Every espresso machine purchase comes equipped with all espresso accessories needed to prepare coffee, but the addition of higher quality, precision espresso tools can make the brewing process more effective, consistent and enjoyable.
If you’re looking to up your home espresso game, take a look at our list below of the best espresso tampers on the market.
Best Coffee Tamper: Rhino Coffee Gear Espresso Tamper
The Rhino Coffee Gear Espresso Tamper is ergonomically designed and professionally weighted in order to deliver consistent, flat coffee beds.
This falt tamper’s minimalist look, with an aluminium handle and stainless steel base, give a modern feel to the design.
It is available in multiple sizes to match up with most designs of a home coffee machine, making this tamp another fantastic, affordable coffee accessory from Rhino Coffee Gear, a regular go-to brand for industry and home barista needs.
Best Coffee Distributor: ONA Coffee Distributor OCD V3.0
The Ona Coffee Distributor or OCD for short has taken the market by storm ever since its original release at the end of 2016. Now on version 3, the OCD has been modified to meet the needs of modern baristas and its idea has also been replicated by various other coffee accessory brands.
Its sleek matte black body (also available in silver or titanium) and glossed black, anti-static, depth adjustable distributor make up a coffee accessory that you may not need, but certainly will want.
Its purpose is to help baristas become more consistent by evenly distributing the freshly ground coffee around the portafilter to avoid channelling, leaving you with a nice flat coffee surface ready for tamping.
The OCD is only available in 58mm size, and the biggest thing that may put someone off is the premium price tag, but that is for you to decide if it is worth it or not.
The Tobeape 53mm Coffee Distributor & Tamper 2 in 1 is another dual-action distribution tool and coffee tamper.
It has an adjustable depth which aids in maximising the effectiveness of both the distributor and tamp.
Offered in 53mm size, this useful coffee tool is designed to match up with most Breville home espresso machines.
The way the tamper is shaped helps to always get a perfectly level tamp, with the wider middle section resting nicely on top of the filter basket, which means there’s almost no way of screwing up with equipment like this.
Pullman is an Australian company that has built a worldwide reputation for one of the best coffee tamper designs available on the market.
Regularly found in coffee shops across the planet, the Pullman coffee tamper can be easily customised, giving you the option of multiple handles which have been designed with the baristas comfort in mind.
The outer ‘True Tamp’ rings engraved around the stainless steel base of the coffee tamper, act as a visual aid to ensure that your tamped coffee is kept level, which helps deliver consistent extraction by helping to prevent channeling for the perfect shot of espresso.
The default measurement for this espresso tamper is 58mm, so make sure to check that they are the right size for your portafilter before purchasing!
Their quality tamper offerings come at a premium price point but are designed to last all the way through your coffee journey, and is a tool used by people who take their coffee seriously.
The Espro Calibrated Tamper is a coffee tamper with a twist. The way that this tamper is engineered ensures that you always apply 30 pounds of tamping pressure, every time you use it.
The spring-loaded handle pushes down and lightly clicks once you have the reached optimum level of force, letting you know when the job is done.
The calibrated tampers layout has a classic black, aluminium handle and stainless steel base, which is a timeless tamper design and is offered in sizes from 53mm, up to VST 58.35mm, and even have the choice out of flat or convex tampers, to suit your personal espresso preparation philosophy.
The Espro Calibrated Tamper is a good tamper for adjusting your technique when preparing espresso coffee, as you will become more accustomed to how much force it takes to make the tamper click when pushing down.
The LuxHaus 53mm Calibrated Tamper has a spring-loaded stainless steel flat base and is designed to help perfect the art of perfect tamping pressure.
The spring-loaded design lets you know exactly when you have applied the appropriate amount of pressure, which can really help with consistency while preparing espresso.
Many professional baristas struggle with finding the same amount of force across every shot they pull, and LuxHaud has developed a good tamper to answer their problems.
A classic, durable black handle paired with the stainless steel base, available in all sizes, from 49mm up to 58mm, helps it to fit in seamlessly with any existing espresso set up.
It arrives in an elegant red velvet pouch, making it a great gift for coffee-loving friends or family, as well as giving the tamper a safe place for storage when it needs packing away.
The Xunada 53mm Coffee Distributor & Tamper helps to solve the problem of whether you should invest in a coffee distributor, or just start off with a tamper.
