Coffee Snobbery – Using a Tamper

| June 3, 2015

There is an art to tamping. It’s considered one of the most important aspects of making a good coffee from barista experts worldwide. You might think that by just packing in hard the amount of coffee that you need in the filter is enough, but you’re so wrong if you want to get an ideal drink from your efforts.

Barista Using A Tamper

Barista Using A Tamper

What and When To Tamper

Tamping is the act of pushing the ground granules into the filter before you brew your coffee. When you put the ground coffee into your filter, the trick is to not use too much pressure. This is because you still need the water to get through the coffee and into your cup. Although there are some espresso machines that have up to 19 bar pump pressure, this is sometimes still not enough to properly get through some hard packed ground coffee mix.

When you are tamping your coffee into the filter, you should do so with a twisting motion. This will prevent the granules from sticking together like glue, and allow the water to easily pass through. You have to be careful when you put the ground coffee into the filter to start with as the coffee at the bottom can become compacted easily, so be light as you tamper.

Using A Tamper To Make The Best Coffee Possible

Using a good tamper is essential if you use a regular home coffee machine. The tamper allows you to seal the coffee so as much flavour gets through to your coffee as possible. There are even different style tampers that you can use, hand held tampers are the ones that you hold and then use manually, while plunger style tampers are used mostly in busy coffee bars where they have to make the coffee as fast as possible. Sometimes the tamper is built into the coffee grinder.

Many small cafes in the UK don’t bother with tampers, and the taste of their drink suffers. The espresso and lattes are weak, and it can leaving you thinking why did you waste your money, and possibly leaving a bad review on tripadvisor if you went there just for the coffee. This is easily remedied with a temper method though.

Using A Cheap Tamper yes/no?

You wouldn’t think there was much difference with tamper devices but there is. Cheap tampers are generally metal or plastic, and are shaped like a thin axle part. Normally these come with your machine if you buy one. But you can buy a tamper separately. Expensive tampers are generally wooden handled, and feature a better surface.

You have to make sure your temper fits your filter basket, and there are a range of sizes, so measure your filter carefully, and an expensive temper is more generally going to fit better. With an quality tamper you get a much better weight, and this allows you to better judge just how much pressure you’re applying to your ground coffee, plus you can expect it to last you a while. You can get tampers that have both a flat or rounded bottom, I would personally recommend a rounded tamper, purely because it’s harder to jam pack the granules down with one, so you won’t have any problems with the water passing through.

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Category: Accessories, Posts