Coffee tamping 

 February 18, 2020

By  Dorian Bodnariuc

Coffee TampingCoffee tamping is the action of compacting ground coffee in an espresso portafilter with a tamp, prior to brewing.

A tamp can be either handheld or attached to the espresso machine.

A handheld tamp normally has a wooden handle and a stainless steel face which is the same size as an espresso portafilter.

Professional baristas will typically use a handheld tamp, which allows for a better angle and a more successful tamp.

Tamping is one of the barista techniques that contributes to good overall coffee extraction. If an espresso shot is tamped badly, the coffee will be extracted poorly.

To properly tamp espresso, the tamp should rest evenly on the coffee bed in the portafilter. Pressure should then be applied evenly and firmly to the coffee bed. Tamping unevenly at an angle, for example, would be considered a common error when tamping. Another error would be either not adding enough pressure or adding too much, namely undertamping or overtamping.

The action of tamping adds resistance to the coffee bed which makes it harder for water to pass through it. Espresso is therefore brewed at higher pressure, which is the defining characteristic in espresso brewing.

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About the author

My name is Dorian and I am a former barista. I consume coffee in any form, as a beverage, in savory recipes and desserts. My favorite caffeinated beverage is the espresso.

I love to share my coffee brewing knowledge and my geeky coffee research. This blog is one of the places I write about coffee. More about Dorian... If you want to learn more about this site and how I started it, check our About Me page, where I explain all about it.