The Chris King Coffee Tamper is a piece of gear that only a coffee snob could love. And love it I do. Silly, maybe, because it’s just a chunk of metal, but there’s nothing silly about a perfectly pulled shot. And because to do any job done right you need the right tools, and because this is one of them, in the end there’s nothing silly about it.
So, why is a bike maker making a coffee tamp? Duh. Because they can. And because King is in Portland, which is even more coffee obsessed than Seattle.
King still makes its headsets and bottom brackets and hubs in Portland, and it makes the tamp there, too. Company engineers wanted great feel and function, so they worked with Portland’s top baristas on the shape and the heft and the refinement shows. In use, the base aligns perfectly with the top of a porta-filter so that, pressed, your grounds are at the right depth for a solid, rich shot. The tamper comes in several sizes and an array of colors, too, to perhaps match your bike’s Chris King components if you really want to take matters that far.
Also, a bit of trivia: The old factory building where Chris King is located originally was a Folger’s coffee roasting plant from 1928. At the top floor there are still the remnants of a roaster, and King themselves are now selling their own beans, roasted by a barista training school called Water Avenue. The Camino Cielo Espresso blend? It’s tight, strong, a little chocolatey, and very citrusy. It’s really, really good. In fact it knocks the socks off of Stumptown’s Hairbender, which, coffee geeks know, is dang good.
Not that any of that matters if you run on Dunkin’. But if you run on Chris King, it matters. A lot.
Tamper, $85 LINK
Coffee, $16 LINK