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Thread: What to do with portafilter between drinks

  1. #1
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    What to do with portafilter between drinks

    Hi all.

    Picked up my self a rancilio s24 and a super jolly recently. Using a rancilio naked portafilter. Really enjoying my new passion in chasing a perfect coffee.

    Now I did a barista course not long ago and they recommend after the espresso is made the portafilter is left on the group head with the old puck between drinks to prevent a metallic taste. Seems odd to me leaving a puck in there getting all manky. What does everyone else do?

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    Never do that anyway.
    Always knock the puck out, rinse the filter basket out under the Group and 'snick' the Group Handle back in to keep warm until the next shot is due.

    Mal.

  3. #3
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Sounds like a bad thing to do. As above, knock out puck, wipe basket, quick rinse of the group and lock PF in (gently) ready for next time.

    Cheers
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    Yeah, this is what I have been doing. Just seems wrong leaving the puck in the pf. Will be interesting if anyone chimes in
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    At home I pre and post flush every group of shots so the p/f & basket is always pretty clean. I actually soak my p/f(s)* "overnight / between uses" in rainwater in a 600ml jug(s)* until the next "shot time" draws near. Then ideally I give the p/f about ten minutes in the machine to warm it up partially. A quick preflush gets everything up to temp and "ready to rock". After all the shots, I post flush and clean the group ready for the next onslaught.

    "Doing the soak" means that the basket never clogs up with old grounds - a pet peeve of mine. Hint: Try using the p/f & basket with the puck left in for a week, try to clean it and then grab a magnifying glass to see how much crud is still in the basket. You may be shocked.


    TampIt
    p/f(s)*: I have three naked p/fs for my usual machine, however unless the ravening hordes are due I only have one p/f & basket for my normal day to day use. I also have two and a bit sets (7,15,18,20 & 22g) of VST baskets, so often I match a relevant sized basket to a p/f so it is handy (i.e. speed things up under pressure). In an extreme (40+ people), I haul out my 2 group La Pav and run two machines / three groups / six naked p/fs. All gear not in daily use is kept dry & pristine and all current p/fs & baskets are cleaned & soaked ready for the next time. Multiple jugs also help when pulling shots for a crowd.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Similar to what others describe.

    Never leave puck in PF.

    I pull the shot, if I'm making another cup, I knock the puck out, rinse PF and basket under tap, lock in ready for next shot.

    End of session, I knock the puck out, remove basket, rinse PF and basket under tap, back flush with blind filter, lightly lock PF in ready for next session.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Uji86 View Post

    Now I did a barista course not long ago and they recommend after the espresso is made the portafilter is left on the group head with the old puck between drinks to prevent a metallic taste.
    To be honest that advice sounds so bizarre that I'm left wondering whether this is yet another troll thread.

    Did he also say to leave the cheese in the jaffle maker?
    magnafunk likes this.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    As far as I understand, the reason why some advocate leaving the puck in portafilter is that it promotes greater temperature stability in the portafilter (not because of metallic tastes). Obviously that comes with the downside effects noted above.

  9. #9
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    What to do with portafilter between drinks

    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    To be honest that advice sounds so bizarre that I'm left wondering whether this is yet another troll thread.

    Did he also say to leave the cheese in the jaffle maker?
    No this is a fairly well known 'technique', if we can call it that. It's pretty old though and is more a North American thing (you'll see it mentioned more on CG and HB). As Barry said it's supposed to support greater temp stability in the PF.
    Id say that if you're getting a metallic taste in your shots you've got bigger problems that you probably shouldn't be masking by leaving the puck in the PF. Not great advice really, whatever the reasoning.
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  10. #10
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    I was advised to do the same things many years ago when I did a barista course.
    It may be useful in a commercial environment where you are regularly emptying the portafilter anyway.
    At home I just found that as the puck dried out it blocked up the filter basket and I had to wash it out before use.
    Definitely no longer leave the puck in.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GrahamK's Avatar
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    On the odd occasion I've forgotten to knock out the used puck, it does not take too long before the puck starts to stick to the porta-filter, become a right pain to lodge, and requiring a good scrubbing to clear the holes. Don't reckon it does not do much for the shower screen either. Possibly OK practice to use in busy Café?

    GrahamK

  12. #12
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    I've heard that leaving the portafilter in the group head all the time reduce the life of the group head seal, so I leave it out until I go to bed, then put it in to warm up for the next morning when the machine comes on.

    Does anyone know if this is true?
    Last edited by level3ninja; 12th April 2017 at 10:38 PM. Reason: I've never heard of a refugee o ring

  13. #13
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I've heard that leaving the portafilter in the group head all the time refugee the life of the group head seal, so I leave it out until I go to bed, then put it in to warm up for the next morning when the machine comes on.

