The Puqpress is the world’s first automatic tamper and claims to provide flat and level tamping, faster workflow, and better extraction. The Puqpress has also been touted as the world’s most expensive tamper. So we wanted to review it to see if it is worth the steep price tag.
Who is the Puqpress for? Does it live up to its claims? How does it measure up to the tried and true manual tamper? These are a few of the questions we will seek to answer in this review of the Puqpress.
Tamping theory has changed in recent years. In the past, experts would have put a lot more emphasis on applying the correct amount of pressure when you tamp. Now it is widely accepted that consistency is the key to tamping correctly. The goal of tamping is to compress the grounds evenly to get a flat and uniform bed to promote even extraction. If there are areas with air between the grinds, water will take a shortcut and speed through it, resulting in channeling. So to get a consistent tamp, you need to apply enough pressure to compress the grinds. A good starting point is to press the tamper down until it stops moving. To test if you are applying enough pressure, you can invert the basket; the puck should not fall out when you do this. The second key point to getting consistency is to make sure your tamp is flat and level, so your coffee bed is uniform.
While tamping is a simple skill to learn, it can bring about inconsistency between different baristas. It is also a cause of repetitive strain injuries (RSI) among baristas… enter the Puqpress.
Puqpress is a company based in the Netherlands that designed and now manufactures the Puqpress. The Puqpress is the world’s first automated tamper and is taking the cafe market by a storm. It has removed the inconsistency between baristas so that everyone from the newbie to the expert can produce a level and uniform tamp.
The Puqpress is a simple but genius idea, an electronic tamp that removes the inconsistency and work of tamping. It has a polished and modern design that will fit in with most coffee setups. It is also very compact, with some models even fitting beneath your commercial grinder to conserve bench space. The Puqpress is well built and can tamp hundreds of times a day, producing a perfect tamp every time. It also comes with a two-year warranty on non-consumable parts.
Ease of Use
The Puqpress is very straightforward to use. It has an on/off switch at the back and + and – buttons on the side to control the tamping pressure. The tamping force is displayed on an LED screen next to this in either kg or lb. When it comes to using the Puqpress, the most crucial point is setting it up correctly. Failure to do so can result in a tamp that is not level and thus uneven extraction. When you first set it up, you need to adjust the portafilter clamp so that your tamper fits in tightly. Depending on which model you go for, there are also options for how the Puqpress tamps; from a normal double tamp, to a more precise slower tamp, to a single tamp or even the hulk- a triple tamp! Once your Puqpress is set up, you are good to go! Tamping is quick and easy; you simply insert your portafilter filled with ground coffee, and the Puqpress automatically senses when it is in position and tamps.
Like all barista tools, you need to take care of the Puqpress. Cleaning is very easy and only needs to be done weekly. Other than wiping down the tamper base, your main task is to clean the actual tamper with a brush or dry cloth. This is easily removed by unscrewing a bolt under the lid of the Puqpress.
How Does The Puqpress Compare To A Normal Tamper?
So how does the Puqpress compare to the traditional technique? The Puqpress has received mixed reviews, with many traditionalists balking at the idea of an electronic tamper, thinking it takes away from the craft. In third-wave cafes, tamping is a right of passage! However, it cannot be denied that the Puqpress tamp can produce a consistent and even tamp that can replicate the same flow rate as a traditional tamper. Can it tamp better than a good barista? Probably not. Can it tamp better than an average barista? Definitely! So is it worth the high price tag? If you are a cafe owner, we would say yes! The Puqpress provides consistency and speed with tamping.
Alternatives To The Puqpress?
If consistency is your game, there are cheaper ways to obtain it. For instance, the Force tamper is a spring-loaded tamp that can be set to your ideal tamping pressure. As you press down on the top of the force tamper, the spring compresses and then releases in a ‘punch’ motion that guarantees a consistently applied pressure. The other option is a calibrated espresso tamper, like the Espro tamper, that clicks when you’ve reached your ideal tamping pressure.
Who Is The Puqpress For?
If you are a cafe owner, then you should seriously consider investing in a Puqpress. It speeds up the workflow and produces a consistent and flat tamp across multiple baristas. The Puqpress is one of the fastest-growing barista tools in the world. If you are a hobbyist barista, the Puqpress is probably a bit of an overkill for use at home.
Different Puqpress Models
If you have decided the Puqpress might be a good option for you, we have provided a quick overview of the different models below.
Puqpress Mini- up to 100 tamps/ day
The Puqpress mini is designed for light use, either for a home espresso setup or a small business. It is smaller than its brothers, taking up less bench space, and is capable of tamping up to 30kg of pressure. The Puqpress Mini is compatible with any commercial portafilter size and style.
Puqpress Q1- up to 300 tamps/ day
The Puqpress Q1 is designed for medium use in a professional environment. It is capable of tamping 10 to 30kg of pressure, moving in 1kg increments. The Puqpress Q1 is compatible with any commercial portafilter size and style.
Puqpress Q2- unlimited tamps/ day
The Puqpress Q2 is designed for heavy use in a professional environment. It has a stronger frame and a more reliable motor to deal with the higher workload. It is capable of tamping 5 to 30kg of pressure, moving in 1kg increments. It also has a larger variety of tamping settings compared to the Puqpress Q1. The Puqpress Q2 is compatible with any commercial portafilter size and style.
Puqpress M-Line Models
The Puqpress M-Line models sit directly beneath popular commercial grinders. They are really designed for cafes that are short on space, fitting seamlessly into your setup. The Puqpress M-Line grinders have a stronger build to support the weight of the coffee grinder on top. They can deal with heavy use and tamp anywhere from 5-10 to 30kg of pressure moving 1 kg increments.
The Final Verdict
So would we recommend the Puqpress? It depends on who’s asking! If you are a cafe owner, we would say go for it! The Puqpress just makes sense. If you can ensure a consistent, flat, and level tamp every time, why wouldn’t you? The high price tag is worth it to ensure your cafe is producing a consistently delicious cup of coffee. If you are a home barista, we would say probably not! The Puqpress might be useful if you struggle with the physical act of tamping, but it is a lot to fork out for a tamper. You would be better investing the money into a better coffee grinder or espresso machine.