What is espresso tamping and why is it necessary?
Every coffee you drink in the coffee shop gives you an alluring call for the next time. You are not just able to resist the temptation of the essence of that freshly brewed coffee. Whenever you plan to enjoy with your family or friends, you wish to prepare it in your home, but you fail to bring that flavor. Don’t lose your hope you just need to perform some steps carefully to get the desired flavor in your coffee.
Have you ever seen those people in the coffee shops making an espresso by pressing the coffee with the help of a small stamp like tool? They extract the perfect flavor from the crushed coffee beans, this process is called tamping. It is very easy to perform, but needs a careful hand. The small pressing tool is called hand tamper.
What is espresso tamping?
It starts with the process of making a right coffee ground. The tamper is used to compress the loose coffee grounds and make it into the dense compressed puck. This lets the water come into the contact, evenly, when the brewing process starts.
For any espresso machine, you need to do the tamping, carefully. After all, this process is more of the technique rather than just a normal process.
Generally, the espresso machine works perfectly to extract the flavor from the coffee grounds when the pressurized water comes into the contact of the resistance offered from the compressed puck.
The ground needs to be perfectly dense so that, there’s no air between the grounds. Otherwise, water will treat it as shortcut and it will flow throughout it, speedily. If there is no air in between the ground and ground is perfectly dense, then water will flow through the whole surface, evenly, resulting into a perfect extraction.
People prefer to use different types of tamper for the tamping process. But it is just a matter of choice because the tamper shape doesn’t make any difference—tamping is more about the technique rather than the tools.
How to do the espresso tamping?
People start to do the tamping using different techniques. But as they get experienced with the flavor obtained, they get to know the real way of doing it. There are many myths about tamping in a right way. Here are some of the steps which should be kept in mind right from the starting of the process.
Keep the grip tight
Before starting the process, make sure that your hand position is right. Keep your wrist straight and your elbow bent at an angle of 90 degrees so that you don’t put excessive pressure on your wrist while pressing the tamper.
Moreover, by doing so you will have a better control of the force to apply and avoid the tamper pressing unevenly. Aligning your arm and wrist in a straight-way will be easy for you to press the ground. Make sure that you don`t put much force with the wrist or elbow. The force should be applied from the shoulder.
Fill the ground adequately
Before filling the ground, measure it correctly. Don`t over fill it, otherwise at the time of espresso shot being pulled, ground will spew out. You can just pour the ground into the portafilter basket over the brim and remove the excess of ground from your finger. This way you will get the right amount of ground leveled into the portafilter.
Pushing the tamper
You need to place the portafilter on the leveled surface with your less dominant hand and hold the tamper on your other hand. Hold the tamper in such away that your arm is aligned in a straight line. Now, place the tamper firmly into the portafilter and make sure that tamper is perpendicular to the portafilter.
Start to push it down gently, keeping the pressure constant. Don’t be in hurry while performing this process, otherwise, you will need to repeat the whole process again.
After pressing the tamper, at a point you won’t be able to press it further. It is the point where all the ground has been compressed. Don’t hustle for anymore and drive out the tamper carefully without disturbing the grounds. After finishing the tamping, you will get an even compact surface of the ground with smooth texture and no cracks.
Swipe the excess ground
Before putting the portafilter into the machine, brush the excess coffee grounds from its rim, that would have come during the tamping. Start brewing the coffee ground according to the instructions from your machine manual. It will take few minutes to give you an awesome cup of freshly prepared espresso.
Why do we need to do the tamping?
So, why do we really need to do the tamping process? Is it necessary to do it everytime? Well, you need to know that the tamping process is performed right before the extraction of your espresso. It helps to extract the flavor from the ground, correctly. It makes the air to squeeze out from the ground by pressing it.
The main purpose of the tamping is to obtain the maximum density of the ground. In the tamping process, there is a small space left between the espresso maker’s filter, from where the water is introduced into the portafilter. If the tamping process is not performed, then there won’t be any space for the water to fully saturate the coffee. Moreover, the uneven distribution of coffee ground will result into the unused left-over ground.
It is all about allowing the water to shoot through the compressed grounds and extract the delicious oil from the coffee. If the ground is loose, there will not be the proper extraction from the coffee and the espresso will be lacking its flavor.
So, from the next time, when you wish to make an espresso at your home, use the guidelines mentioned above to have a good hold of this game and you will be able to make an awesome cup of espresso.