Let’s say you have decided to start your own breakfast spot, and you’ve got coffee on the menu. You would have to invest in top-notch equipment to ensure you produce only the best espressos with great consistency and flavor. An espresso machine is simply not enough to handle that.
To get the best out of your coffee beans in terms of consistency and flavor, you would need a tamper. This is a handheld, dual-sided device used to press coffee grounds evenly before being put into the portafilter for further processing. Tampers have been used for years by the best baristas, and it’s only fitting you get the best.
There are several factors to consider when buying a tamper, such as calibration, weight, construction material, flat or convex. There is also the need to strike a balance between affordability and features.
Keep reading to determine what key factors to consider before settling for an espresso tamper, such as the difference between a flat and convex tamper. After that, we would look at ten espresso tampers in the market we’re currently in love with.
Essential Factors When Selecting What Tamper To Buy
Baristas know the importance of a tamper in the coffee-making process, so this is something you have to get right. In the course of buying a tamper, you would have been asked if you prefer a flat tamper to a convex tamper. This is asides from having a tamper that aligns with your machine’s portafilter.
Flat Tampers Or Convex Tampers?
Flat tampers have a base that comes in complete contact with the ground coffee. If you prefer an even and uniform surface when tamping the compressed grounds, a flat tamper is definitely your best option.
Convex tampers differ from flat tampers as there is an incline running from the center down to its sides. Convex tampers create a shape that is convex in nature when used in coffee grounds.
Both tamper options are great depending on who is using which. Some baristas believe that the convex tamper may cause lower extraction compared to its flat counterpart.
However, convex tampers help prevent channeling, which is a problem faced when tamping. Channeling occurs when water flows quickly through the sides of the coffee grounds during extraction. This, in turn, could reduce the espresso’s flavor to some extent.
Size: Another crucial factor to consider is the size of the tamper being used. Tamper width is measured in millimeters and will range between 49-60mm. You must read the user manual of your espresso machine to know which tamper fits perfectly.
Material Used In Construction: The material used in constructing the espresso tamper is vital, as it determines the life span of your tamper to some extent. The standard material used is cheap plastic, aluminum, and stainless steel.
Plastic is definitely out of the question as the handle could easily break. Aluminum is a better alternative, but stainless steel is the best option at the end of the day. Metal tampers tend to have a good and sturdy grip compared to others.
Weight Of The Tamper: The weight of the tamper is also crucial, as it determines how much force you would apply when tamping the coffee grounds. Heavy tampers can be difficult to handle compared to lighter tampers. The ideal weight for a tamper is between 10 to 25 oz.
Calibration or No Calibration: A calibrated tamper has a resistant spring situated between the base and handle. The significant advantage of a calibrated tamper is using the same amount of pressure to achieve greater consistency with your espressos.
Handle: The tamper’s handle should be sturdy with a firm grip, so it offers an excellent grip when you hold it. Tamper handles often come in wood, plastic, and metal, with wood and metal as the most durable options.
Espro 3058F Calibrated Flat Tamper
The Espro 305BF tamper is excellent for producing consistent shots of espresso every single time it is used. This is due to its calibration, which ensures 30 pounds of pressure is being used at any given time. This tamper weighs just one pound, making it easy to handle and apply pressure to the beans.
The quality of this tamper justifies the price, although some may find it as being expensive. Espro also gives a one-year warranty, along with size variants, so you can pick which fits your espresso machine.
- Product Dimensions: 2.25 x 3.5 x 2.25 inches
- Weight: 1 pound
- Diameter: 58mm
- Comes already calibrated
- Features a stainless steel base
- Multiple sizes available
- Delivers a consistent 30 pounds of pressure.
- Might be too expensive for some
LuxHaus 51mm Espresso Tamper
LuxHaus is known for making some of the best products out there, including stainless steel jugs and espresso tampers. This 51mm tamper is made with food-grade stainless steel and other durable materials. Thanks to its calibration, you can be assured of one hundred percent consistency with every tamp.
Its grip is also comfortable, with different sizes such as 49mm, 51mm, and 58mm. The design is quite pleasing, with a red pouch for storage.
