This article is going to be a relatively short one to answer probably the most common question I get, which is “Hey, I just bought a new espresso machine, what tamper should I get to go with it?”
The reality, is that companies still aren’t providing great tampers in the box with their machines, so getting an aftermarket tamper is a nice first upgrade that many people make. And these are two of my favourites that I’ve used this year.
The first reason I chose these tampers in particular are that they are available in 51, 54, AND 58mm sizes. and they are precision fit, meaning that the measurements are actually 51, 53.3mm and 58.35mm.
Having the EXACT size to match the basket makes sure that there isn’t an un-tamped area around the perimeter that will lead to channelling. Something you commonly see with the stock tampers that are provided with Breville machines.
Perfectly Level Tamps
The other biggest reason is that they have the appearance of a traditional tamper, but they still offer assistance getting a PERFECTLY level tamp, which is something baristas at ANY level of experience can benefit from.
So in many ways, they’re the best of both worlds.
This spring and collar design allows you to tamp with the action and depth you would with any other tamper, but does not allow for any movement away from a perfectly flat surface relative to the filter basket.
What about palm tampers?
The only other style of tamper that allows for this is a palm or puck tamper, which can be good if you suffer from wrist or elbow pain, but they come with the notable downside that tamping pressure is ENTIRELY dependent on the size of the dose you put in the basket.
Because they stop at a certain level, not a certain pressure, an under or over filled basket can get improper tamping pressure if you’re not careful to carefully set the depth.
The final reason I like both of these tampers is that they are VERY well made and just plain nice you use day-to-day.
You might be wondering what the DIFFERENCES are between the Normcore V4 and the Ikape Ace, and all it really comes down to your preference of appearance.
The Normcore does also come with 3 interchangeable springs, but in my opinion that’s not really a useful feature and I recommend you always use the heaviest 30lb spring unless it causes ergonomic issues.
Go confidently with whichever you prefer visually, be sure to pick the right size, and happy tamping!