Tamp and Dose Techniques Digest

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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cannonfodder
Team HB

#1: Post by cannonfodder »

In preparation for the HB Tamper Roadshow, I have been researching the different dose and tamp techniques commonly used. That way I can try different techniques with different tampers to see what the resulting shot is like.

Here is a collection of threads discussing the subject and video links if I can find them. Feel free to add to the list or discuss a technique or tip that is missing.

The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso
Perfecting the Naked Extraction
Banish Uneven Extractions with the Weiss Distribution Technique

Side channeling solved by accident
Purpose of the Tamp
LM Basket Woes
Convex Tamper and NSEW technique
Dosing to heap, distribute and pack = too much coffee
Tamper bottoms: Flat or convex?
What do you look for in a good tamper?
Newbie dosing & tamping questions

Espresso Packing Techniques
Espresso Packing Technique '99
Espresso Perfection Technique #1-Tamping

Stockfleths Move:
Espresso Distribution & Tamp 'Nutating Motion'
«missing video»

Espresso Distribution Chop and Level
«missing video»

Espresso Distribution Modified Stockfleths
«missing video»

Espresso Distribution NSEW (North South East West)
«missing video»
Dave Stephens

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Fr. John

#2: Post by Fr. John »

Thank you very much for doing this. Very handy.
Fr. John

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olypdd

#3: Post by olypdd »

I read the great info, and watched the videos regarding the Weiss Distribution Technique. I was having trouble with some channeling when I used my naked (undressed with manual use of a hacksaw) portafilter. I started snooping around for something to stir the grounds with. Funny...I opened the drawer right beneath where my grinder is situated, and there it was :idea: :shock: the option of all options to dissection needles everywhere.....wooden skewers...bamboo I believe. They are long, thin, pointed, and they were right there all the time. Now I won't have to settle for a Stanley Screwdriver or a nail. I am set! (logging onto the patent site in a sec)

Then, suddenly, (uncertain of the impetus for the craving) I decided I must indulge in a single small container (coffee basket size) of Tillamook Yogurt for an after dinner snack.



.......oh my :o , is that my wife pleading with me to just quit it?


But I must say, the article, the info is very well presented, and I saw improvement right away. I know we were all trying to do this in other ways...ie banging the basket down, shaking it, saying a prayer..etc, but this is a logical thing to do if you have time to incorporate it into the routine.






Rich
The truth shall set you free....or perhaps not.

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Fr. John

#4: Post by Fr. John »

After watching all the videos I do have a question. It seems that all these methods produce a fair amount of waste. Is this all lost or is it typical to collect those grounds and use them (obviously not if your sweeping into a used knockbox)? Otherwise, if your making several drinks per day I can see those few grams adding up pretty fast.
Fr. John

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olypdd

#5: Post by olypdd »

Fr. John wrote:After watching all the videos I do have a question. It seems that all these methods produce a fair amount of waste. Is this all lost or is it typical to collect those grounds and use them (obviously not if your sweeping into a used knockbox)? Otherwise, if your making several drinks per day I can see those few grams adding up pretty fast.
With my Mazzer Mini, I use the lid to the doser to help me out here. I use it to level off my grounds and skim them off the basket right back into the doser. This is a pretty quick routine that came naturally to me not long after I acquired this grinder. Some grounds end up on the tray below, but this is always a problem. In fact, I have even dumped those back into the doser when it only consisted of those grounds that are fresh. Since I keep the tray clean, this is not a problem.

I am still struggling :x with positioning and steadying the naked portafilter when I tamp, and it looks like a rubber mat would be a help. I have to rest just the basket portion on the counter near the edge to position it level for tamping. The mat would provide the non slip surface I need. Guess I'll give that a try. Stirring the grounds with a needle or similar tool makes no difference if you can't position and steady the basket adequately for proper tamping and sealing of the coffee. I have used the towel on the edge of the counter as shown in the video above and it wasn't bad.

Rich
The truth shall set you free....or perhaps not.

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jesawdy

#6: Post by jesawdy »

Dave-

Thanks for the great videos.... I can't believe how helpful these are to see. I especially found the nutating motion one helpful, as that is kind of where I have been going with my tamps lately. Out of curiosity, in the nutating motion video, is that a typical tamp pressure for you? It is hard to ascertain from the video, but that seemed like a pretty hard "gorilla" tamp in comparison to what I have been doing. I used a bath scale for about a week or so, to see that 30lbs isn't all that hard to push and I haven't broken it back out.

I also found that I am doing Stockfleths more with the web of my palm (between the thumb and index finger) and less with my index finger than shown in the video. It works well for me, but I am going to play with it.

