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edited January 1970 in Accessories
Evening all.

My new machine is just a couple of weeks away so I figured I had better start thinking about a tamper.
I currently have an el cheapo from the bay of evil but it is going to be too small so have buy a new one.
Any recs?


  • Lots of good tamps out there however I think the best is Pullman with barista handle, very expensive but well worth the money and if you use VST baskets Pullman bigstep best tamp set up on the market (imho) They just did me a custom one :) Chester
  • Hi Chester and thanks for commenting. Hubby seems to think paying for a Pullman would be a good idea considering the price of the machine. What exactly is a VST basket? Thanks :).
  • If you have one of the Pullmans made by the founder (Greg) before he passed the business on you have something special and increasingly rare. The same guys make the Pergtamp don't they, Matt Perger's flat base, 58.4mm, trapeze side nutating tamper but it's very expensive. Torr in Germany make beautiful tampers including a titanium 58.55mm trapeze side, flat or convex base designed to work with VST.  Titanium was chosen because the edge is sharp to ensure a perfect fit but therefore vulnerable.  The goldfinger is also beautiful.  Theirs is very nice kit made to exacting tolerances.  Talk to Jenns and he can make whatever you want within reason and is open to group buy arrangements too. I also love my old RegBarber custom made to fit my VST baskets.  It's a proven classic and there's an Australian distributor.
  • I have the 13th Pullman made unstamped but verified by the man himself on CS many years ago.  I bought it through Alan Frew when he was spruiking them for Greg trying prototypes and testing a market if any.  Should I put it behind glass and get a stunt-tamper?
  • CB, VST baskets are a laser cut precision portafilter basket very straight walls that aren't very forgiving to less than perfect tamping technique (that's the theory anyway) They result in higher extraction yields when the coffee gods align with your perfect technique giving a better result in the cup (that's the theory anyway)  :D You either love them and support them or you hate them and trash them in public forums when ever you get the chance, well historically that is what I have seen across the web.  I myself like them as they don't allow me to be lazy with my tamping otherwise the resulting shot ends up in the sink. If your early in your coffee journey I would probably suggest sticking with the stock baskets that come with your machine, the coffee gods will still let you get great shots  :thumb:.  Develop a tamp process that is repeatable and suits your style then adjust your grind setting to produce the ball park 30mls in 25 to 30 second rule.  Break the rule as you gain more knowledge of individual coffees and the way they behave when extracting shots to produce the flavour you want in the cup. Buy the Pullman with barista handle, the rubber grip around the top of the base helps give a very nice feel to the tamp when in use. Comes with three different spacing collars which helps make a perfect fit for your hand. Pullman tamps are available online through Mark at "Things Coffee" really nice people to deal with and are continuing with the original owner/designers desire to make a quality product. Order a flat base at the size you need then pick a barista handle that suits your style.  You won't be disappointed. Happy tamper shopping Chester
  • I use VST baskets and a custom Pullman Barista tamper on my Strega and have only sinked shots when distracted and forget to release lever.  As far as VSTs for beginners I had the pleasure of organising coffee machines and grinders plus everything for two of my Sons.Amongst everything they received the three VSTs and Pullman tamper to suit from Things Coffee . They had no choice but to master all aspects of coffee brewing with the best of equipment and from beginning poured great shots . 
  • I too love the VST baskets.  I now have no other for my e61 machine.
  • Love my 18g VST and Pergtamp. I also have a straight Pullman base that I keep near by as well. For anyone new / not used to tamping normally, the Perg can be a double edged sword, but I have developed a strong preference for it. Definitely good advice to master the baskets that come with your machine first though.
  • Thank you all for your detailed answers, they have all been of great help. Gut says go with the Pullman so that is what I think I will do. It looks like a VST basket can wait. I am now just counting down the days until I can go and pick up my machine, I am just waiting on hubby to get confirmation on a day off work, 18th of this month, and we will do the deed. Can't wait  ;D.
  • Excellent advice Steve! Yay... Pictures on the 18th pretty please..... !!!
  • @steve82, I was using the Pergtamp with 22gram VST on the Slayer, awesome! best tamper for nutating style hands down. How could things get any better? Well the Pullman BIGSTEP and back to a straight tamp style with no pressure polish, wow! the consistency shot after shot amazing, also backed off the pressure in the Slayer to 8 bar (Scott Rao advice) coffee nirvana  ;D and don't see much changing in my process from this point on.  Ahhhhhh, who am I kidding I'll never stop playing  :D Chester
  • You truly inspire CC! Thank you!!
