Reg Barber custom espresso tamper

I recently sprang for a huge, beautiful, kick-ass KitchenAid espresso machine and I love it, but I was disappointed with the junky plastic tamper that came with it. Following the advice of an Amazon reviewer, I ordered a brass tamper -- with Tenniel's Mad Hatter custom-engraved into its handle (why not?) -- from Reg Baber, a Canadian artisanal espresso tamper with a global reputation. It arrived yesterday and it's a pure work of art -- and the crema is sweeter than ever. Highly recommended. Link


  1. but RB tampers are so pretty!

    make sure you get your double tamp of 20-30 lbs first, then light tap on the side, and then 40-50 lbs

    out of curiosity, what grinder are you using?

    good luck with the ‘spro! (ugh, i hate that word. well, hate to love it, really.)

  2. Coffee geeks. Your absorption with your toys is just as off-balance as that of other kinds of geeks with theirs.

    Come on, guys! An “artisanal espresso tamper with a global reputation”? Your espresso-tamper is “cool”? How “Frasier” can you get?

  3. Tim Horton’s doesn’t serve coffee, they serve a horrible flavoured beverage that they call coffee.

    Welcome to the world of quality home espresso, Cory. +1 for the RB tamper – it has a very solid feel and shows those grinds you mean business. Personally, I aim for a 30lb-tap-30lb tamp followed by a few finishing spins, but it’s really up to you to experiment and find your way with beans, grind, tamping and so on.


  4. GREGGREGGREG. With your double post and with your screen name being what it is, my diagnosis is that you should lay off the caffeine for a while.


  5. BOUNCY BOUNCY, marketing is an insidious thing, isn’t it? Does anybody think that Kitchen would have hesitated to put a “tamp” like this in their $750 espresso machine if it made any difference?

    The “wine weenie” sect has now been duplicated in beer and coffee. What’s next, Kool-Aid? Milk?*

    *There’s actually no contest on Milk. We ALL know that Tuscan Whole Milk is the greatest!!!

  6. Moon!

    You should have alerted readers to the fact that there’s a brilliant review at that link based on Coleridge’s Kublai Khan. And numerous other hysterically snarky reviews. That’s a great link.

  7. Moon, no, I don’t believe KitchenAid would include a brass tamper if they thought it would make a difference. I believe they include the bare minimum to make the machine usable. They didn’t include a coffee grinder or beans, did they?

    It’s like the tires that come on a new car from the factory: they’re usually expensive, short lived, and a poor compromise of various tire characteristics. Get a quality set and you’ll see massive improvement.

    All manufactured items are made to a price point. Even expensive ones.

  8. …erotic jewelry for the bum

    And I thought, “I don’t want that head sticking out of my ass.” Then I realized that it came with a pony tail and the head doesn’t stick out. Those brass facial features must be pretty stimulating.

  9. wimps

    I hand built a ten ton hydraulic tamper (welded out of quarter inch plate and solid rod stock). Gets er down to where ya don’t have’ta run water thru it

  10. I haven’t purchased a car in a long time, but when I did the tires were top notch!

    I hear they are now selling a device that produces a magnetic field around the espresso maker – it helps smooth out the taste.

  11. The tamper makes it easier to get a firm, even pack. My high end espresso machine came with a cheap plastic tamper that did not cover the entire area of the basket.

    If you have the Kitchen Aid “Bubble Gum Machine” grinder, it can easily be hacked to produce a finer grind. This will improve the thickness of your crema.

  12. I was responding to #22. However, since you brought it up, there is some kind of hippie, macrobiotic thing where you give a coffee enema. We had a patient who didn’t let it cool first. Cooked rectum. Really.

  13. #31 are you a doctor or Alton Brown?

    I thought putting coffee up your bumsicle was dangerous, just because of all the caffiene. The way my doffy tottle works it would just shoot back out again!

    Talk about a parthian shot of espresso! Coffee gives me the runs. lmaosaurus rex.

  14. Moon, the difference between a $12,000 power cable (made of standard wire) for a $50,000 turntable and an $80 coffee tamper (made of milled stainless an anodized aluminum) seem pretty clear to me. Even if you consider the functionality of the piece bunk, I bet it’s really nice to use. By that I mean more comfortable in your hand, more solid feel, and easier to press on.

    Heck, looking at the money involved, even if you can’t accept that somehow, possibly, there’s a way to make coffee taste better, that swilling Sanka is the pinnacle of perfection, and anybody that spends more money than that is a nut, we’re still talking degrees of nuttiness. I’m okay with being a little nutty. Beats being boring!

    I can guaran-damn-tee you’ve got something you’re nutty about. Let’s hear about it!

  15. NC, could you please put “NSFW” on that if you ever post it again? An entire field of naked bums ornamented with twinkling gold “rosebud” jewelry would merit remarks (at minimum) in most offices.

    Songe, I’m mostly okay with commenters who post spacy religious observations. I’m halfway okay with commenters who make nominally deniably prurient remarks. A commenter who does both might be thought a tad disingenuous.

    I don’t see the problem with these tampers. People who use the technology a lot say they’re worth having. I’m not going to run out and buy one, but you’ll take my microplane grater from me when you forcibly pry it from my fingers. (And since I’ll be the one holding the handle, you’re going to come up the loser whether you wrestle it away from me or not.)

    Moon, Antinous, you’re both credited in the floater title of “The Tuscan Whole Milk Cantos” in the Particles section on Making Light.

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