7 Best Coffee Tamper Mats (2021 Reviews)
Tamping mats are a common sight in cafes. Yet, people often overlook them in the home barista’s setup. Espresso tamper mats are designed to prevent damage from repetitive tamping to both your counter and your portafilter. So, do you need one if you’re only making a couple of coffees a day?
Read the guide below to see how an espresso tamping mat can help you with your brewing. You’ll also find some of the best mats you can buy right now.
At A Glance:
The Best Coffee Tamper Mats in 2021
If you’re in the market for your first tamping mat, you have plenty to choose from. From the most basic designs to models with a few extra features, here are our favourite coffee tamping mats.
| ||Rocket Espresso Flat Tamping Mat||Click to Check Price|
| ||BellaBarista Tamper Mat||click to check price|
| ||Profitec Tamper Mat with Vertical Fold||click to check price|
| ||Yolococa Coffee Tamper Mat|
| ||OlBuWa Tamper Mat|
| ||Kyonano Espresso Tamping Mat|
| ||Apexstone Silicone Coffee Tamper Mat|
If you have a Rocket espresso machine or grinder, this would provide the perfect finishing touch to your setup. But the simple, effective design and quality materials make this mat a good choice for any home barista.
As you’d expect from the best espresso tamping mats, this is made from durable food-grade silicone. With plenty of padding between your portafilter and the countertop, you don’t have to worry about chipping the marble or dinging your spouts.
Rocket also makes a corner tamping mat, but this flat shape is easier to store away if you’re short on space.
Only three of the sides have a raised edge, which gives you a bit of flexibility in how you use it. You can use this edge for tamping more easily with bottomless portafilters or slide it right up against your grinder to catch any stray grounds.
While none of the mats here will break the bank, the Yolococoa Coffee Tamper Mat comes at a perfect price if you’re looking for a few extra features.
Like most of the tamping mats, you’ll come across, it’s created from food-grade silicone, creating a heat-resistant, non-slip surface to work on. In addition, it’s coated in a special non-toxic spray developed by Yolococa that is designed to have anti-dust properties, which is a great feature to have when you need to wipe off coffee fines. Any residue will come off by rinsing with water.
In one corner, you’ll find a 60mm tamper rest, which should be large enough to fit any size tamper that you might have. This particular model has a raised edge to keep grounds in place while you’re tamping.
Yolococa also makes a larger 5 x 12-inch rectangular mat and an 8 x 6-inch corner mat.
The most important job of a tamper mat is to provide protection for both your benchtop and your gear. If that mat has a few features that make life easier, then so much the better – especially if it comes at a good price.
Across the front fold is a cutout designed for resting your portafilter, designed to fit 58mm models. The tamper rest has a good depth to prevent accidental knocks, which is especially useful if you’re using this spot for a small milk jug.
BellaBarista’s professional coffee experience is not limited to accessories. The company sells high-end coffee machines, ships out coffee from a small batch roaster, and runs professional barista training courses.
If you’re into espresso, you’ve no doubt heard of Profitec. Its best known for a line of prosumer espresso machines, which have been handmade in Germany since 1985. This tamper mat might not have been crafted by hand, but it stills stands up to the company’s commitment to quality.
Rather than the usual silicone, this tamper mat is made from rubber. Rubber has a higher tensile strength than silicone and is more resistant to abrasion making it a better choice to use in commercial settings. This mat will take the pounding from your portafilter day after day.
It doesn’t include features like a portafilter holder or tamper rest, but this gives you more flexibility for use in a professional environment. The raised edge will help to stop grounds from spreading across the countertop, and the overhang means it stays in place even with repeated tamping.
Depending on your kitchen setup, a corner tamper mat could be the best choice for you. The overhang prevents the mat from moving as you tamp, which is helpful if you have a particularly slippery countertop (or if you tend to get carried away with your tamping!) The fact that it sits right on edge can also be a benefit if space is tight.
This silicone tamper mat from Apexstone integrates a portafilter rest into the overhang. The semi-circle shape follows the curve of the group head to provide even more stability during the tamping process. However, you should be aware that it’s not designed to be used with naked (bottomless) portafilters.
There’s a roomy 63mm rest to hold your tamper when not in use. The base of the rest contains raised bumps to help the tamper dry out and prevent it from sticking to the silicone surface.
