The portafilter is the device with a handle that your Espresso Machine pumps water into. The portafilter basket, which holds the coffee grounds, sits inside it. Water passes into the filter basket, through the ground coffee and into your cup. In the KitchenAid Espresso machine, the baskets are specially designed to be used at the high pressure created by the 15 bar Italian pump, with beans ground specifically for espresso. There are four different types of filter basket: one shot or two shot, single wall or double wall.
Choosing the size of your portafilter basket
The size of coffee filter basket you choose, depends on which kind of espresso drink you fancy. If you’re drinking a pure espresso, you’ll probably opt for a single shot basket. If you fancy a cappuccino or a latte, they can be with either a single or a double shot, topped with steamed milk and milk foam. The flat white is traditionally made with a double shot basket.
Then, you need to choose between a single wall or double wall basket.
Should I choose a double or single wall filter basket?
So, as well as single or double, shot, you can choose between double wall (or pressurised) baskets and single wall (unpressurised) baskets. Your choice depends on the level of control you want over the brew process. Here’s how it works:
- Double wall baskets - better for beginners
They have the usual mesh base, plus another 'wall' that acts like a holding area, with a small hole at the bottom. Extra pressure builds to force the coffee through the hole, ensuring the water finds its way through all the coffee grounds. This means that pre-ground coffee, a less precise grind, or a slightly uneven tamp, can still give you good extraction, and a guaranteed delicious cup of espresso.
- Single wall baskets - the expert's choice
Without the second wall, the only thing creating brewing pressure is the coffee grinds and how you tamp them – so precision in both is key. This type of filter basket allows more control. You can experiment to find the best grind for your machine and beans, to give the fullest flavours and richness. But, even if you’re a beginner, give this basket a go. You’ll soon get the hang of it.
Here's our handy guide for how much ground coffee you need to put in your filter basket:
|Basket type||Shot||Dose (grams)||Use for|
|Single wall||1 shot||10-12||Freshly ground whole bean coffee|
|Single wall||2 shot||18-20||Freshly ground whole bean coffee|
|Double wall||1 shot||10-12||Pre-ground coffee|
|Double wall||2 shot||18-20||Pre-ground coffee|