Ask Gail: Troubleshooting Pressurized Portafilters
We like to think of an espresso machine like a bicycle. In order to keep it running in tip-top shape you need to get your hands dirty once in a while. Maintenance on your machine (or bike) is something you should be doing with some sort of regularity. Personally we enjoy trying to figure out how to get the best out of our machines. But we also know that it can be frustrating when your espresso isn't flowing and all you want is that pick me up!
Sometimes we find that brand new pressurized portafilters on Saeco machines won't allow water to flow freely. After some sleuthing around we figured out that the problem lies with the spring inside the portafilter being too tight. When the spring is too tight, the coffee doesn't flow, and that is just no good. So we asked Gail if she would show us how to fix this problem at home. It is surprisingly easy to fix, all you need is a Phillips head screw driver and a pair of clippers.
A word of warning however. Before you go clipping things off your espresso machine it is best to rule out any other variables that could be causing the issue. First, if you run your machine without the portafilter in place do you get water coming though the brew head? If that is working, take your basket out of the portafilter and see if you can see light through the holes. If you don't see any light coming through, we'd recommend giving the portafilter a good deep clean as it is most likely clogged. If you do see light, try pulling a shot but don't put any grounds in the basket. If you get water flowing though the issue could be with your grind. Try going a little more course than you usually do and see if that fixes the problem. But if you don't get anything flowing through, your next step will be to watch the video below and follow Gail's instructions.