    Does anyone know if this is true?
    I would imagine that it is true, but exactly how great an effect it has I couldn't say. Obviously, the amount of time that you are applying force (and changing force and being exposed to changing temperature) to the group seal affects the wear and tear on it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    I've heard that leaving the portafilter in the group head all the time refugee the life of the group head seal, so I leave it out until I go to bed, then put it in to warm up for the next morning when the machine comes on.

    Does anyone know if this is true?
    Probably is to a degree, I change the seals regularly (approx 12 months) to avoid problems, have never had one fail.

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    If you leave the puck in you will eventually get mould growing.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    By coincidence, just the other day I accidentally left the puck in as I was distracted taking photos of my coffee #hipsterproblems

    After about 10-15 minutes, the puck was significantly dried out and left quite a bit of residue on the basket when I did knock it out. After soaking in water it rinsed pretty clean to the naked eye, but not something I'd want to be doing often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    I would imagine that it is true, but exactly how great an effect it has I couldn't say. Obviously, the amount of time that you are applying force (and changing force and being exposed to changing temperature) to the group seal affects the wear and tear on it.
    Completely agree here with Barry and just to add to it if you're only gently putting the PF back in place (as opposed to locking it in as if you were about to pull a shot) I can't imagine any measurable reduction in seal life. Typically the biggest effect on elastomer (fancy term for rubber!) life is pressure and temperature fluctuations which if you're only lightly putting the PF back in place is insignificant.

    My thoughts on this are purely from a Materials Science background and as far as I'm aware no peer reviewed scientific studies have ever been conducted on this
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnd80 View Post
    If you leave the puck in you will eventually get mould growing.
    Something tells me they're not suggesting you leave the puck in situ long enough for an ecosystem to form John.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    What to do with portafilter between drinks

    Beats the hell outta me why you'd leave it any longer than necessary. Lots of schysters claiming to be experts in the specialty coffee world, I guess.

    I once had the pleasure of a "second" espresso extracted from the same puck - the "barista" had been "trained" to do it that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Matt View Post

    I once had the pleasure of a "second" espresso extracted from the same puck - the "barista" had been "trained" to do it that way.
    Ah... so _that's_ what a double is!

  21. #21
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    In my experience the people who recommend leaving the puck in the handle are either people who started as a barista several decades ago, or Italian backpackers working as baristas.
    I believe it is a hangover from the days of lever machines, before 3-way solenoid valves, where there was no facility built into machines to 'vent' the remaining water pressure above the puck after extraction.
    Hence, if the group handle was removed to knock out the puck immediately after a shot was pulled, the remaining water pressure caused the machine to 'sneeze' hot water and grounds from the handle as it was removed from the group.
    By leaving it in the head until it was time for the next shot, it allowed the remaining pressurised water time to slowly dissipate through the puck.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MorganGT View Post
    In my experience the people who recommend leaving the puck in the handle are either people who started as a barista several decades ago, or Italian backpackers working as baristas.
    I believe it is a hangover from the days of lever machines, before 3-way solenoid valves, where there was no facility built into machines to 'vent' the remaining water pressure above the puck after extraction.
    Hence, if the group handle was removed to knock out the puck immediately after a shot was pulled, the remaining water pressure caused the machine to 'sneeze' hot water and grounds from the handle as it was removed from the group.
    By leaving it in the head until it was time for the next shot, it allowed the remaining pressurised water time to slowly dissipate through the puck.
    Quite possibly Morgan, sounds logical to me, anyone who has experienced the dreaded portafilter sneeze will know exactly what your talking about.

    I once blasted a puck all over a friends pristine kitchen, I was embarrassed, they were less than impressed, big cleanup required, wont do it a second time.


  23. #23
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Is that a Gaggia Evoluzione Yalta? I had one of them do that to me when I took it on holidays as the portable option but hadn't used it before. Lesson learned; travel with full setup or not at all.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Is that a Gaggia Evoluzione Yalta? I had one of them do that to me when I took it on holidays as the portable option but hadn't used it before. Lesson learned; travel with full setup or not at all.
    No idea what it is L3N, just a pic I found on Google.

    The machine I experienced the sneeze with was a LaPavoni.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Matt View Post
    I once had the pleasure of a "second" espresso extracted from the same puck - the "barista" had been "trained" to do it that way.
    Wow, and I thought I had it bad seeing the "barista" making my long black by pulling a ~200 mL shot!

  26. #26
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    No idea what it is L3N, just a pic I found on Google.

    The machine I experienced the sneeze with was a LaPavoni.
    Ah fair enough, I was impressed you'd snapped a picture.

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    It even said it in the training manual but I can't find it atm to take a photo. Any who, from all the tips here the portafilter is going back in clean!

  28. #28
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by Uji86 View Post
    It even said it in the training manual but I can't find it atm to take a photo. Any who, from all the tips here the portafilter is going back in clean!
    So! there ya go, don't believe everything you read.

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