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Tamping Effectively

The tamping technique is important

Tamping effectively is a vital part of pouring a good espresso shot!

Below is a checklist for making sure you’re equipped with the right tools, are using a suitable technique for tamping correctly, and are getting the best flavour out of your shot.


Having the correctly sized tamp for your basket is critical! There’s no point in using a 54mm tamp with a 58mm basket. If you are unsure of what size tamp you should be using, view our Tamper Sizing Chart.


When you are dosing coffee into the basket from your grinder, you need to make sure that it is the correct amount of coffee so that once it is tamped, it compacts down to the line that runs around the inside of your basket. If you try to tamp the coffee down when the basket is over-filled or under-filled, you’ll end up with a pretty terrible tasting shot.

To make sure you have the right amount of grind:

  • Mostly fill your basket with a small mound
  • Tap on bench to collapse
  • Purposely overfill your basket to ensure all gaps are filled
  • Curve your index finger in a soft arch and run it over the top of your grind, which should get rid of any extra grind
  • Tamp

The tamping technique is important, not only to make sure you apply the correct amount of pressure but to also to make sure you don’t hurt yourself. It is best to place your thumb and forefinger at the base of the tamp, touching the upper rim of the filter basket. When pressing down, it is important to keep your elbow high and your wrist straight, applying an approximate force of 10kg.


Always brush off any coffee grinds from the lugs and the rim of the basket, otherwise, you end up with an accumulation of burnt grind inside your group head and around the seal. This flavour will carry into your shots and makes them taste bad. Making sure your rim and lugs are clear of grind before locking the portafilter in will prevent this and make cleaning your group easier at the end of the day.


  • Once the coffee is ground, it is best to get it straight into the basket and commence brewing straight away.
  • The extraction should take between 5 – 7 seconds to appear, running in a thin steady stream.
  • If your shot is dripping through slowly or rushing through too fast, your grinder may need adjusting.