The use of a Portafilter Basket
Look, if you're serious about espresso, you need a solid portafilter basket. It's the place where all the magic happens – hot water meets coffee, and voila, you've got your perfect shot of espresso. Make sure you go for a high quality portafilter basket: non-pressurized, showcasing well-distributed holes that enable the perfect extraction.
Pressurized vs. Non-Pressurized Portafilter Baskets
Loads of espresso machines come with a pressurized filter basket as standard. They're easy to spot with their double walls and one tiny hole at the bottom. They're great for beginners because they pretty much guarantee a decent coffee. The basket does all the hard work of building the pressure, not the coffee.
These pressurized filter baskets are best with coarsely ground coffee, meaning any supermarket pre-ground will do. They can also cover up any mishaps during the extraction. But let's face it, all these perks come at a cost, mainly to the taste and quality of your coffee. If you're grinding your own premium beans or just after a killer espresso at home, steer clear of these.
Non-pressurized portafilter baskets are the real MVPs if you want quality espresso at home. You can see all the holes on the bottom of your portafilter basket. With these, the coffee has to step up and build the pressure itself, so you'll need a bit more know-how. But, get the coffee, ratio, and tamping right, and you'll be brewing barista-level espresso at home in no time.
What's this Blind Filter Thing?
Besides the standard 18-gram portafilter baskets, we also have blind filters. It's a neat little tool for taking care of your espresso machine. Using it regularly gets rid of any stubborn leftover coffee and keeps everything spick and span. If you're brewing at home, use it once a week with water, and every few months, pair it with a cleaning agent like Cafiza or cleaning tablets.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Like most barista tools, filter baskets come in different sizes for different espresso machines. We've got a size chart to help you out. Below a quick overview of sizes with common espresso machines:
51mm portafilter basket: Perfect for De’Longhi and Gastroback espresso machines.
53mm portafilter basket: Fit most 54mm Breville, Sage, and Solis models.
58mm portafilter basket: Perfect for all E61 espresso machines – think Rancilio, Bezzera, and Gaggia.