multiple times the last 5 years. It's just a marketing trick. Tamping more then 20 pounds is only gonna hurt your body and does absolutely nothing for the extraction. The only thing it can do is give a far bigger chance of tamping crooked due to excessive force which will only have a negative effect.