I think I’ve been in a bit of a bubble. I say this because I’ve recently discovered the true joy of a simple piece of equipment that many, many baristas have been using for a very long time, and I failed to pay much attention to, or take the opportunity to try myself until very recently.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always used a tamper – from day one over 12 years ago when I pulled my first espresso. I still to this day own a good collection of more than a half dozen tampers that differ in materials, weights, lengths, sizes and shapes. Usually in my work I’m not behind the same machine or at the same location from day to day, so I tend to use whatever tamper is available to me at a particular site rather than BYO and hoping it will fit the portafilter.
Then I met Reg (the tamper not the person!)
I’m well aware of who Reg is and what he does, and more to the point that he makes a large array of tampers in different shapes and sizes. Last year after my friend and fellow barista Scott Callaghan won the World Latte Art Championship in Berne, unannoucned Reg custom made a Tamper with Scott’s name engraved on it to commemorate the event. It was a lovely and generous gesture from a man that Scott had only met once.
Recently the WBC & Reg Barber got together to make 100 limited edition tampers to celebrate Tokyo and sell to raise money for a scholarship programme for baristas in less than fortunate circumstances. So I treated myself to a new tamper, for a good cause, a sort of tourist souvenir ….or so I thought.
Last week, I finally got the opportunity to put my Reg to the test. I thought, hey, you paid 100 USD for the thing you may as well give it a go.
The love was instant… I could go on all day, but needless to say, for now, I’m not using anything else. I’m totally stoked at how ergonomic and ‘bionic extension of my arm’ it is. ( I know that’s not really English and does not make sense, but it’s an expression of my feelings about this thing.) It’s smooth and comfortable. It just feels right.
The actual purpose of this post was not to share the joy of my discovery, which I am well aware many people have made light years before I did, but to have a whinge at the current state of my still very new Reg.
On the way out of the training room where I christened my Reg, I did an Emily standard move, and in my post Reg euphoria dropped the darn thing. Upon realisation that the pristine red handle was now blemished, I made noises and released words I’m not proud of. But at least my Reg is well loved, and the damage was to the handle not the base, it’s completely functional if not just a little bit bruised.
I think I might need a couple more…just in case.