Difference Between Coffee Roasts – Best Choice

Virtually anyone and everyone who consumes espresso or coffee, whether it be iced or piping hot, has a preference when it comes to light roast versus dark roast versus a roast that is somewhat in between light and dark.

Those people in particular who buy and then grind their own whole espresso beans at home can, even more than those who don’t, appreciate the differences between roasts.

This article has been put together to assist you if you are searching for some specific information regarding the differences between dark, medium, and light roast.

Read on for a rundown of just exactly what these differences are.

Factors that determine the end result of the coffee beans grown

Roasting is the primary baseline factor that determines how your coffee will taste, in other words, the key factor for giving you a good, overall idea of what type of flavor you can expect.

Other factors that can result in varied flavors and strengths of coffee include the location (country) in which the beans were grown and harvested, how long the beans sat both before being roasted and after, how they were processed, how they were ground, and how they were brewed.

What makes some coffee beans light while others are darker?

Prior to being roasted, coffee beans, at the time they are harvested (picked), are very green in color, have a smell similar to green grass, and have little to no flavor whatsoever.

The roasting of coffee beans is the key factor in turning these little green nuggets into one of the most beloved beverages of all time (espresso or coffee). The roasting process not only transforms the green coffee beans into varied shades of brown, it also is the process by which the beans gain that wonderful taste and smell that so many of us know so well.

The lightness or darkness of a coffee bean is determined primarily by the length of time it has been roasted.

During roasting, coffee beans take in (absorb) heat, which causes their color to darken. Then as the temperature in the bean during roasting increases, oils are extracted from inside the beans to the outside of the beans. Dark roast beans, you may have noticed, have a much oilier appearance than do medium or light roast beans. This is because there was more oil extracted from the inside of the beans to the outside.

What causes different coffee beans to taste different from each other?

There are some key factors that come into play in determining what flavor each coffee bean will provide.

  • One of these factors is how light or dark the roast is.
  • Another is the region/country where the coffee is grown.
  • Other factors that can affect the flavor of the coffee include the age of the coffee, the method that was used for processing, the coarseness of the grind, and the method used for brewing the coffee. For example, finely ground coffee used in a drip coffee machine or percolator most definitely has a different flavor than the same finely ground coffee that has been brewed in an espresso maker. This is because the brewing process between these two is so different.

What are the differences in caffeine levels when it comes to light versus dark roast beans?

Most people tend to think that dark roasted coffee beans are more caffeinated than their counterparts, the lighter roasts.

However, note that just the opposite is true…

…Coffee beans that are lighter in color are lighter because they have been roasted (exposed to heat) for a shorter period of time than dark roasted beans, resulting in them retaining a higher level of caffeine than dark-roasted beans.

Comparison of light, medium, and dark roast coffee beans

Light-Roast Coffee Beans

Lighter in color than medium or dark-roast coffee beans, light-roasted beans have virtually no oil on the surface of them. This is because they have been roasted for a less amount of time than darker roasts, and have not had a chance to darken as much.

Additionally, lighter roasts have a more pronounced acidic flavor, and the flavor of the beans is kept much closer to the original flavor they started out with at the time of harvest.

Light-roast coffee beans tend to work much better than dark roasts when they are ground in a coffee grinder, whether it be a grinder contained within an espresso machine or a separate grinder that sits on your counter top. Darker roasts, which have more external oils, tend to “muck up” the burrs of the grinder much more than the lighter roasts.

Some of the lighter roast names that you may have heard before include Light CityCinnamon RoastNew England Roastand Half City.

Medium-Roast Coffee Beans

Coffee beans that have been roasted to a medium-brown color have more “body,” balanced flavor, and aroma than do the lighter roasts.

Similar to the light roasts, medium roasts also do not have a collection of oil on the surface of the beans.

With medium roasts, there is less caffeine than the light roasts but still more caffeine than the darker roasts.

Some examples of names of roasts that fall within the light-roast category include American RoastCity RoastBreakfast Roast, and Regular Roast.

Dark-Roast Coffee Beans

Coffees that are dark roasted are a very dark brown color, to the point of sometimes almost being black. Also you will note with dark roasts is that most of the time they have a coating of oil on the outside of the bean, which can also normally be seen floating on the top of the coffee in a cup which has been brewed using dark-roast beans.

Dark roasts have significantly less caffeine than the lighter roasts. This is due to amount of roasting being greater than lighter roasts, which causes much of the caffeine in the beans to be roasted out.

