Espresso pouring from machine into cup
Are Flat Or Convex Espresso Tampers Better For The Best Shot?
Careful technique and the right tools are important parts of making good coffee, and with espresso, even the shape of the tamper you use can impact your final brew.
Tamping is the process of compressing espresso grinds in a portafilter before locking it into the machine, and there are two basic shapes for a tamper: flat or convex.
Flat tampers have a flat base, while convex have a base that slightly curves outwards, and the two can produce strikingly different espresso brews.
Flat tampers are generally better for beginners because they make it easier to compact the grinds evenly, preventing loose grinds that can result in a watery espresso.
Convex tampers will leave the edges of your espresso puck slightly raised, and while these tampers are harder to master, they produce more even pucks.
Although flat tampers are easier to use, they don’t pack down the edges of the espresso, and if left untouched, water will flow through these edges to create a watery shot.
A convex tamper raises the edges to prevent water from channeling off the sides, for even water distribution and a more consistent shot of espresso every time.
The tamper you use is largely a matter of preference and experience. If you don't mind a learning curve, it can be worth it to graduate from a flat tamper to a convex one.