Professional tamper-proof mats in cafes or restaurants are thicker and withstand more wear and tear.
The flat and corner taming pads have a space for fixing the tamping device and fixing the mobile filter.
Tamping mats are a common sight in cafes. However, people often ignore them in the setting of home baristas. The Espresso tamper pad is designed to prevent damage to the counter and filter caused by repeated tampering. So, if you only make a few cups of coffee a day, do you need one?
Compact Tamping Mats
The compact size of any tamping map is suitable for pretty much any countertop.
In addition, the flat shape is more accessible to store than the corner pads. It is made of ultra-thick food-grade silicone, which provides ample filling between your hand-held filter and the counter-you no longer need to worry about debris.
One corner has a tamper-proof table and a raised edge to help keep things clean. This is everything you need in the tamping pad, but nothing you don't need.
Let's face it. Obtaining all the equipment to make the perfect espresso at home. Therefore, it is good to know that not everything you need comes with a high price tag.
The discounted price you pay does mean that you will miss features such as tamper-proof tables or raised edges, but the primary function of the tamper pad is to provide protection. Some tampers are made of 1/4 inch heavy-duty rubber. It is sturdy and durable, suitable for all-day tamping.
Basic Tamping Mat
The essential tamper pads look very similar to most other tampers, but some of them have one key difference: rubber. For example, the NBR rubber has higher tensile strength and better abrasion resistance than silica gel, making it a better choice for commercial environments.
This mat will withstand the impact of your filter day after day. The design of this cushion is simple, with only a raised edge to prevent the ground from spilling on the counter. It only needs to be rinsed to remove it, but if you want to clean it well from time to time, you can also wash it in the dishwasher. These essential tamper mats have different sizes. For smaller spaces, a 6x6 inches size tamping mat is enough.
Barista Basics anti-tamper pads are also available in 6 x 6 inches, suitable for smaller spaces.
Corner Tamper Mats
Depending on your kitchen settings, corner tamper-proof mats may be your best choice. Overhanging prevents the mat from moving when you ram, and if you have a particularly slippery tabletop (or if you tend to be taken away when you ram!), if there is room, the fact that it is right on edge can also be a tight advantage.
There are silicone coffee moisture-proof mats from Apexstone, where it integrates a filter holder in the overhanging part. The semicircle follows the curve of the assembly head and provides more stability during the compaction process. However, you should know that it is not designed for bare (bottomless) filters.
There is a spacious 63 mm bracket to hold your tamper in place when not in use. The bottom of the remaining part contains raised bumps to help tamper with drying and prevent sticking to the silicone surface.
Mini Tamping Mats
We may all like to be a barista station in a particular kitchen corner, but sometimes there is not enough space. If a small counter traps you, you can still enjoy a professional setting; you may just need to zoom out a bit.
Here comes the mini tamping mat. For example, the tamping mat from Joy-Now is as small as you will get. The round cushion has enough space to hold a tamper up to 60 mm, but that's it. It is designed to keep your tamper when not used and provide small but durable protection for your countertop when preparing the hockey puck.
When using such a small pressure pad, you must be extremely careful and press the coffee in a smooth motion. Silica gel does have excellent high-grip properties, but this kind of small thing is not as stable as a mat with a larger surface area.
Tamping Mats for Drainage
There are tamping mats that have double use. For example, the tamping mat from The Kyonano Espresso looks a bit different because it is designed for dual-use. In addition to tamping pads, it is also a drying pad for espresso coffee cups, milk jugs, or latte cups.
The entire surface of this large mat is covered with raised nodules, which can keep your filter (or anything else) away from the base when it dries. They can also make you more stable when preparing coffee.
The pressure is not as important as your consistency and ability to maintain a compaction level.
The texture ensures that it will not slip over the mat-even if you press hard.
Kyonano's structure uses platinum silica gel, classified as medical grade. This has all the advantages of food-grade silicone but has a longer service life. The mat has an additional non-stick coating to make cleaning easier.
How to Choose the Right Tamper Pad?
In the most basic case, the tamping pad is a simple toolkit. But these things may be more than we have seen. Before buying, you should consider the following points.
Do I need a Tamper Mat?
This is the critical question you might ask yourself. The tamping pad makes a lot of sense in a professional environment, but what about home? If you care about your equipment and kitchen, the investment is undoubtedly worth it. Tamping directly on your workbench, you will not only risk damaging the counter but also risk damaging yourself.
It only takes one laziness and unlucky tamping to cause wrist strain and discomfort.
