If you have been looking for the perfect espresso machine, you may come across many product descriptions that mention filters.
So, what is a portable filter? How does it work?
In this article, we will help you find out all the information you need to know about filters so that you can buy your next filter with confidence.
What is Portafilter?
If you have ever seen an espresso machine, you may have noticed an exciting handle that protrudes from the point where the coffee flows from the device.
The handle contains a filter. When the espresso machine is extracting espresso, the filter can hold and capture the coffee powder to ensure that there is nothing in your cup except the precious espresso that you like very much.
When the hot water covers the coffee grounds, the taste and aroma will be extracted, and the filter ensures that the coffee grounds will not enter your cup.
The extracted espresso drips from the bottom of the filter and enters your cup through the chute at the bottom. When you brew espresso, the handle holds the filter in place, so it locks in the espresso machine to keep the brewing head in place.
The central part of the portable filter is the filter basket. It is made of metal and has small holes that allow liquid to pass through.
If you have a coffee machine, the mobile filter is equivalent to a basket with a paper filter, which you can use to enjoy a delicious coffee cup. The metal portable filter basket is equal to a paper filter.
How to use Portafilter?
Brewing espresso is not a difficult task, but the process itself is complicated, so you need to follow the correct steps to ensure that your espresso is brewed correctly.
You don’t need to be a barista to prepare a delicious espresso.
First, you need to grind the espresso beans to a sufficient consistency. You can buy ground coffee to make espresso, but fresh coffee beans can ensure a better taste and aroma.
If you have a high-quality coffee grinder, you can grind the coffee not to be too coarse or too fine.
When the coffee is too coarse, the water may not extract the flavor and taste perfectly. The coffee powder will pass through the filter holes and affect the espresso taste when the coffee is too fine.
Learning how to find the right consistency is a matter of practice. You may need to practice multiple consistency until you find the right consistency.
After grinding the coffee beans to the right consistency, you need to learn how to compress the filter with coffee.
If you press the coffee too loosely or too tightly, the resulting espresso will not be extracted correctly, and you will not be able to enjoy the espresso the way you want.
After adding coffee and tamping correctly, you need to install the filter to the punch section of the espresso machine.
Turn on the espresso machine. Hot water will be immersed in the coffee and extract the flavor.
The extracted espresso is dispensed from the spout into the cup. The coffee remains in the strainer basket so that you will have a perfect cup of espresso with a rich aroma and rich coffee oil.
Espresso Portafilter Type
Many hand-held filters (such as jet-type hand-held filters, naked hand-held filters) are installed in various household espresso machines.
When you buy a new espresso machine, you need to be careful about the filter you choose, which will affect how the device operates.
Certain types of filters make an espresso machine easier to operate. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time learning how to manage an espresso machine or need to prepare an espresso quickly, then this is definitely for you.
These are the most common filter types in home espresso machines because they are easier to operate and provide excellent results so that you can enjoy an extraordinary espresso prepared by a professional barista.
The main benefit of getting an espresso machine with a pressurized handle is that the grip will mash for you, so you don't have to worry about the extraction process.
Specialty coffee will not be packed too tightly or too loosely. However, if you want to customize a unique espresso brew, an espresso machine with a pressure filter may lack this flexibility.
Most of these home espresso machines have settings that most users find acceptable.
Nevertheless, the user will not adjust or change any of these settings to customize the brewing settings to prepare a fantastic espresso brew. The pressurized hand-held filter is suitable for those who need to schedule an excellent espresso brew without learning the details of espresso preparation. The results are consistent, and you can enjoy a delicious espresso every time.
If you live in a busy family and everyone enjoys coffee all day, you can buy an espresso machine with a pressure filter. You can also use this machine in the office because you can enjoy delicious espresso anytime.
You can expect to use non-pressurized mobile filters on semi-automatic espresso machines. Such a machine will be more affordable and provide greater flexibility when preparing your espresso.
The diameter of these filters is 49 or 53 mm.
If you plan to buy an espresso machine with a non-pressurized filter, you need to know how to choose the right grind thickness and ensure that the coffee is thoroughly tamped to achieve maximum extraction.
Most commercial machines in specialty coffee shops use non-pressurized handle filters. Some of these commercial machines have larger nozzles, 58 mm in diameter. They are generally more durable than espresso machines designed for home use. The higher quality metal used to make these nozzle filters improves the extraction process.
Baristas and more experienced users prefer these non-pressurized filters to customize their espresso shots. If you want better espresso control, you need to buy an espresso machine with a non-pressurized filter.
