Coffee Puck Sticking To Portafilter

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Coffee puck is the used ground that remains inside the portafilter after extraction. It is nothing but a waste of coffee ground. However, many coffee lovers use them creatively instead of throwing them in the bin.

For example, coffee pucks can be used as fertilizer for your garden or repellent against insects. But, what would you do if you noticed the puck getting stuck to the portafilter? It is absolutely disturbing.

The coffee puck can stick to the portafilter because of some tamping fault. Besides, lack of cleaning causes similar troubles.

In this post, we will cover the reasons that induce coffee puck sticking. Moreover, we will also describe how you can remove them from the portafilter and the basket. Let’s go deeper.

Why is My Coffee Puck Stuck?

Coffee puck usually sticks due to tamping mistakes. There are two main reasons behind the coffee puck sticking to the portafilter.

• You have filled the portafilter with too much ground
• The grind is prone to be stuck

You should always put the recommended amount of coffee ground into the portafilter. Besides, the tamping should be done at moderate pressure. An excessive amount of ground and high pressure often cause puck sticking. Also, the shower screen gets jammed after extraction because of overfilling the basket.

It also happens if your ground quality is bad. In most cases, consumers face the issue while using pre-ground. So, brewing a fresh grind is always a better option.

The coffee puck can also get stuck in the shower screen if it remains dirty for too long.

How do you get a coffee puck out of a portafilter?

The coffee puck can be stuck in the portafilter if it gets sufficient time to dry. So, you should remove it from the portafilter as fast as possible.

Removing the puck right after extraction is a good practice. The process of getting the puck out of the portafilter is simple as pie.

You need to hold the handle of the portafilter at an upside-down position. Next, take a knock box and shake the portafilter gently until the puck spills. The taps over the knock box will look similar to hitting gently with a hammer. After a few taps, the puck should be slack and drop out.

You can watch the video below for a quick know-how.

How to remove stuck portafilter basket?

Coffee puck sticking to portafilter is a regular incident. However, sometimes the situation goes seriously wrong. The puck can jam the extent of the portafilter. As a result, the basket gets stuck in it. So, you may need to apply the following tools to remove it from the portafilter.

Pry Opening Tools

Pry opening is the easiest technique to detach the stuck basket from the portafilter. You can use a flat head screwdriver or a paint can opener to separate the basket. Nowadays, you will find a portafilter basket remover tool in the market. The tool is particularly designed to remove the stuck basket.

Blind basket

A blind basket is a small container that is used for backflushing. Its size is similar to the portafilter basket, but it has no holes. You can pull out the jammed basket using a blind basket within a few seconds. Put the blind basket in the jammed basket and push so that it firmly gets fixed in the trapped basket. Now, twist the blind basket in a pulling motion. It should become free and come out after a few efforts. Our recommended blind basket is here.

Read: Best Bottomless Portafilter for Breville, Gaggia and Rancilio Silvia

Should You Wash Portafilter?

Keeping your portafilter away from debris is a good practice. So, you should wash it well by maintaining an appropriate frequency. The habit will increase its longevity and provide you with tasty coffee as always.

When you feel the necessity of cleaning, you can wash it simply using hot water. However, there is no need to wash the portafilter right after every shot.

How Do You Clean a Clogged Portafilter Basket?

The perforations of the portafilter basket often get clogged with the coffee ground. It is an annoying problem, particularly for espresso portafilter users. Since espresso portafilter comes with fine holes, it is easier to clog.

In that case, take a bowl of hot water and soak the portafilter basket in it for 15 minutes. The hot water will soften the coffee oil and debris slowly. When you notice the dirt has been loose, wipe the holes using a stiff brush or an old toothbrush. Finally, rinse the basket with fresh water.

Sometimes, clogging occurs because of the mineral scale growth. To remove the mineral layer, you have to soak the portafilter basket in citric acid instead of water. However, the wiping process is the same.

How Often Should I Clean My Portafilter?

Beginners often ask this question. Undoubtedly, cleaning your portafilter at a regular frequency is important. But, it does not mean that you have to clean it after every single shot.

Wiping all debris after every ten shots is generally a good frequency. It is also easier to maintain for home users. However, it can be troublesome for commercial users.

