The big tamper question: curved or flat…

This page probably won't answer that question, but it may make you consider another factor when ordering your next tamper.

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It's a frequent question on the coffee forums and the answer is usually: get one that matches the profile of your shower screen. This is a logical answer. It seems an axiom that the more coffee one can pack into a basket the less defects are likely to occur in the pour (early blonding; spritzes, pin-holes etc.). If the profiles match then that allows a greater volume of coffee in the basket.

I personally now own eight (or maybe more) tampers (home baristas and tampers seem to be like women and shoes!) with many different base profiles: flat, curved, Euro curve, C-Flat. I can't say I've ever seen any repeatable and consistent differences in the pour between the various tampers. And if there are any then it's my opinion that they are dwarfed by the variables of dose and grind. But that's my, empirically derived, opinion.

However, ensuring one's tamp is level, relative to the basket, is one factor of the tamp I have found to influence the pour. This is logical as it affects the depth of the coffee in the puck is constant around the basket. Many baristas that I have observed gauge the position of the tamper with their finger tips round the base of the tamper and touching the rim of the basket before compressing.

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Those baristas with smaller hands, or shorter fingers, may find, as I did, that tampers with longer handles such as my Reg Barber Tall (shown below) hinder the accurate levelling of the tamper. I've found the pucks I produce to be consistently more level when using a short handled tamper.

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