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Last Updated: 25th March 2021

10 Best Espresso Coffee Tampers 2021

By Helen Cartwright
By Helen Cartwright
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    A coffee tamper is a tool which is used to press down or tamp coffee grounds into an espresso machine basket.

    For a good shot of coffee, the grounds have to be tamped evenly and tightly, which improves extraction and gives a bigger crema result.

    Most machines will come with a tamper but this is often plastic, so if you feel you need something a bit stronger or easier to use then we have listed the best coffee tampers available to buy below.

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    Size

    The main thing to consider is whether the size of the coffee tamper will fit into the basket or portafilter. Most will, as everything is often a standard size, but just double check.

    If you’re buying branded, this is particularly relevant. A company such as De’Longhi will first and foremost make tampers and accessories for their own machines, so if yours is a different brand, check everything matches up.

    Material

    The base of the vast majority of the coffee tampers we have included is stainless steel. This is the easiest material to clean, is the most hygienic and also gives a good weight for pressing. The plastic models which come with most machines are often not quite heavy enough, and can suffer from wear, discolouration or damage over the years.

    As for the handle, this can usually vary between metal, wood or plastic. The best for you will depend on which material you’d find most comfortable to use – we find that there isn’t a huge difference in how each feels, and you should look more at the shape.

    Having said this, if you want a lesser task on your hand and a heavier press, metal or solid wood could be the answer as it often provides more weight.

    Base

    You need to choose between a flat or a convex base. The vast majority are flat, as it makes for a perfectly level result. Convex models guide more grounds towards the edge of the portafilter, offering less resistance channeling – but this could be good if you prefer a weaker brew.

    FAQs

    How much pressure do I need to use on my coffee grounds to tamp them?

    It is widely thought that 30lbs is the best pressure level for tamping, but don’t stress out too much that you’re getting this exactly right. More recently, 8lbs has been seen to work too. Practice makes perfect, and the best result can actually still be achieved with less pressure.

    It goes without saying that the heavier your tamper, the easier this will be, so look for a model which is around 300g+. Those around 500g will do the best job, although you’ll actually have to be careful to not overpress.

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