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  1. #1
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    Tamper for a low end espresso machine

    I have a Mr coffee dual shot espresso machine. Eventually I want to upgrade to something nice but itís what I can afford for now. Just curious about a tamp. Does it matter much with a cheaper machine? The one that came with the machine is a plastic tamp and coffee measure. Does it help to have a nicer tamper, I heard it doesnít matter much. Iím new to espresso and espresso making but I am hooked. I have 3 or 4 a day on the weekend and 2 on the weekdays. I really enjoy making them as much as drinking them.


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  2. #2
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    Well, it's an art. Just like all other arts, you have to practice. First, you have to get 3 numbers right (actual measurement):

    1. water temperature: 190į-200įF;
    2. pressure: greater than 9 psi;
    3. .25 oz cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee.

    Now the key is to tamp your coffee just enough to let 1 oz of water pass through it in 20 to 25 seconds.

    What you use to tamp doesn't matter, you can even use your fingers. But control this 20 to 25 seconds is the key.

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I really appreciate the help. I can check the temp. I think the pressure is automatic on my machine, and temp too but I can check what comes out. Iím really looking forward to getting a machine where I have more control. Again thank, it really helped out!


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  4. #4
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    Don't waste your money... most low end espresso machines use a pressurized portafilter which tamp pressure has little impact on shot extraction.

  5. #5
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    In other words, if you tamp it to as hard as rock and let no water go through, you will still have good coffee.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Musicphan View Post
    Don't waste your money... most low end espresso machines use a pressurized portafilter which tamp pressure has little impact on shot extraction.
    Spot on and something as simple as the bottom of a shot glass (or similar) just lightly pressed to smooth the ground coffee bed is really all you need.

    With more involved machines that have proper pump/piston pressure, standard baskets, a fine/consistent grind the tamp is more important, but once the puck is compressed it's compressed. Tamping harder really does nothing. For years I've been grinding finer and tamping less, maybe 12-15# max. Most important thing is prepping the puck to consistently restrict the flow to extract the flavor.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  7. #7
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    If you don't think rock hard tamped cake can let water through, then tamping contributes to extraction time, period.

    Another trick is pre-brew soak, Jura call it "Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System (IPBAS)". It's basically to let a small amount of hot water soak the coffee first for about 30 seconds before normal operation. This will let each coffee particle "bloom" to expose/maximize contact area. Vietnamese coffee is made this way too.

  8. #8
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    A 'rock hard' tamped puck won't let water through as the excess pressure will simply be diverted via the OPV (if the machine has one) or will just stall the pump.

    Jura can call it what they want as it's just preinfusion. They can claim it's to maximize the flavor of every crystal in the puck or whatever, but really it's just a crutch to make up for lousy puck preparation. When a ground coffee puck is too thin, not level/or consistent in thickness or has poor particle distribution because of an insufficient grind quality/distribution, hitting the puck with a bit of water lets the puck expand a bit to hide those flaws to give a decent extraction. If everything is done in a decent manner to begin with, preinfusion is really a waste. A 30 second preinfusion as mentioned is a bit much and far from needed. Then again you're talking about Jura and for real espresso they still haven't figured things out.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  9. #9
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    Then tamping contributes to extraction time (to infinity!) To the extreme on the other side, if you don't tamp at all and there is no gravity, water will flow freely like there is no coffee at all. Good tamping is something between these two extremes. Case closed.

    About soaking, 30 second is the number I use to make Vietnamese coffee. I can see coffee "bloom" because the cover on top is floating. A good time number should be when this cover reaches the highest point.

    I guess Jura only tries to copy the best human barista and does it consistently each and every time. You can make a shadow745 machine to compete with them or patent your technique and sell it to them.

  10. #10
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    There is no case to be closed as tamping is just one variable, not the do all/end all technique people want to believe. I can grind toward Turkish fine and not tamp at all and still crank out a 45-50 second 1 oz. double ristretto.

    Believe what you want, which seems to be the case when people spend a crazy amount on a less than great item, but Jura on an absolute best day won't be close to what I would do at my worst. In a technical aspect, most super autos really shouldn't even be called espresso as the dose, pressure, flow is on the weak side and the end result is fairly diluted.
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

 

 
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