Every time you brew espresso, the taste and flavor will be different each time, depending on the consistency of the coffee and how it is pressed into the filter.
However, you need to understand that brewing espresso is not that simple. Before you prepare a great cup of espresso, some training and learning are required.
The bottomless filter is a crucial device to help diagnose espresso extraction problems. The nozzle is removed, and the basket is exposed, allowing you to watch the entire extraction process. Bottomless Portafilter, sometimes called Naked Portafilter, has become essential to any quality-oriented espresso shop barista tool.
The bottomless filter, also known as the bare filter, pulls out bare espresso.
More experienced users and baristas prefer to use bare-hand filters or bottomless filters because they can help you diagnose espresso machines and espresso extraction problems.
If you plan to open an espresso bar, this may be the bare metal filter you need to look for when buying an espresso machine.
The bottomless filter allows you to see how the espresso drips from the basket, so if your espresso is not that good, you will be able to see what went wrong. The bottomless mobile filter lets you get more coffee oil from fresh coffee beans because the coffee grounds will not contact any other surfaces that may affect the oil content. The oil content will produce richness on your espresso—coffee oil.
The tiny crema bubbles will stay intact and add this unique flavor to your espresso because they will not touch the spout or any other surface that might affect them. In addition, more avid espresso drinkers believe that bottomless filters will improve the flavor and aroma of espresso. These bare hand-held filters are easier to clean and can improve espresso taste.
Reasons to Use The Bottomless Portafilters
With the ability to troubleshoot espresso immediately, the consistency of the coffee served in your espresso bar will improve by leaps and bounds, giving you a much-needed advantage over the competition.
In the hands of an experienced barista with fresh espresso beans, a bottomless filter will produce 50% or more Crema. Why? The answer is simple. Your espresso will not touch any surface other than the bottom of your strainer basket. There is no portable filter bottom and no nozzles. This leaves the tiny crema bubbles we were looking for in the perfect shot intact. In addition, the absence of a nozzle will give the user more cup gaps, and in most cases, allow the espresso to be extracted directly into the cup for drinking. Of course, in most cases, for cups more significant than 12 ounces, some kind of brewing container is still required.
More crema means more flavor. We have all soaked and cleaned dirty handles. Fewer metal surfaces (i.e. nozzles and nozzle threads) mean less messy grips contamination. This also allows the user to clean the bottom of the portable filter basket after each shot. Make sense?
- The Troubleshooting of an Espresso Extraction:
The bottomless portafilter allows the barista to infer whether the correct tamping technique has been used immediately. An incorrect angle was used during ramming if the extract is tilted to one side or the other. If you see a stream of espresso from the bottom of the basket, it may be that your hand-flushing filter is level or is not evenly metered.
- Training in Barista Ways:
Bottomless Portafilters have become a valuable tool for espresso training for all the above reasons. Novice baristas and professionals can immediately determine whether their grinding, dosage, and/or technique is on or off. Valuable clues will tell trainees where work may be needed.
The transparent filter is acrylic. Just like a metal filter, it can perfectly brew espresso.
The process of making hand-held acrylic filters is not easy and therefore costly, so it is unlikely that you will see a transparent filter in an espresso machine designed for home use.
However, most people prefer to use a more durable metal portable filter and ensure that your espresso machine is easy to clean and use. If you need a beautiful transparent hand-washed filter, you can customize one for your coffee machine.
If you use pre-ground coffee beans in your home espresso, then you may need to look for an espresso machine with a double-wall mobile filter. This will help add more coffee oil to your coffee, which is usually challenging to obtain if you use pre-ground coffee beans.
When the extracted espresso is pressurized through the secondary wall, the liquid passes through the pinholes to form a layer of coffee oil on top of your espresso extraction.
However, avid coffee lovers prefer to use roasted beans and grind them to the desired consistency. These freshly ground espresso beans will produce a rich cream that you can enjoy on espresso.
Portafilter for Coffee Pods
Using coffee pods is easy and fun.
If the coffee beans you use are pre-ground and mashed into ready-to-use packaging to minimise guesswork and ensure that your coffee always tastes delicious, a mobile coffee pod filter can help.
The results are always consistent because you don't have to worry about grinding the coffee to the desired consistency or mashing the coffee into a filter basket for proper espresso extraction.
In addition, you can choose many types of pods so that you can enjoy your favorite espresso anytime. All you have to do is lock the coffee pod in the filter, lock the handle, and then turn on the espresso machine to brew the required amount of espresso. You can buy coffee pods of any brand to pair with your espresso machine so that you can enjoy customized espresso anytime, anywhere.
