Poor Results from Temperature Factors

  • The Portafilter and Filter – When the espresso is brewed, the temperature of the liquid coming out of the machine, before it hits the coffee, is around 200°F (generally between 195°F and 205°F). While some heat loss is expected and even desired to get the espresso to a comfortable drinking temperature, too much can alter the flavor of the coffee. If the espresso is cooled too much during brewing, the flavor can be sharper or a bit bitter. To help in preventing this, we recommend that the portafilter, with the metal filter inserted, be locked into the brew head with no coffee in it and a single shot be run through it. This will heat up the metal to a temperature much closer to the water brewing temperature and prevent that sour flavor. Once the water is through, remove the portafilter, dry it thoroughly, and add in the coffee to begin the shot.
  • The Cup – Once the water leaves the portafilter, it is falling down and into the cup. If the cup is cold it can greatly reduce the temperature of the espresso prior to drinking. Between 160°F and 180°F is considered a comfortable drinking temperature. However, the hot espresso entering a cup that is significantly lower in temperature then the water brewing temperature of around 200°F can cause the liquid to drop below that comfortable level. This can cause the espresso to taste off and not be at all appetizing. We recommend that when the portafilter is being pre-heated with a single shot with no coffee, the water falls into the cup to be used for the drink. Let the water stay in the cup, heating it, until immediately before extracting the shot.
  • Other Temperatures – If the cup has been warmed as well as the portafilter and filter, please note that it is also vitally important to descale the espresso machine. Mineral deposits can build up along the thermocoil heater and prevent the full transfer of heat to the water. We recommend that, with regular once a day use, the espresso machine be descaled every 2 to 3 months. If hard water is being used or the espresso machine is being used more often, the time can be lessened to every 1 to 2 months between descalings.
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