The personalization and the importance of the portafilter for baristas

Jul 24, 2018

The world of coffee has always been characterized by continuous changes, and as operators we change with it. One of the most important elements of espresso coffee machines is definitely the portafilter, a part that greatly influences coffee: the size that currently many producers use as "standard" directly derives from the evolution of espresso machines.

At the very beginning of the world of professional coffee machines, during the early years of the previous century, the most widespread technology was that of the steam engines. Pressure was therefore an important topic, and more precisely the pressure on coffee resulting from the boiler, which was around 1.5 / 2 bar. Obviously, with such low pressure, the machines required filters with a diameter of 60/62mm, to get the best from those first coffee powder extractions.

The transition to the 58mm portafilter takes place with the first ever lever machine, where the pressure reached the coffee cake with over 9 bars. It was therefore unnecessary, with the dosages of coffee used at that time, to continue producing larger filter holders: they would not have been able to guarantee enough pressure on the coffee and an optimal cup.

In 1967, my father started designing the La Spaziale prototype, where he introduced 52mm diameter filters and portafilters. This made it possible to improve the extractions of the time, carried out with a 9-bar fixed volume machine and doses typical of the "Italian tradition", from 7 grams for single coffee. The latter, thanks to the introduction of the 52mm filter holder, has gained greatly in terms of extraction and result for the customer.

Many things have changed since those years, now much more attention is paid to the origins of the product, the way we serve, and taste coffee. It is for this reason, that we in Dalla Corte after a long empirical research, have concluded that a 54.5mm diameter was the right compromise to get a good single-shot and an excellent double.

Dalla Corte’s portafilter diameter is certainly a strong point, but we know that other cultures and markets appreciate different solutions. The latest coffee trends have seen an increase in grams of coffee used in extractions, with double-shots that may even reach 24 grams of grounded coffee in the portafilter. Depending on the roasting and other variables related to the product, the 54.5 mm portafilter may result in over extraction with such large quantities of coffee.

For precisely this reason Dalla Corte, seeing as it is a highly international company, has decided to create a product that can be easily adapted to different trends and working methods. With the new XT, a 58mm kit has been made available. The latter can be easily installed on our dispenser units directly from the barista in just a few minutes. In coffee-shops where we use more than 10 grams of coffee per shot, we have created a solution to avoid over-extraction, but still guaranteeing consistency and quality.

The main advantage is being able, with the same machine, the same technology and the same dispensing group, to work potentially with both portafilters at the same time: it is the first time that anything so revolutionary on the market has been launched. Where an espresso machine can simultaneously offer two different groups diameters, one which is 54.5mm and one which is 58 mm. This is a big advantage, especially for the barista, who can personally change the kit, without having to change the group or request technical assistance of such.

This is the personalization that baristas have always desired, a total freedom to continue experimenting, learning and at the same time to be amazed by coffee every single day - a research that has been going on for more than a hundred years.

The personalization  and the importance of the portafilter for baristas