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Anyone who knows a thing or two about espresso will tell you that coffee tampers are vital to making good coffee. They enable consistent pressure during tamping, which ensures tasty results every time.
This tool used to be a secret of baristas and aficionados, but today, anyone can make delicious, strong coffee at home. The plastic tamper that comes with most espresso machines won’t do, though. You need to get a high-quality device.
Today, I’m here to help you pick the right one. Let’s take a look at my favourite coffee tamper models and answer some questions about the accessory.
Best Coffee Tampers: My Top 5 Picks
Let’s start with my favourite brands of tampers. After thorough research, I can say these are the best models on the market.
This model comes in four sizes, promising to fit every machine. The Espro provides its users with some of the best coffee ever with its factory-regulated calibration.
The calibrated flat tamper comes in stainless steel and aluminium that makes for a combination of materials to ensure longevity and light weight alike. The tamper weighs only a pound while producing precisely 30 pounds of pressure, thanks to the calibration mechanism.
Another useful feature is the fact that the flat bottom comes in four sizes. So, the chances are high that it will fit your espresso machine, no matter the brand and model you have.
This model is robust and reliable. You also get a year-long factory warranty in case you have a problem. This guarantee makes it worth the extra price you pay for the model.
The customers agree that the quality of this tamper justifies its price. It’s reliable, and you won’t doubt its quality once you’ve tried it out. Plus, it’s comfortable to use with its ergonomic handle.
Users complained about an unfulfilled promise, though. The Espro claims that you’ll know when you’ve tamped your coffee by a click on the handle, which you’ll sense and not hear. Still, many users claim you won’t feel the click that easily.
- The model comes in several sizes
- Consistent, calibrated pressure
- Stainless steel and aluminium promise durability
- Lightweight for ease of use
- A bit pricey
LuxHaus is a popular name among espresso aficionados. This model goes one step beyond the traditional tampers, with precise calibration for the ideal tamp.
This model features a 53mm diameter and calibration, which makes it easy to achieve consistency. All you need to do is press the tamper down, and it will determine the exact force required to tamp your grounds.
The model comes with an ergonomic handle, making it even easier to use. Plus, it’s safe and durable with its stainless steel build. It also looks beautiful, with its flat bottom and black handle. Remember, though, that most baristas will suggest you get a convex base.
To add to the safety of this purchase, LuxHaus promises to return your money if you’re not 100% satisfied with the product.
Despite paying a bit more for this model, the customers have very little to complain about — the tamper provides consistent results, straightforward usage, and even aesthetic pleasure.
The chief complaint tends to come from the fact there’s a LuxHaus logo on the base. This design choice can interfere with tamping and allow several grounds to pass on the side of the unit.
- Calibrated for consistent results
- Ergonomic handle
- Food-safe and rust-proof
- Comes with a money-back guarantee
- Pricey model
- The handle is a bit too short
At times, you’ll want a heavy-duty tamper to last you through hundreds of cups and years of usage. This model by Feenm comes with a flat base, heavy-duty build, and calibration to ensure perfect results every time.
This tamper promises to handle rigorous work. It’s calibrated and comes with a small spring to apply uniform force on your coffee grounds, no matter how you press the handle. You’ll create exactly 30 pounds of energy with every press.
The model consists of long-lasting, durable stainless steel, which won’t corrode over time. Plus, you get to wash it in a machine! The handle comes in an ergonomic design and heavy-duty plastics, making the unit comfortable for use.
The opinions about this model are divided among users. Those who love it end up adoring it for its ease of usage, consistent results, and durability. They say it’s worth the extra price you pay for it, especially if you’re looking to use it professionally.
On the other hand, those dissatisfied with the product claim that the heft is inaccurate and mind the fact you need to calibrate the device yourself. It indeed asks for more effort than similar products.
- Comfortable, ergonomic handle
- Durable, long-lasting and heavy-duty machine
- Calibrated design for constant results
- Suitable for professional use
- Pricier than similar models
If you’re seeking a convex tamper, then this high-quality, durable yet light model is the right choice.
This model comes with a 51mm diameter, which is great for most machines. It weighs a bit over a pound, which means that it provides excellent compression without being too heavy to carry around the house.
The exterior is made of stainless steel and the interior of iron, making the tamper last for years without corrosion. It’s also machine-washable for added convenience.
The tamper consists of two separate parts fastened with a bolt. It’s easy to put together and start using it.
This heavy-duty model is super easy to use, which customers enjoy. Its shape is beautiful, and it offers a feeling of safety and ease while you tamp your grounds.