Not all of us have the space to set up a designated coffee bar in our kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the right gear. A mini mat like this one from OlBuWa offers you the same protection, just on a smaller scale.
The 60mm inner diameter makes it a perfect spot to rest your tamper, with studs on the inside to prevent sticking. When it’s time to tamp, you have a small but durable slice of silicone between your portafilter and the kitchen counter.
One downside to these space-saving tamping mats is that you need to be a little more accurate when tamping your coffee. The silicone itself is excellent for adding grip (1), but the small surface area isn’t going to offer the same stability as a larger mat. Just use a steady vertical motion and you’ll be fine.
The Kyonano Espresso Tamping Mat looks a little different, and that’s because it’s designed to serve double-duty. As well as a tamping mat, it’s also a drying mat for your espresso cups, milk pitcher, or latte glasses.
The entire surface of this large mat is covered in raised nodules, which keep your portafilter (or anything else) off the base when drying. They also give you extra stability when preparing your coffee.
The amount of pressure is not nearly as important as your consistency and ability to keep the tamp perfectly level.
The texture ensures there’s no slipping across the mat – even if you press hard.
Kyonano has used platinum silicone for the construction, which is classed as medical grade. This has all of the benefits of food-grade silicone but with a longer lifespan (1). The mat has an additional non-stick coating that will make cleaning easier.
How to Choose the Right Espresso Tamping Mat
At its most basic, a tamping mat is a straightforward bit of kit. But there can be more to these things than meets the eye. Here are a few things you should take into consideration before buying.
Do I really need a coffee tamper mat?
This is the critical question you’re probably asking yourself. A tamping mat makes sense in a professional setting, but what about at home? If you care about your gear and your kitchen, then it’s certainly worth the investment. Tamping directly on your benchtop, you not only run the risk of damaging your counter but also yourself.
All it takes is one lazy and unlucky tamp to cause wrist strain and discomfort.
Even if you’re not making enough coffee to give yourself a barista wrist (2), brewing your morning cup of joe should be as ergonomic as possible. Having a secure non-slip surface to work on also makes it easier to apply even pressure when tamping, which will help you get a better cup of coffee.
Silicone vs rubber
Most tamping mats you come across will be made of either silicone or rubber, which each have their strengths. Silicone is an increasingly popular choice for use in kitchens, as it is resistant to temperatures up to 446 F (3). Rubber is more resistant to abrasion, making it a better choice for heavy use situations such as cafes.
Size and shape
The size and shape of the mat you buy will mainly be determined by the space you have on your counter.
Tamping mats generally come in two designs: flat or corner.
You can place a flat mat right up to the front of your espresso machine for efficient coffee making, and the shape makes it easier to store if needed. A corner mat has an overhang that provides extra stability when applying pressure and often includes a portafilter rest for more ergonomic tamping.
A tamping mat might be easily left off the shopping list for your espresso setup, but this tiny bit of kit can make brewing a little more comfortable. For a mat that covers all the basics, we like the Rhino Classic Tamping Mat. It’s a brand with an excellent reputation for durability, and it comes at a competitive price.
The best espresso tamper is not always the one that comes with your espresso machine. Heavy tampers made from metal rather than plastic will make it easier to apply the pressure required. You’ll also want one that suits your style and your budget.
You need a knock box if you want to take the best care of your portafilter. People often use the side of the trash bin or even the sink, but this can cause damage to the portafilter, as well as transfer germs. Using a knock box also makes it easier to keep the coffee grounds separate for composting.
If you tamp coffee too hard, the water will take longer to make its way through the puck, resulting in over-extraction (4). However, excessive pressure when tamping will probably hurt your wrist, so you’re more likely to have problems with under tamping or uneven tamping.
- Medical-grade silicone vs food-grade: Errly Bird breaks it down 2019. HotBox Magazine. (2021, August 4). Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://thehotboxmagazine.com/errly-bird-breaks-down-medical-grade-silicone/
- Barista wrist: It’s real! Food Republic. (2011, July 29). Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://www.foodrepublic.com/2011/07/29/barista-wrist-its-real/
- Silicone vs nitrile: Articles. Jehbco Silicones. (2021, April 1). Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://jehbco.com.au/silicone-vs-nitrile/
- What happens if you tamp espresso too hard? Majesty Coffee School. (2020, July 14). Retrieved October 19, 2021, from https://majestycoffeeschool.com/what-happens-if-you-tamp-espresso-too-hard/