bigjoedo Senior Member Joined: 4 Sep 2005 Posts: 211 Location: Ohio Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Gaggia Classic, Carezza &... Grinder: Rocky, Maestro Plus,... Drip: Black & Decker Roaster: Hottop Digital & 2- FR8 +
Posted Fri Nov 11, 2005, 7:37am Subject: Pressurized vs Non Pressurized Filters ?
Can someone tell me the difference between a Pressurized an Non Pressurized Filter? I see this talked about in different posts, but do not understand the difference. What are the benifits of one compare to the other ? Thanks
Posted Fri Nov 11, 2005, 8:19am Subject: Re: Pressurized vs Non Pressurized Filters ?
Maybe I should let one of the engineers or more techie types handle this, but I've already started typing so here goes:
A pressurized filter is a "crema cheat" device that involves channeling the espresso through a single hole. It can be located in the portafilter or the filter basket and this pressure enhances your crema. It's considered a cheat not just because we like to make things hard on ourselves, but because the process makes your espresso look better not taste better. It's actually going to adversely affect the taste. In addition to tasting good, a real crema will help you detect whether you have pulled a good shot and can expect a great tasting cup of espresso.
If you want to make good espresso, stay away from pressurized filters.
Posted Fri Nov 11, 2005, 12:44pm Subject: Re: Pressurized vs Non Pressurized Filters ?
I'd like to sneak in here and add something. It may add to the crema, but there's another reason for it, at least as I understand pressurized filters.
Normally you tamp the ground coffee in the filter basket to a certain density. The finer the grind and the harder the tamp the more pressure is needed to force the water through. Too fine a grind and/or too hard a tamp will result in choking the machine (very little or no espresso coming out). Too light a tamp and/or too little grounds and you'll get a fast and unpalatable shot. The pressurized portafilter removes the need to tamp properly by building up pressure through a control device before the shot comes out. This ensures you have the same pressure every time.
This can be bad, for several reasons:
It can mask the problem of not using enough grounds
It can mask an improper distribution of grounds (resulting in channeling)
It can mask an improper tamp
It prevents refining of technique, and experimentation, by taking variables out of your control
When bad shots are produced it may be difficult to diagnose the reason
That being said there are advantages which may benefit someone new to making espresso. The learning curve for a non-pressurized PF is certainly steeper (how much? I can't say). I've heard that some people start on a pressurized PF and switch to a non-pressurized later.
As a final point to consider it's highly doubtful you'll ever find a good coffee shop (ie. the places everyone here raves about) using a pressurized portafilter, which may be an indication of it's limitations.
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