[Homeroast] Portafilter in or out?

John Nanci john at chocolatealchemy.com
Tue Sep 27 08:52:00 CDT 2016

I guess I would have been offended too.

I would call both of you wrong.

I personally think you should have asked if he minded input and/or if he 
would explain why he didn't keep the PF in.

I think it is bunk not to keep the PF in for the reasons you mention.

I would simply not order coffee there.

Where I live, I have two places I will order coffee of any sort 1) 
because they do it as I expect 2) because it is good (listed in no 
particular order of importance).


On 9/27/2016 6:36 AM, Larry Dorman wrote:
> So...  there is a local coffee shop (Garland, TX) that has a decent
> location and aesthetic, but they are lacking in one critical area which is
> the quality of their coffee.  I actually dumped half of an americano from
> this shop once because it just wasn't enjoyable.  I like good coffee, but I
> do have some tolerance so for me to dump something is a statement.
> Anyway, I'd love to help this shop get better.  When I was in there this
> weekend I noticed that they keep their portafilters laying on a tray on the
> counter instead of in the group when not in use.  It happened that the
> owner was in so I mentioned to him that he should keep them in the group to
> keep them hot and that it would improve the coffee.
> I clearly offended the owner.  :(  His first response was to let me know
> that he has four other award winning coffee shops.  His second response was
> to state that the manufacturer of the machine (La Spaziale.  I don't know
> the model, but it's a small two-group machine.) recommends against keeping
> the portafilters in the groups when not actively in-use.  His final
> response was that it didn't matter because he trains his folks to run a
> small amount water from the group through them before use.
> This doesn't ring true with what I've learned and what seems logical to me,
> but I do want to learn if I'm out in left field.  I can't come up with any
> harm in keeping the portafilters in the group.  I suppose if they're locked
> in tight then they *could* cause premature gasket wear.  However, if I were
> running a shop I'd have a plan for regular replacement regardless.
> Otherwise, it seems to me that running a small amount of water through the
> PF will only partially heat it... there is a lot of metal there and the
> water is only going to heat the immediate area.  The commercial machine
> should be able to handle running some water through the group, but that's
> still kind of like doing a cooling shot which isn't recommended for a
> dual-boiler machine.
> So... was I wrong (from a technical aspect) to suggest to the owner that he
> keep the portafilters in the groups between uses?
> The owner's contention was that he's just had some difficulty getting his
> staff fully trained due to timing and turnover.  In fairness, I did get
> another americano on this visit and it was fine.
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