- Product dimensions- 3.86 x 2.28 x 2.28 inches
- Product weight- 15.3 ouncesProduct diameter: 51mm
- Calibrated for consistent tamps
- Comfortable gripMade from durable materials
- A bit pricey
- Spring mechanism seems fragile
BlueSnail 51mm Stainless Steel Tamper
Here is your answer if you are in the market for a tamper that provides a mix of high-quality materials and affordability. Made from stainless steel and iron with a 51mm base and 39mm handle, this tamper is a great option for those who prefer flat to convex tampers.
Despite the lack of calibration, one can still get great espresso shots from this tamper. None of the parts are interchangeable, and the materials used in its making are consumer-friendly. This is an excellent choice for baristas who are just starting out their career In brewing.
- Product dimensions: 3.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 inches
- Weight: 1.23 pounds
- Diameter: 51mm
- Light and can be used by amateurs
- Made from strong and durable materials
- Affordable compared to other tampers made from the same set of materials.
- Interior could get rusty with constant use
Apexstone 51mm Coffee Tamper
This is another espresso tamper made from solid iron and plated with chrome to give it a stunning look. Its diameter is 51mm, and it weighs 600g making it quite heavy. Be careful not to let this tamper fall on your feet, as it could lead to injury.
Lots of washing is not required, as you could easily wash off stains with soap or rinse with water. The chrome finishing makes it resistant t corrosion and rust even with prolonged usage. It also offers excellent ergonomics and fits nicely with portafilters.
We also love the premium look of this tamper, thanks to its chrome-plated finish. If you are on a budget, this might just be another great option for you.
- Product dimensions: 3.5 x3 x 2.8 inches
- Weight:600 grams
- Diameter: 51mm
- Very easy to clean
- Premium look and great value for money
- Corrosion and rust-resistant
- Strong and sturdy build
- Chrome plating may not be durable
- Could cause injury if mishandled
Omgogo Stainless Steel Coffee Tamper
This is one of the best lightweight tampers in the market that offers excellent value for money. Its stainless steel and rosewood finish provides an excellent grip. The sizes available are 49mm, 51mm, and 53mm.
Some may find it challenging to get in enough pressure to grind with this tamper due to its wooden handle and lack of calibration. However, we love how light it is at 7.2 oz making it easy to handle and maneuver when in use.
- Product dimensions: 2.3 x 2.3 x 3.2 inches
- Weight: 7.2 oz
- Dimensions: 51mm
- Wood handle feels solid
- Great ergonomics
- Great value for money
- Quality control feels somewhat poor
HIC Dual-Sided Tamper
Being a dual-sided espresso tamper means that there is no dedicated handle. That might pose a bit of a problem for some baristas. However, there are a lot of other positive aspects to this tamper than just the handle.
It is made of corrosion-free aluminum, with each side having a different diameter. One side is 50mm, while the other is 55mm. Lastly, it is really light at 4 oz, making it one of the best lightweight espresso tampers on the market.
- Product dimensions: 2.25 x 2.25 x 2.75 inches
- Weight: 4 oz
- Diameter: 50 mm and 55mm
- Two bases with different diameters
- Made from high-grade corrosion-free aluminum.
- Easy to clean and does not clog.
- Due to its lightweight, more effort is required for use.
- Outer paint coating is not durable
Zoie + Chloe Stainless Steel Tamper
When it comes to aesthetics, this espresso tamper takes the prize. It is available in three colors, namely blue, red, and gold. Aesthetics are not all this product has to offer. This tamper has a flat base allowing for even distribution of pressure with a diameter of 49mm.
You also get an excellent grip courtesy of a sturdy handle, an easy-to-clean tamper, and a premium stainless steel base at an affordable price. This tamper also fits perfectly with small portafilters but could be too small for larger-sized portafilters.
