Tamper Shape Vs. Extraction – Flat & Convex

When I get my hands on...

some new coffee toys I can't help but put them to the test.  So when I got the Pullman Big Step tamper I decided to see how it compares to the La Marzocco Convex tamper.  When I say compares I don't mean in looks, because lets face it, that Pullman is a handsome piece.  What I am comparing is the extraction percentages using a refractometer which measures the total dissolved solids (TDS) inside a liquid.  In simpler terms it basically is telling me how much coffee is pulled out into the water.

In this test I used the same coffee, same grind size, same basket, same tamping pressure (confirmed by a bathroom scale), same shot time, and output. I have to say, the results aren't massively different, but do show a difference in extraction percentages. This means it is likely that the convex shape of the standard La Marzocco tamper is causing lower extraction than the more common flat based tamper. Be sure to check out the video above for all of the numbers, and remember in the end espresso is a finicky little beverage.  This just goes to show you that every piece of the preparation process makes a difference.  So with that being said, choose your coffee tools wisely.

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