How to Clean Your Coffee Basket or Porta-Filter
No one likes spending a lot of time cleaning their coffee machine. Because of this a lot of companies are making coffee machines with auto-cleaning functions to minimise the process for the customers.
But no matter how automated your espresso machine is, there are still some parts that have to be cleaned manually to keep the machine working well. One of these parts is the coffee basket or porta-filter.
WHAT IS A PORTA-FILTER?
A clean porta-filter is essential to a well-functioning machine. It is a part of the machine that is detachable used to tamp the coffee grounds, and is fixed on a group-head of your coffee or espresso machine.
Porta-filters are generally found in pump-driven or semi-automatic espresso machines, and is usually made from brass in order to retain heat. It is used to make highly pressurized hot water for brewing your coffee grounds.
Expert baristas like using bottomless porta-filters to ensure optimal quality. Bottomless filters have become more and more in demand because they allow the barista to reduce the contact between the coffee grounds and the metal of the porta-filter. This helps to improve the quality and flavour of your espresso shots.
WHY CLEAN YOUR PORTA-FILTER?
Once you finish brewing your shot of espresso, the left-over grounds will be left in your porta-filter or basket. If you let it sit there for too long this can cause rusting and reduce the overall shelf-life of your machine, and also reduce the quality of your coffee drinks.
Some articles will tell you not to clean the porta-filter because it will help to improve the taste of your next shot. This is true, however leaving it for longer periods of time can be harmful so you shouldn’t do it in these cases. The leftover oils can produce an acidic flavour in your coffee which you definitely don’t want.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR COFFEE-FILTER BASKET?
It is recommended to clean the porta-filter the easy way in most cases: simply rinse it with water immediately after brewing. If you don’t use your machine frequently throughout the day, it’s good to set a fixed time for cleaning at the end of each day.
Although it might seem counter-intuitive it is actually better not to use dish soap every time you clean your porta-filter (save this for more serious cleaning jobs which will be discussed below).
OTHER THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE CLEANING THE PORTA-FILTER:
- Take the porta-filter apart (it’s not made of a single piece) when you clean it so you can get into all of the hidden nooks and crannies.-
- Clean every part individually: you just have to soak and rinse (without dish soap is preferred).
- Wipe off the outside of the porta-filter each time before you brew a shot.
- Remember to clean not only the porta-filter but also the part of the machine above that it makes contact with.
- Periodically – once a month ideally – undertake a more thorough cleaning job which involves letting the parts of your porta-filter soak in a large container of water with some dish soap added for a couple of hours.
- Don’t neglect your porta-filter and let the leftover oils compromise the taste of your espresso shots. Basically, you want to consider the cleanliness of your porta-filter as seriously as you take the quality of your water and the freshness of your beans in making a great cup of coffee.
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