Our customer first and voluntary columnist later, Bangalore based Dileep Raman, a self learned coffee guru explains what a non pressurized portafilter means to his daily coffee fix.
“There are lots of articles out there explaining the difference between pressurized and non pressurized portafilters. I’ll briefly explain the difference and then devote the rest of my word count to what matters most – the complete coffee experience
The packing (tamping) in of coffee powder into the portafilter does most of the job of offering resistance to the hot water forced by the pump.This pressure created is responsible for extracting the oils and flavors in the coffee. A non pressurized portafilter basket is a container with a single wall and a mesh at the bottom and is preferred by coffee enthusiasts and professional baristas in coffee shops since they have the skills and tools to determine the right amount of pressure while tamping in the powder. A pressurized portafilter is a double walled basket with an array of micro holes in one layer and a single larger hole in the other. This arrangement artificially creates the required pressure and compensates for the lack of tamping skills and is also forgiving to the variations in grind size of the coffee powder.
The reason why I (and most people who love their coffee) prefer the non pressurized basket is because It allows me greater control of each extraction. While these baskets do require more precision, the extra hard work gets me some great results – A full-bodied extraction which exhibits all the fine flavors and the subtle tones of my coffee. The extraction is more complete with excellent visual characteristics like the much talked about crema. I could equate this to the difference between roasting and grinding my own spice mix versus a ready mix.The difference is unmistakable. I must add that I do have the tools needed for this, a burr grinder and a metal tamper. The burr grinder ensures a uniform grind of my coffee powder and the metal tamper, the mass and solidity I need for even tamping.
Non-pressurized baskets are the original style of basket used when brewing espresso. The difference here is that they do not contain the second wall, there is nothing else creating pressure when you brew your coffee other than the grind of the coffee and how hard you compress it when tamping. It’s been an investment and a skill set I’ve developed which is well worth every penny and many days of trial and error. There is a learning curve but once mastered, nothing can beat that heady cup of coffee I have every morning.”
Tecnora’s note : Thanks to Dileep’s suggestions and insistence, we developed the non pressurized portafilters for both our models and these are available directly from us on request.