Barista Pro Tips: Taking Your Skills from Good to Great
Leon from Evolve North Coffee Roasters dives into the essential aspects of tamping. Explaining channeling, he stresses the importance of even tamping to avoid uneven extraction. Channeling occurs when water seeks the path of least resistance, leading to over-extraction in certain areas of the coffee puck and under-extraction in others, resulting in a bitter taste. Leon demonstrates how inadvertently hitting the portafilter can create cracks in the puck, causing water to focus on these areas, disrupting the extraction process.
Debunking the myth around tamping force, Leon highlights that it doesn’t affect espresso extraction. Whether tamping lightly or firmly, the key is to eliminate air in the puck, as the pressure from the machine negates the impact of varying tamping pressures. Lastly, he shares a technique for holding the tamp to prevent wrist strain, advising reliance on shoulder strength rather than wrist force, ultimately ensuring a healthier and more sustainable tamping approach.