Also, maybe I am cheap but I am a bit more frugal in my heaping of the grounds.... to where when I level, not much at all is hitting the sink. Now, I can be pretty frugal, but the Rocky doserless limits my heaping as well, unless I remove the doser forks. I try to avoid doing any beating of the PF on the forks and just rotating around a bit. I do one quick side-to-side shake on the forks to help get a bit more coffee in the PF to heap it.

Another thing I learned from the videos.... no matter how much one reads, and no matter how great these forums are, there is no direct substitute for seeing someone else do something right in front of you. I have got to think EspressoFests, Espresso Jams, and other get togethers are absolutely great things to try and do. Not only do you get to see it done, you get to try it in the presence of others and learn from each other. I came real close to trying to attend the EspressoFest 2006 since it was nearby, but I was an absolute newbie (as in I had Silvia but no grinder yet), and thought I may not be welcomed... I think I was wrong there.

I think I need to take a vacation day or two and go to a Counter Culture Espresso lab in Charlotte.

-Jeff

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#7: Post by cannonfodder »

If you look closely, the towel is on the edge of the counter and there is a small black rubber pad on top of the towel. When I use my spouts, the rubber pad helps keep them from sliding, and add just a little bit more padding so I do not leave dents in the counter/table/etc...

As far as waste, if you dose as high as I did in the videos, yes, you will have a lot of waste. For the sake of the videos I overdosed, a lot, just to make it more visible. Normally, my dose is about half that. I dose to a small mound, probably about 1/4 inch higher than the basket top. If I dose to that volume, and level I get right at 15 grams, if I dose to that level, do the portafilter thump to settle the grounds, then level I get 17 grams, which is what I normally do. I end up with no more than a couple of grams of waste. If I am pulling back to back shots, then I will level into the grinder's doser.

Just a FYI, all of those videos used the same batch of grinds. Dose, video, level, dump back in the doser and repeat. I am too cheap to waste that much coffee.
Dave Stephens

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#8: Post by cannonfodder »

jesawdy wrote:Dave-
Out of curiousity, in the nutating motion video, is that a typical tamp pressue for you? It is hard to ascertain from the video, but that seemed like a pretty hard "gorilla" tamp in comparison to what I have been doing. I used a bath scale for about a week or so, to see that 30lbs isn't all that hard to push and I haven't broken it back out.

-Jeff
I don't worry about tamp pressure to much. Whether you tamp to 30lbs or 80lbs, as long as the pressure is consistent you are hitting the mark. With a harder tamp you can grind coarser, with a lighter tamp you grind finer, but the key is consistently using the same pressure. I am somewhat strong and the heavier tamp is just more natural for me. I have see professionals use next to no tamp up to 'your going to break the table in half' with very good results. You just have to use the same pressure every time, consistent repetition is the end goal.

The initial settling tamp/rotation has to be light, I would be surprised if I use more than 5 pounds. You do have to securely grip the tamper, you are making a very small side compression, if you slip and push one side way down, dump and grind another dose. I position my fingers around the outside edge of the tamper to help with the rotation and as a gauge to make sure I am even all the way around, then a half pressure tamp to settle the grinds, tap, tap, full tamp, no pressure twist and raise.
Dave Stephens

popeye

#9: Post by popeye »

Hypothesis:
After reading this thread, and some of the other threads it links to, I had an idea. I just pulled two shots with no tamp (sort of...)

Procedure:
I set my rocky two clicks down from normal espresso (to 8), then dosed (volume dose...no scale) to the top of my double basket and performed the WDT till my basket was nice and fluffy. I performed no updosing taps (to settle the grinds), just leveled with absolutely no compression. Then I took a paper filter from my Aeropress stack (60mm - very nice) and placed it on top of my filter basket with a drop of water at the center to stick it to the grinds without really soaking them. I "tamped" by locking the portafilter into my grouphead, and then pulled my shots. I'm using a zaffiro, (E-61) so I have preinfusion. I also tried to hold the portafilter as level as possible while locking it in.

Results:
Two very good shots, with no visible side channeling. I have a bottomless portafilter and the basket "beaded" evenly and the flow was very even for the length of the shot. In addition, the shot was a little darker than usual. The only thing I noticed was the flavors were less pronounced, and the shots had less body. It's tough to say whether this (pseudo) method deserves further experimentation.

Theory?:
The puck theoretically conformed to the shape of the shower screen as the shot began, and I hope the filter paper prevented the grinds from being torqued too much. I was wondering if anybody else has ever done this, and could confirm the results. I'm theorizing that the less flavor/less body may have occurred due to micro-channeling, a completely unobserved and unheard of phenomenon which I am making up on the spot. What I mean is maybe the puck underextracted because the tamp pressure was so light, even though no visible channeling occurred.

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barry

#10: Post by barry »

i think two shots isn't enough data to draw any conclusions from, except that those two shots didn't have the body you desired.

fwiw, the paper filter on top of the puck routine was en vogue on alt.coffee about ten years ago.


--barry