  • on 1430566234:
    @steve82, I was using the Pergtamp with 22gram VST on the Slayer, awesome! best tamper for nutating style hands down. How could things get any better? Well the Pullman BIGSTEP and back to a straight tamp style with no pressure polish, wow! the consistency shot after shot amazing, also backed off the pressure in the Slayer to 8 bar (Scott Rao advice) coffee nirvana  ;D and don't see much changing in my process from this point on.  Ahhhhhh, who am I kidding I'll never stop playing  :DChester
    Sounds interesting, errgh you aggravate my playful lust for toys. Been thinking about lowering my pressure a bit as well. I have developed a pretty consistent method with the Perg. I very lightly level and nutate - 2 X revolution every time, then all is needed is a very light straight down finish. I find it much easier to get a level / clean tamp than the regular pullman. Less physical effort needed as well. The ability to manipulate / fine tune a shot without changing the grind, using a heavier or more nutation is priceless. The BigStep sounds like a different kettle of fish though, seems to me like it might be a happy medium between Perg and Regular pullman ?? Cheers
  • I have used a few tampers First one was an early Pulman with matching basket ( now sold ) I have also used a Torr tamper with beautiful African timber handle ( now sold ) The click tamper was also nice But my last and favourite tamper is the Pullman Barista This tamper was first one to be ordered when released and has a convex tamp surface and is matched to a Synesso basket I have always been a convex tamp lover simply for its visible and mechanical properties that produces a predictable water path KK
  • Hi all, welcome to "luddite corner" ! I am going to throw a spanner in the works for all here to think on, and then of course you may do whatever you all wish to  ;) When I was active at work in the cupping laboratory I used an el cheapo chinese knock off plastic handle, stainless head 58mm flat tamper....and it worked just fine. I could have been using anything from a pullman to a reg barber to any of the expensive click tampers, but I was very happy with the basic tamper. It was an item we sold over the counter for under $50.00, maybe even under $40.00... And I am prepared to admit that maybe that is because of my professional background, that I had anough experience to be able to use this tool day in and day out, consistently and without a problem. At home I use a custom made 58mm convex tamper, and frankly the one at work was better..... Further.... Over the years I came to understand that for me, there would be quite a difference between a tamper I would use at home, and one I would use at work if I were a full time espresso machine operator. Its only my opinion, but I find most of these "name brand" tampers  are heavy enough that if I had to use one full time, I reckon it would be the first place to point the finger at if I developed RSI..... A heavy mongrel of a tamper that feels like its the ducks guts to a home user, will destroy someone's arm in a full time barista job...(and I've seen it). I compared the weight of a bunch of tampers in the showroom once. Externally they all looked preety similar whether they were el cheapo or expensive brands, and I found a variation of up to 100g over the models weighed. If it were me, I would take a lighter model for a similar look....and of course that is just my opinioin.  Lastly.  I dont see a significant diff between a cheap tamper and an expensive one if they are straight off the shelf and measured at the "standard" 58 mm. The diff will be where someone might order a custom made tamper to fit his or her actual filter. This is because there is a variation in the size of mass produced filters, so the 58mm that everyone talks about is really 58mm plus or minus a certain tolerance, and a std 58 mm tamper is not necessarily a tight fit into a 58mm std filter (and in some instances it may be too big to fit...). A person that has a good understanding of all these variables will have no trouble using a standard el cheapo tamper even when it is not a totally exact fit to the particular filters supplied with any machine. Frankly, my opinion is that someone that ***needs*** a custom made, exact fit tamper to make a great cuppa, has become far too anal about making that cuppa....good understanding and technique is my particular thing, not accessories overdesigned to the nth degree to keep people spending money while they search for coffee nirvana... And again, that's just my opinion and all other opinions are just as valid to those that have them. The only other thing to mention would be that I would certainly buy my own tamper than use one of the cheap plastic tampers that are supplied with most new machines. Manufacturers could save themseves 20 cents per machine and just leave them out. ******************\ In regard to Sue's question somewhere above about vst filter baskets. Again from a purely luddite point of view, may I suggest to firstly learn how to use the new machine as standard, with the filters supplied. If you go with one of the excellent BFC machines (Splendor?) we've corresponded about, they are supplied standard with the normal commercial filters used on all commercial BFC and most other brand machines in the Australian market. There is nothing "wrong" with them. That means the machine is already equipped with the size of filter (grams coffee grinds) most useful for the australian coffee market. Using an aftermarket component instead of the standard supplied, at least at first when you are trying to learn how to use the machine, will just complicate / confuse matters. We also are not aware of your coffee making technique and your understanding of the relationship between the beans, the grinder and the machine. Again, to add a non standard component into the mix at least at the beginning, will only confuse matters at a time when you may be asking a lot of questions just after your new purchase. I therefore suggest not worrying about the vst or other aftermarket filters or any other mods until you are well familiar and quite "at home" with the new equipment and your coffee making technique and are already making great coffee. Just my 3 and a half cents worth ! cheers to all, Attilio
  • Thanks all for your input  :). In regards to the machine Attilio I will get used to it before I think about other filters/grinders and the like. Tamper wise I just didn't want to buy a cheapie to find it wasn't up to the job. I currently have an ebay cheapy but it is 52mm so won't cut it. The Splendor is definitely No 1 on my list but I haven't written off either of the other 2. Hubby is arranging for the 18th of this month off work so not long now. Thanks again everyone :).
