The Barista Tamper is the result of three years’ research, over 25 prototype tampers and hundreds of hours of testing by commercial coffee perfectionists throughout Australia. It builds on the highly successful foundation of the Deluxe Tamper and introduces a tamper to the Pullman range designed particularly with high-volume, high-speed and high-quality commercial operators. The result is an ergonomic tamper, perfectly balanced and weighted for the discerning espresso professional, described by SCAA judge and espresso afficionado Corey Diamond as “the best man made tamper ever”.
The Barista is an ergonomic unit with a comfortable curve running throughout all its components. It start with a handle made of either anodized aluminium, high-impact Acetal plastic or classic oiled hardwood. The handle is inlaid with a high-impact acetal knocking cap (except acetal handle which is solid) to protect the handle and to cater for those who like to dislodge any loose coffee grounds by tapping the portafilter with the top of the tamper handle.
Between the base and the handle there’s also the option to add one of the three height adjustment spacers supplied with each tamper. New to 2011, the spacers now have vertical sides allowing up to 15mm of height adjustment across eight steps without compromising the tamper’s ergonomics. In keeping with the quality of the rest of the unit, are precision-machined from stainless steel.
The lower part of the tamper consists of the precision-machined stainless steel base in a choice of flat or convex bases (U.S./1.5mm curve), complete with the iconic TrueTamp rings. One of the challenges with tamping by hand is getting the tamper level, and each Barista Tamper comes with TrueTamp guide rings engraved into its side to assist you in this regard. These enable you to line the top of your filter basket up with one of the guide rings to ensure the tamper is level and to help you tamp to exactly the same point each time to assist you in gaining greater repeatability in your brews. Repeatability is of the utmost importance in consistently improving the quality of your brews, so this tamper is a must for anyone serious about producing consistently better coffee.
To ensure the correct weight and balance parameters, the Barista base is thinner and lighter than the Deluxe base, and the TrueTamp rings have been realigned to suit modern updosing techniques. This means the bottom TrueTamp ring sits 2mm closer to the bottom of the tamper base so you can start using the rings sooner; and for compatability with Deluxe users, the upper two rings line up perfectly with the lower two rings on the Deluxe tamper so you can still compare notes! The Barista base is also inlaid with an ergonomic rubber compression zone to maximise comfort and to minimise fatigue for high-volume users. The compression zone runs almost to the outer extremity of the tamper base to provide a wide range of grip options without compromising the operator’s tactile experience.
There’s more to the Barista than meets the eye, and a lot of the research has been in areas which aren’t seen in photos. Many Barista tampers will be used in rough cafe environments, so for this reason it was primarily designed to be used with an anodized aluminium handle; extensive effort was taken to ensure that in this configuration the Barista is perfectly balanced top to bottom. The common cafe practice is to do a light tamp, invert the tamper, knock the portafilter to dislodge any loose grounds and follow with a heavy tamp. Unlike many commercial tampers which are very bottom-heavy, the perfect balance in the Barista makes this rotation an effortless exercise for the operator – just another way the Barista provides the ultimate tamping experience for the discerning espresso professional.
All the design in the world has no value if the parts aren’t up to the task. In an industry first for coffee tampers, the Barista is held together with a 10mm stainless steel stud embedded deep within the base and handle to ensure it can withstand the most brutal of treatment. This is in contrast to some other tampers which use thinner screws, often made from non-stainless components which rust over time.