Tamping ground coffee is a very important step in making espresso. For tamping coffee, you must use a special instrument, that will help you get the best espresso flavor. In this article, we’ll take a look at what is a coffee tamper.
So, What Is Coffee Tamper Used For?
Tamper is a tool that forms a “pill” from ground coffee beans in a portafilter, which is a special horn of a coffee machine, that holds the grounds. Tamping is performed before you start making espresso. This process is incredibly important and has a very strong influence on the final quality of the drink.
The Importance of Tamper
Why is tamping so important? If the coffee is slightly tamped, the water will quickly pass through the loose layer of coffee, and the drink will be watery, almost tasteless, or too acidic. Also, all flavorful and nutritious substances will remain in the coffee tablet. If you press too hard, water will seep for a very long time through a dense coffee layer. As a result, there will be a lot of caffeine in coffee. The taste of the drink will be very bitter and burnt.
Today, every barista chooses a tamper most convenient to them. The main thing is to choose the right one for your specific needs. A tamper consists of a work surface and a handle, but there are a lot of various types of this device:
- Dual-Head Tamper: This tool looks like dumbbells with two flat ends. One end is slightly smaller than the other. It is convenient and great for the home barista. The bases are sometimes of different sizes. One side of the accessory works as a coffee grind distributor, which works to optimize proper distribution and leveling of espresso grinds inside the portafilter basket. The other side of the tool is a tamper to consolidate the grinds.
- Calibrated Tamper: for excellent espresso pressure force of 30 feet is put on ground coffee. This tamper has a built-in mechanism that helps the barista regulate this pressure force. The calibrated tamper is balanced and comfortable.
- Conex Tampers: this shape makes it possible to increase the layer of coffee near the walls, which allows water to pass through the filter wall easier. It is also used for avoiding surface damage.
- Flat Tamper: This form of tamper is considered traditional and the most popular. It consists of a flat base and a handle of various materials.
- Puck Tamper: This tamper resembles a hockey puck. It has the smallest grip among all types of tampers, which allows the barista to hold it with his index and thumb.
Tempers also differ in terms of the material they’re made of, and, of course, style.
How to Choose Perfect Espresso Tamper
There are so many tempers on the market today, that it is hard to choose among them. What you need to pay attention to when choosing the right tool:
- A convenient handle. For high-quality pressed coffee, you need to make an effort. If the tamper handle is uncomfortable, it will be difficult to press on it with the needed force. You should also choose a handle according to the size of your hand. The diameter of the tamper should correspond to the diameter of the portafilter basket (0.5-1 mm less).
- An outsole material: plastic, aluminum, stainless steel, wood. They have different feel so you have to figure out what works for you.
- The shape of a tamper: a flat platform makes it possible to create a uniform pill. This option is suitable for dual filters. A convex platform allows you to compact coffee in the center, leaving an elevation on the side walls. Suitable for single filters.
- Sizes. There are two important parameters – tamper diameter and height. Product diameters come in different sizes: 51 mm, 53 mm; 57 mm; 58 mm. The height of the platform varies between 7 and 10 mm.
The most functional and convenient models are considered those with a steel platform and a wooden handle. They are distinguished by their long service life and reliability. To choose the perfect tamper, you need to take into account certain characteristics of the coffee maker:
- Portafilter size. The coffee accessory should be slightly smaller than the narrowest of the filter parts.
- The type of the holder: double or single. In the presence of a double filter, preference should be given to devices with a flat platform. In the case of a single, there are no special requirements.
Use the above guidelines and you won’t go wrong.
Bonus: Best Coffee Tamper on Amazon
Perhaps, while reading this article, you have developed a desire to give a try to barista-style coffee preparation. And now you have a question where to buy a tamper, that’s not already incorporated into a machine. Specially for you, we have selected the best tampers that you can easily buy on Amazon. Among them, you will definitely find the one you like.
Tamping is a real science for the barista. It is not so simple. Often an inexpensive plastic tamper is already included in the espresso machine. However, for high-quality coffee preparation, you need to get a good, heavy stainless steel tool with a convenient, preferably non-slip handle. Hopefully, after reading this review you’ll be able to make the right choice.