Need an Espresso Tamper? Here are the 5 best options for home baristas
Need an espresso tamper? maybe the coffee tamper that came with your machine aint cutting it? Whatever the reason; a quality tamping tool is important for many reasons; the main one being that it helps you brew amazing, crema rich espresso.
Below you’ll find the industry favourite home-barista espresso tampers of 2020 – reviewed and tested.
Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper
The Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper is a great option for professionals or amateur baristas. It’s built and designed to help you achieve the perfect level of pressure, and extract amazing espresso.
A Quick look into Espresso Tampers
An espresso tamper (same as a coffee tamper) is a simple tool used to compress your finely ground coffee into the basket/portafilter. Tamping is a small yet critical step in brewing a quality shot of espresso, and using a good quality tamper makes this process so much easier.
Why tamp in the first place? When coffee grounds are not exactly the same size (and they never are) we need a way to ensure the water pushes through the packed grinds evenly. We do this by pressing down on them. As the folks over at Barista hustle say (1):
Coffee grinds aren’t always uniformly dense so we need to compress them together, eliminating that void space.
Can you tamp espresso without a tamper? Sure. You could use your thumb to press down the grinds or maybe a small shot glass. These will work in a pinch but if you truly want to make great espresso, get a tamper … keep the shot glass for liquor only.
A good tamper, combined with a little technique will make dialing in that perfect shot of espresso much easier.
Related: how to tamp espresso properly
How to choose a tamper
Tamping espresso can take time to master but using a great espresso tamper will speed jp this process (2). You already have a great espresso machine, so a good tamper may just be the missing piece in your puzzle to brew amazing, crema rich espresso. To choose the right tamper, keep in mind the following specifications:
Size of the tamper
Espresso tamper sizes vary in millimeters from 48 mm to 58 mm with most brands utilizing a 58 mm size tamper.
Many tampers will include the size of the basket right in their name (i.e. The Motta Professional Coffee Tamper, 58mm). Still lost? It would be best to check out an Espresso Tamper Sizing Guide so you can choose the perfect tamper size for your machine (3).
Weight Of The Tamper
To apply the right amount of pressure your tamper needs to weight around 1-2 pounds.
You’ll be aiming for 30 pounds of pressure, and this is much easier to achieve with a heavier tamper
Avoid tampers made of plastic and opt for one made with heavy material such as stainless steel. According to professional baristas, tampers around 1 pound seem to be the best.
Don’t look for something as heavy as possible; the most important thing is using something comfortable:
The pressure used to tamp doesn’t need to be aggressive, just consistent.
A convex tamper will have a slightly rounded surface while a flat tamper is (you guessed it) completely flat. Convex tampers are said to help prevent channeling by pushing the coffee slightly up the sides of the portafilter (4).
For home brewing, either is fine.
Should you use a Calibrated tamper?
A calibrated tamper has a handle that is separated from the base of the tamper. The handle and base will connect and ‘click’ when pushed to 30 pounds of pressure. Calibrated tampers are perfect for beginner baristas or pros who want to be 100% sure they applied the correct pressure.
This video explains calibrated tampers in depth.
Is style important?
Like a carved wooden handle like on most Motta tampers? Or want to get even more extravagant and get an engraved coffee tamper or even a custom coffee tamper? Fancy! They all have unique looks – pick what appeals to you.
How much are you willing to spend?
Tampers can be $4 for a basic plastic version to an expensive Pullman Barista Tamper which can be in the $200 range (yes, for just the tamper!). The tampers reviewed below are all over in price so you have options no matter your budget.
The Top 5 Espresso Tampers of 2020
We’ve reviewed the best espresso tampers to make it easier for you to decide and choose:
|Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper|
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|Zoie And Chloe Stainless Steel Espresso Tamper|
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|Rattleware Round Handle Tamper|
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|Benicci Espresso Coffee Tamper|
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|LuxHaus Calibrated Espresso Tamper|
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The Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper is factory regulated to deliver 30 pounds of tamping pressure with every use which means a perfect shot of espresso every time. The fact that this tamper weighs one pound is also awesome as the heavy weight makes applying 30 pounds of pressure so easy.
The Espro just feels like a nice solid tool to use. And speaking of solid tools, there is a one year factory warranty on this tamper which is perfect for anyone who is wary of spending a lot (this tamper is one of the more expensive on our list). We also love the fact that this tamper is available in multiple sizes so you can definitely find one that will fit your portafilter. (5)
A consistent shot of espresso each and every time you tamp is what the Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper will give you, isn’t that always the goal?