After brewing the espresso, you can easily discard the coffee pods, and your hand brewing machine is ready for use. If people are looking for an espresso machine that is easy to use and requires no training or learning, they prefer a portable filter for coffee pods.
You can choose a different roast each time to enjoy high-quality espresso. However, most pods are more expensive than regular coffee, and they can only be consumed in a single drink.
Nevertheless, these coffee pods are specially designed for those who have no experience in preparing espresso but still want to enjoy high-quality espresso made by professional baristas.
Portafilter Brand & Compatibility
When buying a mobile filter, an important consideration must be compatible with your espresso machine. Although some hand-held filters can be used in many different brands, we generally recommend that you purchase a filter designed specifically for your coffee machine.
The mobile filter consists of parts that ensure maximum espresso extraction without the coffee grounds dripping into your cup.
To extend the life of an espresso machine, you need to understand the role of each component and ensure that it is used correctly.
The Portafilter Basket
This is the most critical part of an espresso machine. It keeps the coffee grounds away from the cup while hot water is passed through to extract the flavor. The filter basket holes are too small, so they will not let the coffee through. It is made of metal or plastic and should be cleaned to ensure better espresso extraction next time. The filter basket is usually made of chrome-plated brass with a handle attached. It does not react with the acid in the coffee and ensures that your espresso always tastes delicious.
Portafilter Basket Type
Portafilter filter baskets come in many shapes and sizes. Since the metal springs and grooves hold the filter basket, store it in place and ensure it does not move even when removing the residue.
The ridgeless basket has no metal dents, so it may move when you try to get rid of the ice puck after extracting espresso. Nevertheless, the ridgeless filter basket is considered cleaner because the coffee does not accumulate between the ridges.
Whether you choose a ridged or non-ridged filter basket, the quality of espresso mainly depends on the design of the filter and the quality of the coffee beans used to extract the espresso.
You can also choose a single filter basket, double filter basket, and triple filter basket. A single filter basket is used in conjunction with a single spout filter and can hold 7 to 12 grams of coffee to prepare a single strong espresso.
This single filter basket has a unique funnel shape.
The double filter basket has straight walls and is used to prepare double espresso to hold 14 to 21 grams of coffee. The triple filter basket can save more than 21 grams of coffee, usually more profound than the double filter basket. Therefore, it requires a more profound handle to install correctly, although it will also prepare dual guns.
The Portafilter basket can also have a mesh bottom or micropores. You need to choose a filter basket that will not let the coffee grounds pass through.
Portafilter Baskets: Are They Important?
Although most coffee products are scrambling to look novel, some products are restricted by existing standards. Portafilters is a typical example-even. If you check carefully, they look the same, but the performance difference can be huge. We can say that, but if this doesn’t convince you to spend money on forgotten widgets that seem to you already own, we won’t blame you. With this in mind, let us dive into the details through the video below.
The work of the portable filter basket seems very simple: it is a metal filter designed for ultra-fine coffee and high pressure. This will be very easy if the coffee grains in your basket are the same size. But from a microscopic point of view, their shapes and sizes vary greatly. This is part of the reason how espresso obtains its characteristics. The smallest particles can easily pass through the holes in our metal filter into your cup to create a thick, rich espresso. The particles are slightly more significant than those pores that cause the problem.
Particles of the wrong size or shape may clog or block one of these holes. On its own, this may not seem too bad, but many openings will likely be blocked during our evacuation-sometimes even causing a domino effect on those around us. The result is that those areas behind the obstacle may eventually be under-extracted, and they see less water flow than their neighbors. As always, this will produce a lens with a less clear taste.
So how can the basket avoid jams? Well, the particular shape and precision of the holes have a significant influence on the possibility of them being blocked. If the holes are jagged, sharp, and uneven, the coffee particles are more likely to get stuck on these edges. If the hole is smooth and perfectly round, the risk of blockage is much smaller. This microscopic detail is the difference between an ordinary and a world-class basket.
So, how do you distinguish? Unfortunately, you cannot judge by observation unless you have a suitable microscope. In most cases, we must rely on experience, reviews, and any information provided to us by the manufacturer. The person who makes our favorite precision basket-VST-includes a printed image of a small hole in your specific filter as proof of their hard work.
