The Lowdown on Portafilters

What is a pressurized portafilter? How about a non-pressurized portafilter? Is one better than the other? What about those bottomless portafilters — are they necessary or just a random geek accessory?

Gail breaks down the intricacies of one of the most essential elements of an espresso machine — explaining how they work, why you would want one type over another and what purpose, if any, bottomless portafilters have.

4 comments for “The Lowdown on Portafilters

  1. Mike from Alsager
    November 23, 2011 at 3:36 am

    Hi Kat

    Interesting video. You didn’t look at the Delonghi pressurised portafilter. Mine got gunked up so I removed the plastic pin, effectively depressurising it, but the coffee now comes through far too fast to give a decent shot. I think this is down to the holes in the basket being larger than you would have in a non-pressurised basket, but at least I get coffee again! So I’d not recommend trying to depressurise the Delonghi unless you’re in a no-coffee situation.

    Mike

    • Kat
      November 23, 2011 at 9:21 am

      Hi Mike –

      Yeah, there are several different types of pressurized portafilters but they either follow the handle or the basket being pressurized, which is why we demonstrated just those variables.

      Are you using a grinder now that you are de-pressurized? If not, that could account for the increase in speed in your shots; the Delonghi PF’s we have here have filter screens that look to be similar to other models, so I’m not sure if that’s the cause. If you aren’t using a good grinder that can go fine enough for espresso, you could possibly pick one up and you’d seriously upgrade your shots! :)

      - Kat

      • Mike from Alsager
        November 24, 2011 at 3:15 am

        Hi Kat

        I use pre-ground sometimes and grind some with a Dualit grinder, probably not a make you know, best known for their toasters so is probably made for them by someone else. It’s a burr grinder, around $99 in your currency. I suspect the Delonghi holes as I believe they let through some fine coffee in the first place resulting in the gunking, and I think they look bigger than on the Gaggia that I used to have, before it started giving me electric shocks! The Delonghi was a cheap and cheerful interim machine while I decided what to get next and is around three years old and I believe past its best. I’ll experiment with the finest grind.

        I’m playing with an enormous (1.5L) Bodum Cafetiere at the moment which I got half price, as I’d started to miss the longer cup of coffee.

        Take care

        Mike

        • Kat
          November 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

          Three years is a good life for those machines, too! :) I am a huge fan of press pots myself — if I make coffee at home on the weekends, that is what I use.

          - Kat

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