The choice as to whether to consume light, medium, or dark roast coffees is ultimately yours…most people who consume coffee or espresso have already determined which they prefer. What it boils down to when making this particular choice is your preference regarding flavor, aroma, and possibly the amount of caffeine you want to consume.

Unroasted (also called Green) Coffee Beans

Coffee beans that have not been roasted whatsoever are generally referred to as “green” coffee beans.

Although green coffee beans do not make good coffee and, if brewed like you would brew coffee have basically no coffee aroma but do have a very bitter taste, there has been growing scientific evidence that consuming ground green coffee beans causes substantial weight loss in an incredibly short amount of time.

In the image at the top of this section, the green, unroasted coffee beans are the ones on the outside of the picture on each side.

Best Ways to Recycle Used Coffee Grounds

If you are a daily maker and consumer of espresso or coffee at home and are currently dumping those spent grounds into the garbage every day, STOP the dumping part of it! (Or at least stop the dumping into the garbage or down your disposal part of it.) Here is a complete list of the best ways to recycle used coffee grounds

There are many, many different ways to use those leftover coffee grounds. Some of them may appeal to you, and some likely will not matter as much as others.

Here is a list of the many different uses for coffee grounds. Pick and choose the ones that would most benefit your busy lifestyle! If you can think of others, please add them in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

In addition, note that most coffee shops (most Starbucks included) have a plethora of used coffee grounds on a daily basis, and will be more than happy to provide you with used grounds if you don’t make a lot of coffee at home.

Great for using on your hair

We must first note that this idea is not recommended for use on blonde hair, as coffee does have staining/darkening properties. Works great on brunette or black hair.

Used coffee grounds are wonderful for removing built-up residue that ends up being on your hair from the use of today’s shampoos and conditioners.Will give your hair a lift and natural shine.

Just prior to shampooing, grab yourself a handful of spent coffee grounds and give them a good massage into your hair. Follow with your normal shampooing and conditioning.

Helps get rid of cellulitis

That bothersome cellulitis that so many people end up getting is really a shorts-stopper!

No, you most likely won’t end up with what is pictured to your left, but you definitely can improve the current cellulitis on your legs with the help of used coffee grounds.

There are numerous recipes online for getting rid of cellulite. However, note that simply mixing used coffee grounds and some warm water also works great, without any other ingredients. Simply using this scrub on areas with cellulite for 10 minutes per day, 2 times per week will start to show results in 4 weeks, or even less, after regular use.

Great for growing mushrooms

Not only do you love coffee — mushrooms also absolutely love coffee!

If you like to grow mushrooms for cooking, try giving them a boost with the simple addition of some used grounds into your mushroom growing medium.

Works great as a meat rub

Coffee grounds make a great ingredient to include in your favorite meat rubs recipes!

Making used coffee grounds a part of your next meat rub results in a somewhat smoky meat flavor.

Give it a try!

Need a pin cushion refill?

Spent coffee grounds make a great pin cushion filler!

Make a homemade pin cushion and fill it with used dry coffee grounds.

Works well for deodorizing a room, and will also prevent rust from forming on your pins.

Make sure the used grounds are entirely dry prior to using them for this purpose.

Lengthen the life of your cut flowers

Mix some soil and used coffee grounds together, moisten well (very well) with some water, and you will increase the length of time that your flowers will stay fresh.

Also has the added bonus of making a great room deodorizer!

Make up some cleaning tablets for your kitchen garbage disposal

Here is a great recipe for making some garbage disposal cleaning tablets, to keep your garbage disposal in tip-top shape, and smelling great at the same time.

The basic ingredients for this recipe include dry used coffee grounds, Epsom salts, baking soda, vinegar, and vanilla extract (optional). Click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph for details of this recipe.

Great for ridding your sidewalk of slippery ice

Used coffee grounds not only provide great traction for those icy walkways, they also contain a high amount of acid-like components, which helps to melt snow and ice more quickly.

One important note before you try this tip – those of you with white or light-colored carpet may wish not to try this suggestion, at least on walkways near entryways, because, as we all know, coffee does stain, and coffee grounds tracked in on light-colored carpeting is not suggested.

Make a homemade candle

A great craft for children! Simply grab a paper coffee cup (the hot/cold kind are preferable), a couple of tablespoons of used coffee grounds, some wax, and a candle wick.

