Orphan Espresso used to sell a tamping aid they called the Slap Shot – a rubber puck (hence the hockey connotation), on which you tapped the portafilter to settle the grounds (video here). It wasn’t cheap as I recall – their custom-made stuff can be pricey which might explain why most of it has vanished in the 5 years since I last looked at their website** – and now they no longer sell it. Which is a pity, as I wanted one, so I set out to make one, which turned out to be quite easy.
**A lot of information and spares have vanished too, which is a shame.
The main requirement is that the material used should be low-bounce, so that the grounds wind up settled into the basket, not scattered across the landscape.
At the time, I was making a pair of crutch holders for my manual wheelchair, using a plastic mailing tube cut into halves. The tube had a pair of plastic end caps 63mm in diameter and 25mm deep – just what I needed.
Using one as a template, a word grievously mispronounced by TV numpties. It’s “templet” – accent on the first syllable, the second e almost mute – not “tem-plate” as it’s so often rendered, I cut 4 discs from a closed-cell foam camping mat.
One was glued to the base of the end cap, partly to stop it sliding and partly to mute the noise, while the other three were packed tightly inside:-
And that’s it. Not as elegant as the original, but it works. The inserts aren’t glued, by the way, so you can remove and dry them if you get water or coffee in there.
I use a portafilter with a single, centre, spout on my Gaggia Classic, for which this is fine. Some double spouts can be quite wide, though, so do measure first.
I use an IMS integrated membrane shower screen on my Classic, together with an IMS Competition B68 2T H26.5 E 22g filter basket. Both very worthwhile upgrades, especially as the standard grooved Gaggia baskets are a bit crappy – the IMS basket has no groove and is highly polished.