One espresso tamper to rule them all

Originally published at:






Don’t let anyone tamper with your coffee :scream:

…Sandra Hempel’s new book, “The Inheritor’s Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science” (Norton). Hempel, an English medical journalist, hangs her discussion on a specific case. One November morning in 1833, George Bodle, seventy-nine years old and the owner of a prosperous farm near the Kentish village of Plumstead, came down to his kitchen for breakfast. The maid prepared the coffee. George drank a half-pint bowl, and a small cup was taken to his wife, upstairs. Then the grounds were reboiled, and three women of the household—two relatives and a maid—got to have some diluted coffee. After that, the charwoman came to the back door, collected the grounds, as she did every morning, and took them to her daughter, Mary, to boil for a third time, so that Mary’s seven children could have a hot drink. (They didn’t have coffee that morning; the eldest daughter thought the brew looked peculiar.) Within minutes, everyone in the Bodle household who had drunk the coffee fell violently ill. Soon afterward, they began to recover, except for George. He died three days later.

From the moment the doctor first examined George, he suspected poisoning.

from The New Yorker magazine, October 14, 2013 Issue
Murder By Poison: The rise and fall of arsenic.
By Joan Acocella

1 Like

does the tamper device really matter, when you get down to it, though? it’s all in how you use it.

Yes and no… as with all tools, some make it easier to obtain consistent results and are simply more fun to work with than others.

weight of the one I prefer vs the 58/51 which is an airplane aluminum, iirc, and very light is an issue. I am used to the heavier weight and more dead-on balls accurate with it. There is a crema difference.

1 Like

Dishwasher? What the hell are you doing to your tamper that it requires washing with that kind of force?

My tamper has been rinsed off like maybe once?


After my last espresso machine went out with a bang & magic smoke I switched to a traditional Italian caffè pot. I use a spoon instead of a tamper. But it’s a spoon that is just right for this.


I came to ask the same question, my friend. What could he possibly be using a tamper for that would warrant a trip through the dishwasher? Flattening chicken breasts?

Why would you not put it in the dishwasher, if it is dishwasher safe and less than 3 ft from the dishwasher every time you run the thing?


Not to forget Mark Frauenfelder on Martha Stewart’s show sharing John Edgar Parks pressure dial regulated tamper.
About 5:10 into video:

1 Like

The easiest way to deal with tamping is to get a pressure-regulated espresso machine, either a rotary pump or a vibration pump with a pressure relief valve set at 9 bar. Then the tamp is not serving the secondary function of determining the extraction pressure, and is just used for leveling and distributing the grounds. After all, the water hits the coffee puck with 130psi of sudden pressure as soon as you flip the button.

1 Like

I’m sorry, it just seems that the awkward maneuvering necessary to tamp your espresso grounds with your butt-plug seems a bit much. Couldn’t you just use a spoon or something?


Pro Tip: Never teabag your coffee.



Which is the Tamper and which is the butt plug? I can’t tell

That may explain the need for a dishwasher


Here’s an espresso machine that is pumped by hand. It’s completely manual, except for heating the water, of course. It comes with a pressure gauge on it. I’ve tasted coffee from it, it’s pretty good!

1 Like

Glad to see someone beat me to this.