ANNOUNCING: An event: I’ll be reading and signing books at the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor on Monday, July 15, at 7:00 p.m.  Read about it here.

crema“Don’t tamp it this time,” my son says.

“What?”

“With my Gaggia,” he says, “I’ve stopped tamping.  I get better crema. Try it.” The coffee, he means, in the filter basket.

It’s a Saturday morning.  I’m making him an espresso in my Delonghi Dedica Deluxe Pump Stainless Steel Espresso Machine. When you make espresso with a machine, tamping is a thing. It’s part of the process, the ritual. I’ve always tamped. The pros in coffee bars tamp. Every machine I’ve owned came with a tamping tool. When I tell him with this machine I only gently tamp, just leveling the coffee off, he says I might get better crema leaving it loose.