Portafilters can get pretty pricey sometimes. If you’re looking to get an extra one for your espresso machine, you might be wondering if portafilters are interchangeable or universal so you don’t have to get a specific one.
That’s a valid question to ask. We’ll discuss portafilters in this post, and whether or not they’re universal. Later on, we’ll also talk about the types of portafilters and how they benefit you.
Are Portafilters Interchangeable or Universal?
At a glance, it might seem like portafilters should be interchangeable. Generally, they look very similar.
The answer to the question of whether or not they’re universal is a little complex. They’re not necessarily designed to be interchangeable between espresso machines, but there are many similar sizes of portafilters between manufacturers.
For example, 58mm portafilters are the standard size for many brands of espresso machine. Because of this, you may find that a 58mm portafilter fits in a wider range of models.
Keep in mind that this is not a guarantee, though.
Types of Portafilters and their Benefits
Now we’re going to look at types of portafilters. We’ll explain the benefits of each type, so you know which kind you should consider using with your own espresso machine.
There are four common types of portafilter:
This is the portafilter for you if you’re a beginner when it comes to making espresso. Pressurized portafilters restrict the flow of espresso, which forces it to come out at a high pressure.
Because they’re so simple to use, they often come packaged with entry-level espresso machines. They’re much more forgiving than other portafilter types.
It doesn’t matter if your coffee isn’t fresh. You also don’t need to tamp your grounds most of the time.
The drawback to these portafilters is that the cleanup afterward is a bit of a hassle. Due to the high pressure flowing through it during use, the grounds left behind are much wetter.
Some espresso experts also say that espresso tastes different when it it’s made with a pressurized portafilter. These people say the flavor is more nondescript and mild, so if you’re looking to make the best-tasting espresso, you may not want to use a pressurized portafilter.
These portafilters are not for the faint of heart. Non-pressurized portafilters require skill and knowledge to use appropriately.
Instead of generating the necessary pressure for extraction themselves, they rely on the espresso machine for it. That means you need to use fresh grounds and you need to tamp them before extraction.
There are some who say the resulting espresso from a non-pressurized filter tastes the best. This makes them perfect for experienced home baristas or employees who want to make a shot that tastes amazing.
Another name for bottomless portafilters is naked. With just a look, you can see why. While most other portafilters have one or two spouts on the bottom, naked portafilters do not.
Instead, there’s a flat surface with openings in it that the espresso can stream through. One of the advantages of using a bottomless portafitler is that they’re the most eye-catching during extraction. Baristas have an unblocked view of the espresso at all times.
Because of the clear view they provide, this type of portafilter is also a great tool for novices. You can easily spot when improper tamping technique has caused channeling in the grounds.
Pods are pre-ground and pre-measured portions of espresso stored in small bags like what you would find tea in. These can be easy for beginners to work with, because they don’t have to worry about tamping or measuring out portions.
Some portafilters are designed specifically to work with pods. Instead of having spouts that angle to the sides, they have one long spout coming down from the middle.
Whether or not you want to use pods is your decision. They’re user-friendly, but you can’t guarantee you have the freshest possible coffee with them because you’re not grinding it yourself.
While not all portafilters are designed to be universal, there are a few common sizes of portafilters that may allow you to use one on another espresso machine. For instance, 58mm is a really common size used by a lot of manufacturers.
If you have any questions about portafilters available in our store, reach out to us at 888-978-5224. You can also contact us through the chat that will appear at the bottom right hand corner of the page anywhere in our store.