I supply coffee for restaurants and cafés, but the flow and variety of staff makes it hard to keep the quality of the coffee consistent. For example, a big guy will likely tamp the coffee a lot harder than a tiny lady (no offense).
Which is why I think a pressure tamper can do the trick for many.
On the other hand, not tamping level is a big issue, since a lot of people don’t really care about tamp[ing as much as they should do (I’m talking about your basic restaurant that also serves coffee, not a specialty coffee bar). Which can be fixed by using a level tamper like PUSH.
However, if the grinder isn’t dialed in right the level tamper can make it even worse (if the dosing is off), which can be corrected a bit if you’re using a pressure tamper
Anyway, both have their pro’s and con’s.
What are your opinions? Which will do the trick the best?
I would probably invest in a puqpress. I think they run for ~$800 which could be too much for some restaurants to invest in, but it does exactly what you want which is standardize tamping for everyone, also it improves speed and makes your arm hurt less.
Tamp pressure is overrated (and also a misnomer).
I personally dose by weight and tamp to a specific depth (i.e. puck thickness).
For several years I did this just by using my fingers to judge where the top of the tamper base was, relative to the top of the basket (my machine has a very deep shower screen so they are almost level). Works fairly well. The Pesado depth adjuster does much the same thing.
More recently I have started using a tamper not unlike the Push, which I made myself. My fixed depth tamper is a much tighter fit that my standard tamper, so can be a bit fiddly, but I now use it almost exclusively.
I have had, on rare occasion, issues with under and overdosing. It usually occurs when I change beans, presumably due to a significant difference in density. It’s easily corrected by adjusting the dose and/or the grind.
Not much more than an inconvenience for me making coffee at home, but I can imagine it being an issue in a busy cafe where the dosing is more variable. That said, compensating for it by tamping using more/less force won’t really help consistency and doesn’t combat the root cause of the problem…
I use a Levtamp that keeps things level and just tamp to full compression. Keeps things pretty consistent and hard to mess up.
I think it might have been better to have started with a superauto. If the staff isn’t competent in making espresso from a semi, then I’d say that, at least a certain point, the cup from a superauto would be superior.