49mm Espresso Tampers
Espresso is all about pressure. The tamper is the human side of the pressure equation.
If you are in the market for a 49mm espresso tamper, you've come to the right place. The only goals of this site are to connect you with the right tamper for your espresso machine and to advocate for 49mm portafilters. Sure, the commercial world has settled on the 58mm tamper, and we're totally fine with that, but 49mm tampers shouldn't have to be second class citizens! This site will identify and connect coffee lovers with the best 49mm tampers sold today.
Espresso Tampers Explained
An espresso tamper is a very simple object: it's a tool, usually made of plastic, metal, wood, or some combination of the three, that applies pressure to the ground coffee once it's placed in a the espresso machine's portafilter basket. A good tamper is sturdy, precise, ergonomic, consistent, and easily cleaned. It does not have to be expensive, stylized, spring-loaded or in any way fancy.
This video is an excellent introduction to espresso tampers:
Importantly, espresso tampers are categorized by their diameter because this determines which portafilter baskets they can be used with, which determines which portafilter can be used, which is determined by your espresso machine. The standard size for professional espresso machines in cafe and other professional environments is 58mm. Some home machines are 58mm, and some aren't. This site is dedicated to 49mm tampers, which are used on a select number of espresso machines, a number of which have built up cult followings over the years.
Espresso Machines That Use 49mm Tampers
Here is a list of well-known espresso machines that utilize 49mm tampers. It's not an exhaustive list, but we'll try to cover the big ones. The 49mm size is very popular with lever-action espresso machines in particular.
Best 49mm Tampers - Budget (under $30)
- Zoie + Chloe Stainless Steel Espresso Coffee Tamper: Handsome, functional, and just $18 -- this is *the* tamper for people who are looking to spend under $20. Available in red or blue aluminum handles matched with a hefty stainless steel base, feel free tp stop your search right her.
- RSVP Terry's Tamper:This super simple all-metal tamper is just $7.33. It's small, simple, and all you need to get the job done. It has 1700 reviews on Amazon and nearly a perfect rating. There are scattered complaints of this breaking though so maybe spend more at get something a big sturdier if you really like you tamp hard.
- RSVP Stainless Steel Espresso Tamper: A simple stainless steel tamper that is incredibly strong reviews and is shipped (and backed up by) Amazon Prime. At $15 you really can't go too wrong with this model, especially given the nearly 5-star rating with over 200 positive reviews. Available with a red or clear top.
- Orphan Espresso HLE IIT Classic: Also known as the "Flat Disk Tamper" this is a simple, well-made tamper that is available in a number of handle shapes and base diameters, including 49.4mm. It's a steal at $32.50.
- Omgogo Stainless Steel Coffee Tamper: At under $20 with a rosewood handle and a stainless steel base, this is going to be a big hit with many buyers. The wood makes it look much more fancy than it actually is.
- Yutro Stainless Steel Tamper: This model uses a super clean, super simple angular design. It's pure stainless steel with no emblishment or design flourishes. This tamper would look perfect next to a Europiccola.
Best 49mm Tampers - Premium (Over $100)
- Reg Barber: The most famous brand in espresso tampers. Their design, which utilizes a removable base, had base diameters at 49.0mm up to 50.0mm in 0.1mm increments.
- Kafatek: High-end, custom and semi-custom, ultra-precision tampers made out of exotic materials. Kafatek, who is famous for its Monolith grinder, mostly makes 58.4mm tampers, but does small batches of 49mm bases in their Bellissimo and Levtamp designs. Starting at $160.
- Espro Calibrated Tamper: This tamper is built around a spring mechanism that is factory-calibrated to compress at exactly 30 pounds. This is the ideal amount of force for tamping your espresso, so as soon as the spring compresses you can let up on the tamper knowing you've down your job perfectly.
- Naked Portafilter: This brand, mostly known for their bottomless 49mm portafilters also makes 49mm tampers with a "pencil handle" -- it actually looks like it's made of a bundle of pencils that have been laquered together and shaped. They start at $120. Exotic wood handles (bubinga, wenge, and zebrano) are available as well.
||Wood, Brs, Cpr, SS, Al
Best 49mm Tampers - Mid-range ($31-99)
- Thor Tampers:If you love the idea of an all-wood tamper than Thor is the number one brand to keep an eye out for. Starting at $80.
- Olympia Tamper: The matching tamper for the Olympia Cremina, complete with a vibrant red handle and Olympia's iconic walking man logo. Priced at $90.
- Orphan Espresso One-Piece Tamper: A high-precision 49.5mm tamper made specifically for the Olympia Cremina. It's machined from one piece of metal with no frills or ornamentation at all. Sells for $42.50.
- Jimei Calibrated Coffee Tamper: This reasonable prices ($38) tamper looks just like the Espro but sells for a third of the price. It also uses 30 pounds of force as the point where the spring compresses and uses a black aluminum handle. Despite the low price, there are no reviews on Amazon yet, so you might want to wait (or be the first!).
- Motta Espresso Tamper: If you are looking for a handsome, understated tamper with a long pedigree, then Motta's wooden handle model is an attractive offering. This tamper isn't nearly popular in the 49mm size as 58mm so be careful what you order. If you do get the correct one, you'll receive one of the most reasonably priced Italian-made tampers available.
Tamper Diameter Reference List
- Reg Barber sells their tampers 0.1mm increments from 40.0mm to 59.9mm
Thor Wood 49mm Tamper Review
If you are looking for a simple, handsome wooden tamper, Thor is the go-to name. Wood tampers generally aren't used in professional settings, but many home users have come to love their style, ability to be customized, and hand-made nature. Thor's 49mm models start at $55.
