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Jan 19, 2011 01:47 PM

Where to buy espresso tampers in SF Bay Area?

Anyone know a good place to buy high-quality espresso tampers in the Bay Area (especially in the E. Bay)? Sur la Table sells a cheap one, but there has to be a place that sells Reg Barber and other good brands.

I know I can get them online, but I'd like to compare the feel and make sure there is a tight fit in my portafilter.


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    1. re: chuckl

      They seem to be out of the $60 tampers but have a couple at only $'s 33-36.

    2. Thomas Cara is certainly the first place I'd look.

      1 Reply
      1. re: soupçon

        Unless things have changed Thomas Cara only sells/services/deals with/will talk to you about Pavoni equipment. I went in one day and was sneered at because I was asking about a Rancillo part I needed. The guy was -- now what's the word? Oh right, it will get my post deleted if i use it -- let's say, insufferable, yeah that works: insufferable. Anyway, Pavoni uses a 53mm portafilter, so nothing they have fits machines with the more professional 58mm.

        Fact is, the on-line espresso sellers have just about destroyed any local bricks and mortar outlets. And, let's be honest here: You want to fondle the Reg Barbers or whatever, but will you buy it locally? Not likely. You're going to buy it on-line at, what?, 30-40% less than a full-service shop can sell it to you for. That's why you can't find anyone who sells it over the counter. I bought my first espresso machine at Peets At the time they had an array of machines from modestly priced Gaggias through high end (for the time) heat exchange, E-61 group models. Those days are gone forever.

        Far as I know, sweetmarias is online only. You can pick up your order in Oakland and save the shipping costs, but there's no retail counter of any kind where you can handle the merchandise.

        I've had a Reg Barber for some 5 or 6 years now. Pricey but excellent. Every time I pick it up it just feels good in my hand. There are -- at least there used to be -- any number of more affordable tampers that have the same feel and weight,. Unfortunately, you're going to have to decide by on-line description.

        One place to try may be Trieste's coffee hardware shops. There's one at the North Beach shop and, I think, one in Berkeley (maybe Dwight?) at San Pablo. i was able to get a part I needed once at the north beach shop and, as I recall, they did have some espresso paraphernalia in the case.

      2. Check out Great Infusions in Santa Cruz. While down there, stop by Verve.

        2 Replies
          1. re: poser

            Triple the rec for Great Infusions.