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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > Concave tamper?...  
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JasCoffee
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Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 26
Location: CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 8:25am
Subject: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

For easter my mom picked me up one of these:

Click Here (www.table-tools.shoppingguides.org)



my first thought was: "uh oh. gimmick tamper."



However, I gave it a try and it made a half decent pull. Just wondering if any of you have tried one of these or if theres a consensus on them?
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HB
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Joined: 3 Apr 2003
Posts: 2,913
Location: Cary, NC
Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 8:38am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

It didn't fare well in the 2003 Tamper Shootout:

The poor Gourmet Espresso Tamper, which finished just about as low as it could possibly finish - every Baristi we polled ranked it last, except for one. Some questions have been raised in online forums and venues about the promotional material listed on the Gourmet Espresso Tamper's website, which claims several awards and notes of recognition for this tamper. Unfortunately, neither the CoffeeGeek website nor our assembled team of top flight Baristi and testers had anything good to say about it, except perhaps the tamper is a very early beginning - who knows if concave tamping will be good or not. Perhaps once this tamper is reshaped into something that professional Baristi can use (that is, a proper handle, getting rid of the faux diamond, and making it an accurate 58mm size), maybe the concave design will show us if it is capable of a more consistent tamp and shot production.

I don't see it in this year's lineup.  Mark didn't mention if there are any concave entries...

-- Dan

 
www.home-barista.com
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JasCoffee
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Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 26
Location: CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

Yea, thats why it scared me, I'd never heard of it before.


As far as I can tell it wouldn't give the consistancy of a flat tamper.. right?
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bish
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bish
Joined: 24 Mar 2003
Posts: 203
Location: Bellport, Long Island, NY
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Giotto Premium
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Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 9:28am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

It had to happen :)  Flat is/was generally considered the best way.  Convex comes along and a significant number of people try them and declare that they are as good as, if not better than flat.  Another significant number mooch back and forth undecided.  There is sound reasoning regarding the interface between the edge of the puck and the side of the basket that supports the use of a convex tamper.  The use of a concave tamper would IMHO have nothing but a detrimental effect on the channeling effect at the edge of the puck.  I will read with interest if anyone can give me some good reasons why concave is good because I admit that I'm knee-jerking a little here.

The only reason I can see for someone selling concave is because convex has a following and logically (from a purely marketing perspective) there must be a market for the pendulum to swing the other way.  Do I detect some Emperor's New Clothes here?

Cheers
peter
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JasCoffee
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Joined: 20 Nov 2003
Posts: 26
Location: CT
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 9:31am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

bish Said:

It had to happen :)  Flat is/was generally considered the best way.  Convex comes along and a significant number of people try them and declare that they are as good as, if not better than flat.  Another significant number mooch back and forth undecided.  There is sound reasoning regarding the interface between the edge of the puck and the side of the basket that supports the use of a convex tamper.  The use of a concave tamper would IMHO have nothing but a detrimental effect on the channeling effect at the edge of the puck.  I will read with interest if anyone can give me some good reasons why concave is good because I admit that I'm knee-jerking a little here.

The only reason I can see for someone selling concave is because convex has a following and logically (from a purely marketing perspective) there must be a market for the pendulum to swing the other way.  Do I detect some Emperor's New Clothes here?

Cheers
peter

Posted April 11, 2004 link


Well... I mean hypothetically a concave tamper WILL give more surface area for the water to contact -- however it will also change the amount of time it takes for the water on the outside of the basket to move through the coffee compared to the inside... which would hurt consistency.. *shrug* who knows. I imagine its just a preference thing/emperors new clothes as you said.
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jim_schulman
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jim_schulman
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
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Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 11:34am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

There's convex tampers, which depress the center of the puck and raise the edges -- these have become standard along with flat tampers -- since they work OK with less force and don't require as perfect a fit. The tampers mounted on grinder dosers are very convex and about 56mm; a light tamp using these has become the SOP among most Italian braistas, although the best ones still hand tamp.  After Schomer's switch from flat to convex, there's been a lot of futile theoretical debate about which is better. This is an issue that can only be resolved by a statistical quality control approach -- a few thousand shots tamping with each and checking if one set has significantly more channelled shots.

