The uniformity of the coffee grinds used in your filter basket is unquestionably the foundation of a fantastic espresso. The problem with filter baskets is that they come in various sizes, depths, and styles. Filter baskets can be pressurized or non-pressurized. They are also available in ridged and unridged varieties.
The number of espresso shots you can make with single and double wall baskets is usually one or two. Single wall baskets hold 7 to 12 grams of coffee grinds and produce one shot. Double baskets hold 14 to 21 grams of ground coffee and have straight walls or walls that taper in. Their funnel shape can also identify them.
Let’s look at some more distinctions between single and double wall baskets to help you decide which is best for you and when to use them.
What Is the Difference Between Dual Wall Filters and Single Wall Filters?
To summarize, single-wall filters can accept 7 to 12 grams of coffee grinds and produce only one shot. On the other hand, dual wall filters accept 14 to 21 grams of ground coffee and have straight or slightly tapered walls. They are also funnel-shaped.
Single wall baskets are also known as non-pressurized baskets because they lack a second wall, which means there is nothing to create pressure when brewing your coffee.
Coffee professionals prefer this basket style because it allows for better extraction control. Although these baskets require more precision, the time and effort you put in will pay off handsomely.
Double-wall baskets are also known as pressurized baskets because they have a standard mesh base with an extra wall. It has one small hole through which the extraction is forced.
During the brewing process, these baskets provide increased pressure inside the basket. Many double-wall baskets can be found in home espresso machines but not in commercial settings.
When brewing freshly ground coffee beans, you can use either type of filter. On the other hand, the dual-wall filter is better suited for older beans or pre-ground coffee than the single-wall filter.
The dual wall filter adds pressure, allowing you to customize the shot by adjusting the tamping pressure or the number of coffee grounds in the filter.
The dual-wall filter works better with coarse grinds because it increases pressure for uneven or coarse grinds.
On the other hand, a coarse grind tends to flow too quickly in a single wall filter and will not extract the good flavors that a double-wall filter can.
When Is a Single Wall Filter Basket Appropriate?
Filter baskets on high-end coffee machines are typical of two types.
First, a single-wall (non-pressurized) filter basket is the way to go when brewing espresso between 8 and 9 bars of pressure and considering the level of control you want over the process.
To achieve the best results, use single-wall filters with a high-end grinder.
The pump will apply 8 to 9 bars of pressure to the coffee, and slight variations in the grind will produce nuances in the brew. Preparation entails more work, such as dialing-in perfection.
However, it’s worth it to get that shot you’ve been craving. Let’s take a closer look at the dialing-in procedure:
- Use a double-shot, non-pressurized basket to standardize your dose; you will also need a scale for the process. Discover the proper dosage for your basket.
- On your machine, begin with a medium grind coarse setting.
- Consistently tamp. You may have a built-in grind timer, which can be frustrating for many beginners like manually tamping. You might discover that a palm tamper is the best choice for you.
- After weighing your grinds at a middle-grind setting, pull a test shot and tamp as needed. Then, take out your scale, place it beneath your shot glass, and time how long it takes to achieve 34g of espresso.
- Evaluate your results and make necessary adjustments. It should take between 20 and 30 seconds to achieve 34g in the cup.
Try to get this weight as close to 25 seconds as possible by doing the following:
- Reduce the grind setting if your shot was too fast to achieve 34g.
- Repeat steps 1–5, gradually adjusting the grind setting each time until you get 34g of espresso from 17g of coffee grinds in 20–30 seconds.
Don’t get too caught up in the fact that your machine has an “Expresso Range.” It is recommended that the best shots be taken after midnight.
When Should You Use A Dual-Wall Filter Basket?
Dual-wall filter baskets are a user-friendly option to consider because the dialing-in process can be difficult and frustrating, especially for beginners.
Furthermore, because there is only one hole for the coffee to exit, pressurized filter baskets do not rely on the coffee to build pressure; this ensures that the correct pressure builds up in the basket regardless of grinding irregularities tamping issues.
A dual-wall filter basket is useful in two situations:
- A pressurized filter basket can help build the necessary pressure to brew perfect coffee when using pre-ground or coarsely-ground coffee.
- When you’re fed up with the dialing process and need a good cup of coffee.
Which Filter Basket Is Best for You at Home?
You should now understand the fundamental differences between single and double coffee filter baskets, as well as the coffee they produce.
Unfortunately, many people interested in home coffee brewing mistake dual-wall filters for being bad and producing lower-quality coffee. We all want the best espresso at home, which is understandable.
However, if you want to upgrade to a single-wall filter, you must first learn to use it. Aside from that, when using a single-wall basket, you must always use high-quality, freshly roasted beans.
This is a must, along with experimenting with the dose, distribution, grind, and tamping. Whole coffee beans are only fresh for a limited time after you open the bag, usually three days.
You must use freshly ground coffee beans no later than three hours after being ground.
Otherwise, stale coffee grinds can produce a stale cup due to oxygen contact. This timeframe, however, can be extended by using an airtight container.
Just a word of caution: not all grinders can produce a proper espresso grind. As a result, if you want to use a dual-wall filter basket, you’ll need to invest in a good grinder that can produce consistent espresso grinds from freshly roasted coffee beans.
High-end coffee grinders can cost several hundred dollars, but the results are well worth the money.
Why Is It Necessary To Clean A Portafilter Basket?
Whether you have a single-wall or double-wall filter basket, they must be cleaned regularly. The portafilter holds your ground coffee while water runs through it to make a brew.
Shot after shot, the portafilter will collect the used-up grounds. This indicates that a thorough cleaning is in order.
Cleaning the portafilter is critical. Consider pulling an espresso shot in a filthy machine. You don’t want any excess sediments or oils floating around in your cup.
Even the best coffee beans cannot compensate for a shot pulled through a dirty and contaminated portafilter.
The essential oils in your coffee beans are responsible for the rich crema topping on your espresso. These oils, however, can be problematic.
They cause your coffee’s “off” flavor after a while. This rancid flavor occurs when the oils emulsify and cling to the espresso machine’s metal screen, resulting in a film on the basket and portafilter.
This film will eventually clog the holes in the portafilter basket and leave residue inside the portafilter’s spout.
Even though cleaning the portafilter after each shot makes life easier, it’s not always possible.
However, cleaning the portafilter after every ten shots is recommended. Consider the following cleaning methods for your portafilter:
The Quick Approach
After pulling your shot, immediately flush the group head while knocking out the used grounds. Continue until the water is completely clear.
To ensure no leftover grounds remain, use a clean and dry rag.
- Wash and wipe the basket thoroughly.
- Remove the portafilter’s spouts and any covers that come with them.
- Scrub the interior of the portafilter body and spouts.
- Pour water and cleaning powder into a large container, then stir to dissolve.
- Allow the portafilter components to soak in the cleaning solution for about 15 minutes.
- When the soaking is complete, rinse all parts thoroughly with clean water.
- Examine the portafilter spouts carefully to ensure no trapped oils did not dissolve after soaking. If there are any, scrub them clean with a small round brush.
- Return the portafilter to its original position.
There’s nothing wrong with using a double-wall filter basket; it makes the brewing process easier for the inexperienced home barista. The single-wall filter is reserved for experienced baristas, but it requires a good grinder, expensive.