John Gordon Talks Gorilla Tampers

Multi-time UKBC Champ John Gordon talks to Barista Magazine about Gorilla Tampers

John Gordon Gorilla Tamper
Looking for a good gorilla? It’s right there on his hand next to the Gorilla Tamper!

John Gordon is not only a three-time United Kingdom Barista Champion and world-reknown barista competitor, he’s also the man behind Gorilla Tampers.

He was recently in Mexico City for the Mexican Barista Championship and Latte Art Championship working on behalf of espresso machine manufacturer San Remo. He’s also in the process of moving  with his partner Jess MacDonald to New Zealand where they have plans to open a roastery. In the meantime he’ll be giving one-on-one training sessions to the new Mexican Barista Champion Julieta and the Mexican Latte Art Champion Miriam as San Remo is flying them both to Australia to meet up with John.


John Gordon Gorilla Tamper
John holding his own Gorilla Tamper.

In 2010, he gave the very first of his limited run (only 50 were made) Ivory Tampers to newly crowned World Barista Champion Michael Phillips in London. (And no, it’s not made from elephant or walrus tusk, but the “ivory” is actually resin.)

We had a chance to ask him a few questions about his endeavor.

BMag: When did you start making tampers?  

John Gordon: I started making tampers in my little shed back in the UK about  5 years ago because I wanted a tamper that would fit the curves of my hand and fingers better and be more comfortable for repetitive work. I then was very lucky to meet some people that worked with stainless steel and were able to machine the bases for me from my own design.

BMag: When did you decide to start selling them?

JG: So it was mostly just a hobby, and the ones I made I would give to friends. It wasn’t until this past year I really started to look at selling them. So from my time turning the handles from wood I designed two sizes (using aluminum) to be machined and anodized, they are now for sale worldwide in the Square Mile webshop,
Additionally custom Red Hasbean Gorilla Tampers are available in the Hasbean webshop. And they are also part of an accessory package for the new San Remo Opera espresso machine.
BMag: How many people work with you at Gorilla?
JG: Gorilla Tampers is just myself, and I am in the middle of shifting production closer now that I have moved to New Zealand. At the moment my small wood lathe is somewhere in a shipping container on a boat on its way to New Zealand but metal tampers are still available upon request with Gorilla Tampers logo or custom logos and colours.
John Gordon Gorilla Tamper
John shows off the Gorilla Tamper that comes with the new San Remo Opera espresso machine.
If you’re interested in learning more about Gorilla Tampers, send John an email at
Or, if you know you really want a Gorilla Tamper to call your own, you may want to drop back by the BMag blog tomorrow. Just saying…
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