Instead of investing in our microscope, we put together a few baskets to see more consistent results. We used the same machine, grinder, coffee, and Saint Anthony Industries depth calibration tool. In addition, we alternate between the two baskets to minimize the time difference. For our standard filter basket, we used the OEM filter basket that came with the Style 7 bottomless filter. For our accuracy option, we chose the VST 20g basket. Alternating between the two, we made a total of 40 shots (20 for each basket) and stopped all shots at 25 seconds. In addition, we noticed any channeling of "none", "some", or "serious" level.
The result came to a clear conclusion: the results produced by the VST basket were significantly more consistent than the OEM basket. Here, we plot the data for each injection as a deviation from the target yield. As you can see, compared to VST, using a standard basket produces a much more significant shot change. The statistical analysis of the mean deviation shows that the variability of the VST basket is less than half of the standard basket.
If you look closely, you can see that the overall shape of the curve matches, which is primarily related to the change in the bean level in the hopper. Although this will change any grinder and any given coffee, you can see that the VST basket mitigates this interference.
There will be a significant difference when comparing each basket's number of channels generated. The standard basket produced many instances of heavy channeling, while VST did not create a few examples of light channeling.
So what does this mean? The VST basket is the winner here, and based on our experience, this is not surprising. In other words, we were a little surprised at the magnitude of the difference between the two baskets. If you are like us, and each continuous perfect shot produces a little dopamine impulse, then you want VST. All procedures and training in the world cannot overcome the limitations of inaccurate baskets. Although the standard basket does seem to live in the shadow of VST, none of the shots it produces is terrible. They are not perfect, but they are entirely qualified shots. Your favorite store may use standard baskets that are very similar to these and get reliable results in most cases. Still, if you are one of those who are after the perfect espresso, then the VST basket is a worthwhile investment.
If the espresso machine does not have a pressure gauge, you should install a pressure gauge on the filter. This will control the pressure output of the espresso and will affect its taste.
The Portafilter Handle
This is the outer part that fixes the filter on the head of the pack. The feel of the handle in your hand will directly affect the ergonomic design of your holding and using the coffee machine.
The handle is made of plastic or wood and will not contact the espresso you extract. However, you should make sure that you choose a sturdy handle that will not break when you choose the filter for cleaning.
This is the bottom of your filter unit. This is where the brewed and extracted espresso passes through and enters your coffee cup or cup.
Some espresso machines have two coffee buds, allowing you to enjoy double espresso, where the extracted espresso flows evenly.
You can use these coffee buds to simultaneously pour the espresso into different cups. Some espresso machines have no water outlet at the bottom of the filter, and the reason why the filter is called a bottomless filter is apparent.
This keeps the filter in place and allows you to remove it when you need to clean it up quickly when you remove the puck from the basket.
The Size of a Portafilter
Because the mobile filter may be the main component of an espresso machine, you need to be careful when researching various models. You must be cautious about the many sizes of handheld filters on the market.
The brewing head or brewing head is the location where the hand-held filter will be installed, and the espresso machine manufacturer has set the size of the hand-held filter.
This means that even if you want to brew more or less espresso, you cannot choose a broader or smaller mobile filter. The standard for commercial and high-quality home espresso machines is 58 mm in diameter. However, these espresso machines are expensive and more suitable for people willing to spend more money on high-quality ones.
Smaller espresso machines usually have smaller filters.
Some spout filters have a diameter of 54 mm or even 40 mm. Smaller filters are less flexible because you can only install smaller baskets to prepare for a single shot.
How to Measure the Size of a Portafilter
At first glance, the handheld filters seem to be interchangeable, and you can switch the handheld filters between various espresso machines. However, the handle can only work when it fits the exact position on the head of the group.
As long as you use the right tools, measuring handheld filters is easy. You can use the caliber of the machine to measure the internal dimensions of the filter.
After measuring the diameter, you should convert the measured value from inches to decimals and millimeters by multiplying the number by 2.54.
If the portable filter basket is tapered, you should measure the narrowest diameter at the bottom of the basket. The most standard size of the filter is 58 mm or 54 mm.
The Size of a Tamper
The coffee blender should pack and compress the coffee into the basket.
Therefore, it should be slightly smaller than the basket to fit into the basket and squeeze the coffee powder. This should maximize the extraction of coffee powder.
If you do not have a set of machine calipers to measure the diameter of the filter, you can use a steel tape measure. Taper is measured in the same way because you should convert the measurement from inches to decimals. After that, you should multiply the number by 2.54 to get the diameter in millimeters.
Next, you should subtract 0.75 mm from your calculated number to get the most appropriate tampered size.
This would be the perfect choice for the correct compression of coffee.