Why tamp coffee with a spring-loaded tamper?

Adjustable tamper, with regulation or tamper with spring. If you want to improve your coffee tamping technique and make espresso preparation easier, get one. Now I'll explain why.

Why not use a classic coffee tamper

We're all familiar with the basic tamper, a solid piece of metal usually with a wooden handle that resembles vintage postmarks. We also know that it's there to seal the coffee in the portafilter with. Lately ,pressure-regulating tamper cups have been coming tothe fore .

Take a look at our range of pressure-regulated tampers:

Back in the days when I was in my first barista training course, I used to tamp coffee on a personal scale and try to achieve the required 20 kg at pressing. There was no question of theergonomics of working with the tamper and the correct posture when doing so. I always get a pain in my wrist when I think about that time.

But, today it is known that tamping coffee is all about evenness. That's why barista equipment manufacturers have taken to creating those special tampers to which this article is dedicated.

Spring-loaded vs. adjustable tamper

Now let's take a look at the two types of modern tamper. We can call them the spring-loaded tamper and the adjustable tamper. One works on the principle of constant pressure determined by the spring inside the tamper. In the second type, you control the force of compression by adjusting the height of the tamping base.

How does such a tamper help with espresso preparation?

I'll borrow a line from Scott Rao's blognow , "You want to control the flow of espresso by adjusting the grind of the coffee, not the pressure during tamping". So in practice, this means that thepressure should be constant when tamping the coffee. So one has to help oneself with a suitable tool to achieve this consistency. So he picks up apressure-controlled tamper.

Always constant pressure also goes hand in hand witheven pressure distribution over the entire surface of the coffee in the portafilter. After a crooked tamp, the water will flow through the coffee the way it wants to, or the way it finds it easier. The gentlemen from Seven Miles in Australia tested three sets of espressos by placing the tamper straight, at a 10° angle and at a 20° angle. Theconsistency of flow was over 90% for the straight squeeze. It was 75% with a 10° inclination and only 50% with a 20° inclination.

Thelesson to be learned from this data is to blow at the same pressure and completely perpendicular to the coffee level in the portafilter. Thus... get atamper with regulation that also has an overhang over the base for your barista equipment . When squeezed, the rim will sit on the edge of the portafilter and your tamping will be perfectly straight.

Which coffee tamper to choose?

My favourites in the coffee tamper category are these two chic ones in particular. Aflat tamper with a depth of squeeze adjustment, specifically from Clockwork Espresso, which is considered one of the most precise tamper ever. As a spring-loaded tamper, I would then reach for the black tamper with an overlap over the base from Eureka.

The spring tampers from Eureka. Source: instagram.com/eureka_grinders

A pressure-regulating tamper from Clockwork Espresso. Source: clockworkespresso.com

A word in conclusion

Regulated tampers are the helpers standing between a classic manual tamper and an automated coffee frother. Working with a traditional tamper takes experience and a higher level of attention from the barista in this activity. An automated tamper, on the other hand, allows the barista to devote their attention and energy to other steps in the coffee preparation process. It is super fast and of course, it is more expensive than a manual tamper.

Want to prepare coffee more easily and accurately than with a manual tamper, but without the investment of an automatic tamper? Put a pressure-controlled tamper in your cart!

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