Krups filter basket has only one exit hole (?)

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
Andrew

#1: Post by Andrew »

Hello coffee people! I'm new to the group, so I'll quickly tell my story, with a question at the end for any who would be so kind...

So, as a professional musician the money hasn't exactly been rolling in lately, so I got a part-time job at a local family-owned espresso bar. Immediately fell in love with the process of making espresso drinks! I've been a fan from the other side of the counter for years, but WOW, I had no idea how great it was to actually do it! So, long story short, what they didn't tell me when they hired me was that they were on the verge of losing the business, and after a month of learning, I'm out of a job. So, I went out and got the best machine I could afford for the house to keep my chops up until I can open a place of my own (long-time dream, there)! Unfortunately, the best I could afford is a Krups machine from the local Bed Bath & Beyond - kind of like going from a cadillac to a geo over night!

So, my question... The filters that came with my lovely Krups are embossed on the top, but turning it over there's only one hole actually going through. Is this right? I never actually inspected the pro-filter at the shop, but I always assumed those were actual holes! If this is not right, should I try poking some more through myself, or can I buy a better filter to fit the porta- I've got?

Thanks so much, and I can't wait to learn more on my new quest!
"Practice more than you sleep" - Mas Oyama

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jesawdy

#2: Post by jesawdy »

Andrew wrote:So, my question... The Filters that came with my lovely Krups are embossed on the top, but turning it over there's only one hole actually going through. Is this right? I never actually inspected the pro-filter at the shop, but I always assumed those were actual holes! If this is not right, should I try poking some more through myself, or can I buy a better filter to fit the porta- I've got?
Andrew-

Welcome to the group!

What you've got there is a pressurized portafilter basket. This allows you to make faux "crema" with any old coffee (OLD being a key word) and a whirly-blade grinder.

Until you get a quality grinder, I suggest you use those baskets.

What sort of grinder do you have?
Jeff Sawdy

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HB
Admin

#3: Post by HB »

Below are photos of a pressurized portafilter basket:

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Image

The tiny hole introduces air into the espresso much like the valve of an aerosol can. You'll get something that looks like crema, but has a dry texture and is dull in flavor. Look for What is a pressurized portafilter? in this forum's FAQs and Favorites for more details. The Elektra Microcasa a Leva basket just barely fits the Krups XP4020 portafilter. First you'll need a good grinder.
Dan Kehn

Andrew

#4: Post by Andrew »

That's my filter, all-right! My grinder is a cuisinart burr-mill. It was the most adjustable one I could find at the ol' BB&B, but it is definitely not consistent enough for the long-run. I'm starting to get used to it - it's not as bad as I was afraid it would be, but Christmas can't come soon enough, you know?

I also realized I got a bad batch of beans. I usually love a local roaster's beans, but this batch tasted really burnt to me. I just brewed a french-press pot with some, same flavor. So, I ate a few beans - same flavor! Musta been an off day at the roaster, good to know it's not (totally) me!
"Practice more than you sleep" - Mas Oyama

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jesawdy

#5: Post by jesawdy »

Andrew wrote:That's my filter, all-right! My grinder is a cuisinart burr-mill. It was the most adjustable one I could find at the ol' BB&B, but it is definitely not consistent enough for the long-run. I'm starting to get used to it - it's not as bad as I was afraid it would be, but Christmas can't come soon enough, you know?
To get Christmas a little early, you might contact the folks from the closed business, perhaps they would like to unload a grinder? :wink: eBay can be your friend.... an excellent commercial Pavoni grinder sold yesterday for $110 shipped. It was missing the hopper, but would have been perfect for home use.
Jeff Sawdy

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#6: Post by cannonfodder »

Burnt taste could be the beans, especially if they are dark and oily. That is also a symptom of over heating. If the temperature is running hot you will get that bitter, carbon, burnt taste as well. You could try dosing and tamping your portafilter, have everything ready to go, pull a blank shot (just flush the water through the machine for 5 seconds or so) then lock in your portafilter and pull your shot immediately.
Dave Stephens

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jesawdy

#7: Post by jesawdy »

Also, take a look at page 3 of the The Home Barista's Guide to Espresso. Some "burr" grinders are not grinders, as much as they are crushers:

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Fake flat burrs - knobs crush beans

I own a Delonghi "burr" grinder... I should snap a pick of the burrs.
Jeff Sawdy

Andrew

#8: Post by Andrew »

Wow, this is a hoppin' forum - half a week and my thread gets bumped to page two!

Anyhew, Yeah, I checked the grinder, I guess in some world the burrs could be considered conical (in a marketer's world, that is), but pretty much flat. I was browsing at Williams Sonoma over the weekend and started pulling their demo grinders apart (they love when you do that) and saw what conical really means. They had a pretty nice one for $100 (forgot the brand) which I'll probably pick up as my next upgrade.

Back to the filter problem, once I get my grindings in order, I'm wondering about replacing the filter or even the whole portafilter assembly. Are these fairly universal, or am I locked in to the one that came with my machine? I started flipping the display pfs around at W-S too (they really love that!) and they seemed to fit any machine, but I also wasn't trying to pull shots through them, so who knows? Anyway, I'm starting to get used to the new setup, so by the time I figure out what to do I'll probably be pulling nice shots anyway!
"Practice more than you sleep" - Mas Oyama

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HB
Admin

#9: Post by HB »

With a few exceptions, portafilters and baskets are machine-specific, so check before you buy. By the way, I noticed your location... I organize a weekly get-together at Counter Culture Coffee's espresso training lab in Durham (Fridays at 7:30am). Contact me if you would like to join us.
Dan Kehn