The Perfect Tool

Reverence: Chris King Espresso Tamper

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Even if you don’t own an espresso machine, you might want to own one of these. It’s art. It’s form and function in a seamless little object. If you do own an espresso machine and you call yourself a Cyclist, you will be very happy if you do own one. This tool is reason enough to obey Rule #56.

Chris King is a fanatical company; fanatical for all the right reasons. In a world full of “good enough” someone has to draw the line.

Coffee is fundamentally important at Chris King, and our espresso tampers are an expression of how much we value that deliciously potent drink. We worked with the Portland, Oregon based America Barista & Coffee School to develop a professional grade espresso tamper. Each part is machined in-house for aerospace quality precision that results in an Espresso Tamper with exceptional feel and the iconic shape of our legendary NoThreadSet headset.  -Chris King

When mine arrived, I thought they had mistakenly sent two. The box was much too heavy for one. But no, at almost a half kilo, it must be one of the heavier items Chris King ships out of its factory. Even if you are not a closeted machinist, the feel of this in the hand really defies description. The “58” inscribed into the curved stainless steel face of the tamper is machined into it, no stamps, no lasers…fanatical. Mine is Giro pink and stainless steel. I get pleasure from it every time I hold it and this pleasure will probably never wear off. When it has, I’m the walking dead.

I have it on good authority the Campagnolo wine cork puller is also the best in show for manual pullers and why not? A perfect tool is a perfect tool; if you need a tool it might as well be perfect.

 

// Reverence

  1. I have the Campagnolo tool and the only problem with it is that corks are rapidly disappearing as as a thing!

  2. @Oli

    Hmmmm, that is more of a problem in Oz and Kiwidom. Better only drink Italian wines, rumor has it some are pretty drinkable. Do you have the giant one or the one that might actually fit in a kitchen drawer?

  3. I have one of these tampers at the shop. I use it as a paperweight to hold the repair tags on my bench. :-)

  4. @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

  5. Alas, it’s not available for those that are kicking it old-school with small lever machines.

    Still, tamping is like pumping up tires. Boring, menial, easy, and essential to not fuck it up.

  6. But, do you have a Rocket espresso machine to go with it Gianni?!?

  7. Nice, but my machine looks like this, so no need for it.

  8. @Gianni

    The giant silver one in the wooden box.

  9. @Oli

    Wow!! Impressive. What kind of magnums you popping over there?

  10. @The Pressure

    Haha, I’m a beer man!

  11. I have a Reg Barber tamper, stainless base with a powder coated aluminum handle. Best investment I made when I was working as a barista at a local shop years back. I quite appreciate a well made tool and this one still sits on my nightstand. I miss pulling shots on the Simonelli we had. Nothing like seeing a perfect caramel colored crema settle on top of your shot. Divine.

  12. @Haldy

    I have one of these tampers at the shop. I use it as a paperweight to hold the repair tags on my bench. :-)

    Exactly. Even if not madly tamping this thing will hold down a lot of repair tags and look fine while sitting there.

  13. @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

  14. @Oli

    Blimey! That’s a big cork puller. In a word, awesome.

  15. @PT

    But, do you have a Rocket espresso machine to go with it Gianni?!?

    Frank and I went into the Rocket reseller in Seattle looking for some odd coffee related bit. It was the first time I’d seen a Rocket in person. Jesus, what a huge hunk of Italian stainless steel love. One would need a forklift to get it on the counter. I fell in love, of course.

    I felt I was not worthy and went with a slightly smaller, but equally beautiful hunk of Italian stainless steel. I ordered the tamper before I ordered the machine. Priorities.

  16. @RVester

    Alas, it’s not available for those that are kicking it old-school with small lever machines.

    Still, tamping is like pumping up tires. Boring, menial, easy, and essential to not fuck it up.

    They do make them in a 53mm diameter. My old tamper was one I turned out of cherry wood. CK much better.

    Talk to @Blah, would ya?

  17. @Teocalli

    The rarely seen salt & pepper shakers?!?!?

    This is a slippery slope we’re on here.

  18. @Gianni

    @PT

    But, do you have a Rocket espresso machine to go with it Gianni?!?

    Frank and I went into the Rocket reseller in Seattle looking for some odd coffee related bit. It was the first time I’d seen a Rocket in person. Jesus, what a huge hunk of Italian stainless steel love. One would need a forklift to get it on the counter. I fell in love, of course.

    I felt I was not worthy and went with a slightly smaller, but equally beautiful hunk of Italian stainless steel. I ordered the tamper before I ordered the machine. Priorities.

    Priorities Indeed. If we ever meet Gianni, we can be reassured that at least the coffee will be good.

    Especially if we can meet up with @pete the ex-barista and get him on the job; he had me at “caramel-coloured crema”…….

  19. If we’re going down this route, one of Fyxo’s mates out here in Oz takes Campa hubs & makes them in to tampers…

    https://instagram.com/p/6dzq8AzW0v

  20. @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

  21. @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

    It must be the same variable that governs the quantification of time since purchase.

    “That thing? I’ve had it for ages.”

  22. @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

    This could be an article but if some wife ever reads anything on this site, we could all be busted. The chances are unlikely though (of a wife ever reading anything here).

  23. @Mikael Liddy

    If we’re going down this route, one of Fyxo’s mates out here in Oz takes Campa hubs & makes them in to tampers…

    https://instagram.com/p/6dzq8AzW0v

    jesus, that is inspired. Never having to say goodbye to your old Campag hubs.

