The coffee tamper is an often-overlooked part of the espresso-making kit. To make sure you get the best results, you should always make sure your tamper is clean. To do that, give it a swift brush after each use or wash it under warm water. If that doesn’t work, keep reading and find some more effective ways to clean it.
How Do You Clean Your Coffee Tamper?
A coffee tamper is a vital tool to have for the perfect cup of coffee. An espresso maker brews coffee by producing a lot of steam and sending it through the coffee grounds. Water will always go down the way of least resistance, so it’s essential to tamp your coffee evenly.
This is also why it’s so important to make sure your tamper is clean before each use. After tamping your coffee, there will usually be some grounds stuck to it. If you don’t, you risk having your coffee unevenly spread. That means that the taste of your coffee will change, and you might damage your tamper in the long run.
How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Tamper?
Have you ever wondered why do baristas walk around with a towel on their shoulder? One of the main reasons is to clean their tamper. A coffee tamper should be cleaned after each use. Usually, a towel does the trick. Keep reading to find out about other methods.
With a Towel
In the general case, just brushing off the coffee should be enough. After you tamp the coffee into the portafilter, wipe what’s left on the tamper with a soft towel, and it should be ready for the next use.
Coffee Tamper Cleaning Station
A straightforward way to get rid of coffee on tampers is a cleaning station. This small device looks like a puck, slightly wider than the tamper. After you’ve tamped your coffee, you simply put the tamper in the cleaning station and give it a little spin. That gets rid of all the stubborn coffee grounds.
One creative method to remove any coffee from your tamper is to get an ear syringe from the pharmacy. What you can use it for is to blow the stuck coffee away from the tamper.
Camera Lens Brush
If you have a camera lens brush lying around, you can also use it to clean your coffee tamper. This is basically what this little brush was created - to get rid of dust and other small particles. This is why even if you don’t already have one, you can consider buying one off Amazon. They go for around $6.
Rinse Under Running Water
If you’ve tried cleaning the tamper with a towel but there’s still coffee on it, you can try running it underwater. This should usually get rid of any stubborn coffee still stuck to it.
A Little Dish Soap
Even though you tried a towel and running your tamper under warm water, it’s still not clean and feels oily. That usually happens if you use freshly roasted coffee beans. They tend to be oilier.
What you can do to get rid of it is use a drop of dish detergent. Wipe the tamper gently with a sponge, and it should do the trick.
Soap With Warm Water
If you don’t want to use dish detergent for some reason, you can always do the same with a bit of soap. What you need to do is the same. Put a little soap on a sponge and gently wash away the grease.
Lemon Oil Furniture Polish
All you need to do is apply a bit of it on a clean towel and give the tamper a rub. You shouldn’t use the polish directly to the tamper. While it won’t damage it, you will have a lot more work to do, trying to clean off the excess.
Soak in Vinegar
Vinegar has strong dissolving capabilities. Therefore, you can also use it to clean your coffee tamper. There are two ways to do it.
One is to let it soak in vinegar for 10-20 minutes. This will usually get rid of all the stubborn coffee that wouldn’t come off otherwise.
The other approach is to soak a towel or dip a brush in some vinegar. Then you should give the tamper a gentle rub, and it’ll be clean.
No matter which method you decide to use, don’t forget to give the tamper a good rinse, as otherwise, your coffee will end up tasting like vinegar.
Soak in Coca Cola
Coke has basically the same qualities as white vinegar. You can do the same as in the previous step. Either let the tamper soak in coke for no more than half an hour or give it a tiny brush.
Do NOT Put It in the Dishwasher
Even though it might seem like the easiest step, it will ruin your coffee tamper. The high temperature and strong detergent will damage the top layer of the stainless steel. Also, the handle might fall apart. In short, you will need a new tamper.
Why Do You Need to Tamp Your Coffee?
Tamping your coffee is essential to be able to get the best taste out of your brew. As water finds the most straightforward way through the coffee grounds, it must be evenly spread.
How Do You Tamp Your Coffee?
You simply put the coffee in the portafilter, give it a little press and a slight twist. For a long time, it was commonly believed that a good tamp needed around 30-40 lbs of pressure, but lately, it’s been said that 10-15 should be enough.
Should you only tamp espresso?
Yes, you should only use a tamper on an espresso maker’s portafilter. You should NOT use it on a Moka pot.
Is It Important to Have a Clean Tamper?
Yes, you should always make sure your tamper is clean. If it’s not, you won’t have excellent flat coffee, which will make your espresso taste worse.
Having a clean coffee tamper can make the difference between a great cup of coffee and a regular one. There are many ways to clean your tamper if the old school towel wipe doesn’t work. You can try just warm water or some more creative approaches using vinegar or even Coca-Cola. One thing is for sure if you’re looking for a quality coffee tamper, head over to our catalog!