Designed by World Brewers Cup competitor Patrik Rolf and executed by Danish design and craft professionals, the modular tamper kit is the subject of a current Kickstarter campaign.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of April Coffee Roasters
At April Coffee Roasters in Copenhagen, Denmark, quality and innovation rule the day. Owner Patrik Rolf wanted the best possible coffee device to assist him in his 2019 World Brewers Cup performance, so he designed the April Drip Filter Brewer. The device helped him earn a second-place finish at the competition and is now available for purchase. Last year, when COVID-19 hit, the company used the unexpected downtime to launch the April Coffee Store, a carefully designed retail shop featuring April products and a sample area serving coffee drinks.
With that history, it only makes sense that Patrik and his team have prioritized the company’s notions of quality and innovation for April’s newest creation: a modular tamper kit designed to be used by professionals in coffee bars or home baristas in their personal setups. The kit aims to use the highest-possible quality of materials and level of craftsmanship, is made in Copenhagen, and is designed to be user-friendly and durable. A Kickstarter campaign is currently underway here to fund the project.
How the Tamper Was Conceptualized
Patrik says the tamper kit project began after April Coffee Roasters opened its retail store in Copenhagen in June 2020. “That brought us closer to the process of brewing and serving coffee, something that April up until that time only did in competitions,” he says. “With that, we inevitably brewed many espressos, which had me consider the tools we were using to tamp and distribute. We already had our own brewer, so why not have our own tamper + distribution kit?” Because tamping and distribution ensure that coffee grounds are evenly distributed in the portafilter and are closely linked to even extraction, Patrik knew that the kit could have a direct effect on the final cup.
He sketched out the design for the tamper and distribution kit, which includes a durable stainless steel tamper; a brass inner screw that allows easy adjustments; and a 15mm diameter ring adjustment screw top to precisely adjust the height of the tamper and distribution tool. After deciding he wanted it to be made in Copenhagen, he approached Akiko Kuwahata and Ken Winther of design and craft company Akikokenmade and Mikael Frilund of manufacturing company Frilunds Værksted to bring the product to life.
What Makes the Tamper Stand Out
These collaborators elevated the quality and performance of the modular tamper kit, Patrik says. “What stands out the most is that the materials are all personally sourced and refined by Akiko, Ken and Mikael,” he says. “For example, we work with two different metals, a basic rule of metal-work that improves durability and function. Without Mikael’s input, I would never have thought about that. In many ways, they have all shown me an elevated level of craftsmanship, something that I take with me and try to incorporate into the work we do at April. The finish on the kit is flawless, and it makes all the difference in the world once you put your hands on it.”
Barista Approval Across the Board
The April team used five prototypes to work out the kinks and refine the tamper kit. Patrik consulted with Kapo Chiu, the multi-time National Barista Champion of Hong Kong and the third-place finisher at the 2017 World Barista Championship, for his perspective on improvement.
Patrik also connected with the baristas in April’s “athlete program,” a network of 16 coffee competitors from around the world, so they could test the product and offer feedback. “The idea of the athlete program is to create a community of people that want to push the boundaries in coffee,” Patrik says. “For me, some of the best times every year are backstage in the World Coffee Championships and I wanted to see if I could create that same atmosphere all year ’round, online.”
Patrik says that two barista competitors in the upcoming World Barista Championship—Adrian Berg, the National Barista Champion of Norway, and Kian Lindblad Hickman, the National Barista Champion of Denmark—plan to use the April modular tamper kit in their competition performances.
To find out more about April’s modular tamper kit project, explore the Kickstarter here.