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Topic: tamp vs no tamp (21 msgs / 370 lines)
1) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
In my quite limited experience, it is easy to make a terrible espresso even
with proper tamping; and it is even easier to duplicate such a bad espresso
with no tamping at all. The same is true for cappuccinos.
However, when I managed to produce good espresso with dark brown-red crema
that really does taste exactly like fresh roasted coffee smells, it was
always from properly tamped coffee. Level the ground beans, light tamp
straight down, one tap, tamp with about 30 pounds of pressure, polish by
twisting at low pressure. And work fast. I was using our clean (and
back-flushed) Miss Téa.
I know that Mike wrote " ...I was definitely surprised. 35# tamp versus zero
tamp made no difference..." -- but he was not tasting the shots or comparing
the crema.
Has anybody managed to make a good espresso with rich dark brown-red crema,
a drink that really does taste like fresh roasted coffee smells, WITHOUT
proper tamping?  If you have managed to do that, please send me a note to:
PAL "at-sign" IEEE "dot" org -- and share your secret.
Thank you, Lubos in the Texas Hill Country part of Austin.
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2) From: Mike Gallant
On Sunday, September 22, 2002, at 07:07 PM, Irene and Lubos Palounek 
wrote:
<Snip>
	There's a thread going on on alt.coffee right now entitled 
"heavy/light tamp - how about NO tamp..." that offers some peoples' 
results - might be worth a read.
-mike
--
Mike Gallant
pischke
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3) From: Mark

4) From: Dan Bollinger
<Snip>
crema,
<Snip>
Lubos,  I know what you are trying to say, but I gotta respond with, "If you
'make a good espresso with rich dark brown-red crema', then wasn't the
tamping proper?"  ;)  Dan
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5) From: Dan Bollinger
fyi: I found these by accident when searching the Coffee Research pages.
They state that tamping should remain a constant and one should vary the
grind. Dan
"With the tamper held as before, press on the pellet with thirty pounds of
pressure." (notice it does not say 'try different pressures until you find
an optimum)http://www.coffeeresearch.org/espresso/tamping.htm"For 1.5 ounces of espresso, the extraction should take between 23-30
seconds where the time starts when the espresso begins to flow from the
spouts. The pour should look like warm honey dripping from the spouts.
Manually stop the extraction if the espresso turns a slight shade lighter in
color. If it took longer than 30 seconds, adjust the grind to be larger in
size. If it took less than 25 seconds, adjust the grind to be smaller. Do
not vary the pressure you apply in tamping since you only want to adjust one
variable at a time. By adjusting the tamping pressure you are simultaneously
adjusting several parameters that will often result in an undesirable
product even if you do attain the right timing."http://www.coffeeresearch.org/espresso/extraction.htm<Snip>
crema,
<Snip>
bit
<Snip>
grinder
<Snip>
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6) From: C. Marley
Dan Bollinger wrote:
<Snip>
For those in search of the perfect espresso, I wonder if anyone has ever
tried to make a tamper with a built in pressure gauge.  You can get
spring loaded gauges in equipment designed to measure hand grip
strength.  Fitting one of those into an old fashioned juicer with a
tamper attached would be a simple way to get consistent pressures. See
attached diagram, orhttp://www.lhasa-apso.org/private/tamper.jpg-- 
Regards, Cathy
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7) From: C. Marley
Dan Bollinger wrote:
<Snip>
For those in search of the perfect espresso, I wonder if anyone has ever
tried to make a tamper with a built in pressure gauge.  You can get
spring loaded gauges in equipment designed to measure hand grip
strength.  Fitting one of those into an old fashioned juicer with a
tamper attached would be a simple way to get consistent pressures. See
attached diagram, orhttp://www.lhasa-apso.org/private/tamper.jpg-- 
Regards, Cathy

8) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
Cathy,
your "tamper with a built in pressure gauge" sounds like a great idea.
Before I saw you diagram athttp://www.lhasa-apso.org/private/tamper.jpg, I
thought that what you had in mind is building a pressure sensor right into
the "regular - free" tamper and connect it by a flexible cord to a small box
with electronics and display, and perhaps a beeper or beepers.
That would make it relatively easy to use anywhere and use it for all the
"tamp - tap - tamp - polish" steps.
Cheers, Lubos
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9) From: Dan Bollinger
Ever since we started this thread, I've been thinking about making  tamper
with internal scale.  I guess it was an unavoidable outcome of our search
for perfect coffee that lead us to solving the same problem.  Dan
<Snip>
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10) From: C. Marley
Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
<Snip>
I thought that putting the tamper into a device with some mechanical
advantage would make it easier to apply 30 lbs of pressure, - not an
inconsiderable amount of force for the less physically endowed.  I will
see if I can find this mechanical guage and build a prototype.
	- 
For the conservation of the Tibetan Lhasa Apso,
Regards, Cathy http://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast">http://www.lhasa-apso.orghomeroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast

