Coffee Tamper

You don’t need to be a professional barista or a certified espresso taster. Any coffee lover, with a minimum of initiation, knows the importance of compacting the ground coffee in the filter so that the resulting drink is a quality espresso and not a beverage from the underworld.

A poorly pressed ground coffee will not offer sufficient resistance to the passage of water, and excess pressure can turn the filter into a wall of coffee impossible to get through. To achieve the right pressure, we use Tampers or coffee presses. Espresso presses are very cheap and practical accessories for the barista.

As we know that a good coffee press is for a lifetime and that you will think very carefully about your purchase, here is an updated price list from the Amazon catalogue:

Business Coffee Stampa Classico Coffee Tamper 51 mm
Business Coffee Stampa Classico Coffee Tamper 51 mm
Solid aluminium coffee tamper; One-piece design; high-shine polish; A timeless, classic design
Vicloon Coffee Tamper, Espresso Coffee Press Stainless Steel Silver Colour 51mm Tamper Coffee Shop...
Vicloon Coffee Tamper, Espresso Coffee Press Stainless Steel Silver Colour 51mm Tamper Coffee Shop...
☕Smooth surface and easy to clean. Diameter: 51mm. Height: 80mm. Weight:580g.

What is a coffee press?

Tampers are one of the most common barista accessories. Basically, a coffee press is a weight – usually made of aluminium or any other light metal – with a handle.

The weight ends in a circular shape, with a variable diameter that can be chosen depending on the size of our filter holder. Sometimes the handle of the coffee tamper is made of wood (which results in an instrument of much higher quality and aesthetics, although in practice, its function is the same).

Also, you should know that coffee tampers are usually used together with a non-slip espresso mat in order to obtain maximum security and hold during the pressing (i.e. that the filter does not move).

It is an essential element if you use a manual espresso machine at home and want to obtain an espresso in optimum conditions. Without a good pressing, there is no good espresso.

Guide to buying a tamper or coffee compactor online

If you want to buy a coffee press for use at home, you only have to take into account a couple of details: the shape and size. We’ll talk about the shape later on (there are convex and flat coffee compactors), but the size is something crucial: you should buy your tamper according to the diameter of your coffee machine’s filters. The coffee tamper should fit fairly into the filter holder cavity.

A tamper that is too small will leave some of the coffee unpressed, and the water will then tend to find channels and strain through them. However, if your coffee tamper has a larger diameter than your filter holder, you cannot press anything. For this reason, there are 51 mm, 53 mm, 55 mm, 57 mm presses, etc.

There are also other variants, such as dynamometric tampers (or with a pressure regulator) or coffee tampers that have a small rubber edge to prevent our fingers from coming into contact with the edge of the filter.

The best brands of coffee presses 2021

The brands of coffee presses are not always known in the coffee market. Some make other types of accessories for coffee machines or even coffee makers. Still, others are limited to selling products for baristas only and are not popular with the general public. Some of the most reputable brands of tampers are, for example, Motta, Gearmax, Anself or ECM presses.

Naturally, apart from these specialised manufacturers, there is also a multitude of Asian gears that market this type of accessory. We are going to get to know some of them, the important ones, a little better:

Motta presses

What is the best brand of coffee presses? Well, it is possible that this manufacturer will take the lead. Motta is one of the most renowned brands of barista accessories in the sector. Motta coffee tampers are characterised by the pursuit of the highest quality standards.

Its catalogue is extensive, the most extensive in the whole market of tampers in Europe. Although it has many models, they are almost always coffee presses with wooden handles, and they are very expensive (for which it is usual for this type of instrument).

So, if you are going to buy a Motta coffee press, you should prepare a budget according to the quality of the product. These are some of the most outstanding Motta coffee presses:

Motta 8140/M Tamper Flat Base Stainless Steel 53mm
Motta 8140/M Tamper Flat Base Stainless Steel 53mm
Solid material with brown handle; Made of Stainless Steel 18/10 Aisi 304 and ash wood; Made in Italy
Motta 110 Coffee 58mm Tamper, Stainless Steel
Motta 110 Coffee 58mm Tamper, Stainless Steel
Another beautifully balanced tamper from barista favourites, Motta.
Motta 8140/R Professional Flat Base Coffee Tamper, 53 mm, Red Handle
Motta 8140/R Professional Flat Base Coffee Tamper, 53 mm, Red Handle
Solid material with red handle.; Made of stainless steel 18/10 Aisi 304 and ash wood painted in red.

