Tamping Technique - whether to tap? and where? - Page 3

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

Do you tap the portafilter with the tamper?

Yes
58
42%
No
74
53%
Other (explain)
7
5%
 
Total votes: 139

User avatar
mrgnomer
Posts: 972
Joined: 18 years ago

#21: Post by mrgnomer »

I lightly tap for a double but not for a single. I don't know but I find with the dose for a single tapping breaks the side seal in a way that I can't tamp seal back in. Tapping a single ends in side channeling almost all the time.

For the double a light tap collapses the grinds off the edges and the finishing tamp and polish seal everything in nice.

snoboy
Posts: 29
Joined: 19 years ago

#22: Post by snoboy »

I tap very lightly down on the counter before I tamp. No tap after tamp.

To clean the stray grounds, I use my fingers to remove them from the rim (sometimes I leave the tamper in after the tamp and use a brush to clear away any strays - the tamper protects the puck surface) and then I just turn the PF upside quickly before locking in.

gscace
Posts: 759
Joined: 19 years ago

#23: Post by gscace »

I don't tap the pf. I tamp once to compact the grinds. I compact until I feel the resistance building quickly. I dunno how many lbs of force this requires, but to me the tamp is sposed to compact the grinds, so I pay careful attention to doing just that and doing it the same way every time. Then I brush off excess coffee from the rim of the basket and the ears of the pf. I lightly polish and then lock the pf into the group. tapping seems to me to be a good way to dislodge grinds from the edge of the basket, which I would think promotes channeling.

Works for me everytime.

-Greg

Gav800
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 years ago

#24: Post by Gav800 »

Hey guys,

Just wondering what peoples opinions are regarding tapping the side of the portafliter with the tamp. I find most people do it and it is taught as a method of knocking loose grounds into the basket and also for levelling the puck. I was taught by a professional (Australian WBC Judge, Justin Metcalf) that tapping was bad as it can put cracks or inconsistencies through the puck... therefore I never tap, though many of my friends do and they don't seem to have any problems.

What do you think?

Gav800
"Cup quality is the essence of your product emo"

User avatar
HB
Admin
Posts: 22022
Joined: 19 years ago

#25: Post by HB »

Gav800, I merged your question with a poll on the same question.


My short answer: I don't get it. Tapping has very little benefit and potentially significant negative consequences.

And yet the tappers and non-tappers appear to be evenly divided. I've never understood the obsession over a 0.1 grams of coffee stuck to the side of the baskets and the "harm" it might cause. Staub (four corner) tamping solves the problem and assures a good edge seal to boot. It doesn't have the same ritualistic flare of tapping, but who cares?
Dan Kehn

User avatar
Martin
Posts: 416
Joined: 17 years ago

#26: Post by Martin »

HB wrote:My short answer: I don't get it. Tapping has very little benefit and potentially significant negative consequences.
I agree. Working from an evenly distributed mound, I do this:

Level
Tamp
Clean grounds off the side with thumbnail.
Blow out loose grounds.
Do not tap or polish.

IMO, the less done after the initial tamp, the better. Staub is OK, but gives 4 more chances to do damage.

Of course, thumbnail and barista-breath might not go over well in a commercial setting, or even with any number of good friends and family. ymmv
Martin

King Seven
Posts: 185
Joined: 19 years ago

#27: Post by King Seven »

I used to tap, mostly because of what I saw amongst the peer group but lately I have had tried not to (its sometimes hard to overcome muscle memory when you are churning out the shots).

I don't like the idea of the tap. A good fitting tamper and a little staub does a much, much better job and I am more likely to be on the money with the shot than with tapping. I guess it does look quite nice in competition and the like.

[edited to correct my idiotic mispelling!]

Gav800
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 years ago

#28: Post by Gav800 »

King Seven had a good point... having a tamper that fits well is probably far more important... mine personally is a fraction too small and its abit of a pain.
"Cup quality is the essence of your product emo"

User avatar
RegulatorJohnson
Posts: 484
Joined: 18 years ago

#29: Post by RegulatorJohnson »

i do NOT tap.

i have not been able to allow my self to "tap" my tamper against the PF hard enough to actually make any thing in the PF move. hell, i have a fargin cork pad to let the tamper rest on when not in use. I cant even put it on a wood surface, much less bash it into something metal.

i think a well fitting tamper helps keep the extra coffee off the sides.

my poll result was "other: explain" i blow in there to remove the extra IF ANY. i know its probably not good form in a professional setting.

jon
2012 BGA SW region rep. Roaster@cognoscenti LA

User avatar
DC
Posts: 117
Joined: 17 years ago

#30: Post by DC »

When I first started I did a post-tamp tap because everyone else seemed to, but in my hands it just caused a break in the seal betwixt puck and basket.

If there are a lot of grounds stuck to the sides I just use the needle I use for WDT to scrape off the excess, and ditch the loose grounds.

Dave