How To Tamp Your Coffee
Though it may seem like a very simple step in the preparation of your espresso, a well tamped puck is important for a finely finished espresso. What you are aiming to do, is to evenly distribute the grounds within your portafilter.
We want the water to travel through your puck evenly when it leaves the espresso machine, for this reason it is important for us to stop any paths of least resistance from forming in the puck.
Make sure your dose size is the correct amount for your portafilter basket. Level out the coffee grounds; you can use your finger here to do this. You want to evenly distribute the coffee, while avoiding pressing into the grounds or leaving any empty space on the sides of the basket; this would lead to an uneven puck.
When tamping, you should have a straight wrist, think of the tamper as an extension of your arm, so that the tamper makes contact with the coffee bed evenly. Put the tamper into your coffee bed, and twist your wrist. If you’re concerned about coffee grounds around the edges, you can give your portafilter a quick, gentle tap with the handle-end of your tamper.
To bring these dislodged coffee grounds back into the puck, carry out another tamp but with less force than your original tamp. Don’t forget to twist!
Make sure to wipe clean the rim and edges of the portafilter, you can use your hands to do this – this will protect your grouphead from being marred unnecessarily.