Best Calibrated Espresso Tamper
You keep getting burnt or bland coffee? There might be something wrong with your tamping technique. The solution could be a pressure-calibrated one. Let's see what are the best models money can currently buy.
The Top 6 Espresso Tampers of 2022
LuxHaus Calibrated Pressure Espresso Tamper
The LuxHaus calibrated pressure tamper is both an affordable and a quality tamper. The stainless steel base will give you a consistent tamp for the perfect espresso with every brew. It gives a consistent 30lbs of pressure which is what coffee lovers claim to be the perfect amount.
The LuxHaus tamper comes in 4 different sizes between 49mm and 58mm which is guaranteed to fit your machine's portafilter basket. Additionally, the tamper has a food safe stainless steel body which guarantees that the tamper won't affect the flavor of your espresso shot. In addition to being food safe, the stainless steel of the LuxHaus tamper is of the highest quality so it's not going to bend or break easily.
One more advantage that it has over some other quality tampers is that LuxHaus offers a full refund if there's something wrong with your tamper or you're not satisfied with the results it gives you. All you need to do is send an email and you'll get your money back.
This coffee tamper also makes for a great gift as it comes in a beautiful red storage bag. All of that for a mere $39. Get yours now.
Espro Calibrated Espresso Tamper
The Espro is the first convex tamper on our list, while they also offer a flat base tamper, we like the results from this one more, so that's why it made our list. The convex base gives a slightly harder press in the middle leading to a supposedly more consistent extraction.
Just like the other tampers up until one, this one comes with a stainless steel base but a hard anodized aluminum handle. You won't have any reason to worry about durability with such a solid build but to top that off, Espro offers a 1-year warranty for their tampers.
The Espro is a dynamometric tamper which means you'll feel a subtle click when you reach 30 pounds of pressure. It's subtle enough not to move the coffee grounds but just enough to feel it in the handle. Just like the other tampers on our list, this one comes in 5 different sizes of 49mm, 51mm, 53mm, 57mm and 58mm so you can be sure it'll work perfectly with regular espresso machines.
Decent Espresso Calibrated Espresso Tamper
Decent Espresso (the name of the brand) actually makes pretty good tampers. The thing that we enjoyed the most is the rim above the tamping base that prevents sideway tamping. This way you can be sure that you can only put the tamper correctly in the portafilter of your espresso machine.
The tamper is pretty well weighted at 13.5 ounces and has a comfortable rounded handle for a good grip. Similarly to LuxHaus, Decent Espresso offers a lifetime warranty. Here you're not offered a full refund, though, but a new tamper for free, which is still pretty decent.
Even though the tamper base seems pretty sturdy, the spring is promised to last around 20 000 tamps. If you feel that you're not getting a perfect tamp anymore, you can simply take the tamper apart and install a new spring.
Now, about the disadvantages. Even though the outside of this flat base tamper is made of quality stainless steel, the insides are prone to oxidation. This is why you should avoid submerging it in water or getting it fully wet. In case you do, you'll want to take it apart and thoroughly dry the internal elements.
One more thing that is worth mentioning is that this model is not among the most affordable tampers. Even though at a price of $139 you're going to get a delicious shot of espresso with every tamp, you can get similar results for significantly less.
Normcore Pressure Calibrated Tamper
Another tamper that is built to prevent sideway tamping. The Normcore tamper comes with an outer lip that stops the tamper from going all the way in the basket and giving you an uneven tamp. This is because flat base tampers are built a little bit smaller than the basket to avoid creating suction when lifted up and cracking the puck. This little gap is enough to put the tamper sideways.
Another thing that we should mention is the design. This is one of the best looking espresso tampers on our list. The matte black finish will look fantastic in any kitchen. Additionally it'll work with any espresso machine as it comes in 5 different sizes. One more thing that no other tampers on our list have are three different springs for 15lb, 25lb and 30lb of pressure.
ECM Push Tamper
The ECM Push Tamper is the most unusual tamper on our list. It isn't shaped anything like regular flat tampers but has a shame similar to that of a hockey puck. The main reason why it made our list is that it is significantly smaller than the rest of the models.
