To make the perfect espresso, you need to have coffee tampers by your side.
This is a tool that both professional baristas and at-home individuals must use before brewing their espresso.
Following is the most comprehensive guide about coffee tampers that you’ll ever come across.
So, buckle down and start reading.
What is a Coffee Tamper?
Even if you have no idea what an espresso tamper is, you have still probably (unknowingly) seen it.
Have you noticed your barista using a stamp-like tool on coffee grounds in a portafilter before attaching it to the espresso machine? That’s a tamper.
It is used to “tamp” or pack the coffee grounds so that water is evenly distributed and the resulting espresso is delicious.
It might seem like an unimportant step but it is extremely essential. Tamping allows you to get that rich espresso shot that is neither watered down nor bitter.
Types of Coffee Tampers
There are various kinds of coffee tampers based on their functions.
Following are the most popular examples:
This isn’t an official tamper. It’s just the most common one you’ll find.
It has a flat base and a decently shaped handle that allows you to get the job done. The handle can be made of different materials and colors to allow for a customized look.
A fan-favorite is the calibrated tamper. It has a built-in system that automatically puts 30-pound pressure on the coffee so it removes the guesswork from tamping.
It also has a base and a handle.
The Espro and LuxHaus are some popular ones for this category.
Dual Head Tamper
A dual-head tamper is like a small dumbbell. That’s an odd way of describing it but they are really similar.
This tamper has two heads or bases, which can be of different sizes to fit different portafilters. And the handle is in the middle of the two bases.
Sizes of Coffee Tampers
Choosing the type of tamper you want isn’t the only decision to make.
You also need to select the size you want based on your portafilter. The ideal tamper should be a little smaller than the diameter of your portafilter.
You can check this out for more details on the sizing.
The most common sizes with their recommendations are:
Zoie + Chloe 49mm is a wonderful flat-base tamper option with 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
It’s a heavyweight tamper so that ensures enough pressure is applied. Its stainless steel body also means that it will last you a long time.
Furthermore, it is available in a variety of bold colors like rose-gold, blue, and red. You can possibly match it with your coffee machine.
LuxHaus 49mm Calibrated Espresso Tamper is one of the best options in the market with 4.7 stars.
It’s a flat base tamper that has calibrated pressure so you don’t need to worry about getting that right.
You also get a storage bag with this tamper.
It’s available in 49mm, 51mm, 53mm, and 58mm. It really is for everyone!
De’Longhi DLSC058 is an excellent calibrated option with 4.8 stars on Amazon.
De’Longhi is a well-known name in the coffee world. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that their coffee tampers are also great.
The only downside is that it’s available only in black and dark blue color.
A budget pick can be RSVP International (TAM) Dual-Sided Tamper which has 4.6 stars.
It has a base of 51mm as well as 58mm. It’s not perfectly accurate but for $8 (currently) it’s a decent deal.
If you just want to try one out without any commitment, then this might be a good option for you.
This Coffee Distributor & Tamper says 53mm but can fit 54mm Breville portafilters.
As the name suggests, it’s both distributes and tamps your coffee. This results in an even tamp as no coffee grounds are left un-tamped.
The wonderful part is that its depth can be adjusted according to your machine.
58mm is usually the standard size so you can get a lot of variety if you want this size.
Metallurgica Motta Tamper is a high-quality, Italian tamper.
Its olive wood handle brings an indistinguishable aesthetic to your coffee tamper.
And with a steel base, you can be sure that it will last you a long time.
You can’t go wrong with LuxHaus tampers. This LuxHaus 58mm Espresso Tamper is an excellent flat-base tamper.
The price point is a bit more than regular ones but you are paying for quality here.
With 4.9 stars, you are getting close to the perfect tamper.
Also, you can get a LuxHaus Calibrated tamper of this size as well.
Another high-quality tamper is the ESPRO Espresso Calibrated Coffee Tamper.
With 30lbs calibration, you will never need to worry about applying consistent pressure each time.
Again, it’s a pricey item but it’s worth it!
Not all 58mm tampers have to be expensive.
Beymill 58mm Espresso Tamper Dual Side is a terrific option.
It is made with stainless steel and has a flat base with the other side being a distributor.
You can also adjust the depth of the distributor.
A relatively newer option is an automatic coffee tamper called the PUQPress.
It’s especially great for professionals who have to tamp multiple times a day. It takes away those sore arms and wrists by automating the whole process.
It is an understandably high-priced model. For home coffee makers, it can be a luxury item but for baristas, it can speed up their coffee-making time.
How to Tamp?
The question that arises now is how do you even tamp your coffee?
Step 1: Put in the Coffee
Make sure your portafilter is ready. Then put in your coffee grounds as evenly as possible. Tap on a flat surface once or twice to ensure a leveled fill.
Step 2: Put some Pressure
Next, push the tamper down on your portafilter. You already know that pressure is key so make sure you do it with the right pressure of around 30-45 pounds.
Step 3: Remove the Tamper
Remove the tamper by twisting it out so that any grounds stuck to it also detach.
Step 4: Tamp Again
Some coffee grounds will be stuck to the walls of the portafilter. Tap on your counter to dislodge them then lightly tamp again.
Step 5: Make the Espresso
Remove the tamper normally this time and your portafilter is ready! Attach it in the machine to pull out a perfect shot.
Keep in mind that it may take a few tries before you get the pressure and method right. But it’s all worth it to get a rich espresso.
Price Range for Coffee Tampers
The importance of coffee tampers is different for everyone.
So while someone may be okay with paying over $50 for one, others may not.
The good thing is that you can get coffee tampers with any range. You may have to compromise a bit on the quality with some really cheap ones, but they get the job done.
The ones in this list start from as low as $8 up to $99. So, it really is your choice to choose a budget-friendly option or splurge on the finest one.
Final Verdict for Choosing Coffee Tampers
It’s hard to pick one amongst the many types and sizes.
As an unbiased reviewer, I have to say that the LuxHaus Flat-Base Tamper has to be the overall best. It is available in a variety of sizes, is reasonably priced, and has over a thousand positive reviews.
Having said that, you are obviously entitled to your opinion. Hopefully, you found a great one for yourself on this list. Or at least, you now know what to look for while buying one for yourself.
Get one and see how it changes your espresso game!