This craft project is also great for someone who absolutely loves the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Detailed instructions can be found here!

Image courtesy of popsugar.com

Great for adding color to craft items

There are many different craft items that can be changed to a beautiful golden color by using spent coffee grounds that have been re-moistened. These would include things such as feathers and cloth, or even Easter eggs.

You can even mix some spent coffee grounds with some water and use the result for a great nontoxic paint.

The longer you let the grounds sit in water, the darker color of “dye” you will get.

Starting a garden?

Used grounds make a great nitrogen booster for those seedlings you are planting. You can either add a small amount of used grounds into the soil you are planting the seedlings in, or you can add some grounds to your watering can.

Carrots and radishes in particular will benefit greatly from some grounds added to the soil at seed planting time. Use this method and you are almost guaranteed to end up with better, and bigger, produce, not to mention the additional advantage of warding off some types of pests during the growing process.

Spent grounds are great for those of you who like to grow carrots and/or radishes. If you mix carrot and/or radish seeds with spent coffee grounds prior to planting those seeds, it will detract the pests that like these types of veggies, resulting in a greatly increased harvest of these vegetables.

Are cockroaches a problem?

Then make your own roach trap — simply fill a jar, can, or other container with one to two inches of moist coffee grounds.

After that, line the remaining top of the container you have used with extra-sticky double-sided tape.

The scent of the coffee will attract the roaches and they will become stuck on the tape.

 

Great exfoliating hand cleaner

Utilizing a scoop of used coffee grounds works great for cleaning, exfoliating, and deodorizing your hands. The coarseness of the grounds works great as an exfoliant to remove loose skin. The properties of used coffee grounds also help to get rid of strong odors that are emitted from foods such as onion, garlic, and fish.

Definitely remember this tip when you are camping.

Get control of those fireplace ashes and associated dust!

Simply sprinkling damp used coffee grounds on your fireplace ashes just prior to cleaning them will reduce the amount of flying dust when sweeping up the ashes.

Great for repelling some insects and other pests

If slugs, snails, or ants are your problem, note that used coffee grounds placed around your favorite flower or vegetable garden will create a protective border, and will repel these unwanted pests.

In addition, if it is a cat who keeps intruding in your flower or vegetable garden, ground coffee, in addition to orange peels or rosemary oil, will help to deter that pesky cat.

Make your own antique paper

Need some antique-looking paper for that upcoming special event?

No problem!

Simply mix together some used coffee grounds and water in something such as a 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan, add your white or light colored paper of choice (white works best for this), let sit for one to two minutes, remove, allow time dry, and then brush off the grounds.

Hide scratches in furniture

Get yourself some wet brewed coffee grounds and go to work hiding those annoying scratches on your wood furniture.

You will find that this works great the majority of the time, to make scratches less conspicuous.

However, first check the result you will get on an inconspicuous area of the furniture, prior to using this method on the actual scratches.

Make certain flowers have more vivid colors

Working some used ground coffee into the soil of your hydrangeas, azaleas, camellias, roses, rhododendrons, and other plants that benefit from added acid will work wonders for the brilliance in the color of your flowers from these bushes. This works best if you mix your coffee grounds with some brown leaves, dry straw, or grass clippings.

Used coffee grounds increases the acid level of the soil which, in turn, assists the shrubs in absorbing more nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium, resulting in a healthier plant that will produce much more dazzling, vibrant-colored flowers.

Great scouring agent for pots and pans

Out of those green “scrubbie” things that we all love to use for scouring pots and pans?

Spent coffee grounds make a great scouring agent if you don’t have a “green scrubbie thingy” available. After getting the grime off with the coffee grounds and your sponge or rag, be sure to give a good, thorough rinse. Not recommended for non-stick pans, however.

Great refrigerator deodorizer

Use coffee grounds to clean the fridge

Out of baking soda?

Note that used coffee grounds also make a wonderful deodorizer for your refrigerator.

Simply put a bowl of dry spent grounds into your fridge or freezer.

This will neutralize those horrible odors that spoiled or stale food has left behind.

Works great for compost

The use of coffee grounds in your compost pile does wonders for the condition of your compost.Used coffee grounds added to your compost provide the bacteria in the compost with the “energy” that the bacteria requires to successfully transform organic matter to compost.

Be sure, however, to limit the amount of grounds you add to your compost, as adding too much will throw off the ratio of “green” to “brown.”

