Chris King's new stainless steel coffee tamper

Cycling baristas rejoice

A couple of years after turning a pair of its hubs into salt and pepper shakers, Chris King has found a novel use for another of its bike products. Coffee-loving cyclists can now indulge both passions with the Portland-based company's professional quality espresso tamper.

That first aluminum prototype gave way to the use of a stainless steel base that pushes the tamper’s weight to just about a pound. The slightly convex base shape was reached after collaborating with the American Barista & Coffee School on design. King offers three sizes — 53mm, 56mm and 58mm, the latter being the commercial standard — to fit a variety of portafilter baskets for different commercial and home espresso machines.

“We built the first one out of aluminum because we’re so used to making things light,” said Chris DiStefano, King marketing manager. "But in this case you need some weight."

King's new range of espresso tampers

The tamp will be offered with a distinctly recognisable headset-shaped aluminum handle available in four anodised colours: pink, brown, gold and red. The complete tamp is 83.5mm high, including its 10mm deep stainless steel base, which is made from the same alloy steel as King’s Cielo frame and fork dropouts — air-hardened 1403 stainless steel. The tamp weighs just under a pound at 446g.

“The thickness of that base is such that you can feel that edge of the tamper sticking out of the basket and by feeling that height, you can rapidly detect how much coffee is in there and if you’ve tamped it level,” he said.

Unfortunately, the tamper isn’t available this Christmas; King expects to have the 58mm version ready first and on sale next spring.

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