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When it comes to making the best coffee or espresso possible, you’ll need a few decent tools to get the job done.
People who don’t care about great results when it comes to espresso skimp on having the right equipment, but we all know that you basically get what you pay for in life.
That said, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to pay an arm and a leg for said coffee gear, to get a great cup of espresso at the end of the day.
What gear is needed to successfully complete the process? Well, you know, as you might expect – quality coffee beans, roasted properly, then ground properly with the right coffee grinder, then transformed into espresso using a high quality espresso machine, which itself has a number of accessories that go with it, such as the often underestimated tamper.
The Importance of the Right Espresso Tamper
Anyone with any espresso-making experience with a decent machine knows that an espresso machine is something you have to get to know, much like the accessories that go with it.
Even those who make espresso at home know that if you have a quote unquote “real” espresso machine, you have to become a bit of a coffee nerd to get the results you want time after time. It takes patience, and trial and error. There’s really no way around that.
This is where a high quality espresso tamper comes into play, because it’s one of those espresso-making tools where you might think you can get away with using a cheap one, but you simply can’t, for a number of reasons, the most important of which could be that your espresso won’t taste good!
Poorly tamped espresso grinds can basically ruin a potentially fabulous cup, and that’s just a fact, folks! Conversely, properly tamped coffee can make a potentially good espresso excellent.
This is why today we want to share with you some of the best espresso tampers you can get today, some of which are from companies you may know, while others you may not have heard of, but are worth investigating. Let’s take a look!
|De’Longhi Dlsc058 Coffee Tamper|
|Apexstone Coffee Tamper|
|Motta 8100/B Professional Flat Base Coffee Tamper|
|Luxhaus Espresso Coffee Tamper|
The Pullman Barista Tamper is one of the most stylish tampers we’ve seen, and we love their motto, which is “Creating tools with intent”. So, Pullman manages to pull off what few tampers do, which is combine style and essential practicality into one streamlined product.
To that end, we want to first mention the rings on this tamper, because the ring allow you to do a few things, such as push down to a certain extent and know where you’re at, because the rings are there to guide you with regards to how much pressure you want to apply, which is great for dosing!
The rings also help with levelling, as in keeping the grinds flat, so there are two purposes right there that, once you try it, you may not want to live without those features ever again.
The handle of this tamper is ergonomic, so that it fits perfectly into your hand. This is very helpful because when you are doing this type of repetitive motion, you want something that fits your hand, so you don’t get muscle cramping. The rubber below the handle also helps with this, to assist with shock absorption.
The handle is also adjustable, and the Pullman tamper comes with “spacers” of different sizes so that you can easily adjust the height of your tamper to exactly the size you need it to be. This can be done easily and quickly, and we count it as another major plus of this tamper.
In terms of weight, the tamper is quite light, and also very well balanced, such that the weight between both ends of the tamper are fairly evenly distributed. In other words, whoever designed this tamper was a clever individual indeed, and understand the needs of baristas, whether they be working at a café, or at home.
There are a wide variety of colors and designs to choose from, and so it is quite tempting to purchase a number of handles, as overall they seem quite collectible.
Definitely a tamper to look out for!
Up next we have the Mahlgut Palm Tamper, which is a snazzy little espresso tool of German make which we very much appreciate!
You’ve heard of Germans being known for their engineering. Well, that is especially true of this espresso tamper, which is, as we said about the last one, extremely fitting to the hand, and requires perhaps even less guesswork, or adjusting.
You simply lay your porta-filter full of ground coffee into a porta-filter holder, lay the Mahlgut tamper on top, and, with a few twists, you have perfect flat espresso in your porta-filter in no more than 10 seconds. It is a very efficient and repeat-able process.
The materials used to make this tamper are all high quality, and you’ll be able to use it for years to come, no doubt. This is a company that clearly takes pride in their work, and, once you start using this tamper, you will see the wisdom in its design. It’s very well crafted, aesthetically pleasing, and does the job to a “T”.
Palm tampers are definitely a type of tamper to be aware of, if you haven’t been introduced to them, and we feel there would be no better introduction than if you were to purchase a Mahlgut.
A great choice, once again, for home, or work.
RSVP is a company that makes a wide variety of shapes and sizes of coffee tampers, at different price points. Now, we have to qualify this choice on our list, for a few reasons.
Mainly, when it comes to RSVP tampers, you’re going to want to avoid the ones that are the least expensive.
We’ve mentioned these types of tampers before, and it’s a good chance now to say again that a cheap coffee tamper is not the way to go, as tempting as the price may be.