Espro Calibrated 49mm Tamper Review
When it comes to calibrated (as in spring-loaded) tampers, Espro is the top choice. Yes, there other other companies selling these, but Espro is the official brand associated with the technology. You'll pay a hefty price for their track record of success and pioneering engineering, but the tamper's flawless reviews should be a good indicator of the quality and reliability of what you are getting. The simple fact that it lets you essentially remove one big variable from espresso making is a huge benefit. Plus, wow, that click just feels so right!.
Orphan Espresso 49mm Tamper Review
If you are looking for an affordable 49mm tamper for your lever espresso machine and you don't want to break the bank, than look no further than the Orphan Espresso HLE IIT. This minimalist tamper comes in multiple handle shapes and colors, but all offer excellent value and superb accuracy. The tamper has a flat, stainless steel bottom. This tamper is the perfect example of a simple, effective design that gets the job done.
When considering a tamper, here are the attributes to keep in mind:
- Price: Tampers range from free (as in, included with your espresso machine) to costing close to $200 (USD). There is certainly one at your price point.
- Materials:Tampers are available in all sorts of different materials but the most common are plastic, stainless steel, wood, and aluminum. Some brands have aluminum handles and steel bases, other use wood handles and steel bases. No combination is better than another, though you want something that is going to hold up over time and have the maximum precision possible, so steel bases are the most common. That said, there are vanity materials as well, like Reb Barber's gold-plated tamper, which is available with a brass or even a copper base.
- Design: This category might also be called ergonomics. Do you want a tall tamper? A short one? A conventional style? A short "button" tamper? It all comes down to preference, as no design is definitely better than the rest. It's also worth noting that the importance of design will vary based on used: a barista making hundreds of shots a day has different demands from a home barista.
- Aesthetics: This should be self-explanatory, but do you want an exotic wood handle? Something that matches your kitchen or espresso machine? Or maybe you want something blinged-out in copper and brass? Tampers come in almost every color and material imaginable.
- Special Features: Most tampers are very simple tools, but some are spring-loaded so know when to stop applying pressure, and others are self-leveling so you have the flattest espresso puck possible.
- Precision: Some brands, especially the higher end ones, pride themselves on precision. This is when you'll start to see the 49.4 and 49.5mm tampers being offered instead of simply 49mm.
- Base Profile: Some tampers use flat bottoms, others use convex (rounded outward) bottoms. While there is no right or wrong answer here, most baristas and espresso experts agree that you always want to go with a flat base.
Best Tamper for Rok Espresso Maker
There has been some confusion about this online, but it's worth pointing out, for sure, that the Rok manual espresso press uses a 49mm portafilter basket and thus a 49mm tamper. The most exacting home baristas online have pointed out that the size is exactly 49.7mm, but this means any 49mm tamper will work with the Rok. Just make sure not to buy a 51mm or 50mm -- those will be too big for your basket!
Convex or flat tamper base?
Here at 49mm Tamper we recommend a flat base tamper with no patterns on it. It's nice to think that a convex base or some clever patterns will improve your espresso, but we simply haven't found that to be true. Save your money and save your time testing -- a flat-based espresso tamper is simpler, cheaper, and easier to store. Ultimately the difference between flat and convex will be extremely minor (if present at all!), so recommend you just don't worry about this variable. Espresso is hard enough already!
Best Tamper for La Pavoni
If you are looking for a great tamper for a Pre-Millenium La Pavoni machine, then you are going to want to go with a 49.6mm model. This video clearly demonstrates the improvement when upgrading from a budget 49.0mm tamper up to a 49.6mm Reg Barber. The espresso puck is much cleaner, with no spillover or "flashing" around the tamping area. The grinds go in the pressed puck and nothing spills out. Apply even pressure and you can be sure that you'll get a great shot with no channeling and a nice smooth flow.
Best 49mm Portafilter
Yes, this is a site about 49mm tampers, but you might need some help with a buying a new 49mm portafilter as well. Here are some tips to get you started, just keep in mind your options are limited!
- Olympia Cremina Bottomless Portafilter - $150
- Olympia Cremina Stock Portafilter (1- or 2-spout) - $150
- Richard Penney 49mm NEWD stainless steel portafilter - $150
- La Pavoni Pre-Millenium portafilter - Used Prices Vary, $110 new
- Naked portafilter - $100
Coffee Tamper vs. Espresso Tamper?
Quick tip: these are the same thing! Coffee people tend to call espresso "coffee" since, after all, espresso is just another type of coffee drink. You would never tamper down coffee in the normal prepartion of a standard coffee drink so a "coffee tamper" isn't generally something you'd needed. Ground espresso is always tamped before being put in the espresso machine so "espresso tamper" is the more common, and the more precise, term. That said, some people do call it a coffee tamper and that makes perfect sense but just keep in mind that you are tamping the coffee in order to make espresso!
What is a Hand Tamper?
The tampers we talk about on on this site are generally known as espresso tampers. As noted, some people call them coffee tampers while still other call them hand tampers. What's the deal? Hand tampers are largely a regional distinction and not that common in the US. The tamper is placed in and operated with your hand, so it's not an altogether bizarre term. In fact the term "hand tamper" has gotten more interesting with the growth of automatic espresso tampers, like the Puqpress, which are actual machines that do the tamping for you (perfectly every time). Automatic coffee tampers are the definition of equipment built for the cafe environment and almost always used by professional baristas, so they are designed to work with professional machines... which means they are usually automatic 58mm tampers. No auto tamper is currently sold in a 49mm variety.