No Tamp required?

Ben Leung

New member
Apr 15, 2004
Sydney Australia
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In order to have good crema, I usually tamp the coffee at home before brewing. I was told to tamp it hard enough to have better crema result.

However, I found the cups from coffee shop don't need any tamp. The girls just flatten the top of the grounded coffee, then brewing!

Anybody can tell the difference? Why don't the coffee shop need a tamp?

Ben, tamping is essential to producing a good with creme and one that is neither under or over extracted. You are right...many espresso bars are very lax with tamping, this just highlights the point that these guys are far from professional in what they do. The best thing that grinder manufacturers could do is produce commercial grinders without the plastic "tamps" that are screwed onto the machine. This would force the staff to physically tamp. My advice...if you go into an espresso bar, cafe or coffee shop where tamping is a light push with a plastic tamp...go somewhere else. If shortcuts are taken at this stage of preparation, just imagine what other shortcuts are taken along the way (beans held in the hopper for days, ground espresso left in the dispenser overnight, the machine not backflushed daily...... :x ). Anyway, thats my $$$ worth!


New member
Feb 15, 2004
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Tamping is essential to pulling the perfect shot. The best description I've heard about what it does is that its much like the Plinko board from the Price is Right. Tamping creates a lattice work for the liquid to go through. An erratic path is created so that liquid will not shoot straight through and only touch certain parts of the puck. By tamping, surface area contact is optimized and the pull is much more uniform. In my early days as a barista, we twisted a good bit at the end of the tamp, but this was totally wrong. The twist should only be an 1/8 of a turn if anything at all b/c it compacts the lattice.

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