Use coffee grounds in compost

Attract more earth worms, which is great for gardening!

Although, yes, worms are somewhat GROSS and don’t really make very good companions, they are absolutely great for your gardens!

Note that this won’t work for raised gardens, or those in greenhouses. Spent coffee grounds are infamous for attracting worms.

You definitely do want a plethora of worms in your garden, and one way to attract more is to add to your gardens those used coffee grounds that you have been just throwing away.

Remove dark circles from underneath your eyes.

Don’t just wake YOURSELF up in the morning! Wake your face up also!

Applying used coffee grounds works great by helping to reduce under-eye puffiness, as well as to tighten skin.

Not only does it work great for removing those dark circles and puffiness under your eyes, it also works great as a facial and body exfoliator. Go here for a great coffee ground facial recipe.

Great flea repellent for your dog.

The addition of some used coffee grounds to the normal shampoo you use for your pooch makes a great natural flea repellant.

If you have been wanting an alternative to the chemicals you are currently using on your dog to rid him or her of fleas, used coffee grounds are definitely an alternative you should give a try!

What the Heck is a Portafilter? Portafilter Facts Explained.

All espresso machines, whether they are manual, semi-automatic, super-automatic, or commercial/professional, have what is called a portafilter.

A portafilter is, by itself, a quite simple, but necessary component that is part of every espresso machine.

The portafilter is considered by many people, professional baristas included, to be THE most important factor to successfully brewing espresso.

More accurately, however, learning how to correctly prepare what goes into the portafilter, which are the ground espresso/coffee beans, as well as how the ground coffee is compressed (tamped) after it is put into the portafilter, is actually the most important part of brewing up great espresso.

All espresso machines, whether they are manual, semi-automatic, super-automatic, or commercial/professional, have what is called a portafilter.

A portafilter is, by itself, a quite simple, but necessary component that is part of every espresso machine.

The portafilter is considered by many people, professional baristas included, to be THE most important factor to successfully brewing espresso.

More accurately, however, learning how to correctly prepare what goes into the portafilter, which are the ground espresso/coffee beans, as well as how the ground coffee is compressed (tamped) after it is put into the portafilter, is actually the most important part of brewing up great espresso.

Definition of a Portafilter

In a nutshell, the portafilter (also sometimes spelled porta-filter) is the component of the espresso maker that holds the ground espresso beans (coffee grounds) prior to and during the brewing process.

The portafilter is the component of the espresso machine where hot water is run through the grounds and the espresso flavor is extracted from the grounds, at which point the extracted espresso continues on its journey down to the bottom of the portafilter, through a hole and/or chute at the bottom, into the waiting espresso cup below.

The portafilter itself is comprised of only a few parts, most of them non-mechanical in nature, including a handle (such as the black one in this photo), which allows the person who is brewing the espresso to easily hold the portafilter unit.

Another important part of the portafilter is the filter basket. This fits inside the exterior of the portafilter. It is normally made of metal and has tiny holes all over the bottom of it which act as a screen and allow the water with the extracted espresso flavor to run through, down towards the bottom and out a hole or chute into the cup sitting below the portafilter.

A good comparison that might help you understand exactly what the portafilter and filter basket are is to think about the basket on a standard drip coffee maker that holds the paper filter. The basket that holds the paper filter would be comparable to the portafilter on an espresso machine, and the metal filter basket withsmall holes on an espresso machine would be equal to the paper filters used in a standard drip coffee maker.

Portafilter Components

The portafilter does not work entirely alone; rather, it is comprised of just a few other necessary components, including:

The filter basket (pictured to the right — a separate metal,or sometimes plastic,“basket”) containing tiny holes in which the ground coffee is placed, which is attached inside the portafilter. The coffee in the portafilter’s filter basket is then tamped (compressed) by the person making the espresso (or…if the person making the espresso is lucky enough, tamped/compressed by another person J), and the entire portafilter unit, including the basket with coffee grounds, is affixed to the machine.

Image of a portafilter basket

Image of a filter basket, which goes inside of the main body of the portafilter.

The water is then extracted through the ground coffee in the portafilter/basket — similar to a standard drip coffee maker.

The tension spring — Holds the filter basket in place inside the portafilter during the brewing process.

The spout — A hole with a chute located at the bottom of the portafilter, through which the brewed espresso is extracted into a waiting cup or mug below it.

