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How to Tamp Your Coffee

How to Tamp Your Coffee

Wanting to know the best method of tamping your coffee? We actually don't think you should! If you're a cafe owner, or professional barista, the easiest and most consistent method of getting a good tamp, and the perfect espresso, is with an automatic tamper. In a busy cafe, a barista may tamp hundreds of coffee pucks per day, and even if the barista has honed and perfected their tamping technique, repetitive strain injuries are still possible, and highly likely.

An automatic tamp will save time, prevent uneven extraction, and keep your baristas in tip-top shape. In our Rumble cafes, we use the Puqpress Espresso Tamper, and we love how it improves workflow and helps to prevent wrist injuries.

If you're a home barista however, we know that a puqpress might not be an option, in which case, read on! Knowing how to tamp your coffee evenly, create a flat base in your coffee, and brew a well balanced and delicious tasting espresso, is a skill that every barista should have under their belt, even if you're just making a coffee for yourself!

Firstly, you'll want to make sure you have the correct amount of coffee in your portafilter basket. Most commercial machines use a 21-22g coffee basket, however a lot of home machines have a smaller basket, such as our recommended home machine, the Breville Bambino Plus, with its' 18g basket.

Secondly, you'll want to ensure that the grind size is ground correctly for espresso. If you notice that the ground coffee is not compressing or very resistant when you tamp, you may need to grind the coffee a little finer! This also helps to ensure a balanced flavour in your coffee.

Distribute your coffee grinds in the portafilter. This will help with removing any air pockets in the ground coffee. A firm tap on the bench will distribute the grinds, or alternatively there are distribution tools which can assist with this.

Next, you'll want to stand straight and perpendicular to the bench, and tamp with a firm flat motion. You'll want the compressed puck of coffee to be flat and smooth, so as to ensure even extraction and a delicious espresso.

Some baristas will place quite an importance on the pressure or force with which they tamp, however a more forceful tamping pressure isn't necessarily a better tamping technique. Once the coffee puck is adequately compressed, and any air pockets are removed, you're all set to make a tasty espresso.

If you'd like to see these tips in action, you can check out our tutorials on our Youtube.

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