Husband and Wife coffee dispute...pounds of pressure!

Alright Barista friends...Somewhere my husband read that 20lbs to 50lbs pressure on tamping. I was trained on 30lbs pressure and to be consistent with that. What is the barista professional using and training others on this matter. Help with this debate, I know my husband and I will listen to you all professionals...

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And a sore wrist...


Andy Halterman said:
Another disadvantage to tamping much harder that 30 lbs is that it becomes easier to end up with an uneven tamp. The exact tamping pressure may not matter so much, but having a puck with uneven thickness definitely does. As miKe and William pointed out, the purpose of the tamp is to preserve the distribution. Scott Rao has a good discussion of this in his book.
Dose, Dose, Dose.... This is a dose issue, not a tamp issue. If you have a doserless grinder and tamp at all different psi, you will see very little if any variance in shot times. How can you tell if you are dosing consistently? 1.) Gram Scale!! Weigh out a bunch of your doses and see how consistent they are. If your variance only happens between baristas, check your dose weights against theirs. Work to get uniformity between all baristas. 2.) look to see where your tamper lies in the portafilter. If at one time the top of the tamper base is a couple of mm out of the basket, and the next time it is twice as high, and the next time it is flush, there is an obvious problem! Also, try this... If you think tamping makes a difference: Dose, tamp, look to see how high your tamper is in the basket, then push with all of your might, check again and see if you have inserted the tamper further. You will not see a difference. Once the coffee is compressed, you are not going to smash it in any further. Tamping is simply the final stage in distribution. It insures that there are no weak pockets. We focus way to much on this. It is a peripheral issue. Dosing should be of primary focus. This is why the grinder is the most important tool at the barista's disposal. Grind and dose... This is what makes espresso sing.

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