  • The Splendor is still my favourite looking machine.  Great post A!  I've heard of folks who have great success using a jam jar as a tamper.  They're really quite hi-tech you know: You can calibrate it for optimal weight by the amount of jam you eat. 
  • Thanks guys. And Brett yes that is the point. I HAVE used the bottom of a glass to tamp and anything else I could get my hands on whenever I havent had access to a tamper or it's gone walkabout...not for work, but at family and friends homes etc in social settings and there has been absolutely nothing wrong with the resultant brews. Rather....just frustration from my part that what should have been a simple and quick tamp as part of a simple work flow turned into a time consuming effort to get the tamp right using other very agricultural means. A tamper is required, but we dont need to go overboard in the specification of such  :) And truth be know IF the the el cheapo plastic tampers supplied with the machines are 58mm (and they often arent) to suit the filters, then they are *adequate* if ergonomically more difficult (or less straight forward) and not as pleasing to use. They will however still do the job in the most basic way.
  • For me it's the experience in it's totality, amazing coffee in the cup is the desired end result but the journey and process in getting there is also something I want to be pleasurable. A Pullman barista tamper is a lovely machined piece of equipment that (for me) has a wonderful feel in the hand, the exacting tolerances that my BigStep has been made to is a joy to use and assists in aligning the pieces of the coffee puzzle.  Yep I could use a jam jar but would it bring me the joy like my Pullman would? naggghhh and did you see the cool spiderman logo Mark put in the top, makes me smile every time I make a coffee. A bit like your camera question Attilio, the compact will do the job but gee it's nice to use the DSLR. Self confessed gear junky and appreciator of  fine engineering and machining.  ;D Chester
  • Indeed Chester indeed, I absolutely understand the desire to have nice things ! My (rather long) post was rather to have readers understand the difference between wants and *needs*, through explaining some technical points that many wouldnt have thought of. Expensive designer equipment is nice to have and use, but not  as *necessary* in terms of achieving an outstanding cuppa, as a lot of internet discussions would have us all believe  :)
  • I just want to double check something before I go handing over $$.............The Unico Splendor would take a 58mm tamper?
  • Hi Sue, yes the Splendor uses the commercial standard 58mm group / group handle / filters, and therefore requires a 58mm tamper (of your choice of course)  :) Note, additionally to what I wrote above: "Over the counter" tampers are not as tight a fit into the filter, as you would get with a custom made tamper where the manufacturer of the tamper will make the head of the tamper to tightly fit the actual filters being used on your machine.... That is because of the "+/-" tolerances in the manufacture of the filters. EG, for the sake of the discussion, You could have a bang on 58 mm filter OR You could have a 57.5mm filter, OR You could have a 58.5mm filter If your tamper was an exact 58mm diameter, it wouldn't fit into an exact 58 mm filter ! So there has to be some give and take, and the 58mm is a "nominal" spec. Regardless, I have rarely seen an over the counter (nominal) 58 mm tamper, that did not fit a (nominal) over the counter 58 mm filter... Don't be confused.....this is Easy. When you are in the act of actually buying your chosen machine, try some tampers and pick the one you like best, that fits the filters on your machine. Also please note. Be prepared that in the event you ever have a custom made tamper to fit a particular filter, that some time in the future if you change machine, or have to buy a replacement filter, the custom made tamper may not fit the new gear (because it was custom made for only 1 filter...). Eyes wide open, and Hope that helps.
  • Brilliant and thank you FC :). Do you know if they have tampers where I am picking the machine up from? I was planning on going out and getting one this weekend but if they carry them where the machine is I will just wait until we go there.
  • Hello Sue, 'fraid I don't know for sure but cant see why not! Cheers, A
  • Hello Mr A, I just assumed as they seem to sell predominantly auto machines there wouldn't be much demand from their customers for tampers. Of course I could be way off, I'll have a nosy when we go. Thanks again :).
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