ECM coffee presses

ECM is a very prestigious brand of coffee machines, which we have already discussed on this website. It markets some of the best domestic espresso machines in Europe, and logically, when it comes to presses, it is not far behind. ECM coffee tampers are expensive, robust, and almost always made of stainless steel. They guarantee a perfect result with minimum pressure.

If you want to buy a stainless steel coffee press, you might end up considering one of the ECM Tampers. The most advanced model is the ECM 89415 Tamper, a tamper with a pressure regulator that allows you to apply just the right amount of pressure to your espresso. Not a gram more, not a gram less.

ECM 89404 Flat Tamper Bottom Made of Polished Stainless Steel
ECM 89404 Flat Tamper Bottom Made of Polished Stainless Steel
For perfect pressure.; Material: polished stainless steel, bakelite.; Flat pressure surface.
ECM 89415 druckregulierend Tamper, Polished Aluminum, Stainless Steel
ECM 89415 druckregulierend Tamper, Polished Aluminum, Stainless Steel
Suitable for: Filter and Station tamper; Carpet Cleaning (of A to G) class: not Supplied nozzle for use on carpets suitable
ECM 89420 Tamping Station Polished Aluminium
ECM 89420 Tamping Station Polished Aluminium
For optimizing the tamping pressure; Ensures optimum espresso extraction; Material: polished aluminum (not dishwasher-safe)

Flat tampers and convex tampers

There are basically two types of coffee compactors: those with a flat or convex surface.

There really is none that is better than the other, and in the end, it is all a matter of preference.

There is a belief, in favour of convex presses, that they allow the edges of the filter to be compacted better and that they benefit from a more uniform distribution of water over the surface of the ground coffee. But in the end, it all depends on your manual touch and being able to exert the right pressure for the type of grind you are using.

How to use a coffee tamper

Besides having a good coffee press, you have to know how to use it properly. It’s not a question of just squeezing, far from it. To show you this, there is nothing better than watching this video:

Generally speaking, coffee presses should be used in two stages: first, gentle pressure is applied to level the coffee over the entire surface. It means that all the ground coffee is straight, horizontal and even on the filter.

Secondly, a slightly firmer pressure is applied, always vertically, in order to compact the coffee and create a sort of “coffee tablet” with a certain solidity. As we have already said, the aim is for the ground coffee, after being pressed, to offer the right and necessary resistance to water.

The difference in pressure you exert during the pressing phase (whether you press more or less) will have a decisive influence on the final taste of the espresso.

Tampers supports

A good barista knows how important it is to have a good tamper as well as to keep it in the right conditions. When you are working with your coffee machine, you will want to have your tamper always at hand and without the risk of rubbing or catching any dirt. It is achieved by deciding to buy a suitable tamper holder, like any of these:

Which are the cheapest coffee presses?

The truth is that Tampers are not excessively expensive instruments – not as expensive as a coffee maker, for example – but there are certain models of professional coffee presses that exceed the budget of a normal user.

If you want to make sure that you homogenize the surface of your ground espresso in the filter with little effort, then you will have enough to buy a cheap coffee press, like the ones listed below:

Gefu ge16200 Coffee Measure, Stainless Steel, 5 x 14,5 cm, 5 x 5 x 14
Gefu ge16200 Coffee Measure, Stainless Steel, 5 x 14,5 cm, 5 x 5 x 14
The other end pusher to slightly tasser the coffee in the filter holder.; 14, 5 cm, Handle ideal for cup of coffee in the bottom of the box.
Coffee Tamper 51mm,Espresso Tamper 51mm,Espresso Coffee Tamper 51mm
Coffee Tamper 51mm,Espresso Tamper 51mm,Espresso Coffee Tamper 51mm
Suitable for tamping fresh ground espresso before brewing; Base diameter:51mm Height:80mm ;Weight: about 600g

All of them are under £15-20, as you can see.

There is also the option of buying a second-hand coffee tamper, but for the price, we are not sure it is worth it.