Pullman Big Step – THE Prosumer Tamper 

The Coffee Folk is reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Pullman BigStep has become the tamper of choice among baristas and coffee enthusiasts. 

While the price is exorbitant, many people (including us) have forked out the cash to make the purchase. Why? What is it that makes this tamper stand out in the crowd? And, is it just a statement piece, or does it affect shot extraction in any meaningful way? 

Read on to find out.

Pullman Big Step Review 


Pullman Big Step Tamper

Aesthetics

The first thing to note about the BigStep is its appearance. Quite simply it has a beautiful and elegant look. The BigStep is iconic in design and has become the standard against which other tampers must now compete.  

It comes in an impressive range of colors and designs. Both the Bigstep base and the standard Pullman tamper handles can be ordered in specific colors, the handle can also be wooden for those who prefer that vibe. In addition, there is a growing market for customized Pullman designs and colors. 

Put simply, it is a beautiful tamper that you will feel proud to own and showcase. But is that worth the price tag? That is a question only you can answer. 

Pullman Big Step Tamper

Ergonomics

The next thing to note is the ergonomics or usability of the BigStep. Is it a pleasure or a pain to use? And our experience, in line with almost all Pullman customers, has been a pleasure.

The tamper handle is the perfect shape to be comfortable in the base of the hand. The Big Step tamper comes with three spacers (2mm, 5mm, 8mm) of which you can use as few or many to fit your unique hand size. This is a brilliant design decision and means whether you have petite hands or are ‘big-boned’ it can be customized for you. 

It also has a rubber base that your fingers press into as you tamp. Again, it is a small feature, particularly for the home barista, but it speaks to the design care demonstrated by Pullman. It adds to the pleasure and overall comfort of using. 

Alongside this, the Big Step has some serious weight to it at 375g. This has a twofold advantage; the weight gives it a premium feel, and it actually helps with tamping. Previous to the Big Step we owned and used the Barista Hustle tamper. We loved the BH tamper for its price and design, however, it can’t even begin to compare with the BIgStep in sheer joy in use. Much like Fellow Products, the Pullman tamper feels like you are using a premium product… because you are.  

Performance

However, the most important question comes down to performance. For this price, you would expect excellent performance. How does it perform and does the performance justify the price? 

And basically, the answer is yes, the BigStep is more than just a pretty face. 

Now the caveat worth mentioning is that the Big Step tamper works best alongside specialty filter baskets such as the VST or Pullman filtration baskets. The BigStep has a width of 58.55mm and so according to Pullman ‘is suited for baskets sized at 58.70mm or greater.’ 

So for optimal results, this prosumer tamper is best paired with a non-standard ridgeless basket, probably not the one that comes with your machine. Our recommendation is the Pullman Precision Filter Basket Ridgeless. The BigStep was designed for use with this basket so they are an excellent pairing. 

Now as you may be aware, tampers usually face one of two issues; either they are smaller than the filter basket and so leave the edges of the puck untamped which leads to channeling, or else they fit so snugly that when the tamper is lifted up a vacuum is formed which pulls up some of the grinds and produces channeling and thus poor extraction. 

The Bigstep has come up with an ingenious system to sideline either issue. The name Big Step refers to the small stepped edge on the bottom of the base. Basically, this helps airflow and prevents suction and any danger of vacuuming. 

And so as you can see in the photos the Bigstep gives a virtually perfect wall-to-wall tamp with minimal mess or grinds untamped. 

Before Tamp
After Tamp

In short, yes the BigStep, especially when paired with the right basket, does an excellent job that is far superior to much of its competition. Of course, this is conditional upon tamping technique as with any tamper. 

I am not personally persuaded that the performance alone justifies the price as opposed to what you might get with another espresso tamper like the Barista Hustle tamper or the Pesado 58.5mm. However, alongside the look, feel, build quality, and general vibes… well there was a reason we brought this tamper. 

Additional Pullman Products

There are at least two Pullman products worth being aware of alongside the BigStep.

The Breville BigStep

For the Breville/Sage fans out there, Pullman has released a version of the BigStep aimed at most Breville espresso machines such as the Infuser, the Barista Express, and the Bambino. The Breville Bigstep is also made by Pullman, it is also the same quality craftsmanship, the only difference is that the base is fitted for the standard 54mm baskets and so is 53.4mm. 

The BigStep Tampsure

The Tampsure is a rather brilliant add-on to the BigStep to ensure even and consistent tamping every time. You connect it to the base and it adds an extra lip that will sit upon the outer edge of the filter basket. As you tamp the outer lip comes to rest upon the top of the basket and you can’t press down any further ensuring that every tamp is consistent in pressure regardless of who happens to be tamping. The Tampsure is also adjustable height-wise depending on the beans being used, dose size etc. While arguably this does take away from the elegance of the BigStep, it certainly is practical. 

Pullman BigStep Takeaway

In conclusion, the BigStep tamper is highly popular among coffee enthusiasts for a reason. It is elegant, iconic, superbly built, an absolute pleasure to use, and noticeably aids even tamps and so optimal extraction. 

Basically, the only noteworthy downside is the exorbitant price.

Would I buy it just for the performance value? No. But would I buy it for the overall package? Well yes, I did and haven’t regretted it for a day. 

Happy Brewing.