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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Wow!! I almost bought a c-ripple for my shop, but ended up deciding on a c-flat, because of my skepticism. Now I really want to give it a try.

Quick question though: are you up dosing or down dosing with the c-ripple??
Jonathan Jarrow said:
Wow!!
Quick question though: are you up dosing or down dosing with the c-ripple??

Great question...
I ha ve been up-dosing in most of the shots.
Would you mind down dosing as well, and posting the results??

Billy Kangas said:
Jonathan Jarrow said:
Wow!!
Quick question though: are you up dosing or down dosing with the c-ripple??

Great question...
I ha ve been up-dosing in most of the shots.
Okay, I tried the head to head this morning at the roastary. We're using a GS3 and Mazzer flat burr grinder, as well as a C-ripple and standard flat base tamper i got from espresso parts that has served me well for quite a while.

The findings where actualy pretty cool. Compared to the standard flat base the ripple was a bit sweeter. it seemed that some of the basso notes chocolate and carmel and the like where a little muted, but the acidity was slightly yet perceptably sweeter(perhaps more balanced).

p.s. the coffee used was Topeca Coffee, an El Salvadorian single origin blend.

p.p.s i still don't get it cause those little ripples get destroyed as soon as the pump is engaged, i tried looking at the puck after less than a second of pre-infusion and there wasn't a ripple to be seen. weird.

oh yeah and i up-dosed and boom the basso was back and the acidity was still a little sweeter.
Hello, Although I don't have any comparison tests, when I purchased mine I e-mailed Julia Barber @ Reg's.
She stated that "the jury is still out" on the ripple design, but they have experienced it can work better for a finer grind and a harder tamp. I ordered mine 58.7 mm, and am very happy with it. Never have any grinds sticking to the ripples. - Dennis
I talked to a friend of mine who's a farmer. She said when makeing beds for planting one puts "ripples" on the top because when it rains you know the water is going to channel but by preparing the soil in this way you can control the channeling thus creating a more even absorbtion of water.
So there's that.
Huh, fascinating... so instead of trying to avoid channeling, when you use a ripple you're anticipating channeling and directing it...

I think you just blew my mind.

We have a ripple and flat at work, and I generally use the ripple tamper more often - but it's more to do with how it fits in my hand. I don't have enough faith in the consistency of my shots yet to really do much in the way of evaluations or tests, but at least I FEEL like I get better shots with the ripple tamper.

Thanks for the awesome insight!

John Cunningham said:
I talked to a friend of mine who's a farmer. She said when makeing beds for planting one puts "ripples" on the top because when it rains you know the water is going to channel but by preparing the soil in this way you can control the channeling thus creating a more even absorbtion of water.
So there's that.
Brilliant. Thanks for that.

John Cunningham said:
because when it rains you know the water is going to channel but by preparing the soil in this way you can control the channeling thus creating a more even absorbtion of water.
So there's that.
thanks billy, i'm going to "bench" this tamper as well.
Hey Billy, you'll have to give the side by side run down when I'm out in May. I've only had two shots off a c-ripple before and neither were anything to write home about. They weren't side by side but I had other shots of the same espresso with other tampers that blew it away. The other thing I'm curious about is how much the grinder plays in this. The ones I've had were on conical, you guys have a flat burr right? Anyways we can play when I'm there soon. Still a fan of the flat tamp here.
With the 100's of factors and thousands of combination of those factors that go into espresso there would need to be huge substantial empirical data to back up the idea that this tamper makes coffee taste better.
This was the claim made by the bottomless portafilter and we now know that, while it has its uses, it is not a leap in quality as some thought.

It seems that channeling would be a concern as well.

-cd
I have noticed that my shots are a little sweeter with the ripple, but I'm still not completely sold on it. Time will tell.

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