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Coffee Equipment; What is Pressure Portafilter?

Are you shopping for a new #espresso machine and are dizzy with the trendy new terms and features that many of these machines bring today?

I bet a pressurized #portafilter is one of those terms you constantly come across when reading about various models online.

Is a pressure portafilter better? Naturally, you might think you'd want a pressurized portafilter.

Not necessarily, this type of portafilter is perfect for beginners. However, if you want complete control over your coffee brewing, the pressure portafilter may be more of a hindrance than a benefit.

To help shed some light on both pressurized and non-pressure portafilters and clear up any confusion you may have, in this article we'll take a closer look at how it works, its benefits, what makes it unique, and why one type is better.

Armed with this knowledge, you can decide which option is best for you when choosing your new machine.

How Does the Pressure Portafilter Work?

Pressure portafilters (also called double-walled filter baskets) are typically found in budget home espresso machines to allow the average user to use regular coarse-grain store-bought ground coffee.

The pressure portafilter helps to get a good and consistent shot of espresso, eliminating much of the guesswork that a regular espresso would usually require.

Unlike a regular espresso portafilter that relies on the machine to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to pressure. A pressure portafilter builds up the pressure immediately after coffee extraction and helps to extract a perfect espresso with a visible crema.

It does this by using a two-layer filter basket design with a single hole to allow pressurized coffee to pass through.

Some espresso machines also have a pressure valve that is released when a certain amount of pressure is built up.

Pressurized and Unpressurized

Most entry-level semi-automatic espresso machines come with two sets of filter baskets, one with pressure and one with non-pressure commercial portafilters.

This can be confusing for someone who isn't experienced with making espresso at home - which one should you use and why?

I'll try to keep this pretty simple because pressure and espresso can get confusing when you dig deeper into the inner workings.

The pressure required to make espresso can be achieved by using two different types of portafilter baskets.

In an unpressurized basket (also known as single-walled filter baskets), pressure is created by the finely ground coffee and then compressed to form a disc.

This is the "traditional" way of brewing espresso, giving you full control over the extraction and you can adjust and fine-tune variables such as flow rate by adjusting the grind size of the compression pressure.

However, it can be challenging and frustrating for beginner home baristas who get the perfect shot of espresso using a traditional filter basket.

Companies created the pressure filter basket to bring the espresso machine to a wider audience and limit the amount of work required to perfect that perfect shot.

This basket does not rely on the barista's ability to perfectly grind and compact the coffee to create pressure.

Instead, the basket has a small hole for the coffee to come out when a portafilter mechanism creates pressure between 8 and 9 bar .

On the other hand, the pressure of the unpressurized filter basket is created evenly across the surface of the compressed coffee disk and exits through hundreds of tiny holes in the basket.

Looking at both types of filter baskets, you may be confused to think that they are one and the same. But if you hold them up to the light, you can see the differences in their design.

Pressure Portafilter Non Pressure Portafilter;

It goes without saying that in terms of texture and crema, the best results will come from the traditional non-pressure portafilter basket, and the time spent perfecting your espresso shot will give you a sense of accomplishment.

You can still obtain cream by using a pressure filter basket, which is the original idea of ​​the design.

However, due to the way pressure baskets work, they tend to create a coarser, frothy crema that lacks the body and texture found in non-pressure baskets.

When Should You Use a Pressure Filter?

There is no harm in using a pressure portafilter.

A pressure filter basket can be a much needed help if you are using pre-ground coffee beans or if your grinder is not able to grind finely enough to form a solid disc and cannot create the proper pressure in a regular basket.

It effectively helps you build up the proper pressure without the guesswork and proper tamping or leveling, but gives you less control over your shot.

just advice Add your ground coffee and the pressure basket lets you brew a drinkable espresso, but it comes at a price in terms of both flavor and texture.

If you're investing in a good espresso machine, why let a portafilter limit you?

Let's say you want to experience a full-fledged espresso shot.

In this case, you can buy fresh whole-grain coffee ideally that has been roasted within 14 days, and if you have a good coffee grinder that can achieve the fine grind you need, a non-pressure basket is what you should use.

When you take the time to learn how to take the perfect shot of espresso with an unpressurized basket, you'll be rewarded with a more balanced and tastier shot of syrupy, thick crema that only this type of filter basket can do.

Can You Switch To A Pressure-Free Portafilter?

Many affordable espresso machines only come with pressure porta filters, leaving you with no other choice.

In most cases, you can convert a pressurized portafilter to a non-pressurized one by purchasing an aftermarket replacement, such as a bottomless portafilter.

You will then be able to control many important brewing variables such as coffee grind size, correct dose, extraction rates and compression pressure.


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