Tends to collect brown sugar from cubano shots in small pits in the wooden base.
Difficult to evaluate fit of tamper to hand over the Internet.
Too expensive to purchase one for everyone I know who would use and appreciate it.
The tamper is made from two pieces of wood and one piece of metal. The main body is camphor wood. The base is lignum vitae. The tamper is weighted I believe with bismuth.
This is one of the most beautiful tampers I have ever seen, comparable only to the others available on Thor Tamper. The wood is simply gorgeous.
The construction is flawless. I can't feel any seam between the two pieces of wood.
The performance is awesome. I previously used a variety of tampers and they were all too small or too large. This tamper fits my hand perfectly and forces me to use correct technique in order to grasp it comfortably. I like the large base which allows me to comfortably grip the tamper.
The wood seems to transmit considerably more feeling about the pressure and angle of the tamper than the steel tampers I've used before. The center weight seems to allow me to determine the level of the tamper.
This tamper also greatly reduced my persistant problems with channeling by about 99% or more. I attribute this to both using better technique and also due to the precise cutting of the wood of the base. The angle of the edge is almost exactly 90 degrees and the edge is very crisp. The tampers with metal bases I have seen all have a very slight rounding of the edge which allows for a slight ring of espresso grounds to remain untamped around the edge even with the Staub/compass tamping technique. I have read many others who agree with my view that this creates channeling. The Thor tamper eliminates this problem almost entirely and creates a perfectly tamped, smooth, even puck with far greater ease than any other tamper I've used to date.
I have very demanding standards and this product is one of the very rare items in this world that is everything I want it to be. While having the best possible beans, grinder, and machine are necessary for the barista to produce exceptional espresso, it is the tamper in the hand of the barista that puts all of the pieces together and is sadly often neglected in pursuit of the other necessary elements of espresso. I recommend most highly purchasing a Thor Tamper for any professional barista and any home barista who is serious about the quality of tools they use. Considering the materials used, production technique, quality of construction, impact upon shot quality, and beauty of the tamper I consider the price paid ($70 including shipping) to be a bargain compared to the popular mass produced brands.
I remain convinced that this is the most perfect tamper in the world, at least for myself. I give it a 10. Photo of tamper is available at http://tinyurl.com/d7wjk.