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Topic: Omigawd! Not another tamp!?! (8 msgs / 196 lines)
1) From: Gene Smith
Me an Mistah Barista are continuing our process of getting acquainted.  I
hauled out the bathroom scale to test my tamping poundage - as suggested
previously on this list.  Using my *$ tamper with a measure on one end and a
tamper on the other, I found it pretty difficult to get that 30 pound tamp
holding it the way I haver been, which is to say, with my fist wrapped
around the shaft and pressing down (like pounding your fist on a table) (not
that you would ever do that, of course...), and mostly ended up just
cramming the rubber cover on the handle-shaft down to the tamper end.
Then...came the dawn.  I now wrap my fingers around the shaft and stick my
thumb in the measuring cup, and it is much easier to get a decent tamp.
Meanwhile, the instructions that came with the Barista don't even suggest
the necessity of a tamp...I suppose the pressure portafilter is supposed to
make that unnecessary.  Experience suggested otherwise, however.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve in Houston

2) From: Mike Gallant
	Just to play devil's advocate, 30lbs shouldn't necessarily be
treated as gospel. I know of a number of people who use a very light
tamp (5 - 10lbs or so) with a finer grind to achieve their espresso
nirvana. I have tried this approach and it can work quite well. Note
that I'm not suggesting these coffee shop "baristas" were doing this,
just that 30lbs isn't required for good results.

3) From: miKe mcKoffee
True enough. Was at a NASCORE espresso machine booth last year (forget which
one), and they were demonstrating zero tamp shots... t'weren't half bad at
all. I played with it with Silvia, does tend to mess up the head screen
more. MM;-)

4) From: Gene Smith
Always assuming that a finer grind is available.  I have a gig coming up
later this month that will justify purchase of a Gaggia MDF...but, until
then, I'm struggling along with a just barely adequate old Krups burr
grinder.  I have it set on its finest setting, and I still have to tamp hard
to keep the water from running through too quickly - even with the Barista's
pressure PF.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve in Houston

5) From: alfred
I get my best shots with a single tamp of 30 to 40 pounds and then a good
polish (the Schomer method) No double tamps. Just the correct amount of
grind leveled with the fingers and just tamped very lightly with the tamper
to level it out. Then one big tamp and a polish.

6) From: alfred
Not to mention, probably no dry puck at all but just a big wet mess.

7) From: Rick W
I related with a couple of your comments.  T'was at the mall with a
friend who said "let's get a coffee at Barnie's".  I ordered an
Americano and watched the person at the machine sloppily load and tamp
the PF such that the grind was at a very distinguishable angle in the
PF.  The resulting drink was simply horrible and undrinkable.
My tamping used to include the "how far did I lift my heel"
maneuver/feeling.  Nowadays, my maneuver is:
- Place the tamper in the SL90 basket (sans PF).
- Check for level by rotating the basket on my counter and watching the
tamper handle top for wobble.
- Adjust tamper if not level
- Very lightly polish with tamper (don't ask just got in there somehow)
- Tamp just until I feel the grounds slightly compress, then final
I'd guess that I'm just below the 30lb level (maybe 25 or so).  Works
really well for me.
Rick Waits
stick my

8) From: james.garlits
What really freaks me out is when I occasionally go into an espresso
establishment, and watch the "barista" drop a dose into the portafilter and
then tamp it down like they were pressing brown sugar into a measuring cup.
Five pounds of pressure at the most.  Probably more like two.  I know
exactly how far up off of my heels I have to come and exactly when to press
and rotate the tamper for a perfect tamp.  These girls (occasionally guys)
don't even press from the shoulder.  Its completely a hand and wrist thing.
Who, for the love of all that is good, is teaching these poor souls to make
such horrible drinks?  And they don't want any input, either.

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