How to Clean Portafilter Between Shots – 2 Most Effective Methods

By Brooke Davis •  Updated: 08/06/22 •  5 min read

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That strong, rich espresso shot wouldn’t be possible without a portafilter. One of the main components of an espresso machine, the portafilter, is where your coffee grounds sit as water runs through them to make coffee.

As a result, the portafilter will contain the used-up grounds after pulling the shot, which mostly means that cleaning is due. If you’re a professional or home barista wondering why and how to clean the portafilter between shots, keep reading!

Why Portafilter Cleaning is Important

How To Clean Portafilter
How To Clean Portafilter?

Imagine pulling an espresso shot using a dirty machine, do leftover oils and impurities floating in your cup of coffee sound delicious? I’ll bet you said no.

Of course, you’d be right! Not even the best, most expensive coffee beans can justify or make a shot pulled through a dirty portafilter taste good.

If you’re a barista enthusiast, you already know that the thick crema topping your espresso comes from the essential oils in your coffee beans. These coffee oils have an ugly side; they’re also the reason behind that “off” flavor of coffee that develops after a while.

This rancidity happens when the coffee oils emulsify and stick to the metal water screen (sometimes behind it as well) of the espresso machine.

This results in forming a film on the filter basket and portafilter.

Shot after shot, this film will build up to the point it clogs the holes of the portafilter basket and leaves residue inside the portafilter spout. Now, if you could remove such nasty impurities, why wouldn’t you?

Luckily for all of us coffee lovers, these deposits can be easy to remove if you opt for regular cleaning.

How often should you clean the portafilter?

How often should you clean the portafilter

We recommend cleaning the portafilter every ten shots. At home, however, the demand is far less, so there’s no reason to leave it dirty. 

For convenience, consider cleaning the portafilter right after pulling your shot and drinking your coffee – just get it out of your way.

Should I clean the portafilter between every shot?

Should I clean the portafilter between every shot

You don’t have to clean the portafilter after every shot you pull. Doing so will undoubtedly make things easier in the long run, but it’s not exactly possible if you work as a barista at your local coffee shop, pulling dozens of espresso shots daily.

How to empty the espresso filter basket?

How to empty the espresso filter basket

If you’re wondering how to empty the espresso filter basket, it’s straightforward; all you have to do is turn it upside down, give it a shake, or lightly tap over your knock box or sink until the puck becomes loose and drops out.

Now that the questions of “why” and “how often” are over, it’s time to get your hands dirty!

How To Clean Portafilter Between Shots

How to Clean Portafilter Between Shots

Total Time: 10 minutes

What is the simplest way to clean your portafilter basket?

What is the simplest way to clean your portafilter basket

Some baristas may skip cleaning the portafilter basket between every shot when they’re busy pulling shots back to back. Still, most professional baristas do some form of cleaning between shots and wouldn’t have it any other way.

In this case, here’s a quick way to get it done:

1. Flush the espresso machine group head immediately after the shot while knocking the used-up grounds out. Keep this up until the hot water runs clear.

2. Remove the portafilter from the group head and wipe the espresso filter basket using a clean, dry rag to ensure no leftover grounds.

How to clean an espresso filter basket?

How to clean an espresso filter basket

If you want to know how to thoroughly clean the espresso portafilter like a barista, follow the steps below:

1. Use hot water to rinse and wipe the espresso filter basket thoroughly.

2. Remove the filter basket from the espresso machine and disassemble it. This means removing the spouts and disassembling any additional cover the spouts include.

3. Use portafilter cleaner to scrub the metal surfaces of the portafilter body and the spouts.

4. Pour hot water into a large container, add some of your portafilter cleaners to the water, then stir to dissolve.

5. Place the portafilter, screen, and other parts into the detergent water and let them soak for at least 15 minutes. Note: Submerging the plastic, Bakelite, or rubber handle in the cleaning water is not recommended. Such materials can be damaged by the cleanser, developing rust over time.

6. After soaking, use clean hot water to rinse all the parts.

7. Scrub once more and then wipe dry with a clean rag.

8. If the portafilter spouts are open slots, look closely to ensure that no trapped coffee oils are lingering behind and that the soaking didn’t dissolve. If so, scrub it clean using a small round brush.

9. Reassemble your portafilter espresso basket.

Estimated Cost: 10 USD


  • Water
  • Cleaning Powder
  • Detergent
  • Portafilter cleaner


  • Scrub
  • Small round brush

Materials: Clean and dry rag

Wrap Up

As you can tell by now, cleaning the portafilter is crucial to maintaining the delicious, rich taste of your espresso shot every time. You must know how to clean the portafilter between shots to brew without damaging any espresso machine or group head parts.

Brooke Davis

Hi everyone, my name is Brooke and I’m a Barista and freelance writer. I love brewing coffee and my favorite coffee drink is without doubt an Americano (espresso with added hot water). When I’m not busy making or writing about coffee you’ll find me hanging out at the beach with friends in California where I am currently residing. Follow me on: Linkedin

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