Choosing the right coffee tamper

When you are a barista, making the best cup of coffee each and every time is of upmost importance but repetitive strain is a huge issue. You need to have the bench at the correct hight, flooring correct etc but tamping is definitely the most stressful on your body. It's the pushing action which if not done correctly or with good equipment, can really hurt you long term.

This is where different tampers can make all the difference.

Tamper types

Traditional:

Traditional tamper

Push tamper:

Push tamper

Lever tamper:

Lever tamper

Electronic tamper:

electronic tamper

Pros and Cons

Traditional tampers

This tamper is very portable, affordable and easy to use. The disadvantages are around repeatable tamp pressure. Due to the manual tamp action it's muscle memory which produces the accuracy.

Push tampers

Push tampers have all the portability, affordability and easy to use like the traditional tampers but have one major difference. Push tampers allow for setting of the depth of the tamp to the millimeter. This allows perfect and repeatable tamp pressure which results in the cup. The push tamper action is better than the traditional too, it involves a push with the palm of the hand rather than gripping of a handle and pushing at the same time.

Lever tamper

The lever tamper is similar to the traditional tamper in terms of pressure and accuracy. The advantages of the Lever tamper is the action is a lever pull rather than a push. This action change can result in a big difference for those who have repetitive action injuries.

Electronic tamper

The electronic tamper has all the accuracy and repeatability advantages of the push tamper but has zero stress and repetitive action to the automation of the tamp. The disadvantages are portability, possible malfunction and cost.

Summary

I will let you decide which is best for you but right now we are all over the Push tamper at Barista Talk. Such a great idea and should last you forever!

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ARCTIC - coffee cold brew

ARCTIC is a new coffee cold brew system launching on kickstarter.

The system looks like it has fantastic build quality and works similar to Hario cold brew methods but looks aesthetically much better designed.

The system basically works like a iced tea brew system works. There is a glass outer and an inner metal filter which holds the coffee grounds in the water enabling water in and out but keeping the coffee grounds contained.

Brewing is as simple as grinding your coffee as course as you would for filter, placing the coffee into the metal filter, filling with cold water and placing in the fridge for 8-12 (maybe more) hours.

The resultant brew is a concentrate and can (should) be further watered down.

We've not touched one or tried a coffee from one but they sure do look good and we would love to get our hands on one to test and review! wink wink

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Roasting green coffee beans in a popcorn popper

Roasting green coffee beans in a popcorn popper is a great way to get started in your coffee roasting journey. The benefits of this method is definitely the cost but also your ability to roast your beans to your liking and not to your local roasters liking.

What you will need:

  • Some space outside with lots of ventilation
  • A popcorn popper which pops corn using hot air
  • A sieve for cooling the beans
  • A storage container
  • A wooden spoon

You can pickup a popcorn popper machine from any store which sells small electrical goods. You need to ensure the popper uses hot air to pop the corn kernels.

Generally the poppers take approx 80 grams (3oz) of green beans and roast anywhere from 6-10mins depending on the power of machine and outside temperature.

  1. Put in the green beans and manually agitate them with a wooden spoon until they dry out somewhat, making them light (weight) enough to move around themselves. Manual agitation also removes chaff and avoids burning.
  2. You should be able to stop manually agitating the beans and allow them to move around by themselves. You will notice your beans will go from a green color through the various standard roast levels (City, Vienna, French etc).
  3. The two main stages of the roast are first and second crack. These are determined by a audible cracking/popping sound which should be heard over the popcorn popper.
  4. You will need to wait through the roast until you get to your desired roast level. For more information, see the roast types below.
  5. After you are happy you will need to dump the beans into a sieve to cool and stop the cooking process as soon as possible. You will also want to move the beans around the sieve to let them touch the air and cool. Some people use a fan to blow air onto the beans from the top or bottom to cool them faster. Generally swooshing them around the sieve is enough to cool them.
  6. Waiting until matured and storage. You will want to put your beans into a special coffee storage container or something which is air tight and preferably something which blocks the light. Beans generally take about 7 days before they are at their optimum taste. You will want to open your storage container every day or so to let any gases out over the 7 days.
  7. Pull your favourite coffee and enjoy your freshly roasted coffee beans!

* If stopped after first crack has totally finished it is generally referred to as a "City roast" or a "Light roast".

* If stopped between first and second crack the roast is generally referred to as a "Medium roast".

* If stopped after second crack the roast is generally referred to as a "Dark", "French" or "Italian" roast.

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