Then there's the concave tamper from the first post, which leaves a gutter at the edges and a mound in the middle of the puck. This one is simply a bad joke; designed by people who've obviously never pulled a shot in their lives. It actually promotes everything one wants to avoid: channeling via the gutter at the edge, and the infiltration of grounds and coffee oils into the head via the mound in the middle.

 
Jim Schulman
www.coffeecuppers.com
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MarkPrince
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 5,582
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

another_jim Said:

Then there's the concave tamper from the first post, which leaves a gutter at the edges and a mound in the middle of the puck. This one is simply a bad joke; designed by people who've obviously never pulled a shot in their lives. It actually promotes everything one wants to avoid: channeling via the gutter at the edge, and the infiltration of grounds and coffee oils into the head via the mound in the middle.

Posted April 11, 2004 link

I had a recent email from the gourmet tamper folks that contained a bit of revisionist history and a demand that we remove any comments about their tamper from this website.  In short,

  • they emphasised how their tamper was designed for steam driven machines and that we (CG) said it would be tested only on these machines (the latter is definitely not true)

  • they emphasised that the tamper shouldn't be evaluated by professionals in the biz, and that we (CG) never said we would let pros use it (again, the latter is not true)

And a bunch of other revisionist things. I guess they are upset because the product doesn't do so well, and CG's google ranking usually returns this site first on a search for tampers.

Fortunately, I keep copies of most of my email. I re-sent the fellow the tamper shootout invitation (which outlined how the tampers would be tested, who would test them, and what equipment would be used)... I also sent him an old email that contained correspondence between he and I... his portion of the email actually acknowledged that pros would be evaluating the tampers.

Haven't heard from them since. My own thoughts on the tamper stand. I would like to try a full 58mm version of the tamper with a proper handle (and no gutter), but all that Jim wrote will probably be true - water levels... so it will level at the edges of the packed puck. And water follows the path of least resistance under pressure... so it will probably plow through the edges and leave the center portion less than fully extracted.

Mark

 
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GoAway
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GoAway
Joined: 19 Mar 2004
Posts: 65
Location: dregs
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Posted Sun Apr 11, 2004, 11:39pm
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

Introducing the Whammo by GoAway Enterprises!

The Whammo tamper is a unique product that every barista will love. The head of the tamper is made from an expensive Italian aluminum meat tenderizer mallet. When used to pack the ground coffee, it creates 16 precisely spaced pyramid indentations in the coffee, 1/4" deep. This effectively doubles the surface area of the coffee allowing for more water contact in a short amount of time. Result: a faster and fuller extraction without any of the bitters getting into your cup.  Try one today! $199.99 MSRP, yours on d'bay Buy It Now! $97.95

 
Now, now; perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything!
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BSOD
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BSOD
Joined: 25 Jan 2004
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Posted Tue Apr 13, 2004, 4:22am
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

GoAway Said:

Introducing the Whammo by GoAway Enterprises!

The Whammo tamper is a unique product that every barista will love. The head of the tamper is made from an expensive Italian aluminum meat tenderizer mallet.....


Hey - is that anything like the "coffee bean hammer" listed on this site?
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bobpaule
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bobpaule
Joined: 31 May 2002
Posts: 167
Location: Isolation, OH
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Vetrano, Venus, Enrico...
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Posted Sat Aug 7, 2004, 6:18pm
Subject: Re: Concave tamper? Good? No?
 

HAHAHA

BSOD you hit it right on the head.

OMG i knew some people were ignorant, but the description of that poor tamper made me almost fall off the chair
laughing. Even my 1 yr old threw herself on the floor laughing at daddy's funny posturing.

That one should definitely go into the annals.

We should ask The Kid to open a column on espresso humor.

Sorry but your link made my day:) I guess i am easy to amuse living in the midwest.
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