How to Use a Portafilter

Learning to use a portafilter correctly, namely what goes into the portafilter (coffee grounds), is a very important part of brewing espresso. Although the word itself sounds very complicated, it is not difficult to correctly use one after you have learned a couple of basics.

Basic Steps for Portafilter Use

The basic steps for using a portafilter are as follows:

The (correctly) ground coffee is placed into the portafilter and filter basket. (The grinding part of this step is one of the two that will need to be learned with practice.)

Correctly using a portafilter is probably the most important part of brewing up a good espresso beverage, and there are two basics you will need to learn which WILL definitely take some practice to learn…no way around it. If you are truly interested in learning to make great, over-the-top espresso at home for yourself, your family, and/or your guests, you will need to learn how to correctly accomplish the two things below.

One step is done prior to adding the ground coffee into the portafilter, while the other is done after adding the coffee grounds to the portafilter, but prior to starting the espresso brewing process. The two “things” include the following:

Learning how to grind your coffee beans to the correct consistency — in other words, not grinding the beans enough or grinding them too finely — incorrect consistency of ground coffee placed into the portafilter results in sub-optimal espresso. This is a skill that can only be learned with practice, although a good grinder that is at least mid-range in price can also go a long way toward helping you to learn this skill much more quickly. Coffee that is too coarse or too finely results in espresso that is not of optimum quality.

Learning how to tamp (compress/pack) the ground coffee in the portafilter correctly – Ground coffee that is too loosely compressed or too tightly packed into the portafilter will result in sub-optimal espresso. This second factor also can only be learned with practice.

The coffee grounds are then compressed (tamped) to just the right compression with a tamper. (This is the other step that will take some practice to master.)

After tamping the grounds, the portafilter unit is then affixed into the “brew group” of the machine.

The machine is then switched on and a pump in the brew group pumps hot water into contact with the grounds, where the flavor is then extracted from the grounds.

The water with the extracted coffee flavor then dispenses out of a spout located on the bottom of the portafilter, into the waiting cup below.

As mentioned above, there are different types of espresso machine portafilters made. The type of portafilter on any particular machine is determined mostly by the classification of that particular machine. Below is a rundown of information regarding each type of portafilter, and in what type of machine(s) you can expect to see each type of portafilter.

What Kinds of Portafilters Are There?

There are different kinds of portafilters available, including non-pressurized portafilters, pressurized portafilters, and pod portafilters. In addition, you can also find portafilter adaptors, for using with today’s popular E.S.E. (easy serve espresso) pods/capsules.

Non-pressurized portafilters are the type of portafilter offered with many of today’s semi-automatic home espresso machines. A non-pressurized portafilter is also the type commonly used by professional baristas at Starbucks and other commercial coffee stands.

Whether the machine you have in mind has, or does not have, a pressurized portafilter is definitely something to keep in mind when you are searching for a home espresso machine, particularly if you either have no interest in training time and just want to have your espresso made, in which case you would want to consider a pressurized portafilter, or whether you are more of a hands-on person who wants to take the time to learn the two key elements needed for using a non-pressurized (commercial) type of portafilter, in which case you would want to consider a non-pressurized one.

Whether to get a machine with a pressurized or non-pressurized portafilter should be something you decide upon before purchasing a machine, based basically on the self-training you want to put yourself through. After you have decided upon either a pressurized or non-pressurized portafilter, you should then search for a machine that has available what you have decided upon.

Details about the differences in portafilters are provided below.

Non-Pressurized Portafilters

Non-pressurized portafilters, which are typically what you will get with a semi-automatic home espresso machine, normally measure 49 or 53 mm in diameter.

Using a non-pressurized portafilter commands the person using the machine to have acquired some knowledge of the correct coarseness of the coffee beans ground. These portafilters also require some knowledge of tamping (compressing) the grounds to the correct level, in order to achieve optimum results.

Commercial portafilters are also non-pressurized and are the ones commonly used by professional baristas at Starbucks or other coffee stands. Commercial portafilters are the largest and of the best quality, measuring 58 mm in diameter. They also are much more durable/resilent and made of much stronger/thicker metal than the portafilters of home espresso machines. The quality of the metal used to make these commercial portafilters ensures much better heat stability and consistency — definitely one of the major factors involved with achieving a superior end result.

Baristas who use a non-pressurized, commercial type of portafilter are trained regarding both the correct consistency of ground coffee to work best with the hands-on method, as well as the correct compression (tamping) required for the ground coffee.

