A pressing issue

This is more of a question than a thought, and something that I believe needs to be raised and debated.

Why are coffee machines shipped with ill fitting, plastic tampers that serve no useful purpose?

Coffee Tampers come in a multitude of sizes, shapes and materials, the most common* being 58mm or 53mm (depending on the basket size) and made of metal, with either a flat, c-flat or convex base (*other base types and diameters are available)

Tamping is (in my opinion) not an optional step in the process as it serves a purpose, so why do coffee machine manufacturers include a tool that is not fit for purpose?

The tampers supplied are generally 1 piece moulded plastic tampers, and are usually 3-5mm too small for the baskets.

Has the car industry ‘space-saver tyre’ mentality been adopted? (To be used for short periods until the tyre is replaced)

I understand the economics of including a plastic tamper over a metal one, but why not ‘improve’ the out of the box experience by ‘not’ including one at all?

So, should coffee machine manufacturers not include a tamper, and instead spend the money on a sticker or better information that outlines what size of tamper should be used with the basket supplied, and let the consumer buy their own tamper separately, which is what they will end up doing anyway?

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~ by Glenn on March 21, 2010.

2 Responses to “A pressing issue”

  1. Welcome to Barista UK Glenn!

    I have never understood this either. At least they supply a hand tamp, it’s the grinder tampers that have always hacked me off! There is no sense in having them? You can’t get much more than 10Lbs pressure without breaking your wrist and generally they too are ill-fiting.
    It’s hardwork doing training on new kit like that. We’d sell them a new machine and grinder. During the initial training session you explain NOT to use the grinder mounted tamper. Of course they ask “why does it come with one then”? I can only assume it’s to sell a complete “out of the box” package. The piston-grinder tampers are by far the worst. Problem is is breds bad habits from day one.
    Take costa/nero and their grinder-mounted piston -tamp’s.They give is a token touch on the tamper. Another reason why their espresso isn’t consistant?!

  2. When I’m in Italy I get given some of the best espresso I have ever had, constantly good, day after day. In all my travels in the country I have never seen any real effort made with regard to tamping!
    When asked, their Bariste (not a name given overnight!) seem highly amused by our tamping antics?

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