Even if you don't make enough coffee to give yourself a barista's wrist (3), brewing a cup of joe in the morning should be as ergonomic as possible. Using a safe non-slip surface also makes it easier to apply even pressure during the ramming process, which will help you get better coffee.
Silicone and rubber
Most of the cushions you encounter are made of silicone or rubber, and each has its advantages. Silicone is an increasingly popular choice in kitchens because it can withstand temperatures up to 446 F. Rubber is more wear-resistant, making it a better choice for heavy use occasions such as cafes.
Size and shape
The size and shape of the cushion you buy mainly depend on the space on your counter.
Tamper pads usually come in two designs: flat or corner.
You can place a flat pad directly in front of the espresso machine for efficient coffee making, and this shape is easier to store if needed. The corner pad has an overhang to provide additional stability when pressure is applied and usually includes a filter holder for more ergonomic compaction.
Barista Tips-Tamping Guide
As part of our series of coffee-making guides, we will learn about the skills behind every great barista.
In this article, we explored the tamping process and outlined its importance in producing delicious espresso beverages.
Read on to learn how to use the stir bar correctly and the steps to turn coffee powder into a delicious espresso.
Tamping: What is it?
Tamping is the process of compressing coffee so that the hot water can be distributed evenly when brewing espresso. Correct mashing ensures that the water flows evenly through the coffee, which is essential to extract the sweet, rich flavor from the coffee grounds.
The Factors that Affect Tamping
Make sure the tamper is flush with the edge of the basket (as shown in the left picture)
The tamping level is essential. This will allow all the coffee to be extracted evenly, creating a fully extracted espresso that is neither bitter nor underdeveloped. Otherwise, the ground coffee will be dark and light on the other side. The path of least resistance for water to pass through the ground coffee-therefore, in the case of uneven compaction, more water will pass through the shallow side of the coffee, resulting in over-extraction and bitterness. In contrast, the deep side of the coffee will be under-extracted, resulting in a sour taste. (Neither under-extraction nor over-extraction will cancel each other out!)
Pressure is applied during the tamping process to compress the ground coffee without gaps. If there are any gaps, water will flow through them, bypass the coffee and cause insufficient extraction. This is called channeling. The pressure applied by the ramming should be firm, not weak, but not heavy. Use the weight of the upper body to apply steady pressure. This should not be like a gym workout!
Five Steps Guide on How to Tamp
Therefore, the coffee has been freshly ground and added to the filter, ready to be compacted. The following steps will take you to complete the compaction.
Step 1: Distribute coffee
Scan the viewfinder front, back, and left and right to dispense coffee effectively.
Coffee grounds may accumulate in the filter. They need to be more evenly distributed so that the coffee can be extracted evenly-this can be achieved by tapping the mobile filter on the grinder fork or with the palm of your hand to make the coffee more evenly distributed. Alternatively, you can dispense coffee powder by using a flat tool or swiping your fingers from front to back and left to right on the basket (this method can achieve the most uniform distribution, but it is more time-consuming).
Step 2: Place Portafilter
Use a stable surface to place the filter. For example, here, the tamping mat fits perfectly with the surface of your counter.
Hold the handle and place the filter on a stable surface. You can put it on the outlet, but a single outlet hand-flush filter will be unstable like this, and the outlet may become dirty quickly because of this. A better method is to put the filter on the edge of the surface, leaning the water outlet against the vertical edge and leaning the bottom of the filter head against a horizontal surface to keep the filter level.
Step 3: Hold the tamper
Hold the tamper like a door handle, place the end of the handle in your palm, and wrap your fingers around the top of the base. Make sure the bottom of the rammer is dry; if it is wet, dry coffee will stick to it, creating gaps in the compressed coffee.
Step 4: Press and twist
Place the bottom of the stirring rod on the ground coffee to level with the edge of the basket-you can feel this with the edge of your finger, and then press firmly. Turn the tamper slightly. This will reduce the amount of loose ground after tamping.
Step 5: Remove the Tamper
The removal of tampering is complete. There may be loose coffee grounds on the sides of the basket and the top of the ground coffee; it does not matter. If there is any dirt on the top edge of the basket and ears, you need to wipe it off. Otherwise, they will cause additional wear of the packing seal. Do not try to knock the edge of the mobile filter to remove any loose coffee grounds from the sides-this may cause cracks and crevices inside the coffee compression bed and generate channel flow.
Thank you for reading our barista guide on mashed coffee. If you want to learn more about the practical skills needed to become a professional barista, please refer to our coffee training course.