Introduction: DIY Elegant Coffee Tamper

About: 3rd-year Industrial engineering student. South African.

I recently bought myself a Breville Venezia espresso machine, but unfortunately it didn't come with a proper tamper. Low-end espresso machines like this one don't come with industrial portafilters and therefore it's difficult to buy tampers that would fit them. After seeing the price-tag on customized tampers I decided to try and make one myself.

It turned out to be a really quick task (and fairly easy) and therefore I entered this instructable into the 1-hour contest. The tamper consists out of a brass head fixed to a Oregon pine handle with a grub screw. The material for the tamper cost me less than $5.



(any adequate tools can do the same or even a better job)

-Metal lathe (I used a Emco compact 5 mini-lathe)

-Band saw (I didn't have a parting off tool)


-Wooden handsaw

-Belt sander and 16 mm plug cutter (wood lathe would work much better)

Optional: (for adding a grub screw, alternatively one can use contact adhesive)

-Center punch

-5/16 tap and a 9/32 drill bit

-Drill press


-Piece of brass round rod (got a small chunk from a scrapyard for $4)

-Piece of wood (I used a old piece of Oregon pine)

-Fine grit sandpaper

-Wood oil

-5/16 x 3/4" socket cup point set grub screw (optional)

Step 1: Turning the Brass Head to the Right Diameter

First and foremost measure the inside diameter of the portafilter basket with your caliper after which you have to choose the outer diameter of your tamper. The tamper should have a fairly snug fit so I went with a outer diameter of just 0.4 mm smaller than the basket. (My ID was 51.8 mm and my OD 51.4 mm)

The following step involves inserting the piece of brass into the lathe chuck and turning it down to the desired diameter. After checking that the filter basket fits nicely over the work-piece the front has to be faced.

Step 2: Cutting and Shaping the Piece of Brass

I used a band saw to cut off the extra chunk of brass, but a parting off tool would work much better. Place the smaller piece of brass back in the three jaw, with the faced side facing the back of the chuck. Then set the cross slide of the lathe to 15 degrees and start facing the front off.

I didn't design the tamper beforehand so I basically eyeballed the dimensions till I thought it looked right. See the attached image for the final dimensions. The piece of brass already had a 16 mm hole through the center which suited me.

Step 3: Adding a Grub Screw

Take the almost complete brass head and mark the middle of the cylindrical part with a center punch. Then clamp the work piece in a vice with the mark showing upwards. Use a 9/32 drill bit and a drill press to make a more or less perpendicular hole through the one wall.

Next take some cutting grease and a 5/16 tap, keep the part in the vice as this will make things much easier. After tapping the hole, use a chamfering tool in the drill press to remove the sharp edges. Finally, insert the 5/16 grub screw.

Step 4: Making the Wooden Handle

First select a nice piece of wood. I used a old Oregon pine plank which I found in the workshop.

Next I used a handsaw to cut off a 11 cm piece.

Since I don't have a wooden lathe I used a belt sander to shape the handle. I roughed the edges up with the sander but quickly realized that it would be much easier to use a square piece of wood, so I went back to the handsaw and squared it up. I originally thought of making the classic round handle, but then I decided to go with something a little different.

I started out with rounding all the edges and then I tapered the handle to one side while preserving the square intersection. Like before, I eyeballed the whole process and thus frequently had to hold the handle up against the brass head to track my progress.

Lastly I used a 16 mm (diameter of hole in brass head) plug cutter to make a 22 mm (height of brass head) long dowel at the smaller end of the handle.

Step 5: Assembly and Final Touches

The handle was a very tight fit so I used a mallet to force it into the brass head, after which I inserted the grub screw to secure it.

Some final touches included using fine grit sandpaper to smooth the wood out and thoroughly oiling it. The squarish handle turned out to look quite modern in the end.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable!

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