|An elegant, supremely functional tool that will give you years of satisfaction.
|Java Man (Espressopithecus), Feb 8, 2002
More of Java Man (Espressopithecus)'s Review:
Let's get this straight--as long as your tamper is the right size for your portafilter, I doubt that buying a better tamper will make any difference in the quality of your espresso. So why am I so satisfied with my Reg Barber? Because it is a little...
|It's pricey and utilitarian, but tamps very precisely and fast
|James Schulman, May 22, 2002
More of James Schulman's Review:
This milled solid steel tamper has a mildly curved bottom and weighs 520 grams. The top knob is about 30 mm across and fits comfortably in the palm. One can get a logo put on the knob. It is comfortable on the arm when tamping and clearly...
|41 Reviews have been written for the 2003 Tampers so far by our members.
Lava Deluxe Tamper, from Espresso Parts Northwest
Height: 85mm (3.3in) Weight: 459g (16.25oz)
This tamper is a steel base, plastic and aluminum handled tamper with a convex base. We had a 58mm tamper for evaluation, but Espresso Parts NW offers a wide variety of options for this model: it is available in a flat bottom or rounded bottom version, all aluminum or steel / aluminum combo, two handle finishes and seven different sizes: 58mm, 57mm, 56mm, 55mm, 53mm, 52mm and 49mm. As of this writing, four different colours are available: green, purple, red and blue The retail price is $32.00.Reg Barber Tamper, from Whole Latte Love
Height: 90mm (3.5in) Weight: 365g (12.75oz)
The Reg Barber is arguably the most famous tamper on the market right now, and is often used as the trophy or prizes in regional, national, and world Barista competitions. We used a wood and steel flat bottom version, but rounded base and aluminum base models are also available. The Reg Barber tamper can be custom branded (as was our Whole Latte Love supplied tamper), is available in a variety of sizes (we tested a 58mm size), and retails for $42.00Pro Tamper, from Espresso Parts Northwest
Height: 85mm (3.3in) Weight: 528g (18.5oz)
Another tamper from the tamper machine over at Espresso Parts, this is one of the older ones in my test lineup, and the one they currently sell is slightly different from my test model, but is still very similar in terms of size and use. Like the other EPNW tampers, this one is available in a variety of sizes (49mm, flat only, 52mm, 53mm, 55mm, 56mm, 57mm, 58mm) and with round or flat pistons. We tested a 58mm round version. It is the heaviest tamper in our lineup, and the current version is priced at $32.Gourmet Espresso Tamper, from EspressoTamper
Height: 35mm (1.5in) Weight: 104g (3.75oz)
Unique is one word that comes to mind when you see this tamper. The only one in our lineup that is a concave (inverted) design, it features a 49mm side and a 54mm side. It is made of machined, anodized aluminum (anodized black) and has a fake diamond (called a Swarovski Austrian crystal) protruding from the center. It retails for $25.La Marzocco Tamper, from Espresso Specialists, Inc.
Height: 99mm (3.9in) Weight: 353g (12.5oz)
This is an experimental tamper specifically designed for La Marzocco double and single filter baskets. It is machined aluminum, and features a unique double step bottom to provide a perfectly flat and level tamp in La Marzocco double filters. Turn it around and the handle is also a tamper for the La Mazocco single baskets. It is still in experimental stages, and is not yet available for retail sale.African Rosewood Tamper, from 1st Line Equipment
Height: 92mm (3.6in) Weight: 389g (13.7oz)
This model is similar to the Reg Barber tamper, and is made with hardened rosewood, features a chromed steel base, and unlike the Reg models, is finished with a polish coat on the handle giving it some extra protection from knocks and bumps. Available in 53mm and 58mm sizes, we had both versions for our testing purposes. Initially only flat bottom versions were available, but rounded bottom models are also available. Pricing is $29.95.Elektra Tamper, from Elektra SRL, with machine purchase.
Height: 63mm (2.5in) Weight: 28g (1oz)
I wanted to include at least one "stock" tamper that a person typically receives with an espresso machine in this test, and I tried to pick the best of the lot - which was a challenge since the tampers that come supplied with machine are uniformly terrible, even machines costing $2,000 or more. The one supplied with Elektra Micro Casa Semi Automatica machines is probably one of the better ones - it is a rounded bottom with no seam (most of them have one), fairly dense and solid plastic, and actually fits a 58mm filter basket fairly well. Cost: $2,000 (but you get a free machine with it).Presso Barista Tamper, from The Espresso Guide (Europe), and Dezco Canada
Height: 92mm (3.6in) Weight: 186g (6.5oz)
This is a brand new design tamper from Sweden, made of polished and anodized aluminum and oak or cherry wood. The designer specifically avoided looking at existing tampers when making this model, instead relying on interviews with some of the best Baristi in Sweden and Scandinavia for inspiration. It is currently only available in a 58mm, very slightly convex version, and sells for $45.
On the next few pages, you'll find testing by a closed group organized at the spacious and very scientific (ha!) labs, then commentary and rankings by many of the best Baristi in the Pacific Northwest. I'll wrap up this evaluation with my conclusions.