Saturday, December 2, 2023

Tamping for Tasty Coffee: A Guide

by Mads

Get Your Tamp On: The Importance of Tamping for Tasty Coffee

As a coffee lover, there’s nothing quite like the aroma of fresh coffee brewing in the morning. From the first sip to the last, the taste and quality of your coffee can make or break your day. So, when it comes to brewing the perfect cup, every detail matters – including tamping.

What is Tamping?

Tamping is the process of compressing the coffee grounds in your portafilter before brewing. The process involves applying pressure to the coffee using a tamper. The aim of tamping is to ensure that the density of the coffee grounds is consistent, and that there are no air pockets. This results in a more even water flow when brewing, which leads to a better extraction.

Why Is Tamping Important?

Tamping is important because it helps to ensure that you get the best possible extraction from your coffee. With a well-tamped bed of coffee, the water will flow through evenly, resulting in a balanced and flavorful shot. Without tamping, you could end up with a weak or over-extracted coffee.

How Hard Should I Tamp Coffee?

One of the most common questions about tamping is, how hard should I tamp my coffee? The answer is that it depends. The ideal amount of pressure will vary depending on the type of coffee, the roast, and the grinder. However, as a general guideline, most baristas aim to apply around 30 pounds of pressure when tamping.

Applying too little pressure can result in an under-extracted shot, while applying too much pressure can cause over-extraction, resulting in a bitter tasting coffee. A good way to test the pressure is to use a bathroom scale when tamping. Place the portafilter on the scale and press down on the tamper until the scale reads around 30 pounds of pressure.

How Do I Know If I’m Tamping Correctly?

There are a few things to look out for when tamping. Firstly, make sure that the coffee bed is level and even. If there are any dips or bumps, the water will flow through unevenly. Secondly, check that there are no air pockets in the coffee. Air pockets can lead to uneven extraction.

Finally, pay attention to the resistance when tamping. If it feels too easy to compress the coffee, there may not be enough coffee in the filter basket. Alternatively, if it’s too hard to press down on the tamper, you may have overloaded the basket.


Tamping is an important step in the coffee brewing process. It helps to ensure that you get the best possible extraction, resulting in a balanced and flavorful shot. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to tamping, a good rule of thumb is to apply around 30 pounds of pressure. With practice, you’ll soon get the hang of tamping and be well on your way to brewing the perfect cup of coffee every time.

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