- Product dimensions: 2 x 2 x 6 ounces
- Weight: 12.8 ounces
- Diameter: 49mm
- Cleaning is easy
- Uniform pressure due to flat base
- Well-built and ergonomic design
- Not safe for dishwashers
- Bottom gets loose at times
FEENM 58mm Calibrated Tamper
Another calibrated tamper on our list, the FEENM 58mm espresso tamper, delivers nothing short of consistency and quality. Ofter referred to as a heavy-duty tamper, this product can handle large amounts of espressos with perfection. There is a spring that allows for 30 pounds of pressure exertion when in use.
Stainless steel metal and aluminum means you do not have to bother about replacing parts for a long time. It also comes with a sleek appearance, excellent ergonomics, and a high rating by most baristas
- Product dimensions: 2.8 x 2.6 x 4.8 inches
- Weight:1 pound
- Diameter: 58mm
- Easy to handle
- Calibration offers consistency
- Constructed from strong and durable materials
- Calibration could be better
Youdepot Stainless Steel Tamper
Super easy to clean and is made with iron and stainless steel, the Youdepot espresso tamper is reliable and easy to use. This tamper can be used in the kitchen to press your pastry into pans comfortably. This is also a heavyweight tamper, so you do not need to exert a lot of force when pushing.
The tamper has a diameter of 51mm with superb ergonomics aside from being easy to wash. This tamper work well for seasoned baristas and amateurs alike. The best part is that it is very affordable at less than twenty-five dollars
- Product weight:
- Product height:
- Diameter: 51mm
- Very affordable
- Easy to clean
- Great build offers a firm grip
- Gradual rust due to continuous washing
Motalius Solid Espresso Tamper
If you’re looking for a great coffee tamper made entirely from stainless steel, the Motalius Espresso Tamper is your best bet. It is heavy, meaning you don’t need to exert a lot of force. It is also rust-resistant with a 58mm base.
However, there is only one variant: the 58mm, which we have tested. Due to that, it means there won’t be a lot of portafilters where you can use it. Some users have stated that the base is a bit smaller than 58mm
- Product dimensions: 3.3 x 3.1 x 5.2 inches
- Weight: 1,4 pounds
- Diameter: 58mm
- Solid unibody build of stainless steel
- Convenient grip and ergonomics
- Easy to clean
- Only available in one size
- Slightly smaller base results in lose fit in portafilters
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should I Use An Espresso Tamper
An espresso tamper should be used right after the coffee beans have been ground. Tampers are used mainly when preparing espresso and espresso-based drinks.
What Type Of Espresso Tamper Works Best For Novices
For beginners, it is best to use a tamper with calibration. Calibration helps deliver constant pressure for consistent results. As you get better with time, you can then switch to non-calibrated tampers.
How to Tamp Espresso
If you love espresso and always wish to make a great one, you must get a good to tamp. If you do not know how to tamp, you will need to learn how to; it is the art and science of correctly pressing down your grounds to get an effective extraction as your result.
Tamping is not easy as you need to get certain things right to achieve an even tamp. Below are the steps to follow to achieve the perfect tamping.
What is Tamping?
The reason for tamping is to build resistance when you are using the compacted coffee; the opposition doesn’t allow water to pass through the ground quickly. The reason why this is done is to extract the flavor in the ground.
To get the taste you want when making espresso, you must get your tamping right and learn how to pack your ground into the portafilter. Tamping allows the water’s pressure to pull oil from the ground, which gives you the rich taste and texture you desire.
If the tamp is not tight and not evened, the water will find the gaps in your ground and move through; this will prevent your water from pulling enough flavor out from the grounds.
To prevent loose ground, you need to push down on your grounds inside the portafilter, producing a compressed puck. If you are a newbie at tamping, the first few times you tamp can be a bit of trial and error but don’t worry, you will get the hang, and it will be worth it.
Items Needed For Tamping
When you are ready to tamp, you will need a ground espresso, a portafilter, and a tamper. If you own an espresso machine, it’s possible your machine came with a plastic tamper; do no use those. Purchase a tamper with a decent weight.
When you get the tamper, you think you want, check the bottom to decide the type you wish to purchase; you can either get a convex or flat bottom. Other items you will need to tamp your espresso include:
- A good espresso machine
- A grinder that can grind your beans for espresso
- A scale to help you maintain accuracy when loading your ground.
