Espresso Tamper Review: The Espro Calibrated Tamper
Espro Calibrated Tamper
- Removes tamping pressure as a variable in your espresso making
- Solid construction
- All metal
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Comes in flat or convex base
- Not necessary for experienced espresso geeks
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If you've ever made espresso or seen it being made at your local coffee shop, you have probably seen tamping in action. You know, that downward pressing of the ground coffee into a small filter basket?
While it may be a subtle step in the overall espresso-making process, tamping plays a bigger role than many would expect when it comes to making quality espresso.
Given tamping's manual nature, there is a lot of room for user error and tamping inconsistencies.
That's basically why the Espro tamper exists. You see, it's designed to deliver the same amount of tamping pressure every time you use it so you can make your espresso routine more consistent with fewer variables influencing your results.
Facts and fiction about tamping
30 pounds of tamping pressure. If you've been making espresso for any period of time, somebody has likely mentioned that 30 pounds of pressure is the golden standard for tamping bliss.
But this isn't really true.
Consistency is what is truly important in the tamping game. In other words, if you're going to tamp with 30 lbs of pressure, do it every time. If you're going to tamp with 20 lbs of pressure, do it every time.
Why? So you don't have to worry about an arbitrary number and can focus on the things that really matter when it comes to great espresso: water, coffee, and the equipment you use.
Ok, but how do I tamp consistently?
Practice and patience, grasshopper.
Or you can cheat (and splurge) like I did with the Espro tamper. Yes, it focuses on the arbitrary 30 lbs of pressure by “clicking” when you've reached this tamping pressure.
But what matters is that it keeps your technique somewhat consistent.
And once again, this is what's important.
Is the Espro for you?
I really love the Espro, but if I had to go back in time I don't know if I would buy it.
Here's why: while I think removing a variable like tamping pressure does have a positive impact on the shots you pull, I don't think it's the 20% that will get you 80% of your results.
I also think the results you get from the Espro have diminishing returns…meaning, as time goes on you get less and less out of it.
That isn't to say that the Espro isn't durable. Quite the contrary.
My point is that the more shots of espresso you tamp over time, the more consistent your tamping pressure will become. Muscle memory will lead you to the promised land with practice and patience.
If you don't have this patience and want to make espresso a little easier when you're just getting started, then I would highly recommend the Espro.
But you also have to have the money to spend on it. And I would never recommend investing in an expensive tamper like the Espro over a quality burr grinder or espresso machine. Because these two things are what will get you 90% (or more) of your results.
Check out some of the other tampers that Amazon has to offer here. Make sure that whatever tamper you buy fits your filter basket!