New espresso techniques and tools

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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dgasmd

#1: Post by dgasmd »

It has been several years since I last came into this board. Was extremely helpful 10+ years ago when I first bought my Mini Vivaldi, Compak grinder, Espro tamper, and started to experiment. Got very consistent fairly quickly, and have remained so for the most part.

A few weeks ago, I ran into some YouTube videos. I realized quickly some new tools and equipment have entered the scene since. Leveling tools, self leveling tampers, wdt tools, single dosing has become far more common, extraction ratios, weighting, etc. I felt like I had been in a cave for a century.

While I don't consistently do wdt on every shot, it has been the one thing that I have noticed to make a significant difference to me. I do have some clumping on the grinds, so I can clearly see the difference afterwards. Haven't noticed much, if any difference at all, using the leveling tool. I'd love to find a self leveling tamper like the Bravo, but apparently 53mm diameter is the devil sign as nobody makes one that is know of (link to it if you know of one please)!! Have considered getting a new grinder, but really don't need one. Same goes for a new machine as this 10+ year old champ is still working like on day one!

Still reading.........
Keep it simple and keep it enjoyable. It is about coffee, not quantum physics!

Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

For me, the most useful "new" tool has been a cell phone and videoing how the shot progresses. I can go frame-by-frame and see things that I missed, as well as decide if what I see early impacted the color or flow in a certain place later, or vice versa. That's helped me change simple things in my prep, as well as decide if it at least visually helps. Taste in the cup is still the final measure.

For me, stirring/WDT with a tool and technique that makes things better (some I've tried seem to increase channeling) and leveling with that tool's very fine tines (rather than shaking) have been the biggest visual improvements. I believe the consistency of quality in the cup is better for me.

I enjoy the Bravo tamper. I don't know that it's worlds better than a careful, skilled tamp. I believe that it helps immensely for less skilled users, as well as those with limited dexterity. You might contact Gilberto directly to see if he has or can make up one for you in your size.

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dgasmd

#3: Post by dgasmd »

Jeff wrote:For me, the most useful "new" tool has been a cell phone and videoing how the shot progresses. I can go frame-by-frame and see things that I missed, as well as decide if what I see early impacted the color or flow in a certain place later, or vice versa. That's helped me change simple things in my prep, as well as decide if it at least visually helps. Taste in the cup is still the final measure.

For me, stirring/WDT with a tool and technique that makes things better (some I've tried seem to increase channeling) and leveling with that tool's very fine tines (rather than shaking) have been the biggest visual improvements. I believe the consistency of quality in the cup is better for me.

I enjoy the Bravo tamper. I don't know that it's worlds better than a careful, skilled tamp. I believe that it helps immensely for less skilled users, as well as those with limited dexterity. You might contact Gilberto directly to see if he has or can make up one for you in your size.
Frankly, over the years I've become extremely consistent with tamping, but the concept of the self leveling tamper can't be denied as a helpful tool. Game changer? Of course not.

Who is Gilberto and how does one get a hold of him??
Keep it simple and keep it enjoyable. It is about coffee, not quantum physics!

Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

Gilberto has some distributors that he prefers to go through if they have stock of what you are looking for. In the US, Whole Latte Love carries some of his products at this time.

Gilberto can be reached directly at <bodnariuc@msn.com> English is not his first language, but my communications with him have always been very clear and professional.

I agree that a square-to-basket tamper is valuable and that a force-indicating one is also valuable. As far as I know, the Bravo is the only widely available one that does both. Most "self-leveling" tampers only level the face of the tamper relative to the basket. Smash down mountains in the basket and you just get dense spots beneath that flat surface. I've seen several leveling devices that variously plow/grade the surface, but none have convinced me of their positive impact enough to spend money on them.

Gilberto's Flickr page

lucasd

#5: Post by lucasd »

Force tamper is very nice too. Very unique (impaxct) & minimal strength required.
Used only flat base.

Don Task

#6: Post by Don Task » replying to lucasd »

+1 for The Force Tamper. I have a Reg Barber, a Vivace Ergo-Packer, a Pullman, plus a drawer full of other tampers I've accumulated over the years (more money than I care to think about). Then early this year I discovered The Force Tamper. Finally... a game changer... ensuring a level and consistent tamp from shot to shot. No guess work, no thought. The only other suggestion I would make is if anyone already owns a Pullman in which case they might want to look into a TampSure Kit which converts it to a self leveling tamper. It's not as slick operationally as the Force tamper but the leveling kit is almost half the price. Check this link for a full review of the Force Tamper.
Krups, then Silvia, then Livia 90, then a Techno! Does it ever end? [sigh]

Gus

#7: Post by Gus »

I'm in a similar spot. I haven't been involved in the forum for some time. I too am surprised at the level of progression. After spending a lot of time reading again and applying and repeating I have had great success focusing on accurate measurement of dose and extraction ratio over time. It has allowed me to be very consistent and understand my results. That makes the whole process more enjoyable.
Gus

Insert catchy phrase of choice here

tennisman03110

#8: Post by tennisman03110 »

I don't know if this "Counts". However, I believe the availability and quality of coffee continues to increase.

Between local roasters big and small, to 2 day shipping from the big guys, it's so easy to have fresh roasted coffee.
★ Helpful

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dgasmd

#9: Post by dgasmd »

Jeff wrote:
Gilberto can be reached directly at <bodnariuc@msn.com> English is not his first language, but my communications with him have always been very clear and professional. [/url]
Thank you so much for the suggestion. I contacted him directly and they do make a 53mm version of all their products. Just so happens in the US it is not
Imported by their main distributor named above. I ordered from directly and got it 3-4 days later. Tried it once and so far it is no doubt a game changer!
Keep it simple and keep it enjoyable. It is about coffee, not quantum physics!

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dgasmd

#10: Post by dgasmd »

I have to admit that these have a been a huge game changer for me. The quality of the distribution, the super even tamping, the way the coffee comes out the bottom of the portafilter, and THE TASTE of the coffee now are mind blowing. I have been using the same machine and other equipment as well the coffee type for years. Same technique too, so the only sudden or different change has been the use of these 2 tools above. I frankly never expected this to make much of a difference, if any, but was willing to spend the money and time to try it. Mind blown for sure.......... :D
Keep it simple and keep it enjoyable. It is about coffee, not quantum physics!