The tamper is an essential component to any barista toolkit. So why not have some fun and craft your very own?
You don’t need to be a DIY genius to do this. With a few basic tools, you can make a seriously cool tamper that is customised to fit your basket on a low budget.
Isn’t that gorgeous? The tamper in action. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
The Necessary Tools:
- A roller, or piece of round wood, with a minimum 58 mm diameter. Try not to get one that’s much bigger; it’ll just make your life difficult.
- A sharp knife or saw. Make sure it’s suitable for chopping and batoning (no flimsy potato knives here).
- A small knife suitable for fine carving.
- Both low grit and high grit sandpaper.
Step 1: The Basic Shape
With the knife or saw, you want to create the basic tamper shape out of the roller. The bottom section needs to be about 2 cm tall.
The tamper begins to take shape. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
You can cut more precisely with a saw, but I don’t have one so I used a BK2 Campanion which did the job just fine.
Step 2: A Smooth Tamper
Now we’re going to remodel the tamper’s bottom. We need an absolutely flat surface, which we’re going to get by using the sandpaper.
Sanding down the tamper to create a flat surface. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
Start with a low grit then finish with a high grit. You’ll know you’re done when it feels like glass.
The fully sanded-down bottom of your tamper. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
Step 3: The Perfect Size
The next step is to make sure the tamper is the correct size for your basket. This is easy to do but requires a little patience and the use of some more sandpaper.
Slowly sand down the diameter of your tamper, making sure it remains a perfect circle. Remember to keep checking that it fits your basket. We don’t want to sand too far down and end up with a tamper that’s too small; we also don’t want it to be so tight that it causes vacuuming.
Sanding down the tamper until it’s the perfect size. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
Step 4: Practical Decoration
Now we’ve got a perfectly functional tamper, all that’s left is to make it look beautiful—and easy to use.
Before aesthetic remodelling.
Aesthetic remodelling should be about both style and functionality. I gave mine a concave surface for fingers to hold onto, making it easier to tamper. To do this, I used a knife and turned the blade towards me as I cut.
Aesthetic remodelling in progress. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
And congratulations! You’ve just handmade your very own wooden tamper. It looks cool, it’s customised to your basket, and even better, you have that glow of satisfaction that comes from knowing you did it yourself.
The final product. Credit: H. Utku Özkan
You’re now ready to use it to make an espresso—and no doubt you deserve one after all that hard work sanding the tamper down.
Written by H. Utku Özkan and edited by T. Newton.
Perfect Daily Grind.