Push Tamp: Thoughts

Push Tamp

This has been on my mind for a while, is the push tamp a positive investment? My questioning for this is that whilst yes it is proven to give the barista a consistent tamp regardless of their experience, and it reduces the chance of developing an RSI in the wrist, it’s also like learning to drive an automatic over a manual.

I feel like the positivity and the applause surrounding the push tamp is truly deserved, it’s an absolute game changer regarding limiting the variables within espresso extraction, I feel like it’s restricting a trainee barista the important skill of being able to evenly tamp with a handled tamper.

Is it just me being a bit old fashioned? or do other people have the same concern? and is there a way to teach new Barista’s how to tamp with a traditional tamp over the Push?

thanks in advance for any responses and ideas!

I love the PUSH.

It is fast, basically foolproof, and works especially well if you have a large staff with varying levels of skill/experience.

What I came to love even more over time was the ergonomics. I was beginning to experience some tweaky back issues while using the traditionally handled tampers and they went away shortly after transitioning to the PUSH.

I think it works best when you dial in an exact weight dose because it allows you to make your tamp pressure really consistent.

The only drawback I have experienced is that it sometimes gets stuck in newer VST 18g baskets. It works great in the VST 22g baskets. I have no experience with it on the 15g or 20g.

It is machined to 58.50mm, which is pretty standard but apparently VST will not guarantee a fit for anything over 58.40. For reference, the Pullman is 58.55 & the Pergtamp is 58.50. Strange as it may sound, I think the issue is more on VST’s end. But I feel like I should mention it.

It allows you to make your tamp depth consistent.

Not pressure.

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@MattPerger When i say consistent tamp pressure, i don’t mean an exact number. I mean that, if you lock your dose and weigh each one, consistent depth should mean that you are exerting the same amount of pressure on every one of those coffee beds.

@mattperger @joshuadusk Assuming the same dose weight with the same coffee and same distribution, isn’t depth a function of pressure? At some point you can’t push any harder to compact the grounds; if you set the PUSH at that depth, isn’t it always the same amount of pressure?

I must be overlooking an obvious confound here…

Say if you bring in a brand new barista who’s never used a traditional tamp before, do you set them on the push tamp immediately to keep the quality consistent and the newbie misses out on a still fundamental part of espresso preparation, or do you get them to use traditional Tamps until they can repeatedly tamp evenly?

That has basically been my understanding. Although I would say that pressure is a function of depth, not vice versa.

I love your list of significant variables; let’s throw grind size in the mix and call it good.

FWIW, I tend to set the depth minimally. As soon as it compacts the coffee enough to prevent channeling, I’m happy.

I am less concerned about hitting a specific “pound per” number than I am having a locked variable for that amount of that coffee ground that size.

I’m relatively late to this discussion but essentially if your shop has decided on a push then their is absolutely no need to train them on a traditional tamper? This consideration just goes away.

I suppose, but say if the Push breaks from being dropped or something damages it to the point where it can no longer be used and you have to use a traditional tamp, if people haven’t learned to use a Pullman or a Reg Barber style tamp before they’re not gonna be able to pull any even shots no?