Convex vs. Flat Tamper – Which Is Best?

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Tamping ground coffee is a very crucial step in making Espresso. Baristas use tampers to pack the coffee firmly in portafilters because it helps smooth water flowing through the ground.

Have you ever noticed a delicate difference between tampers? Though most tampers come with flat bases, some tampers have convex bottoms.

Flat tampers create more balanced and plane compression, an inevitable requirement for brewing better Espresso. Due to this reason, we think it is the best option to pick.

Read the entire post carefully if you are curious to learn more about convex vs. flat tamper.

Flat vs. Convex Tamper: The Comparison Chart

Flat and convex tampers are designed for the same purpose, though each has a different shape. They assist in compressing pucks to prevent uneven extractions. Both tools provide significant advantages.

convex vs flat tamper comparison
Flat Tamper

Let’s check out the comparison chart to know some major differences between flat and convex tampers.

Flat tamperConvex tamper
Base shapeFlat tampers have horizontal bottoms.Convex tampers come with curved bases.
PerformanceThey provide well-balanced compression on the ground puck.They seal the gap between ground coffees and portafilters.
Ease of useIt is comparatively easier to use a flat tamper.You may face difficulty while applying pressure on the ground.
LevelingIt precisely levels ground coffee in portafilter for the best Espresso shot.It will result in curved leveling that can cause an uneven extraction.
Puck positionYou have a risk of creating sloppy pucks unintentionally. There is no chance of creating sloppy pucks.
Better forFlat tampers are perfect for leveling and extraction.Convex tampers are perfect for preventing side channeling.
Flat vs Convex comparison chart

Convex vs. flat tamper: Product comparison

Flat Tamper:

Flat tampers are the most common tamping tools. The name of this tamper comes from its appearance. When you press a flat tamper on ground coffee, its plane base creates a well-leveled puck than the convex tamper.

It is a very important step for evenly passing water pressure through the ground. So, many people believe that a flat tamper is an ideal option for perfect extractions.

Though it creates a flat ground puck in a portafilter, you must learn how to tamp with it correctly. Inaccurate use of a flat tamper can create channels or sloppy puck, which is a common mistake of beginners.

Convex Tamper:

Convex tampers have curved bases. They are specially designed to seal the gap between the ground and the basket. So, many people prefer this tamper since it prevents side-channeling better than the flat tamper.

It is also a convenient tool to tamp without touching the ground. But, its round base sometimes creates difficulty to apply pressure evenly on the ground coffee. If you cannot compress the puck appropriately, it can cause an uneven extraction.

What Type of Tamper is Best?

It is a very tough question because both tools have particular advantages. Besides, the choice mostly depends on users’ preferences.

However, we are going to announce the winner after deep research and considering all the pros and cons of both products.

You can go for the flat tamper since you need a highly compressed and leveled puck for Espresso.

Using this tamper also has a little risk of creating channels in pucks. But, experienced baristas can easily handle it with their tamping skill.

Does a Coffee Tamper Make a Difference?

Some users believe that the use of tampers is overrated. But, the truth is, tamping is one of the keys to achieving the best Espresso quality.

A coffee puck in a portafilter should be compressed and solid. It is essential to ensure a balanced water pressure through the ground.

If you don’t level and press the ground before extraction, the water can create extra pressure on one side. It is a common reason that causes uneven extraction.

Baristas use a tamper to compress the ground in a portafilter to ensure a smooth water force through the coffee. So, tamping surely makes a difference and helps to take out the entire flavor of the ground.

But, the perfect Espresso shot depends on many other things, like accurate dosing. So, never think that tamping alone will help for the best outcome.

How Do I Choose the Right Size Tamper?

Before choosing a tamper, the first step is to know the exact size of your portafilter. If you buy a tamper with a bigger base, the portafilter’s ring will barricade the tamper to move through. As a result, the tamper’s base cannot reach ground coffee.

Choose the Right Size Tamper

The base of the tamper should always be smaller than the diameter of a portafilter. For example, if you have a 58mm portafilter, you have to buy a 53 or 54mm tamper.
Moreover, make sure that there are enough gaps between the tamper and the portafilter’s ring for flawless movement.

Final thought

According to our analysis, a flat tamper provides the exact leveling you need to extract a perfect espresso shot. It is also an easy-to-use tamping tool for beginners.

The only drawback of a flat tamper is the risk of creating a gap between the ground and the basket. However, this should not be a big issue if you know the proper utilization of a flat tamper.

Reference:
https://www.seriouseats.com/coffee-tools-the-espresso-tamper-how-to-tamp-correctly-barista-tips
https://www.thespruceeats.com/tamper-espresso-definition-765749

Author
I currently reside at Millburn, NJ, United States. I'm a skilled barista and roaster known for my passion for coffee and dedication to creating the perfect cup. I have a strong following of loyal customers who appreciate my expertise and friendly demeanor. In my free time, I enjoy trying new coffee recipes and experimenting with different brewing techniques.

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