Dosing and tamping are essential parts of the espresso extraction process, and something all baristas must learn if they want to produce great tasting coffee. But what is it, and why is it so important?
What is dosing and tamping?
Dosing in coffee terms means pretty much the same as it does for medicine, it’s about making sure you have the precise amount of ground coffee for a perfect espresso. This is of huge importance, as getting it wrong you could give you a very weak, poor tasting coffee. Under-dosing prevents the coffee from staying compressed, making the water flow through too fast to achieve the full flavour profile, and over-dosing means the water won’t be able to flow through properly at all.
When people talk about tamping the coffee, they are describing the process of compressing the coffee into the portafilter basket, using a coffee tamp which is either built into the side of the machine or a separate handheld tool. Just as with dosing, tamping incorrectly could result in either too much or not enough density in the shot. Issues also arise if the shot isn’t uniform tamped through the whole basket, meaning the water will only flow through certain parts of the coffee.
These are both parts of the process that are often underrated, and doing them incorrectly can cause the flavour of the drink to be drastically off. Nobody wants weak and underwhelming espresso in their morning coffee!
How to get it right
Here’s a very brief look at the process of how coffee is dosed and tamped to make a great tasting espresso.
- Fill the portafilter basket with the correct amount of ground coffee. A single espresso is typically 7g, a double is 14, and a triple is 21. Each size will have a separate basket, so make sure you use the right one, though keep in mind that this can vary depending on the machine you’re using and how finely ground your coffee is.
- Use your index finger to even out the top of the shot before tamping. If any grounds are left on the rim make sure you brush it off.
- Evenly tamp the shot with approximately 30lbs of pressure. Scales can be used to measure this, but the most important thing is that the pressure is kept perfectly even.
- “Polish” the shot by twisting the tamp, which helps to ensure the finished shot is evenly tamped.
Is there an easier way?
This may sounds like quite a lot to learn just to make a decent coffee, and to be perfectly honest, it is! These are some of the skills that an expert barista needs to perfect over time, and it can make the difference between a poor and an outstanding cup of coffee. Of course not all businesses can employ a dedicated barista to master the espresso making process, so what can you do if you don’t want to compromise the quality of your coffee?
The ideal solution is to have a classic styled espresso machine that does all of the hard work for you, automatically dosing and tamping every shot of espresso perfectly, every single time. The WMF espresso is the perfect machine for any business that wants to produce outstanding espresso based drinks without expert baristas on site. This makes it ideally suited for cafes, bars, restaurants or hotels, anywhere with customers who appreciate consistently outstanding coffee drinks.
Download a brochure to learn more.