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Coffee Tampers and Tamping Mats
The Coffee Tamper is one of the most important tools you will ever buy for helping to make coffee when using ground coffee beans.
For most commercial machines the best tamper to have when utilising a double filter basket is one which has a 58mm diameter and has a convex bottom.
There is a tendency for people to want a 58mm diameter tamper, as they believe that the base should occupy all the space at the top of the basket.
After many years of experience using different machines and baskets we know find ourselves agreeing with that tendency, however this is only if the bottom of the tamper is convex, as this allows for a correction in compression.
If you look at the side of your filter basket, in most cases, the sides slope in somewhat.
So if you have a tamper with a 58mm flat base you are compressing the outside of the baskets contents, more so than you are the innards, as there is more back pressure from the sides than anywhere else.
Bearing in mind the whole point of tamping is to evenly compress the coffee grinds throughout the basket in order to obtain an even extraction, with the water passing through ALL of the coffee at the same rate of speed, it is easy to see that a 58mm flat based tamper will not necessarily help you achieve that particularly well.
The best thing to do is use a 57mm tamper if you want a flat based model, then tap the side of the portafilter so that any loose grinds on the outside are push inwards, then lay the tamper on top of those and rotate or spin the tamper so that you now have a flat surface for the coffee to pass through.
If you are using the traditional dosing methods of 7 grams for a single and 14 grams for a double, if you have a 58mm tamper, it may not go far enough down the basket to tamp at all!
So in conclusion our advice is this: If you mainly use a double basket go for the 58mm convex tamper, if you use doubles and singles and dose 7g of ground coffee in a single basket and 14g of ground coffee in a double basket go for the 57mm tamper.
If like us you now only use a triple basket again go for the 58mm convex.
Remember if you have a Spaziale, a San Marco, a domestic Pavoni or an early Iberital expression, you will have to buy a 53mm tamper as any bigger based ones will not fit.
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