Bear in mind that your grind size is what makes the difference between a delicious and bitter espresso.
If you do not own a tamper, you can still make your espresso, but you will get a less than ideal taste. You can make use of any item that fits your portafilter and can withstand pressure; a good example is your spice or salt jar. This option should only be used in case of emergency as it will not be a good choice for long-term use.
How To Tamp In Steps follow these easy steps:
- Confirm that your portafilter is clean and dry
- Your portafilter must be clean; you can also be rinsing and wiping your portafilter between shots. After a couple of use, ensure you do extensive cleaning and soaking of your portafilter and the basket.
- Pour your ground espresso into the portafilter’s basket.
- You can ground your expresso and pour it directly into the portafilter, or you pour your espresso from another container. For single shots, the weight of your ground should be around 7 grams, for a double shot, approximately 14 grams, and for a triple shot, about 21 grams.
- For each shot, you can get an exact basket size. The most popular basket is the double shot. The weights stated above are the standard; you can experiment by adding more grams to your basket, referred to as up dosing.
- Owning a very good coffee grinder will go a long way in producing consistency in your espresso shots. Some of the best grinders on the market for this purpose are the Rancilio Rocky, Baratza Virtuoso, and the Mazzer Mini.
- When pouring your ground into the basket, aim at creating an even bed of grounds. Ensure your espresso mounds above the portafilter base; this is done in order to have enough coffee when you even and tamp out the grounds.
- Even the ground with your finger
- After putting your ground into the portafilter, use your index fingers to smoothen by running it across the top of the portafilter. Doing this pushes off any extra grounds. Do not begin to apply pressure until the surface of the ground is even and level. If you add pressure before getting a smooth surface, you will end up with an uneven extraction, leading to a poor taste.
- Place your tampon on a leveled surface
- After evening your grounds with your finger, place your portafilter on a flat surface to level – some portafilter comes with a benchtop for leveling. Place your wrist straight and keep your elbow bent. Doing this will ensure power comes from your body rather than your wrist.
- Apply light pressure
- Apply a little pressure at first to ensure your ground coffee forms the puck shape; your aim is to create a flat surface. An uneven surface will not get you the espresso taste you want. Begin with about fifteen pounds of pressure to get things going.
- Tamp the shot
- The aim of the tamp is to place even extraction with about thirty pounds of pressure. If you own a bathroom scale, you can use it to measure how much weight you are exerting on your tamp. It’s more important that you achieve consistent pressure in your tamp than it is to attain a pressure of thirty pounds.
- Keep your arm straight while tampering to ensure the tamper makes contact with the coffee bad evenly.
- Check for a flat, level surface
- Double-check to see if your puck has any gaps or space. You want a compact, solid puck of coffee that has no gaps or loose spots.
- Polish the shot
- While applying your final pressure, you can spin the tamper; this process is called polishing – it is the final step. Some people say this last step is necessary for evening the tamp, while others say it is not; they believe it to be more of a show-off move.
- Clean up loose coffee grounds
- As part of your finishing ritual, take a cloth and clean off any excess coffee grounds around the edges of your portafilter. You want your portafilter going into your machine clean and nice.
- And that is how you tamp. Now, you are ready to brew.
How long will it take to brew an espresso shot?
Typically, an espresso shot should take about twenty minutes to brew; if your timing is shot, you need to look at the grind size of your coffee, the weight, and the tamping method.
My espresso is watery; why?
The reason for your watery espresso is because your ground is too coarse. If you didn’t attain a fine enough ground, water would rush through the portafilter without extracting enough flavor from your espresso ground.
How do I attain a perfect espresso shot?
You can achieve the perfect espresso shot by using the right equipment and technique. The perfect espresso shot depends significantly on your ground’s fitness, the weight of the coffee, your tampering skill, and your pour time.
Learning to tamp an espresso shot is not rocket science; your aim should be to do it consistently after your first attempt. With enough practice, you will incorporate your tamp technique when working with a new coffee, and you can also teach other people your course.