11) From: jim gundlach
I have a torque wrench that you dial in a setting and when it reaches 
that level of torque, it clicks and you can feel the handle give.  I 
would think you could do the same kind of thing with a nicely designed 
hand held tamper so that you would press down until you felt the click.
Jim Gundlach
On Thursday, September 26, 2002, at 09:29 AM, Irene and Lubos Palounek 
wrote:
<Snip>
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12) From: Irene and Lubos Palounek
"I thought that putting the tamper into a device with some mechanical
advantage would make it easier to apply 30 lbs of pressure, - not an
inconsiderable amount of force for the less physically endowed."
That is an excellent point, Cathy. It is not easy for Irene, my wife, to
apply the 30 pound pressure.
How much force does "Leverpull Cork Puller", "The Rabbit Cork Puller" and
similar devices create? Similar design could possibly be used, pushing
instead of pulling -- but, frankly, I think it would be an overkill.
Regards, Lubos
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13) From: C. Marley
Irene and Lubos Palounek wrote:
<Snip>
I don't know, but Jim's torque wrench sounds like a neat solution.  Have
to take a trip to "tools R us", and see if a design idea hits me.
-- 
Regards, Cathy
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14) From: JKG

15) From: Dan Bollinger
My thoughts exactly!  :)
<Snip>
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16) From: Mike McGinness
From: "JKG" 
<Snip>
My testing agrees tamp does not affect shot time nearly as much as grind,
degree of roast, density of bean roasted etc. (if at all) However, my
further researches lead me to believe proper tamp does improve how evenly
the shot extracts. How much differing tamp pressure affects even extraction
I don't rightly have a clue!:-)
MM;-)
Variable Variac Rockin' Rosto Roasting in Vancouver, WA USA
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17) From: F. M. McNeill
Just make the tamping device weigh 30 pounds.
Only two problems :
1. You have to pick it up to place it in the filter and to remove it.
2. It would only work on an earth mass planet.
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18) From: NOEL HONG
Cathy,
I've been thinking along the same line for a mechanical tamper with a  3:1 
leverage force.  Utilizing the Ergo tamper heads (allowing multiple 
sizes)with a two part shaft. The lower part of the shaft would be able to 
rotate allowing polishing.
<Snip>
Noel V. Hong
email: nhong32590
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19) From: Dan Bollinger
Cathy, Here is a good base to start with, a machinist's arbor press. It
keeps the tamper vertical. Your design would allow it to swivel.  Remove the
little turntable and there is a notch for the portafilter to rest in.  Add
your scale.  I like the low-tech look.  The price is right, too, $25.  Danhttp://www.mscdirect.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Merchant_Id=1&Section_Id=2003946&pcount&Product_Id4591
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20) From: Roy Gordon
Someone on alt.coffee thought that Macap, an Italian equipment company, 
might have an automated tamper.  (www.macap.it).
I sent them an email on 9/13 asking if they had one and if it were pressure 
adjustable. No reply so far.
A pressure adjustable tamper would be a god-send to me.  Reasonably priced, 
that is.
-- Roy
<Snip>
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21) From: Ed Needham
From several first hand posts on alt.coffee, they say that most baristas in
Italy tamp very lightly.  Anyone here ever closely watch Italian baristas at
work?
As to consistent tamp and varying the grind, it's just that if the grind is
off, the whole shot is off, no matter what other variables you fiddle with.
As with any experimental process, variables need to be controlled, so a clear
outcome can be measured.  Fixing the tamp and varying the grind so the shot
time is consistently 25-30 seconds is merely a starting place.  If the shot
pulls too fast or slow, change the grind, and keep everything else however
you want it.  Experiment with changing the other things, but within the
context of adjusting one variable at a time, after the proper grind is set.
Ed Needhamhttp://www.homeroaster.comed
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