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We have recently come across a company hailing from Clapham, South Australia that makes some of the best coffee tampers we’ve seen in a long while.
The company is Pullman, and they are known for producing espresso accessories and, as they describe them, they are “Australia’s Premiere Artisan Coffee Tamper and Barista Tools”.
If you’ve never heard of Pullman Tampers before, you may wonder if these actually are the best tampers coming out of Australia, but once you get a hold of some of Pullman’s barista equipment, you can see where such a slogan comes from.
Check out this video straight from Pullman going over some of the benefits of their tampers.
To recap this video, here is why you might want to buy yourself a Pullman tamper:
- Guiding rings for leveling
- Softer rubber handle to be easy on the wrist and arm
- Ergonomically designed and adjustable handle to fit your hand perfectly
- Light weight tamper
- Perfectly balanced
- Maximum control and feel
A QUICK WORD ABOUT TAMPING
If you’re new to the coffee experience and perhaps have just unpacked your first ever espresso machine, you may be wondering what this whole ‘tamping’ business is and why it is so important.
To put it briefly, basically we want to slow down the passage of the water as it travels through the coffee grounds, so that it brews as well as possible.
Also, and most importantly, we want the passage of the water to be as even as possible. This means absolutely no cracks or fissures (which creates unwanted channeling) in the ground coffee because the water will simply pour through them and make a very inconsistent and not very great-tasting coffee.
Here is a video showing some proper tamping technique from Seattle Coffee Gear:
As they mention in the above video, tamping can be done in many different ways, and there is no specific “right way” that is the absolute method, however, there are definitely things to watch out for when tamping to get better technique.
The espresso machine you bought probably came with a tamper supplied, but it is more than likely that this is a fairly basic model made of plastic.
If you want a few tips on tamping technique, or want to select a great tamper for you espresso-making pleasure, please see our article called “How To Use an Espresso Tamper“.
Pullman Tampers – One Size Does Not Fit All
When it comes to coffee tamping, these guys know that one size very much does not fit all. If you look on their website, they have a list of machines which they can supply with tampers.
They also very much encourage people to send them their machine’s filter baskets, so they can supply a custom fit tamper, that is just right for it.
Of course, this means a degree of trust and doing without your machine’s filter basket for some time. But it does also result in a custom fitting product, the likes of which you cannot just order off the peg.
Filter baskets are bound to get a bit bashed about the edges with constant use and they can ensure that your new tamper will still be a good fit.
Also, there is the phenomenon of two supposedly “identical” length baskets mysteriously not being the same size at all.
If you really cannot do without your filter basket, then there is the technical process of taking a measurement for them to use.
But, hey – if you want a Pullman tamper in your life, you are going to have to do some of the grunt work, and that means taking a proper reading of your basket’s vital stats.
If the exact machine that you own is not listed on their website, then be prepared to find yourself a pair of measuring calipers. If you do this, then the reading will be a whole lot more accurate than one taken on a ruler and as you might have by now gathered, these guys do not do estimates.
However, Pullman still strongly advises in favor of sending your filter basket to them, as it is less expensive in the event of your miscalculation and also a dead cert to actually fit.
In short, these guys REALLY want your filter basket to go on a little holiday down under. Grab the corked hats!
Pullman Tampers – You Get What You Pay For
Yes, you might well be asking yourself this question, given that these beauties don’t come cheap.
From $126 (AUD) for a Nexus range tamper, to the rather snooty Barista Premium Range from $210 (AUD).
If you’re interesting in buying one, you can head on over to Things Coffee right here, where you can buy online, or you can locate a reseller here. Many are from Australia, but there are quite a few around the world as well.
The thing is, if you have cared enough to go in search of a tamper in the first place and are already looking to spend a few dollars, you may as well go the whole hog and purchase what, the makers boast, may well be the only tamper you ever need.
It’s not just that these are exquisitely designed and handmade – there is no production line technology here. The manufacturers are keen to point out the base is made from high quality Australian steel.
As well as having a great range of handles and wood types to choose from, if you have an actual piece of wood that you would like to use, they are happy to make the handle for you from it! This isn’t an offer that is very commonplace, it has to be said.
This all comes down to who you are and what you want to do with your tamper (!) as much as personal taste and, of course, the limitations of your budget.
Basically, there are two ranges of Pullman tamper available, the Nexus and the Barista.
Available in either wooden or acetal plastic handle, this is not as pricey (as you may be expecting) than the Barista, but is perfect for domestic use.
Perhaps you find yourself drawn to this lady’s hourglass curves or just enjoy the feel of her in your hand. There isn’t often a more compelling reason for buying a tamper other than it just feeling right for you.
The handles are, of course, available in a huge array of colors (see the website) and the bases come in either smooth or convex. They can also be engraved, if you should so wish.
These retail from $126 AUD upwards.
Sturdy looking and available in many different colors and with a handle made of four materials.
Choose from lightweight aluminum, hardwood, acetal plastic or soft leather. All materials have their strengths and weaknesses, although it should be noted that the leather is only intended for domestic and not professional usage.
Like the Nexus, both the bases come in flat or convex. Unlike the Nexus, you can opt between premium Australian stainless steel and a base of aluminum bronze, should you prefer. This has the same weight as the stainless steel, but proves more resilient to scratches and abrasions.
These begin at $210 AUD. See the Pullman website for more details.
Although we have barely scratched the surface of what makes these Pullman Tampers so sought after, hopefully you can glean more about them on their website and if something strikes your fancy, you can place an order.
Suffice to say that baristas are turning to these, as being lightweight as well as attractive in design, means they save significantly on wrist injuries and strain – something you may wish to consider if you are using them in a professional capacity, or just like making a lot of coffee!
Thanks for reading!