Coffee Tamping technique is often seen as part of the 'art' of making espresso - but how much difference does tamping make and are there any drawbacks to tamping?
Some say, you need to tamp very hard, others say pressure really is not important. To solve this age-old debate Seven Miles Coffee Roasters have performed a series of tests to get to the bottom of this debate. If you're interested in the results click here to check out their video.
In a nutshell, tamp pressure is not that important, what is important is ensuring that the tamp pressure is consistent each time and that your tamping is flat and as level as possible. This ensures you have the best results.
Now on the topics of drawbacks as James Hoffman once said:
"Tamping isn't something you can necessarily do well, adequate tamping is a good as great tamping. It's mostly just an opportunity for something to go wrong or be inconsistent, all the while you're giving yourself a repetitive strain injury (RSI)"
This statement on RSI is also backed up by the 2018 Amtrust Statistics Report, which mentions that Cafés and coffee shops yield the highest lost time by 45% compared to all other restaurant types. The common assumption is this is due to burns or scalds from espresso machines. However, this is not the case. It turns out that the leading cause of the lost time is actually wrist injuries from manual tamping! If you want to learn more and make your way to Page 8 (using the link above) for the full analysis.