Take a look at this one…
You will see this one around a lot, however it is not the one we recommend. When it comes to RSVP, you will have to pay a bit more money to get one of their better tampers, but, as we are trying to point out, they certainly have much better tampers to choose from, if you can get your hands on one!
Take for instance this one, called the “Little Gem”. We do love this one!
Like the previous tampers we’ve mentioned, you need to be looking for a few things that are, or should be, important to anyone purchasing a tamper. This includes, ergonomics, adjustability, a certain weighted balance, and perhaps a balance of steel and rubber so as not to make your joints ache after repeated use.
Baristas are a little bit like golfers in this regard. They are always pushing, swivelling, and trying to be exact with an implement that, over years, will leave them aching, unless they are pre-emptive in their desire to get a better tool to begin with.
So, yes, RSVP tampers do make this list, with the caveat that you need to make sure you get one of the better ones that they sell, and there are a number of those out there. Because RSVP is for sale anywhere you can buy espresso tools, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the right one for you.
Motta, originally from Italy, makes coffee tools for the discerning barista, and we love their signature tamper, with the wooden handle and steel base. Italians certainly know their coffee, whereas Germans know their engineering, and so this Italian tamper is made with a clear affection for the beverage in question.
Motta makes a variety of models of tamper, and, unlike RSVP, we would say that Motta adheres to a higher overall caliber of coffee making tool, and so you can’t really go wrong with a Motta.
Once again, we see many of the key points coming up again with these tampers – ergonomics, adjustability (if that feature is included – be sure to check), and overall outstanding style.
Speaking of style, one standout feature of the Motta tamper is the wood they use. The wood! It’s gorgeous, and Motta absolutely excels at making handles that you will want to collect, because they are designed to look amazing each and every time.
The wood is definitely one of the main selling points of these tampers, which, if you aren’t careful, can make you forget things like adjustability, and, as we mentioned with the first tamper by Pullman, things like rings which can help guide you with your tamping.
Let’s put it this way – if you are dedicated to the art of making fine espresso for life, we think it’s fair to say that you’ll want to have at least one Motta tamper in your collection, if your interests take you that far. It’s a beautiful make of tamper, and, although we can’t argue it has every base covered, it is truly one which is hard to resist.
Another high quality tamper comes to us from Espro, a company started over 20 years ago by a pair of engineers who were ultimately trying to create the best calibrated espresso tamper they could.
Did they succeed? You’ll have to be the judge, but what we will say is that it is clear that there were great minds behind this tamper, as it offers something most tampers don’t offer – a “click”.
A “click”? Yes, well this tamper is calibrated to respond with a click to 30 pounds of force, so that you know when you can stop applying pressure.
The problem with many tampers, obviously, is that unless you’re a trained barista, how do you know how hard to press or how much pressure to apply to get the exact right flat and consistent puck density with your espresso.
Made of stainless steel and ergonomically shaped, the Espro tamper fits the bill, like all the tampers we’ve mentioned so far, as a coffee tool that you would be proud to own.
We love the look and the shape of it, and, with that little built-in “click”, we think this tamper offers something truly special.
We’ve heard people say that this is too “expensive”, but if you’re really serious about great coffee, you may just have to have this relatively high ticket item.
If you are looking for consistency above all else, you can take a look at this nifty little electric device – the Puqpress Automatic Tamper.
We love this machine because, if you aren’t up for the learning curve that comes with getting a perfect tamp done by hand, then, well…ok, this machine can just do it for you and do it perfect every time! No need to spend years getting a “barista’s arm”.
Somewhat ironically, this tool can be especially handy when it comes to coffee shops, where we usually see multiple people making espresso, but having it turn out differently each time.
Not everyone (we mean customers) wants to have to think about which barista is going to make their espresso, since one might do a great job, and one might mess it up every time.
This takes away the guesswork, and pleases every customer with some predictable consistency to their espresso-based beverages.
Be aware that it takes only the standard 58 mm porta-filter, so you can’t just stick any porta-filter into it and expect it to work.
It applies between 20 and 60 pounds of pressure which control via a panel on the side of the unit.
Although you’ll have to pay more for this than for your average tamper, you can imagine how this machine can solve quite a few potential issues in one fell swoop.
All that said, we still think learning to tamp by hand is an essential skill of any lifelong coffee nerd, but hey, nothing wrong with a bit of convenience!
Thanks for reading! If you’ve tried any of these espresso tampers, let us know what you think in the comments below!