In coffee shops, baristas are always busy pulling shots one by one. As a result, they find a very little interval to clean the portafilter. So, most of them are habituated to cleaning it thoroughly at least once a day.

Read: Why Is My Espresso Machine Not Reaching Pressure – Fixed!

Can You Put the Portafilter in Dishwasher Liquid?

In general, hot water and soft scrub pads or cloths are recommended to clean a portafilter. Experienced users suggest never putting a portafilter in dishwashing liquid. If you are compelled to use it, you need to be very careful.

The head of most portafilters is made of stainless steel. However, the handles are usually constructed with Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

There is nothing wrong with washing the stainless steel head using dishwashers liquid. But, traditional dishwashing liquids can ruin the color of the portafilter’s handle.

At present, soft cleaning liquids are available in nearly all stores. You can try them to clean your portafilter thoroughly.

How do you clean a portafilter with vinegar?

We know vinegar as an essential cooking ingredient. But, did you know that it is one of the greatest cleaners for home appliances? The aqueous solution is created from acetic acid, which is very powerful.

Vinegar can effectively melt grimes and mineral deposits within a short time. It is also a great liquid to finish off bacteria. So, it is widely used to clean dirt and jammed portafilters.

To clean a portafilter with vinegar, you have to make a cleaning solution first. It will require white vinegar and baking soda to make. We are describing the entire process in a sequence.

How to make the cleaning solution:

1. Take a bowl of hot water and pour ¼ cup of white vinegar into it. The temperature of the water will dilute vinegar in a few seconds.

2. Add two tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture. Now stir it to mix all ingredients properly.

How to clean portafilter with this solution:

1. Detach the basket from the portafilter and put both of them in the vinegar cleaning solution. Let them soak for at least an hour.

2. When the time is over, pick the portafilter and basket up from the solution. Then, please take a good scrubbing pad or an old toothbrush and begin to scrub them.

3. Gently rub the pad or brush to remove coffee oil, sludge, and stains. After cleaning all the dirt, rinse the portafilter and basket with clean water.

This process of cleaning is very effective. It is sufficient to clean your portafilter with vinegar two or three times a week.

How do you descale a portafilter?

There is a subtle difference between cleaning and descaling. Cleaning is the process of removing dirt and coffee oils from the portafilter and basket. However, descaling is the method of breaking down the mineral scale that grows on a metallic surface after long usage.

You will need an effective descaler to demolish the mineral layer on the portafilter. In that case, commercial descaler or citric acid works fine.

Read the descaling process using commercial descaler below:

1. Take a metal bowl and fill it with hot water. The amount of water should be sufficient to drown the head of the portafilter and the basket.

2. Put one tablespoon of descaler into the water and mix it well. Now, place the portafilter and the basket in the solution.

3. You should wait for ten to fifteen minutes to allow the mineral substance break down. Then, take them out of the solution when the time is over.

4. Rub the portafilter and the basket with a brush to remove the mineral layers and wash with hot water. Finally, rinse them with fresh water and dry them.

How do you store Portafilters?

The portafilter is not like a regular kitchen filter. So, it is a big question where and how you should store it. There is no straightforward answer to whether you should keep it in or out of the machine.

You can store it separately. Similarly, you can keep it attached to the machine. It entirely depends on your preference. But, keeping your portafilter attached to the machine may provide some additional advantages.

For instance, you don’t have to repeatedly fix it to the group head when you switch on the machine. Besides, it is the most suitable place to keep it due to less chance of losing. So, many users like to keep the portafilter attached to the group head.

Final thought

Coffee puck sticking to portafilter is truly an irritating issue for any user. However, after reading the entire article, you now have a solution to the problem. If you have an intention to put too much ground coffee in the portafilter, you should be careful from now.

The ground itself can cause clogging. So, it would be best if you replaced them with a fresh grind. One of the easiest ways to avoid jammed puck is to maintain a cleaning frequency.

You can have an impressive result by using a homemade vinegar cleaning solution. However, if you notice mineral layers in the portafilter, conduct a descaling using a commercial descaler.


I currently reside at Millburn, NJ, United States. I'm a skilled barista and roaster known for my passion for coffee and dedication to creating the perfect cup. I have a strong following of loyal customers who appreciate my expertise and friendly demeanor. In my free time, I enjoy trying new coffee recipes and experimenting with different brewing techniques.

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