A huge bang when removing portafilter

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
TheCod Father
Posts: 38
Joined: 17 years ago

#1: Post by TheCod Father »

A huge bang happened when I tried to remove the portafilter from my Delonghi Caffe Italia . I went to remove it after making a double cappa ,it did seem to have a longer dwell time than usual but I just thought that it was due to using a new bean and had too fine a grind . When I turned the filter there was a LOUD pop that blew the filter out of my hand and sent coffee and grounds all over the place . This has NEVER happened before in the several years that have had this machine . I have a Rocky Doserless as my grinder if that has any bearing on the situation .

Is my machine dead or is this a once in a lifetime occurrence????

TCF
Some mornings it's just not worth
chewing through the straps

User avatar
TimEggers
Posts: 804
Joined: 18 years ago

#2: Post by TimEggers »

That's the dreaded "portafilter sneeze" that occurs when pressure remains above the coffee and the pressure is rapidly released when the portafilter is removed. Because the coffee choked and didn't let the water pass through all the pressure remained above the coffee grounds. When you removed the portafilter that pressure was rapidly released from the top of the coffee grounds thus spraying coffee everywhere.

Try a slightly larger grind to allow a faster flow (if the espresso was over extracted; choked shots typically are).
Tim Eggers

LMWDP #202

User avatar
sweaner
Posts: 3013
Joined: 16 years ago

#3: Post by sweaner »

Also, wait a minute or 2 before removing the portafilter.
Scott
LMWDP #248

User avatar
HB
Admin
Posts: 21944
Joined: 19 years ago

#4: Post by HB »

The "portafilter sneeze" happens to everyone who owns an espresso machine without a pressure release valve (frequently called a 3-way valve). Those with lever machines can shorten the wait between shots by slowly recocking the lever about half way to introduce air into the chamber and thereby release the water pressure. IMPORTANT: Stop short of the refill port in the chamber.

I've also neglected to tighten the portafilter enough and had the portafilter blow off mid-shot. Talk about a loud bang and a terrible mess!
Dan Kehn

User avatar
TUS172
Posts: 694
Joined: 17 years ago

#5: Post by TUS172 »

TimEggers wrote:That's the dreaded "portafilter sneeze" that occurs when pressure remains above the coffee and the pressure is rapidly released when the portafilter is removed. Because the coffee choked and didn't let the water pass through all the pressure remained above the coffee grounds. When you removed the portafilter that pressure was rapidly released from the top of the coffee grounds thus spraying coffee everywhere.
Yep you got that right. The 1st time I used a La Pavoni Euro I got a great big surprise :shock: especially after having used my Silvia for quite some time. Now I always have the patience to slowly turn, jiggle the Portafilter and listen for the pressure release.
Bob C.
(No longer a lever purist!)
LMWDP #012

noizy
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 years ago

#6: Post by noizy »

I don't know if what I do has any effect, but when I choke my Europiccola, I simply open the milk froth valve and let the pressure drop inside the boiler.

billm3
Posts: 48
Joined: 16 years ago

#7: Post by billm3 »

noizy wrote:I don't know if what I do has any effect, but when I choke my Europiccola, I simply open the milk froth valve and let the pressure drop inside the boiler.
The pressure causing the "sneeze" in the Europiccola is in the chamber above the portafilter and shouldn't be from pressure in the boiler. I would suspect that the time it takes to bleed your boiler allows the pressure and temperature above the coffee to dissipate.

If you leave the Europiccola's handle up, then yes, the pressure will bleed back through your boiler, but then you'll also allow all of the coffee grounds and other crud to enter the boiler. You may want to clean and rinse out your machine if this is the case.

-Bill

noizy
Posts: 24
Joined: 15 years ago

#8: Post by noizy »

billm3 wrote:If you leave the Europiccola's handle up, then yes, the pressure will bleed back through your boiler, but then you'll also allow all of the coffee grounds and other crud to enter the boiler.

:S
So it's a choice between possible mess inside the boiler, or a total mess all over the kitchen counters.
Not that I frequently choke the machine, but I'll attempt not to depressurize the boiler next time and simply wait it out.

User avatar
hbuchtel
Posts: 755
Joined: 19 years ago

#9: Post by hbuchtel »

noizy wrote:So it's a choice between...
See Dan's (HB) comment above. If you lift up the lever up (not all the way up) after the shot it will release the pressure and you can take the PF out.

Regards, Henry
LMWDP #53

billm3
Posts: 48
Joined: 16 years ago

#10: Post by billm3 »

noizy wrote:See Dan's (HB) comment above.
Dan's comment is for when you pull a good shot, you can prevent the sneeze.

If you stall or choke the Europiccola ("noizy's" situation), waiting for the temp and pressure to dissipate or releasing the pressure through the boiler are the only two ways to prevent a mess on the countertop. Both of these still cause a mess somewhere, but not as bad as releasing hot steaming coffee-goo all over yourself and the kitchen. I had this experience while trying to figure out the "correct" grind setting.

-Bill