The seemingly obvious design allows for quick and easy workflow by using the coffee distributor, then simply flipping it over and pushing down with the espresso tamper on the other side.
Both attachments are easily adjustable to suit the depth of filter basket you are using and are meant for use with a 53mm portafilter, which is perfect for most Breville home espresso machines.
The stainless steel parts may sometimes attract coffee grounds through static, but the overall result you get with this well made and affordable dual-action coffee distribution tool/espresso tamper combo is well worth taking the plunge on.
Espresso Tamper Buying Guide
Coffee tampers come in varying shapes and sizes, but modern espresso tampers can now be found equipped with technology or mechanisms that we didn’t even know we needed.
The following buying guide aims to bring light to what the best espresso tamper on the market holds, what difference a flat tamper makes compared to a convex coffee tamper base, and what features are now available to help prevent channelling and create an even extraction.
Finding the best coffee tamper comes after a little research, so we are here to help you understand how each tampers key features aim to differentiate one coffee tamper from another and bring you one step closer to the perfect shot of espresso.
Base Size & Shape
The biggest mistake people make when buying a coffee tamper is the assumption that they all come in one standard size. Espresso machine manufacturers vary their gasket size by up to a centimetre, depending on what machine you have.
Commercial espresso machines are generally fit 58mm portafilters, and many specialist coffee companies ‘upgrade’ their baskets to VST, which require 58.3mm tampers for a perfect fit.
Most Breville machines take 53mm portafilters, but some espresso machines can go as low as 49mm.
To find the size of the tamper you need, simply measure from one side of the filter basket directly across, not including the outer lip in your measurements.
Shape – Convex vs Flat bases
Flat tampers are pretty self-explanatory. They are set with perfectly flat bases to ensure an even coffee bed after tamping, which is meant to create a more consistent pressure all the way through the bed of coffee.
A convex tamper base has a slight curve to it, which is said to help alleviate channelling by pushing coffee slightly further up the side of the basket in your portafilter.
These are details that the effectiveness of either size can be argued about for hours, and even though we usually only find flat tamper bases in commercial settings, both shapes are more than adequate for home espresso use.
Distributor Vs Tamper
The coffee distributor is a modern piece of espresso preparation equipment.
Many coffee professionals are unsure of whether there is actually a need for this tool. One problem professionals find with coffee distributors is that the base of the tool does not reach the bottom of the coffee basket, making it only effective at distributing the top half of the coffee grounds in the portafilter.
When using a coffee distributor, make sure you address this by tapping the side of the portafilter lightly to help settle the bottom half of the freshly ground coffee.
A distributor is no substitute for a tamper. Even though after using a coffee distributor the bed of ground coffee will look perfectly flat, you still need a tamper to compress the grinds.
Tamping ensures that enough pressure is able to build up in order to properly extract all the delicious flavours that the beans hold.
Style – Classic Vs Modern
There are now two styles of tamper that make up the market. The classic tamper is iconic, with either wood, metal or plastic handles with a slight curve for ergonomics, and a high-grade stainless steel base, this style of the tamper is one we would all recognise with no trouble. Many believe that if it isn’t broken, there is no need to fix it, and the classic tamper is one that has seen its way through coffee history without many complaints.
The more modern tamper we now find available on the market is said to be more gentle on the wrist of baristas. Shaped like a coffee distributor, the wider handle and adjustable tamping base depth doesn’t allow for any lopsided coffee beds, and can eliminate the problem of keeping consistency in tamping pressure when more than one person is using the same coffee to brew with, whilst not needing to apply excess stress on their joints to achieve their goal
Some tampers and distributors have been modernised in order to further optimise the espresso brewing procedure. Even though still simple in design, a small addition can make a big difference.
An anti-static coating can be found on certain distributors. It helps to eliminate any coffee grounds sticking to the base of your coffee tool, which saves on mess as well as possible cross-contamination of old coffee getting mixed into fresh.
Calibrated pressure assistance
This is a feature that has started becoming more common. Many espresso brewers crave preparation tools that help with consistency, and one of the biggest variables when it comes to making an espresso shot can be repeating certain amounts of pressure applied to coffee beds when tamping.
A lot of people will say that 30 pounds of pressure are what we should be aiming for, but without pressure readers, it is not the easiest thing to measure.
Calibrated pressure assistance comes in the form of a spring-loaded tamp base, which will give some kind of signal, often a small click, when the right amount of pressure has been applied.