Summary about non-pressurized portafilters

If you are a hands-on type of person who wants to have complete control of your finished espresso beverages, your best bet would be to consider an espresso machine that does have a non-pressurized portafilter, and then spend some time learning how to grind and tamp the grounds so they make the perfect espresso.

If you are someone who is willing to endure a self-training period, possibly involved with some online research, and want optimum results with complete control, keep in mind that most semi-automatic home espresso machine portafilters are non-pressurized, meaning the tamping (compressing) of the grounds is done by the person brewing the espresso.

Pressurized Portafilters

Pressurized portafilters come standard with most, if not all, of today’s super-automatic home espresso machines.

Rather than requiring the home barista to have (or acquire) knowledge regarding tamping, a pressurized portafilter does the tamping work for you.

In addition, there are some semi-automatic espresso machines offered that have the option of choosing pressurized portafilters. This would be something to keep in mind in your search for the home espresso machine that is right for you.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that although you can achieve “acceptable” end results with a pressurized portafilter, most, if not all, of the ability to have complete control of the flavor of the brewed espresso is lost, and you will have to live with the settings the machine offers. For most people, the settings offered on these machines are very acceptable and you likely will be pleased with your choice.

Summary of pressurized portafilters

If you are someone who “just wants” your espresso without a lot of fuss and muss, and really don’t care about learning the hows and whys but instead just want to make espresso at home, out of the box with a machine that offers a much more simple push-button type of operation, somewhat as easy to use and similar to using a standard coffee maker, then a machine with a pressurized portafilter is probably what you are looking for.

If you have the patience to endure some self-training and experimentation with different grind levels, as well as tamping of those grind levels and drinking lots of espresso in the process, then a non-pressurized portafilter will likely do you good in the long run (although not such a long run, it truly does not take a ton of practice, although it may seem like it does in the beginning).

Pod Portafilters

Pod portafilters are available with some of today’s semi-automatic home espresso machines.

Normally with a semi-auto machine, the home barista is required to correctly tamp the ground coffee into the portafilter prior to the brewing process beginning.

With a pod portafilter, however, the grounds used are contained within what is called a “pod.” An espresso pod is basically a single shot of espresso packaged into coffee filter paper that is sealed. Many people prefer to use pods over messing around with a coffee bean grinder and/or using a tamper to compress the ground coffee into the portafilter, and for them, using a pod portafilter means simply popping a pod into the portafilter and beginning the brewing process.

One drawback that many home baristas find with using pods and pod portafilters is that using these limits the brewed espresso strength. If you are someone who prefers to have complete control over the strength of your espresso, a pod portafilter likely would not be your best choice.

What you will need to keep in mind when searching for a home espresso machine, if you are interested in getting one that has pod capability, is to make sure that the machine you are considering is compatible with easy serve espresso (E.S.E.) pods. Normally manufacturers will boast this as a high selling point, so you should have no trouble identifying whether or not a particular machine is pod-compatible.

Portafilter Adaptors

Also available to the home barista is what is called a portafilter adaptor.

An adaptor allows someone to purchase the machine he or she wants, and then supplement the portafilter that comes with that particular machine with a portafilter adaptor. These adaptors allow for much flexibility, in that on a day-to-day basis you can choose to either simply pop in a pod, with the use of an adaptor, or on those special weekend mornings when you have more time, to utilize the grinding and tamping process, allowing for more control of the end product, although being more time consuming.

Before you decide on a machine, some research should be done to see if there is an adaptor that will work with the particular machine you are considering. This would have been impossible to list here on this page, due to the numerous variety of home espresso machines available in today’s market.

Important Things To Keep in Mind When Choosing A Portafilter

It cannot be stressed enough that the very single utmost important part of using an espresso machine portafilter is both the grind consistency of the coffee used, and how compact the grounds have been tamped. You have basically two options to consider…

a non-pressurized portafilter, which comes standard with most of today’s semi-auto home espresso machines, will require some practice before you will learn how to get optimum results. This is due to needing to use the correct grind coarseness of the coffee used, as well as how much the coffee grounds are tamped (compressed/packed) into the portafilter…

…or, you can opt for a pressurized portafilter, which is available with most super-auto home espresso machines. A pressurized portafilter basically does all of the tamping for you. Combine a pressurized portafilter with a machine that has a built-in grinder, and all the work, other than turning a dial or two, or pushing a button or two, is done for you.