I've read different opinions about portafilters. Usually, people say that "heavy metal" portafilters are best because they absorb a lot of heat. Does that really improve a shot? After all, it seems like you are merely pushing water through ground coffee under pressure. The main variables seem to be the grind of the coffee, the temperature of the water, the pressure and time to pull a shot. The entire process takes, optimally, 20-25 seconds. So, does it really matter whether you use a big heavy portafilter or a smaller, lighter portafilter? Besides, wouldn't a large "heatsink" of a portafilter pull heat away from the brew? Jon
The reasoning behind the big, heavy portafilter is temperature stability. You want the temperature of your portafilter to remain consistent while the coffee is in contact with it. Sudden fluctuations can will really change your shot. A heavy, brass portafilter won't change temperature too quickly, and the metal won't react with your coffee, either (another reason for the heavy portafilters; light ones are usually aluminum, I believe.) For a good example of this, pull shots into cold, properly warmed, and overheated cups and taste them...you'll notice quite a variation. Of course, the material doesn't make a lot of difference if your portafilter is bottomless. As to your question of a big portafilter pulling heat away from the brew, your portafilter should already be hot, in which case there's no major transfer of heat. --Derek On 11/13/06, Jon Rosen wrote: <Snip> -- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth
Personally I like the feel of a substantial portafilter. There is something permanent about brass and it is fairly predictable in regards to absorbing, retaining, and dissipating heat. In my opinion, the best espresso extraction typically comes through a cooler portafilter.
Well... my experience is different. I keep my puck of coffee in the porta= filter till the next extraction to ensure as much as possible heat stabilit= y. I let water to go through the puck while grinding for the new shot. Th= en I hit the knock box, release the puck, let some water to clean the porta= filter and charge it with the fresh coffee. A hot portafilter and a = hot cup are crucial for my espresso quality. When I was in Monza, Ita= ly, the barista keep telling me.... everything shall be hot, hot, hot.... f= or a good espresso. (Milk shall NOT be too hot for a good cappuccino!) = Sergio ----- Original Message ---- From: Tom Ulmer To: homeroast Sent: Sunday, November 12,= 2006 7:37:15 PM Subject: RE: +Portafilter Question Personally I = like the feel of a substantial portafilter. There is something permanent = about brass and it is fairly predictable in regards to absorbing, retaini= ng, and dissipating heat. In my opinion, the best espresso extraction= typically comes through a cooler portafilter. -----Original Messag= e----- From: homeroast-admin [mailto:homeroast-ad= min] On Behalf Of Jon Rosen Sent: Sunday, November = 12, 2006 11:14 AM To: homeroast Subject: +Portafi= lter Question I've read different opinions about portafilters. Usually= , people say that "heavy metal" portafilters are best because they abso= rb a lot of heat. Does that really improve a shot? After all, it seems = like you are merely pushing water through ground coffee under pressure.= The main variables seem to be the grind of the coffee, the temperature= of the water, the pressure and time to pull a shot. The entire process= takes, optimally, 20-25 seconds. So, does it really matter whether = you use a big heavy portafilter or a smaller, lighter portafilter? B= esides, wouldn't a large "heatsink" of a portafilter pull heat away fro= m the brew? Jon ho= meroast mailing listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homero=ast To change your personal list settings (digest options, vacations, u= nsvbscribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsetti=ngs homeroast mailin= g listhttp://lists.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroastTo chang= e your personal list settings (digest options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go = tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings
This is an interesting discussion. It reminds me of a shower in a family of 5, three of which are females. "Hey, Dad- it was hot for me..." as I try to levitate out! The brass portafilter the shot as it's brewing. As far as the coffee grounds themselves are concerned, they're in a hammock and the roof leaks. Has anyone ever checked out the consequences of a cold portafilter handle? It would seem trivial if one considers the popular conversion to Bottomless or Nekkid PF handles. The E-61configuration does ensure that the roof leak will be a constant temperature. And to think- I *turned down* a 4 or 6 group LSM(?) because my shop was full of electric forktrucks and 3 phase battery chargers. I knew nothing about espresso- just that I thought it was some kind of Yuppie beverage that was correctly noisy to prepare. The conversation would be different today. Shoulda' coulda'... There is no York Street Coffee Shop in Denver. Cheers -RayO, aka Opa! Got Grinder?
