A work of art in your own home; made to order by a craftsman of the highest calibre.
Positive Product Points
-Solid -Beautiful hardwood handle -Comfortable grip -Greg will custom make tampers to fit any size basket -Greg will engrave your tamper for a small fee (keep yours to yourself in a busy cafe' environment!)
Negative Product Points
-No ridges on the side (Now Fixed!) -Can't throw it in the dishwasher (so just wipe the base)
Way before I even considered buying a home espresso machine my introduction to the world of tampers was through one of those crappy tiny discs mounted on a grinder in a cafe' ... absolutely dreadful to use. A few jobs later, things took a step up with a grinder-mounted tamper that had a spring-loaded handle attached. Better, but felt flimsy and was not a good fit. At the beginning of this year I caved and bought a Silvia/Rocky set and was introduced to Rancilio's sad excuse for a tamper. Using the double pf was almost out of the question with uneven pours a-plenty. Greg's Deluxe Tamper has finally solved all of my blues.
Tampers are not exactly rocket science to make (no offence), yet so many people get it wrong. Flimsy materials and poor fits abound. The Deluxe Tamper actually gets it right.
The base is brushed stainless steel, machined to fit your basket exactly. We all know that in espresso weight often translates to quality. At ~400g, that's a lot of quality.
The handle is made of an australian hardwood called jarrah. Prized for its durability, jarrah is often used to make garden equipment and furniture. It starts off a reddish-brown colour and seems to get darker with age. Perhapsthe most useful property is its lack of conductivity. The handle will not heat from being left on top of the espresso machine, nor will it freeze your hand off in the morning. The handle is shaped such that it can be gripped from the top or the side; experimentation will quickly reveal the correct grip for you.
And the actual tamp? Consistent every time, with no uneven pours. Isn't that what it's all about?
The one thing that could possibly improve this is a series of reference lines etched into the side of the base, as the Vivace tamper has. That said, it's not as if it's particularly difficult to tell if the tamp is flat by comparing the top of the base with the side of the pf. Also, be aware that tampers come with the web address engraved on them as standard, something that I don't especially mind.
Greg provided fantastic customer service; he was constantly in touch via email and particularly helpful when my first cheque got lost in the mail. Because of the delay, Greg paid for the tamper to be sent to me by express post. It arrived in a small box stuffed to the rafters with foam packing material.
(See one year followup for details of how Greg improved the tamper in response to our critiques)
Three Month Followup
===== Update 17 Aug 2006 ============================== ==============================
It is probably about two years since my GP tamper arrived and I have since used a multitude of tampers in a multitude of settings, both commercial and at home (and, yes, this includes my former cafe, Maltitude ;P). I have added two more to my collection and used them quite extensively and, having done so, I felt that I should go back and correct my ratings to reflect my experience.
I still hold Greg's tampers in the highest regard, but would relegate them more to the home environment than to the commercial environment. The biggest reason for this is ergonomics; in trying out a bunch of other tampers, I have found a few that now set the standard for comfort for me (I'll review them shortly) and, as a result, my gorgeous Pullman tamper is now relegated to display. However, Greg has been investigating improvements for quite some time and has some prototypes in the works. The other factor is that I have since stopped using the baskets that my tamper was machined to fit. At the moment, I'm using an Espro or a Coffeelab design tamper at home and at work.
At the moment, I would say that Greg's tampers are a great work of art to have and to appreciate. In the home environment, they will please, but if making heaps of shots in a row, I'd prefer something more comfortable.