Introduction: Make a Pressurized Portafilter for a Cheap Espresso Machine

Picture of Make a Pressurized Portafilter for a Cheap Espresso Machine

Most places provide instructions on the creation of non-pressurized portafilters for high end machines to get better espresso. I, however, had the opposite problem. My machine, a Delonghi EC9, is unable to produce a decent shot.

I set off to create a pressurized portafilter to improve the coffee.

Materials needed:
1) Cheap espresso machine
2) A rubber cap, such as will fit the bottom of the basket for the espresso machine (I used the cap off a pair of binoculars)

Tools:
1) Swiss army knife


This can probably be adjusted to fit any low end espresso machine.

Step 1: Trim the Cap

Picture of Trim the Cap

It probably won't fit into the portafilter as is, trimming it to just barely climb the sides of the basket will allow it to be fitted into the portafilter.

Use part of the rubber you remove to create an o-ring to fit at the top of the basket to seal it to the portafilter.

Finally, poke a small hole in the middle of the rubber cap.

Step 2: Test the Machine

Check if the machine produces enough pressure to push the water through the hole. If necessary widen it slightly. Repeat until water gets out through the hole.

Note: the o-ring will make the portafilter harder to insert. Be careful not to damage anything, and if you see the portafilter isn't going in at all make the o-ring thinner.

Step 3: Enjoy Better Espresso

It won't be the quality you get at a cafe, but it will be better than you got on the machine previously.

Enjoy!

Comments

yix1337 (author)2016-02-08

This is exactly what i was looking for!

Before I start I was wondering if you had any updates about this. Does it still work well or anything you'd change going at it again?

I was also wondering how the rubber cap holds up in the heat/pressure - what about other materials such as silicone? and how big did you make the hole?

I also have the slight worry that if the pressure builds up too much, the portafilter or something else might blow, have you experienced anything like this?

Sorry about all the questions, I hope you can answer some of them! Cheers in advance.

mhippo (author)yix13372017-10-22

Hi, sorry I didn't see the questions earlier, I haven't visited in a while. In case it's still relevant, I'll answer them.

The system I built lasted as long as the machine was in use, probably because the rubber of binocular caps is a very stiff one. Silicone might be too soft and widen the hole with use.

Like I said in the instructions, start small, and work up with the size until the steam pressure is enough to push the water through.

The worst that would happen if too much pressure builds up would be that the rubber pressure seal will rupture, resulting in a huge spurt of coffee into the cup. Also possible, if you remove the PF immediately after making the coffee, is some pressure might remain, resulting in a bit of flying coffee grounds. I made that mistake at the beginning, it's not terrible.

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