Tampers and Coffee!
Posted October 14, 2003 8:25pm
First up, thanks to those who wrote me with concern regarding the comments in my last CafeTalk regarding some hurt feelings. Things are slightly better now, and I've been able to hash out the details with one person at least - several others to go.
As you probably know from reading this site or CoffeeGeek, I love tampers. Consider them an essential, crucial even, part of the whole ritual of making espresso. I had a favourite - it was the Presso Tamper from Xpressivo... but they no longer make the old style tamper - they've modified it, and while many prefer the new model, I liked the old model better. I liked it so much that recently, I brought it to Seattle and when I accidentally left it there, I was in near hysterics!
But I have a new fave tamper... and it's all in one day. Today in the mail I got two new tampers, not even on market yet, from Impod, another Swedish tamper maker. I'm in luv!
Let's talk about what's good about these tampers, but then also talk about what's not good. What's not good is important, but you'll also note, the "not good" part isn't so bad for me.
First off, the look - these are, without a doubt, the best looking tampers I've ever seen, and that includes some of Reg Barber's highest quality models. Things are close in the looks department, but these are over the top.
Next, weight - they are solid, polished steel, and when I say polished, I mean polished. The tampers weigh a full pound, with a slightly heavier weight going to the round bulb handle model.
Third - your forefinger and thumb area - the taper on the metal top side of the tamper is an extremely even curve that ends perfectly horizontal right at the edge. However, there's a definite illusion, or "false feel" that the edge is upturned, creating a lip. If you look at the tamper horizontally, it's not there. But when you use it, it is. Love that! I like tampers that have a bit of a lip at the edge of the top side of the piston - whether the 'lip' is real or not - if it feels that way, my hand feels secure and in control when I'm tamping.
fourth - the handles - When I first saw the pictures of these tampers, I thought I'd definitely like the exclamation model better than the Interrogative (question mark?) model. I based this partially on my use of the Reg Barber bulb model tamper, which was too short for my hand. But in use, I definitely like the feel of the bulb-shaped impod tamper better than the straight handle model. This isn't to say the straight sided model is bad - it's great - but the Interrogative model works better in my big mitt, and is probably the best "fitting" tamper I've ever used.
Fifth - the handles again - The handles are big step up in quality compared to some other tampers I've used - it's a dense black plastic (or bakelite?) material, but what makes them good is there's a metal collar / female threading inside for the piston to screw into. Holds it incredibly secure. One problem I've had with some quality tampers is, because I'm left handed, sometimes I accidentally unscrew the handle while tamping and twisting. Not so with this puppy.
The Bad Stuff
There ain't much wrong with these. One possible problem is the balance of weight - it's all in the bottom, which means those who tamp, knock, tamp using the top of the handle may have a balance issue doing it properly. Impod recommends knocking with the side of the tamper's piston, instead of the handle. For me, it ain't a problem - I use the Staub Tamp - a no-knocking tamping technique.
Another potential problem - I can see the black plastic getting dinged and scratched real easy by top-knocking type baristi. Again, not a problem for me, and I'm not going to test the theory. :)
And there's one more problem - this tamper still isn't really available, at least in N. America yet. But hopefully, someone will be working on that soon. And there's the price - I don't know what the price is, but it might be high.
All that said, I like this tamper so much, I'm considering getting them branded and selling them on CoffeeGeek. These tampers rule!
I just got one coffee recommendation today... a coffee that completely blew my mind, and is now currently the best single-origin coffee I've tried in about 15 months (I had some stellar Kona last year that still remains the best I've had in recent memory)...
This coffee comes from Intelligentsia Coffee, and it is the El Salvador Los Inmortales coffee. Everything in their description is true, and then some. Massive pear in the nose and the first sip. Middle and finish of maple syrup. Slight tinges of jasmine. What's most interesting about this coffee is how it morphs from the pear to the maple syrup on my palate. I liked this coffee so much, I blew thru my pound of it in about a day. I'm already missing it, big time.
CoffeeGeek V2 news
We're in the home stretch for the CoffeeGeek Version 2.0 launch. It's all so new, so feature packed, I'm brimming with excitement and antsy as hell to get it out the door. I'm done all the major sections, Programming has coded most of the sections, with just the Partners area and some housekeeping to finish it off, and go to beta. We're aiming for an October 24 launch. Stay tuned!