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bronterre
21-04-14, 05:41
Hi, a fairly basic-seeming steel tamper was included with my reconditioned Gaggia Classic. It's slightly convex (from the portafilter's point of view if you see what I mean). Most of the recommended tampers have a flat base. I wondered if there was anything to be said for a convex one? And how important is a good tamper anyway?

The Systemic Kid
21-04-14, 05:47
If you're using Classic stock baskets, any 58mm tamp will do the job. Paying a fortune for a tamp doesn't mean it will do a better job but can be a joy to behold:)

aaronb
21-04-14, 05:52
to answer your questions in reverse order:


how important is a good tamper anyway?

Incredibly! It's hard to explain exactly why without you trying with the stupid plastic tampers that come with entry level machines and then a good one though, to see the difference. That said there is no need to go mad on one either, I just use a 20 HasBean one.


Flat or convex tamper?

Personal preference. I think at one point the convex were quite popular. Lots of people have flat too though.

Is it one of these, but made from steel?

http://www.boncafe.co.th/system/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Coffee-Tamper-Plastic-BlackBG-620x452.jpg

If so I don't personally rate them, a nice wooden handle seems easier to get your hand around.

bronterre
21-04-14, 06:13
Hi, thanks for the quick replies. I think I'm going to get Happy Donkey's tamper, as I'm ordering quite a bit of stuff from there. Aaronb, no it's not quite like that; it's a sort of double-ended design, with the handle serving as tamper for a smaller-than-58 mm portafilter. Curiously, it's stamped with Whittard branding, but in mirror-writing. I can't seem to upload an image, so I just have to hope that my words bring the thing to life for you. :D

Glenn
21-04-14, 06:55
The actual base design doesn't really matter
There are a number of different base types (Flat, c-flat, convex, ripple etc)

More importantly is the diameter of the tamper.
A well fitted tamper will create a good seal.
Creating a nice level playing field with grinds distributed evenly throughout the basket is the aim.
If you watch a glass portafilter extraction video you will see that the puck has a lot of force exerted by the water alone.

aaronb
21-04-14, 07:00
I know the one you mean. As long as it's snug in your hand and has a good seal you'll be fine, but if you get the Happy Donkey one you can try both and sell on the one you don't like.

Glenn summed it up much better than I managed too!

michaelg
21-04-14, 07:04
Hi, thanks for the quick replies. I think I'm going to get Happy Donkey's tamper, as I'm ordering quite a bit of stuff from there. Aaronb, no it's not quite like that; it's a sort of double-ended design, with the handle serving as tamper for a smaller-than-58 mm portafilter. Curiously, it's stamped with Whittard branding, but in mirror-writing. I can't seem to upload an image, so I just have to hope that my words bring the thing to life for you. :D

That sounds like the one I had with my old A
Classic - bought from Whittards too. I would recommend checking out the Motta tampers from CreamSupplies.co.uk. Prices are great / especially compared to eBay etc. Worth grabbing a milk pitcher whilst you're there too to save on delivery costs.

bronterre
21-04-14, 08:39
Thanks again for all your helpful suggestions. Glenn, if you have the time to expand on your view of the importance of the diameter, I'm interested in what you think about Happy Donkey's blurb for their product, which suggested that a diameter slightly less than 58 mm for a 58 mm basket is preferable. I'm not sure I followed HD's logic, which is not to say they're wrong. Any thoughts, anyone?

Glenn
21-04-14, 08:43
My preference is for a well fitted tamper with no gaps.

Therefore, a 58mm for most stock baskets and a 58.4 for most VST baskets is my recommendation.

This is not to say that Happy Donkey is wrong at all. I have not seen how they tamp and there is likely to be a reason for suggesting this.

A slightly smaller convex tamper makes sense as it will seal with a slight push towards the edges of the basket.

bronterre
21-04-14, 08:48
Hi Glenn, thanks again for your quick reply. I think I'm going to have to inwardly digest all this information and make a decision, before moving on to really serious matters, like how long can I put off changing my grinder; but that's a subject for a different thread.