For some people, the tamper is just one of the many tools involved in the preparation of espresso, whereas others view it is an intimate and integral step in the process. As you embark on your journey to personalize and perfect your espresso experience, the type of tamper you use may one day become an important factor in how you prepare your espresso. Over the years a number of variations on tamper designs have emerged, but we'll confine our discussion to two key varieties.
The first tamper we'll discuss is the traditional flat tamper. Flat tampers, as their name implies, have a flat surface, which you use to compact and level your coffee. Flat tampers provide an even surface for the water to flow through, which some view as being ideal for espresso extraction.
Convex tampers are designed with a slightly rounded surface. They are preferred by some, as it is believed that they are better at compacting the coffee on the sides of the filter basket. Because the center of the tamper is slightly deeper than the edges, some believe this causes water to flow better through the center of the puck during extraction.