Tamping coffee in Moka pot?

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Tamping coffee in Moka pot?

Postby Aadje » Wed Feb 08, 2006 3:45 pm

A question about my moka pot:

When I make coffee with my moka pot I allways fully fill the filter and do not tamp it. But when I'm cleaning it and blowing the ground coffee out of the filter the ground coffee has become a nice whole piece, and when I break it, there are no weird holes in it. In fact it looks good. But I notice that the coffee is reduced to about 2/3 of the heigth of the filter. Obviously the hot water, when it comes up, presses the coffee up against the upper filter and "tamps" it a bit on the go.

1. Has anyone else noticed this?
2. Is this supposed to happen?
3. And should I, when filling it, tamp it bit so more coffee fits in and the water can't compress it any further?
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Postby jameso » Thu Feb 09, 2006 2:46 pm

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. "They" say not, but no-one has ever told me why!
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Postby Aadje » Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:19 pm

Bits 'n' pieces . . .

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Postby GeorgeW » Thu Feb 09, 2006 9:27 pm

Aadje wrote:thanks!

I suspect that the reason not to tamp hard is that if the basket is full and hard tamped, when the grounds swell this will which compress the O ring too much.
When I have done so it took quite a force to seperate the two halves of the pot.
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Postby Terje » Fri Feb 10, 2006 1:48 pm

jameso wrote:3. "They" say not, but no-one has ever told me why!

I'm like you, I need to know why. At least I need to know what happens. So even though I was told not to tamp by the guy who sold the first moka pot to me, and even though it says that you should not tamp the coffee if you read the instructions I still wnet ahead after a few days of owning the pot to try what'd happen if I tamped the coffee.

The result spoke for itself.

The pot started sputtering and coffee was coming out from the sides on to the stove. not very nice at all. Made a big mess and smelled pretty bad since it burnt on the hot stove as it poured down. But more important than that, cause I could live with all of this if the reuslt was better coffee, I got really weak and bad tasting coffee. Weak but bitter.

So, the rule of thumb with moka pots is do never, ever tamp the coffee and it's better to take "too little" than too much. As the water comes up into the filter I think the coffee actually expands. That would make sense, cause that's how coffee reacts with hot water otherwise. There needs to be room for this expansion or the water will try to come out through the sides of the pot.
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Postby zix » Fri Feb 10, 2006 6:54 pm

I suppose the moka pot isn't designed for high pressure. The Brikka must withstand about 4 bar, so it is less sensitive to coffee grind and tamping, but they (Bialetti) still recommend the same method - no tamping, coarse grind, do not overfill.
If I may, I would also like to add "brush away any excess coffee grinds". Even small amounts of grinds on the edge of the filter or on the threads affect the taste negatively. Plus they burn themselves into the gasket.
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