Portafilter is an espresso machine’s portable machine component used in espresso coffee brewing. It’s basically a small brass cylindrical cup with a wooden/plastic handle and is arguably considered the most important machine part in extracting quality espresso. The exterior of the cup has a filter basket with tiny holes and under it is a small hole “The sprout” for the espresso to be poured in a coffee cup.
How To Use Espresso Machine Portafilters?
As stated earlier the use of a portafilter will define the greatness of an espresso. There are 2 steps essential to its use but effective usage will take considerable amount of time and practice.
Using Portafilter: Step 1
Before putting portafilter to use, one needs to get a quality grinder machine and properly grind the coffee beans into powdered form known as coffee ground which should not be too coarse or fine. Otherwise in both cases we won’t be getting desired results in terms of consumption. That’s why it will take some time and practice to properly grind the beans.
Using Portafilter: Step 2
After acquiring coffee grounds from grinding, it is put on the cup of portafilter to its capacity. One can use one’s own fingers to level the coffee grounds across the portafilter. Once the coffee grounds take the shape of a puck, it is then manually compressed with a temper to an appropriate level. Once again time and practice will enable a user to compress it not too lightly or tightly. Likewise, both these mentioned cases will rob the quality of coffee of its optimum level. After this the portafilter is attached to the Grouphead of the espresso machine and then the machine is turned on. Hence high pressurized water pours from the machine, through the coffee grounds and then out comes hopefully tasty espresso coffee from the sprout and into a cup.
Espresso Machine Portafilter Types & Their Functions
#1: Pressurized Portafilter
First is the pressurized portafilter made for amateur coffee makers who are either learning to make coffee or have little time to get hands-on experience in making coffee for whatever reasons. Major advantage for this portafilter is that it doesn’t require compressing the coffee grounds as it creates the pressure on the grounds itself. But the cost of making such espresso with ease is that it sometimes compromises with taste and quality.
#2: Non-Pressurized Portafilter
Second is the non-pressurized a.k.a commercial portafilter made especially for espresso enthusiasts who demand great espresso coffee shots and have some experience in making it too. Unlike pressurized portafilter, after acquiring proper coffee grounds, one would need a temper to properly compress the coffee grounds in non-pressurized portafilter to acquire quality espresso shots.
#3: Espresso Pods
Another type is espresso pods in which ground and tamped coffee is wrapped by a filter paper and all one needs to do is to insert this single shot pod in a portafilter and rest is the same process. It is more convenient to use as compared to pressurized portafilter but the major drawback with such pods is that it puts some constraints on the espresso’s strength.
#4: Portafilter Adaptor
Fourth type is a portafilter adaptor which can be replaced with a normal portafilter that comes with the espresso machine. This adapter essentially fulfills the purpose of both commercial portafilter and espresso pods. One would need to first check whether the espresso machine has the option of using adaptors with it.
#5: Bottomless Portafilter
Final type is the bottomless portafilter in which the bottom of the portafilter is cut into half and one can see the colour of extraction as soon as hot water passes through coffee grounds which tells whether coffee beans are properly grinded and tamped or not.