Driving past the mounds of discarded coffee wood piled up near a Colombian coffee farm in Concordia, Colombia, gave Brian Franklin, owner of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Double Shot Coffee, an idea. “[Our guide] said that people in town were experimenting with making furniture from the coffee wood,” he says. “I thought that if the wood was dense enough to make furniture, it could probably withstand being crafted into a custom tamper.” But not just any tamper—one made by Reg Barber, who has been handcrafting handles on espresso tampers for 15 years. “I stuffed a big piece of the wood in my backpack, managed to get it past customs and immediately sent it off to Reg Barber,” says Franklin, who five months later received three tony tampers from Barber. But do they make for a better cup of coffee? “I don’t know,” Franklin admits. “They’re kind of like a museum piece and just too pretty to use. But one of these days I’m going to just have to go for it.”
For more on Reg Barber and his custom coffee tampers, check out Around the World in 20 Cups in the March/April 2009 issue of Imbibe.
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