  24. @chris

    @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

    It must be the same variable that governs the quantification of time since purchase.

    “That thing? I’ve had it for ages.”

    This is connected to the idea of always buying bikes with black frames, black camouflage. “Ahhh, that’s just my bike.”

  25. @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

    This could be an article but if some wife ever reads anything on this site, we could all be busted. The chances are unlikely though (of a wife ever reading anything here).

    Jeez @Gianni you’ve got some cojones. “Release the wives!”

  26. @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni

    @gilly

    @Gianni, that is truly a thing of beauty. And only £20 wife pounds (for those of you familiar with wife pound conversion)

    Or 0.04 carbon wheel units. I’m not familiar with wife pounds but I would assume everything bike related costs £20 when discussing with wife.

    The beauty of WPC is that it fluctuates just like the real markets. Thus a set of Jagwire cable housings at £60 become £28 ( DO NOT round everything to the nearest 5) but a set of cosmic carbon hoops at £1100 become £375.

    This could be an article but if some wife ever reads anything on this site, we could all be busted. The chances are unlikely though (of a wife ever reading anything here).

    Jeez @Gianni you’ve got some cojones. “Release the wives!”

    What are you all on about ?

    I tell my wife everything about the cycling related purchases I get.

    Well, for example, a couple of months ago I got a set of fine 38mm full carbon wheels for the amazing price of $203-00 AUD

    Oh, and my Rapha Pro team bibs and jersey, amazing value at $79-00 AUD.

    Its the truth, they just happened to be the last amounts paid over to the credit card

  27. Just so ya know… this is what it really looks like.

    Giro Beauty

  28. The espresso-repair man said that this Saeco machine could do up to 100’000 cups and this one is more than 10 years old. However, the wine cork puller on top of the machine which we bought in Italy (pulls out cork in one fluid movement, no turning handles just squeeze) has seen better days. Time to replace. Too bad Japanese do not drink wine, because I do not want to mix Groupsan with Gruppo.

  29. @KogaLover

    I hear this Saeco machine is also a puller – rumour has it he pulls out in one fluid motion too.

  30. @dyalander

    @KogaLover

    I hear this Saeco machine is also a puller – rumour has it he pulls out in one fluid motion too.

    Fortunately my espresso is dark brown, no mixing with blood. I was thinking about adding a Saeco-jersey photo, but only found the bright red ones; yours is simply yuk.

  31. I caved in and bought a chain checker tool, had just been using my verniers. I never imaged I’d be this interested in nice tools.

    No uppers for me, downers are what I need to function more smoothly.

  32. Nice one Gdog. Having a decent machine definitely means drinking more coffee than I should, especially as it’s here in my office. The ritual is the thing, not so much the drinking (though that is pretty fucking good).

    The CK tamper would just make the ritual that much nicer than using the built-in plastic one on my DeLonghi.

  33. @Gianni

    Sadly, there are no 53mm small home levers. Or at least, none that I can think of and I can think of a lot of obscure lever machines. La Pavoni uses a 51mm or 49mm basket, as does Elektra and most others. Ponte Vecchio/Sama/La Peppina/Riviera use 45mm baskets, the Caravel uses 43mm baskets. No 53mm in sight. I can’t even think of any commercial 53mm lever either. Smallest is the 55mm of the La San Marco group.

    The mere mention of superautomatic coffee machines in a thread such as this is detestable.

  34. @Ron Question: why were you resisting to buy a chain checker tool? Is much cheaper than 20 wife pounds! And do not worry, you will always need to use your verniers to check the width of your tamper http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/information/faq.html

    @RVester Rule #56 does not forbid the use of machines, does it? FWIW, I do not drink macchiato.

  35. Speaking of caffeinated substances.

    When in the thriving metropolis of Adelaide (I’m sure locals know all too well about this place )

    we love going to this place.

    http://la-musette.net/

    Definately ” the third place ” if ever one existed.

    Do yourself a favour if in that neck of the woods.

    Note : No kickbacks, bribes or endorsements were received writing this post.

  36. @Oli

    @Gianni

    The giant silver one in the wooden box.

    I have the bronze version, but sadly the box disappeared many years ago. Best cork screw ever.

  37. @KogaLover

    This website and this specific article usually extol the virtues of doing something the proper way, even if it is slightly harder and requires slightly more attention and skill. I feel the virtues of taking pleasure in honing such a skill are also encoded in the rules, if not written down ad verbum.

    Sure, you don’t have to care about coffee. But it’s poor form to mention that in a thread that extols the virtues of using a very specific, finely crafted tool to perform a simple, straight-forward task that is only associated with brewing espresso. You’re not just violating the masturbation principle as much as you’re just wanking in public.

  38. @RVester

    Suggest you reduce your caffeine intake, you are too easily and too quickly excited. Once you relax, review Rule #43.

  39. Cool tool, but I use a Bialetti Moka and it is not needed.

    -Eddie

  40. @EBruner

    Cool tool, but I use a Bialetti Moka and it is not needed.

    -Eddie

    Refer bolded print.

    “Said no-one ever ! “

  41. @Barracuda

    I can’t believe I wrote those words! After seeing it in bold type I am embarrassed to call myself a man.

  42. Thinking about it, I might have a problem here. CK tamper (to go with Rancilio Silvia V3), CK Coffee Cups and saucers (ditto), CK Salt and Pepper shakers (just because) and a pair of CK R45 hubs in my good clinchers. No headset or bottom bracket at the moment though…

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