So far, it seems like it's 3 in favor of a hot portafilter and 1 in favor of a cooler portafilter. Everyone, however, seems to agree that pulling a blank to get a consistent temperature is a good idea. That brings me back to the original question, more or less. Because if you pull a blank, the portafilter, or hammock, as Ray put it, is going to be hot when you run your shot. Wouldn't that even out the playing field more or less? So far, it sounds like consistency, keeping the entire path from portafilter to cup, is very important to shot quality. Regards, Jon On Nov 12, 2006, at 12:48 PM, raymanowen wrote: <Snip>
It seems to me that by the time the water reaches the portafilter the coffee has already been brewed. As Ray said, the basket is like a hammock. The value of a "hot" espresso is one of personal taste. I personally do not like any food/beverage to be very much above/below mouth temperature...The best part of a cup of coffee, to me, is the last (coolest) third.. A+ <Snip>
I was beginning to wonder if I'm from the 4th rock out from our solar furnace, or what- but the thing often referred to as "the Portafilter" is the bayonet carrier for the actual filter basket. The top lip of the filter basket is pressed against the gasket, to seal the shot pressure and temperature. The espresso shot is brewed at the temperature of the water from the group head. The pressure of the shot is the result of the resistance to fluid flow of the coffee grounds packed into the filter basket. Nekkid Portafilters work because the shot is totally brewed within the basket itself. You are right on the button when you say "It seems to me that by the time the water reaches the portafilter the coffee has already been brewed." Period. No magic involved. Cheers RayO, aka Opa! Got a Grinder? Get a Grinder!
So, back to the original question, does the portafilter make a difference to the quality of the espresso? Does a heavier portafilter that may or may not retain more heat around the basket result in better espresso than a lighter portafilter? A lot of people suggest that a heavy brass portafilter is better than a lighter one. Is that really true? Thanks, Jon On Nov 12, 2006, at 7:09 PM, raymanowen wrote: <Snip>
On 11/13/06, raymanowen wrote: <Snip> Yes, but when the coffee drips out (especially the initial drips), it lands, quite often, on the bottom of the portafilter. It then runs down to the spout and out into the cup. I can only think of all the cones I see forming on my bottomless pulls, and it's clear that they'd be in contact with the portafilter. N'est pas? -- http://www.novernae.comHome of the Wandering Sloth
I strongly recommend going crotchless and that way the espresso goes directly from the basket to the catch cup and you don't have to worry about the temperature of the portafilter. The big reason to go crotchless is that it is the only way to make sure you get your grind and tamp right. I now have 61 shots in a row without a channel jet. Pecan Jim On Nov 12, 2006, at 1:29 PM, Jon Rosen wrote: <Snip>
Sergio: It >seems< like there is a chance that you'll start to cook the puck and dry the remaining coffee, plugging the holes in the basket. That's my rationale for dumping the puck right away (unless I forget, D'oh! ) Plus--the E61 group is massive and pretty temperature-stable. As to the OP: As a quick-n-dirty point of reference, a 1.5 oz shot in 26 sec works out to _about_ 500-550 watts to heat it up. Depending on a bunch of construction particulars for the machine, most of this will come from the hot metal mass rather than the heating element. If you have a low-end machine with a low-wattage, low-thermal-mass boiler and/or group head, etc, the heavy brass PF handle will contribute a fair amount of stability and keep the whole top of the machine from cooling too much during the pull. If you do only a shot or two at a time and then have a long wait to the next, the process is unstable until you develop a technique and follow it (warm-up or cool-down flushes, timing, temp-surfing, etc), so the equipment is probably irrelevant. On top of all that, if you have a lightweight handle, the lugs (and everything else) will probably wear more rapidly from use. Dean Sergio Kusevitzky wrote: <Snip>