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The importance of tamping

You use the coffee tamper to create a compact coffee puck after evenly distributing your ground coffee in your portafilter. But why is tamping so important?

Firstly, by exerting pressure on the coffee, you create a compressed ‘puck’ through which the water can move evenly for the extraction. If this doesn’t happen, the water seeks the path of least resistance, creating channels in the coffee (also known as channeling). This results in a weak and often sour espresso.

Secondly, tamping is important because it creates space between the coffee and your espresso machine’s brew group. Your machine uses this space to build up the right pressure with water to subsequently press through the coffee at 9-11 bar.

A classic barista tamper or a palm tamper?

Traditional tampers that we all recognise as the typical barista tamper have a handle and a heavy base. The design is familiar and comfortable in the hand, the heavy base helps you to tamp evenly and straight. These tampers give you full control and the real barista feeling. However, tamping is an art; consistently good tamping requires some practice.

The palm tamper is less known, here you can determine the desired depth and therefore pressure. The advantage is that you can always guarantee level tamping and consistently use the same pressure. If you want consistency and control, choose the palm tamper. Also, if due to physical limitations, proper tamping or using the right pressure is challenging, the palm tamper is perfect.

Do I really need an espresso tamper?

Yes, you really need an espresso tamper when making espresso. Tamping is necessary because it determines the resistance with which the water flows through the ground coffee. By pressing the coffee evenly with a tamper, the extraction of the coffee is better regulated, and the espresso has a more balanced taste. Without using a tamper, your espresso machine won’t be able to build up pressure, and the water will flow through your coffee too quickly.

There are various tools to assist with tamping, often bought alongside the tamper. A tamper mat is always used when tamping to prevent damage to your counter and tools. A tamper station makes consistent and even tamping easier; you place your portafilter in it so that it’s in a stable position during tamping.

A coffee tamper for every machine

We have coffee tampers available for a whole host of machines. Check out our size chart on the product page to find out which size fits your coffee machine. But to give you an idea, we have tampers in sizes 51mm, 53.3mm, 58mm, and 58.5mm.

  • 51mm tampers are perfect for many Delonghi machines, such as the Delonghi Dedica.
  • 53.3mm tampers are suitable for many Sage, Solis, and Breville espresso machines like the Barista Express. These machines have a 54mm portafilter where 53.3mm fits perfectly, even better than 53mm.
  • The 58mm tamper is suitable for Quick Mill machines with three wings (the 820, 835, 3000, etc.), but also the Ascaso Steel Duo PID.
  • 58.5mm tampers are the perfect fit for all E61 machines, think of ECM, Bezzera, Gaggia, La Marzocco, Rancilio, Rocket, and more.