Read our Espro Calibrated Tamper review. You can also check out this video to see the Espro in action:
If you are looking to add some color to your espresso machine set up, the brushed stainless steel on the Zoie and Chloe espresso tamper comes in three vibrate options: red, blue or rose gold (how trendy!). The handles also screw apart from the base of the tamper so you can easily clean the tamper or switch to a new handle color.
This tamper is on the smaller side, only 49 mm, which will definitely fit most espresso portafilters, especially the smaller baskets typical of home espresso machines. It has a nice ergonomic design and is easy to hold and use.
The Zoie and Chloe is also very well priced, a feature anyone can appreciate!
Solid. Sturdy. Does the job. That is the Rattleware Round Handle tamper in a nutshell.
Weighing close to a pound, the weight of the tamper will greatly help to apply that magical 30 pounds of pressure needed to create a perfect espresso shot. The 58 mm base is the standard size of many portafilters so there’s a great chance it will work with your espresso machine.
While the Rattleware tamper isn’t as fancy as others, we kind of like the simplicity of the silver base and black handle – you can’t beat a classic look! Not a bad price either for a piece of equipment that should last you years.
Read our Rattleware Espresso Tamper review.
Weighing in at almost a pound and a half, this is one hefty tamper. All that weight will make it almost effortless to pack your espresso grounds. The Benicci tamper is one piece of solid stainless steel that is guaranteed to be rust free throughout the life of the tamper (and the company claims it will last forever).
The 58 mm convex base is perfect for most home espresso systems and should pack the espresso in a way that will prevent channeling thanks to the rounded bottom. The sleek design and bright silver metal will also just look great while you are making espresso.
What is especially cool is that if you don’t like how this tamper works, you have a 60 day money back guarantee.
Read our Benicci Espresso Coffee Tamper review.
The calibrated tamper by LuxHaus is an excellent basic tamper for those of us looking to take the guesswork out of tamping without taking all the money out of our bank accounts.
Made with food-safe stainless steel and available in four different sizes, this tamper is ready for use in any espresso machine, whether at home, at the cafe, or on the go. Though this tool is certainly not the most elaborate designed option, its simple elegance gets the job done in style and holds up well over time.
Between the calibration and the quality materials, you are sure to get an even tamp on your espresso. Should you run into any issue, however, just write to LuxHaus and they will help out and/or give you a full refund.
Read our Luxhaus Espresso Tamper review.
Espresso pros and happy customers have voted with their money (and reviews). The Espro Calibrated Flat Tamper is the number one tamper for a multitude of reasons. This heavy tamper has great ergonomic appeal even when compared to the Reg Baber who usually leads the pack on this point.
It leads the pack as the best calibrated tamper and the calibration ensures that the pressure used to pack the espresso is the same every time and is something a professional or novice barista would love.
It is universally appealing as it is available in multiple sizes to perfectly fit your machines portafilter and therefore the flat base will have little wiggle room to cause channeling when making your shot.
Tamping is necessary for you to fully enjoy the richness and bold flavor of a properly made espresso. The purpose for doing so is so that water will need to force its way through the coffee grounds, thereby allowing for more time for it to extract the flavor from the coffee. This results in the perfect shot of espresso.
First, you have to make sure that the portafilter basket is clean and dry, then add ground espresso to the basket with the goal of creating an even bed of grounds. Then using your finger, even out the basket and brush aside any grounds that are on the rim before tamping. Finally, tamp the shot by placing an even extraction using about 30 pounds of pressure.
The rule of thumb is that it should be somewhat smaller than the inside diameter of your portafilter basket in order to evenly tamp your coffee grounds. Over the years, compilations have been made containing a list of tampers for many popular espresso machines. Choose a tamper that is at least 0.75mm smaller than your filter basket measurement.
- How Hard Should You Tamp? (2019, May 20). Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://baristahustle.com/blog/how-hard-should-you-tamp/
- Manfredi, E. D. (2015, January 19). How to: Tamping. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfcS1F5tXnQ
- Espresso Tamper Sizing Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://www.espressozone.com/learning-center/espresso-tamper-sizing-guide
- How to fix espresso shot channelling. (n.d.). Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://www.mycuppa.com.au/how-i-solved-my-irritating-coffee-channelling-problem
- McAllister, K. (2010, April 15). The Espro Calibrated Tamper. Retrieved June 10, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4KvSMc1ViM