Originally from http://billykangas.blogspot.com/

Over the weekend I went up to Great Northern Roasting Company
in Traverse City Michigan with Jim Saborio of Comet Coffee. It was a huge adventure...

It was massive amounts of fun...

There was a Latte Art throw down and somehow I managed to win...

The prize was this Reg Barber C-Ripple Tamper...

It's basically a tamper with a ripple in the base so that it makes a ripple in the coffee. (Look at the pictures if you're confused...)

I wasn't really sure what it was supposed to do, and to tell you the truth I was pretty skeptical of it. It screamed gimmick to me.

I took it over the the Ugly Mug Cafe in Ypsilanti MI and pulled a shot with it... It tasted really good. Really sweet, very little bitters, but still a good body. I talked to Zak Rye a little about it. He told me that it was supposed to create a surface on the coffee that is more permeable so that coffee is extracted more evenly.
I was still really skeptical. It seemed like this couldn't really do much of anything.

I took it over to Morgan and York and did a Side by Side comparison with their staff. They noticed the same thing I did. The shot tasted noticeably sweeter and less bitter with the C-Ripple.

I wasn't convinced so I took it over to the Common Cup and pulled some shots on their Machine with it. In a side by side comparison the shots with the C-Ripple were once again sweeter and less bitter.

I figured it must be a placebo effect.

Today I brought it back to the Ugly Mug for Miro to try. He pulled to shots exactly the same except for the tamper and gave them to me in a blind test. It was clear as day to me which one was the C-Ripple. The shot was sweeter, less bitter, and had a much nicer finish. It passed the blind test with flying colors.

I have now tried the Tamper with 4 other tampers in side by side comparison. With 4 different espresso blends, on three different machines. Each time I have gotten the same results.

I have to concede that I was wrong. The Reg Barber C-Ripple makes a sweeter shot. It actually works!

Wow! Pick one up. It's worth it.

-Billy Kangas

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luuuuucky ! ethan informed me on your winnings the other day; congratulations ! i want one ...
Glad you posted this Billy, I've often wondered how much of the C-ripple was hype.
Very interesting. I was just wondering what the ripple was about... I think Danielle was the only competitor at the USBC that I noticed using one. I don't know if it was a choice based on the espresso she used, but considering she was pulling SO Kenyan shots it may have been.
Heath Henley said:
considering she was pulling SO Kenyan shots it may have been.

It is interesting... What about the Kenyan coffee do you think would make this tamper the tamper of choice?

I wonder if we'll see more of this as time goes on. I've only used it on blends so far. Is anyone on here using this on Single Origins? Ritual perhaps?
Nice post Billy. I've been digging up dirt on the C-Ripple for about a month, but nothing as substantial as a side by side. Interesting that you feel it actually makes a difference. I'll try to get my hands on one to do some experimenting as well.

-bry
Just an assumption based on the typically high acidity of Kenyan coffees. If the C-Ripple somehow increases the sweetness it could help balance the sharpness of the acidity.

All just theory, no real experience on that one. I do know of a shop that slightly updoses on their espresso, which contains a good bit of Kenya. If they don't it becomes too sharp and acidic.

Billy Kangas said:
Heath Henley said:
considering she was pulling SO Kenyan shots it may have been.

It is interesting... What about the Kenyan coffee do you think would make this tamper the tamper of choice?

I wonder if we'll see more of this as time goes on. I've only used it on blends so far. Is anyone on here using this on Single Origins? Ritual perhaps?
It's a good thought... I pulled some more shots this afternoon back at the Common Cup. It really works best with a finer grind. A course grind doesn't really get much of an impact from the tamper.

Has anyone else had any experiance with this?
Bryan Wray said:
Nice post Billy. I've been digging up dirt on the C-Ripple for about a month, but nothing as substantial as a side by side.

What have other people been saying Bryan?

Has anyone else talked to someone who has used one?

I want to see if my findings are consistent with others...
Well for the most part it seems like people were looking for someone to do an experiment like what you have done, without having any results to compare to themselves. You know, like me... There were concerns about coffee getting stuck in the ripples and a lot of skepticism about it just being a gimmick, but that was mostly it, no other real comparisons or hands on anything were done. You've sparked my curiosity, though... so I will jump on the experimentation train here soon. Keep us posted on your findings. Thanks for the note about the grind.

-bry

Billy Kangas said:
Bryan Wray said:
Nice post Billy. I've been digging up dirt on the C-Ripple for about a month, but nothing as substantial as a side by side.

What have other people been saying Bryan?

Has anyone else talked to someone who has used one?

I want to see if my findings are consistent with others...
Heath Henley said:
Very interesting. I was just wondering what the ripple was about... I think Danielle was the only competitor at the USBC that I noticed using one. I don't know if it was a choice based on the espresso she used, but considering she was pulling SO Kenyan shots it may have been.

Johnny has one of these that he uses at the roastery..... maybe tomorrow we can do a side by side with a ripple, a convex and a flat tamp....I'll keep you posted.
I've got a C-ripple, and to quote the X-Files, "I choose to believe".
It seems to me this is a valuable tool...
I love the shots I've been Pulling, but I don't think I would ever make this my "only tamper"... It's nice to have, it does a great job, but I'm not ready to work a shift without a backup.

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