How To Setup Saint Anthony Industries Tools
We’ve become big fans of Saint Anthony Industries here at Clive. In particular, we love their New Levy Tamper and BT Wedge Distributor tools not just because they’re beautiful pieces of design hand-made in the USA, but also for their ability to give us control over one more variable in our process. One of the most common questions we get with these tools is “what depth do I set it to?”
When you purchase a Saint Anthony Industries tool along with an espresso machine we’ll dial it in free of charge, but we’re just as happy to walk you through doing it yourself.
Video Transcript Below
The Levy Tamper
The quickest and easiest way to set up your Levy is to grind your standard dose of coffee into your portafilter and use your regular tamper to compact it. Most espresso machines come with a plastic tamper in the box and this might be the one time that comes in handy. Lean in and use a comfortable amount of force while trying to keep the bed level.
Grab your Levy and give the middle collar a small counterclockwise turn. Now you’ll be able the adjust the depth of the tamper itself. Turn it counterclockwise until it's about as long as it can be. You’ll know you’re close when it starts to unthread from the tamper’s cap. From there just give it a couple turns back to keep things together. Take the Levy and set it lightly in your portafilter with the tamped puck of coffee.
You’ll notice that the collar is hovering a few millimeters above the rim of the basket. What we want is to adjust the Levy so that the collar just barely rests on the rim of the basket so that when we use it we’ll get an identical, level tamp. Loosen the collar and give the tamper a few turns clockwise, then tighten it. Place the tamper back in the basket and see if the collar is touching the rim. Repeat this in small increments so as to avoid over-shooting the proper depth.
Now that you have the collar at the right depth, you’re set! Every time you tamp from here on out it’ll be perfectly level and at the same depth.
The Wedge Distribution Tool
Setting up the Wedge requires a bit more experimentation, but luckily there isn’t just one right answer. Grind a fresh dose of coffee into your portafilter and set the wedge on top of the basket. Give it a few spins and then lift it up to view the bed of grounds. We’re looking for one thing: a flat bed of grounds. If there are gaps around the edges of the basket you’ll want to adjust your Wedge to go a bit deeper until you get a smooth surface.
From here we encourage you to experiment with different depths of distribution to see how they affect your shot. There are a few factions here at the office. Some prefer the lightest possible sweep, some like a heavier distribution, and some even prefer a heavy distribution with no tamp at all. Full disclosure: I fall into the last camp but I think my reasoning is equal parts efficacy and rebellion.