Baristas in specialty coffee, though outfitted with a high level of craftsmanship, work some early hours, wear a lot of hats in cafes, and are generally over-caffeinated (yes—it’s possible). We wanted to dedicate a blog to honoring our hard-working, highly skilled baristas by highlight a fun way we love to give back: custom tamps.
The tamper is a classic barista icon, a tool they use dozens of times per hour while making espresso. Creating custom tamps has always been a rite-of-passage of sorts in the coffee industry, and we wanted to enable our baristas to reach this milestone.
When baristas pass their Amavida Barista Certification (aligned with SCA guidelines) – after hours of classes, studying, and a big test – we celebrate that enthusiasm with a custom-made tamp from companies like Reg Barber or St. Anthony Industries; two of our wholesale partners. Baristas get to choose their own artwork, build materials, and tamp style to create something that’s unique to them.
Let’s look at some of the custom tamps we’ve built over the years.
Brandon Byran started working with us in 2013 and, after a short hiatus, again in 2017. When he became a certified barista, he selected a light zebra wood handle, a white delron accent, and a brass base for his custom tamp. The contrast between light handle and heavy base gives Brandon a high level of control while tamping.
“I was so stoked to receive my tamp, not only due to the satisfaction of having achieved a personal and professional goal, but also to have a tool specific to the coffee craft I could call my own.”
Nick joined us in 2016 and quickly completed his certification training. He recalls feeling accomplished when he earned the certification, but also sleepy—he arrived too early (4:30 AM) for his final test. His tamp may not be the prettiest, but it is, well, unique.
“It was without a doubt the ugliest one on the website, but also the same color as Goku’s uniform from DragonBall Z.”
Jacob Thomas picked the heaviest tamp with the widest palm area he could find to suit his hands. Sparky had her tamp engraved with a lightning bolt to fit his nickname. And Will Bowers—he picked his because of its “overall sexiness”.
Our baristas feel pride for their custom tamps—just like we feel pride for them. They are the lifeblood of our company culture and the ones carrying out our mission and values on the ground. And for that, they at least deserve custom tamps to call their own.