Espresso machine portafilter

The portafilter on a espresso machine might be one of the most important parts of a coffee machine. You can see it as a spare part of a coffee machine, but also as a coffee machine accessory, seen they can be completely customized. There are a variety of sizes and models of portafilter available.

Espresso machines which use a portafilter are called in most cases a semi automatic espresso machine. Seen you physically need to install the portafilter in the brewing group of the espresso machine. But if it will fit your espresso machine mainly depends on the brand of coffee machine you have. The most common size is the 58mm portafilter, which is based on the one used on the Faema E61 espresso machine. But this does not mean that all 58mm portafilters are interchangeable to each other.

Portafilter Material

In most cases portafilters are made from cased and machined brass. After polishing this brass is nickel and chrome polished. Which gives, in most cases, a mirror like finish. The disadvantage is that the chrome layer can get damaged. You do see portafilters made from stainless steel, but not that often. You will see them for instance see on the 54mm portafilters used on Sage/Breville coffee machines, which are all made in China.

Portafilter types

The most common and used portafilters are the ones for a single and a double coffee. The body of the portafilter is identical to each other, only the coffee spout is different. Note: there are various thread types used on portafilters, so coffee spouts are not always interchangeable.

One of the latest types of portafilters are the naked portafilters, or in some cases these are called bottomless portafilters. With this type of portafilter the bottom of the portafilter has been cut out, so there is no contact between the coffee and the casting of the portafilter.

Which portafilter sizes are there?

What the sizes of the portafilters are depends mainly on if it is a domestic or a commercial espresso machine. Seen domestic espresso machines such as Sage and Breville use smaller portafilters sizes. But nowadays you see more commercial portafilters on domestic espresso machines, such as with espresso machines made by brands such as Rocker, ECM and Bezzera.

The most common sizes are the:

  •          51mm portafilter;
  •          53mm portafilter;
  •          54mm portafilter;
  •          58mm portafilter.

Portafilter 51mm

This model of portafilter is one of the smaller sizes and it is used on domestic espresso machines made by Delonghi. Which has a star shape ear orientation, so 3 portafilter ears in total. There is a 49mm size for older Delonghi espresso machines.

Portafilter 53mm

This type of portafilter is mainly used on the coffee machines build by the Australian company Breville.  The portafilters can be used on various of their brands such as Solis, Sage and off course Breville. The portafilter has a star shape ear orientation.

Portafilter 54mm

The 54mm portafilter isn’t that common, but you will find this size with various coffee machine manufacturers such as Astoria, Wega, Spaziale and La San Marco. For Spaziale and La San Marco this is their only size. For Astoria and Wega they also have brewing groups which use the 58mm portafilters.

Portafilter 58mm

This size of portafilter is the most common portafilter model. You will find this on various brands such as Faema, Marzocco, Kees van der Westen, Bezzera, La Pavoni, Slayer and so on. In almost all cases these portafilters have 2 ears, these can vary in thickness so it doesn’t mean that all portafilters are interchangeable even though they have the same outer diameter.

Which components do you find on a portafilter?

In general a regular portafilter is made up out of 5 components, which are the following items:

These can be in most cases be personalized, seen you have a variety of handle types and colours. And don’t forget the huge variety of portafilter filterbaskets.

How to clean your portafilter?

This is maybe one of the most important things you can do, cleaning your portafilter. Seen you can get a buildup of coffee residues inside the portafilter.  Well first off all to start with, never use a scouring pad, seen you will eventually go true the chrome layer and end up with solely brass. Chrome is easier to clean then brass.

You first need to remove the filterbasket from the portafilter, you can use the IMS removal tool for this. The next thing is fill a bucket with Puly caff and let the portafilter soak in this solution. Make sure that the portafilter handle isn’t submerged. Once the solution dissolves the coffee residues you can easily clean this off with a brush or microfiber cloth. To clean the coffee spouts you can use our Brooks cleaning brushes.


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