Test Drive: The Cube Tamp

Grinder company Compak breaks into the auto-tamper market with a great new offering.

BY JOSH TAVES
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE

Photos by Josh Taves

Slowly but surely, automatic tampers are becoming more common in coffee shops. In an industry that values the “handcrafted” element of coffee brewing, new automations that remove human input are often hesitantly received by coffee veterans. However, automatic machines of all types are slowly growing in popularity as the specialty segment of the coffee market grows its need for increased speed and consistency in high-volume settings. 

The Puqpress has mostly dominated this market lately as the only option for a stand-alone auto tamper; before that, the La Marzocco Swift grinder graced the counters of many busy cafés. Noticing potential for growth, grinder manufacturer Compak has recently entered this established yet niche market with the release of their Cube Tamp. Aimed at offering baristas another mainstream alternative in the auto-tamper category, the Cube is something you should consider if you are looking to increase consistency in your busy café.

The Cube Tamp boasts an elegant design that will complement your other equipment and design aesthetic.

Like other auto tampers on the market, the Cube Tamp has relatively simple functionality, but with a few key upgrades that make it more barista-friendly to use. The Cube Tamp is relatively … well … “cube”-shaped, which makes the device a more sturdy base. Place your portafilter into the hollowed center section of the cube and it slides right into the portafilter holder. 

Compak claims that the Cube is compatible with most portafilters on the market today, and the holder is adjustable to match the depth of your particular portafilter. Once inserted, a sensor button is triggered, which sends a piston down onto your portafilter and tamps the coffee. Now, you’ve got a tamped puck of ground coffee ready for the espresso machine.

A few features that the Cube claims to improve workflow include a light-up center so you can easily view your portafilter in the device, and a high level of user adjustability. The Cube has an OLED display on the front that allows you to easily adjust your tamp pressure settings from 10 kg to 30 kg. It can also display in pounds, accordingly with the region that you brew coffee in. The OLED display also tells you when your coffee is finished being tamped, and allows you to enter a cleaning mode. 

The OLED screen on the Cube Tamp lets you know when your coffee is finished being tamped.

Another feature to note is that the Cube Tamp offers different size tamper attachments to best match the diameter of your portafilter. This is extremely handy for folks looking to adjust the taste of their espresso and ensure the highest quality. 

Of course, the biggest benefit of the Cube Tamp is the consistency it provides. Anyone who has ever worked as a barista trainer, competitor, or merely pays close attention to their processes will tell you about how much your tamp affects your espresso extraction. They can also tell you about how difficult it is to get 100% consistency even for baristas at the highest levels. Don’t believe me? Just check the World Barista Championship judges’ scoresheets; a perfect score actually has to be approved by a head judge because it hardly ever happens (especially in the “consistent dosing and tamping” box). I would bet that a technical judge would have a hard time finding anything inconsistent with a Cube Tamp.

The Cube Tamp is adjustable to fit most portafilters on the market today.

In short, the Cube Tamp from Compak is a strong new competitor in the automatic-tamper market. If you are looking to increase efficiency and consistency behind your bar, make sure to give this new gadget a closer look.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Taves (he/him) is the head of business development for Stovetop Roasters in Michigan. He’s been working in the coffee industry since 2006 and enjoys taking advantage of all the great adventures the outdoors has to offer. He is also the inventor of the Rattleware Cupping Brewer and a 2017 USBC Finalist, so he knows his way around lots of different coffee gadgets.

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