Great espresso can be made with a very light tamp. Italians have been doing
it this way for years. There's no need for a 'handstand tamp'. If your
grinder can't choke your machine with no tamp at all, then it's not grinding
fine enough. When the water hits the grinds at 9 BAR of pressure, that's
130.5342 on every square inch of coffee!, whatever you've done with your
tamper won't amount to a hill of beans.
A warmed, clean, dry portafilter, properly ground beans, properly leveled
and polished to keep water from channeling through one area of the puck, and
the shot will pour like honey. Whatever tamp you use, standardize on that
tamp and change the grind as a variable to increase or decrease the flow
through the portafilter.
An aside--Oh, for the record, and not to be a nit picker, overextraction
would be if the water stayed on the coffee too long and extracted more
flavor (possibly bitterness) than desired. Underextraction is when there is
still much flavor left in the grounds due to water not hot enough or brewing
too fast. So if the water gushed through the puck too fast that would be
underextraction. If it groans and drips three or four drops in 30 seconds,
that would be overextraction (or the best ristretto ever!)
Another aside--I've found that it's hard to overextract great homeroast. I
sometimes brew with boiling water and if the beans are good, it still tastes
Just one more aside--Alton Brown is my hero, but I don't think he knows
beans about coffee except for what they teach him just before the show.
"to absurdity and beyond!"http://www.homeroaster.com*********************