Most complaints came from the customers whose espresso machines had a portafilter too small or too large for the tamper. Although the PerriRock model comes in a standard diameter width, it’s not for every device, so be sure to check before you buy.
- Robust and heavy for easy usage
- Convex tamping head
- Stainless steel build
- Easy to clean
- The model comes in one size only
- The handle is not 100% ergonomic
If you’re looking for an excellent tamper to use without breaking the bank, this model by HIC Harold is your solution. The accessory is an ideal mixture of affordability and functionality.
Don’t let the price fool you — this dual-sided espresso tamper is of high quality. Made of aluminium, the unit is non-corrosive and light.
It comes with a double base of 50mm and 55mm for added versatility, too. It will fit in most espresso machine models, and you can wash it by hand using hot water and soap.
The unit is lightweight, weighing only 4 ounces. While this makes it easier to carry around and utilize, it means you’ll need to apply more pressure to tamper.
The customers were surprised by this product — for the price; it packs quite a punch. The tamper features longevity and versatility, although you don’t feel like you invested anything in it.
The complaints revolve around the handle and the weight. The tamper doesn’t come with a dedicated handle, making it a bit trickier than the competitors. Plus, you need to apply more force for even compression.
- Super affordable
- Double-based and versatile
- Food-safe aluminium construction
- Doesn’t corrode
- Portable and light
- The handle is a bit tricky
- Need to apply more force for tampering
Features to Look for in a Coffee Tamper: Buying Guide
It takes time to master tamping espresso, but a high-quality tamper will speed up the learning process and enhance your ultimate results.
If you already have a great machine, a good tamper is what’s missing to complete your coffee making kit. To pick the right model, consider the following features.
The sizes of espresso tampers vary in millimetres. You’ll find everything from 48mm to 58mm, but most brands go for 58mm. To pick the right size, find a sizing guide and consider your espresso machine.
You need to apply about 30 pounds of pressure to espresso to tamp it right, and for this, a 1 to 2 pound tamper is the best. To get it right, avoid plastic tampers and instead, go for one made of steel or other heavy material.
However, don’t go as heavy as possible — your comfort with using it is the number one consideration.
The Bottom Type
Two main types of tamper bottoms are convex and flat, the first being slightly rounded while the latter is 100% flat. For home brewing, either choice is excellent, but convex tampers are supposedly better for preventing channelling.
Calibrated vs. Non-Calibrated
In calibrated tampers, the handle is separate from the base, and you connect them when tamping. They’re better for beginners and those seeking to apply an exact amount of pressure. If you don’t care so much, the non-calibrated version tends to be cheaper.
When it comes to price, it varies significantly with tampers — you can go as low as several dollars or up to a few hundred. Of course, higher prices equal better quality, so consider your budget and your needs.
FAQs about Coffee Tampers
Finally, let’s answer some common questions about tampers in case there’s something still confusing you.
Why Should I Tamp?
Tamping increases the flavour and richness of espresso. Its purpose is to slow down the amount of time needed for coffee to go through the grounds, extracting the volatile oils from it for longer. So, it creates a more vibrant, fuller-tasting cup of espresso.
How to Tamp Down Coffee Grounds?
Tamping is not a complicated process, but a guide for the process would still work best. Let’s take a look at the steps either way.
- Make sure that your portafilter basket is dry and clean.
- Add ground coffee to the basket. Aim to create a flat, even bed of grounds.
- Even out the basket with your fingers.
- Place the tamper on the basket and apply 30 pounds of pressure.
How to Choose the Size?
Again, a sizing chart and your machine provide the correct answer. There’s also a rule of thumb to follow, though. The tamper should be a bit smaller, at least 0.75 mm, than the inside diameter of the portafilter basket to evenly tamp the coffee grounds.
Does Weight Matter?
Yes. You’ll feel the difference as soon as you pick it up and compare it to the stock tamper from your machine. More weight in the tamper lets you compress coffee with more ease and helps you get a consistent motion.
Are Calibrated Tampers a Better Choice?
While the technology behind this type of tamper aims to ease your experience, I can’t say they’re necessarily better.
If you apply the right amount of pressure, you’ll achieve excellent results either way. If you’re a beginner, though, you might find it easier to do so with a calibrated model.
If you just entered the world of brewing your coffee, you should be aware of the tamping process and its importance. By mastering it, you’ll make the perfect cup every day of the week.
You can use the plastic tamper, which comes with your machine to learn the ins and outs but investing in a high-quality tamper will boost your experience. I hope that this guide and my reviews made it easier for you to make a choice. I can’t say which is my favourite — all are of high-quality and all will help you. Choose by preference and enjoy!