One advantage that this tamper has over most models with a more usual shape is that you can adjust the tamping depth. This will let you get a consistent pressure on any portafilter out there, even if it's not filled all the way up.
Just like some of the other tampers on our list, this one has a small ridge that surrounds the base. It rests on the edges of the portafilter basket which means that once you set the correct depth, even if you apply excess pressure manually, your coffee won't be over tamped.
The ECM Push Tamper is made in Germany and has a supreme build quality. Unfortunately this is also reflected in the price tag - $119.99 by the time of writing this article. In addition it's only available for 58mm portafilters.
The Force Tamper
The Force Tamper is arguably the tamper with the highest build quality out there. You can choose one of three wooden handles for the perfect grip and you'll find four different bases: a flat base, a d-flat base, a d-ripple base and a waffle base. Additionally, in the box you'll find a silicon mat to keep your tamper on when not in use and a portable carry bag.
The Force Tamper won the Red Dot Award for outstanding Product Design. To be perfectly honest, we believe that there are better looking tampers out there but this one is definitely among the better built ones.
In addition to the nice design and high build quality, it has a ring on the base that prevents sideway tamping. This way you can be sure that you're constantly going to get the perfect tamp.
Now, about the downside, and the reason why this tamper wasn't number one on our list - the price. The Force Tamper costs a whopping $259, which is significantly more than what we're willing to pay. If you're working as a professional barista, though, it might be worth it.
How Do You Choose the Best Espresso Tamper for You?
Calibrated vs Manual Tamper
As you know by now there are two main types of espresso tampers: one is a simple manual tamper, and the other a pressure-calibrated one. The difference between the two is that while you'll need to manually press down on the former and get as close to 30lbs as you can, the latter is calibrated to give you precisely that pressure.
You might be asking who'd get a manual tamper then? Well, they're usually significantly cheaper than pressure-calibrated models. Additionally pro baristas are usually pretty good at pressing down with exactly 30lbs and don't need a calibrated one.
The most important thing about your tamper is its size. If you go for one that's too big it simply won't fit into the portafilter of your espresso machine. If it's too small, on the other hand, it won't fit tightly into the portafilter and you won't get a good tamp. Additionally, there will be wiggle room and you might get a sideway tamp.
On the contrary, if it's too big by just a few millimeters it might make a vacuum with the coffee and there might be some coffee lift-off when you're done tamping. This will ruin even a perfect tamp.
The perfect weight for a coffee tamper is around 1-2 pounds. This will make it easier to reach the previously mentioned 30 lbs of pressure.
There's something of a debate between coffee lovers over what is the best shape of a tamper and the two schools are flat and convex. While a flat tamper is pretty simple, a convex one has a bit of a bulge on it. This is done so the coffee is slightly pushed aside to the edges so there's no channeling there.
While in theory this makes a lot of sense, in practice it might be a different story. While we tried both a flat and a convex tamper, we barely noticed any difference in the results and actually the convex tamper had a notch of a burnt flavor. This might be because the coffee grounds got compressed more tightly in the middle and therefore the coffee was over extracted. Get your flat calibrated tamper now.
A traditional tamper will have an easy to hold metal, plastic or wooden handle. On our list, though, there's a puck-shaped tamper just like the ones that have gotten very popular as according to some they're easier to push down on and get a level surface.
When purchasing a tamper for yourself you'll have to make sure that what you've chosen works well for you. We'd recommend trying a wooden, plastic and a steel handle before purchasing and a few different shapes to make sure your wrist doesn't get hurt.
The build of your tamper is crucial to its durability. If you buy a cheap tamper that's not well built it's going to be more likely to break. If you go for a high-quality calibrated tamper, it'll last you thousands of shots of espresso and many years of tamping.
The price of a tamper can make a big difference to your purchase, especially for calibrated models. Their price can be as high as $200 so if you're on a budget you'll probably want to skip these.
Last but not least to your calibrated tamper decision-making process is its design. An espresso tamper is usually something you'll be using for years to come. That's why you should make sure that you like how it looks and that it fits well in your kitchen.
Choosing a pressure-calibrated tamper is a tough task, especially with their high prices. That's why you have to make sure that the one you go for is comfortable to hold, looks good and is made of high-quality metal, just like the LuxHaus tamper. Get yours now.