The Secret Is Out: Introducing the Prima Tamp

Prima Tamp - Adjustable Tamper

Dear friends,

Truth is, every trade has its toll. Writers come down with carpal tunnel. Athletes develop shin splints and other maladies. Pop singers lose their voices. And for those who work with coffee, “barista’s wrist” is the price to pay.

Professionals who prepare upwards of one hundred shots a day are all too familiar with tamping discomfort and fatigue. Poor form strains the wrist, shoulder, and back, while a more ergonomic approach requires an awkward and unnatural posture. Neither is ideal for even tamping. A traditional handle is set perpendicular to the base, forcing one's arm to veer off center. So is this “one-angle-fits-all” approach really the route to go?

About a year ago, we at Prima set out to make tamping more comfortable and consistent. And we're thrilled to announce that we’ve done it.

Imagine a tool that's tailored to your size, your tamping style, and your work setting. It accommodates your technique but still fits others perfectly. And it bids goodbye to awkward form and achy bodies.

Prima Tamp: A Tamper For Natural Form
The All-American Prima Tamp, designed and constructed in Louisville, Kentucky

Meet the Prima Tamp, the first adjustable-angle espresso tamper.

The Prima Tamp is designed to reduce tamping-related strain so that you can consistently and comfortably prepare tasty espresso. The angled handle gets out of the way so that your wrist and arm stay straight as you press into the coffee, encouraging natural form and effective technique, tamp after tamp. Being adjustable, any barista of any build can use it at any bar.

The beauty of this device is in its simplicity. Turning the handle counter-clockwise unlocks the mechanism so that you can tilt it to whatever angle is right for you. A clockwise turn tightens the handle again so that it's ready to use. We made it wonderfully easy to use — and it looks sharp too.

We’re confident that the Prima Tamp can change the way you make coffee every day. And it won’t ask you to change much at all. It’s a new dog that’s ready to learn all of the old tricks. Keep your technique — just trade in your tamp.

The entire Prima Tamp is made in Louisville, Kentucky with only U.S. materials, including Kentucky stainless steel and Indiana black walnut. Our friends at Roger’s Machine Company expertly manufacture the base and the wooden handles are hand-carved at Prima by our own Matt Averbeck. We couldn’t be more proud to present this tamper.

But the excitement isn’t just ours. The Prima Tamp has been enthusiastically received by professional baristas and is the result of a yearlong collaboration between Prima and Louisville’s coffee community. (See what they have to say in the video below.) We’ve partnered extensively with our friends at Quills, Sunergos, and Vint to develop this product and are grateful to Dogwood and Evocation for their bean donations. We owe special thanks to John Letoto, Lee Sill, Jesse Harriot, and Kelsey Hurd for their invaluable ideas and input. Finally, the folks at Rogers Machine Company, have been an absolute delight to work with. Thanks guys!

Creating our flagship tamper has been one of the most satisfying projects that we've had the pleasure of working on. We can only hope that you enjoy it as much as we do. Should you have any questions about the Prima Tamp, or a desire to learn more, you know where to find us.

Sincerely, Prima Coffee Equipment

P.S. Intrigued? Check out the video below and visit the Prima Tamp listing.

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Hey Rob. Help us understand your question, if you would. Are you asking if we'll ever make the Prima Tamp with a 49mm base? Or are you wondering about a different base height?

As a "Home barista" (written with apologies to professionals here) working on an Olympia cremina, fingers on the piston usually assures a level tamp, so important with a 49mm basket and lever. Will no commercial size piston be available?

I hadn't considered how difficult it is to grab a handle-less tamp. That would be a tangible bonus to the prima tamp. Thanks for the quick response!

Hey Brian. Great thoughts. As with any other tamper, there are better and worse ways to use the Prima Tamp. If most pressure is applied to the angled handle, you're right – it's unlikely that the coffee would be compacted evenly. With the Prima Tamp, we expect best results when most pressure is applied to the fingertips, and thereby the steel base – not the handle. But we also believe that the handle is still useful in at least two ways: 1) comfort is improved by light hand support and 2) barflow is improved by providing something to grab. And that's why we love it! Hope that helps.

I gotta say, I'm a bit skeptical. I see what you're getting at from an ergonomic perspective. As a barista I certainly appreciate that effort. However, the angled handle would seem to lead to uneven distribution of pressure on the compacted coffee. If the barista uses his or her finge tips to do the majority of the tamping, I don't see a problem, but I also don't see a real benefit. I'm sure you're aware of handle-less tampers. These would seem to do the same thing and cost less. Putting my concerns simply, it would seem that using the angled handle would decrease tamp consistency/quality. I haven't used it myself, so I'm intrigued to see what others have to say. Good on ya for the innovative efforts, regardless!

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