Any one want to buy a tamper? You do if you buy a new espresso machine. Sure, I hear you now saying "wait a minute Eric, My machine comes with a tamper." You are right it does come with it's own special tamper. A special plastic tamper. If you are really lucky one end will double as a coffee scoop for added versatility. These are after thoughts by the manufacturer. I would rather they include something better but hey, what do you expect for a grand, right?
My new Quick Mill Silvano is no exception to the cheap tamper club. Don't bother looking at the bottom of the blog - there is no picture down there of this tamper lite. Will it tamp? Sure it will. I tamp light anyway. Sometimes I just use my finger because I like the way the grounds feel when they compact. Coming from these kind of usage patterns darn near anything could be a tamper so saying the factory model can tamp might not be the high praise it sounds like.
I started out tamping with a McCormick's Chili powder bottle and then moved up to a Keurig K Cup. Things moved forward when I found a plastic tamper of my own at the local thrift (see how these things are relative?) so the spice jar and the K-Cup were retired. I splurged on a $14 tamper after getting my used Gaggia - this one was metal and plastic with some weight behind it. I hit the big time at last. Then The Oscar showed up and I saw what looked like a nice plastic tamper - the best plastic tamper I have seen included with a machine to date. It is not heavy like a metal tamper but it feels good in the hand - it should be the bare minimum any company includes with a new machine.
Since then I picked up a metal and wood tamper so no one will laugh at me and my plastic collection. I like it since the base is swappable between a flat and rounded bottom - both of which were included by the way. Even with this nicer product on the shelf I find myself using my finger or one of the plastic tampers every now and then. It doesn't make the espresso better but it makes the process more comfortable for some reason.