Want a Teflon Portafilter?

The Teflon portafilters sparked a lot of interest amongst those who saw them at the NBC. Turns out it was done by these enterprising souls – Portaflon.

I am hoping to get a few portafilters done for various machines because I think it is a really interesting idea, and I am becoming more and more obsessive (not necessarily in a good way) about the taste of dirt building up in the machine so anything to help improve the situation must be a positive thing.

I know a few people around the world were curious and it would be great to compare notes with other baristas. I’ve also seen footage of a Teflon coated steam wand they have done that wiped impressively clean after some consistant misuse. Drop them a line I guess…..

[tags]Teflon coated portafilters, portafilters, espresso, coffee, cleaning espresso machines, group handles, portaflon[/tags]

44 Comments

  1. Have one at home. Can’t live vithout it. It is amazing how much better the espresso tastes even after an hour with excessive espresso cup tasting. Just wipe it clean with a damp cloth and change the filterbasket and you are ready to go again.

  2. Cool – I am really looking forward to getting some. How’s things Tim? (Wish I could understand what your blog says!)

  3. Oh. I am doing all right.
    I will consider an english version of the blog… I have to think about it, since I am establishing myself in Norway… But I can sum it up for you: GS3, Mirage, no location yet, in the process of blending my blend and bought some nice coffee…. How’s that for a quick update ;-) Happy new year and say hello to your better half fom me..

  4. No safety/health concerns about the teflon? How do you get the basket into the pf without scraping bits of the teflon off?

  5. There was just one thing that annoyed us about the teflon PF at the NBC: They kept unscrewing themselves from the group! The whole portafilter was covered in the teflon – also the ‘ears’ that hold it in place in the group. This meant that they didn’t have the necessary resistance to hold it in. However, it was quite funny to see unexpecting baristas watch their portafilter unscrew itself while brewing :-)
    The teflon was also scrathed off on a few of them, but I was told that both these problems are in the fixing. I definitely think teflon could be the solution to the problem of build up. It keeps surprising me how much you can taste a couple of hours of heavy use in our store. Maybe then we wont need two sets of PFs at the store anymore.

  6. Hello.
    I am not worried about the health issue here. I would much rather get some teflon in me than all the old coffee chemicals in the brass portafilters… Besides what is teflon compared to living in a polluted city, which is not healthy at all and I also smoke occational cigars and drink alcohol;-) I guess one day I will die. ;-)

    Mine does not have teflon coated ears and stays in the group every time like a normal portafilter. I do not have the white version with teflon coated spouts though. And my version seems to have a thicker layer of teflon inside than the white coating. I have not yet scrached it with a filter, but I imagine my green scrubbers have to be retired unless I want to say goodbye to the Teflon coating.

  7. Teflon is only unsafe at temperatures upwards of 400F. There isn’t a single part of the brew group that even comes close to those temperatures, but this is reason enough for chefs to shy away from Teflon coated cookware.

  8. Evening all…
    Just a thought on teflon: chefs had it thrust upon them when it first appeared way back when, but go into any commercial kitchen and any chef worth his salt will be cooking on seasoned iron or steel. If you see any teflon it’s invariably knackered. Not using it is nothing to do with health risks, it’s just not all it’s cracked up to be. Teflon strikes me as another fad for those who have money to burn and/or customers they think could tell the difference. Next we’ll be sold teflon coated milk jugs and filter baskets…essential, obviously.

  9. Couldn’t agree more with Hugo. They will be sold to the masses as “the PF you don’t need to clean”. Using more than one set of PF during the day is perfectly adequate. I think this is just another case of over engineering.

  10. Well.
    If you try one you will be more and more eager to clean the old pf’s. Especially for me who likes single shots and does not use the naked pf that much. Teflon is a winner for me. And YES, there is a big difference in taste compared to a dirty pf. But if you like bitter and rancid aftertaste, then you should stick to the old brass fellow. Remember, caffè espresso and cooking food is not the same thing.

  11. I had a look at the website, they show a filthy PF that I don’t doubt makes espresso taste horrific. Cook food in a filthy pan coated in stale, rancid oil and you’ll taste it too. Every morning I run several shots through my thoroughly cleaned PF’s, the first couple going down the drain, the later down the staffs’ eager gullets, and yes, they don’t taste all that pretty. But once seasoned with a layer of coffee oils, the espresso starts to taste far better. Regular flushing during the day keeps things as sweet as needs be for my customers.

    I’m a cynic at heart, I know a lot of twaddle is talked about espresso but I love it. I’d love to try to taste the difference between them but I know short of using a robot there are too many variables between shots to discount their part in any taste difference. I know the morning taste improvement would still happen with a teflon coated PF, basket, wand, cup and spoon because there’s more to it than dissolving metal. I’d rather use a naked PF and eliminate any interference from baket to cup.

    What about the detergent and rinse aid in the dishwasher?

    On god, the customer who just came in wearing too much aftershave….

    Eek! The waitress farted.

    Darn it, all these espressos taste wonky.

    Better get the next wonderfix….. Teflon!

    Bet I get one before the end of the year. Sucker.

  12. This made me laugh a little, especially as we’ve had recent debates. Teflon, no thanks!
    Problem solved with a naked PF. A quick rinse of the basket, fresh as a daisy.

    If there is a health risk the “I’m going to die soon or later” approach is appropriately matched by “well there’s a brigde, go jump” answer.
    Those of us who don’t smoke or run red lights, and like to exercise for the benefits may see my point.
    Teflon wears and I have nothing good to say about the stuff.

  13. I agree Pascal. What could possibly be the difference in taste between naked PF and a Portaflon?
    And, isn’t it a bit of contradiction for coffee purists to be aided by a totally synthetic material that was invented around the same time as the mircowave oven? I am sure Teflon would also keep the coffee grinds from sticking to the inside of a Clover so we wouldn’t need the whisk… or Teflon coated tampers… Teflon coated demi-tasse… Teflon coated hoppers… Teflon coated steaming pitchers… the possibilities seem endless.

  14. lol, go Robert!
    Yeah… just imagining those possibilities… never clean your toilet again, it now comes in black teflon coated. Why wash a car again, they’re teflon coated… it’s not just limited to a pf.

  15. I want one, but don’t think a would use it’s full pontential at home!
    My favorite coffee bar has used them for half a year or so now. They even got the coated steam wand and steam tip. Looks like it works like a charm!

    There is no health issues with teflon, as Jason says above, until the teflon is heated to 460°F.
    The teflon is chemically inert and non-toxic, so I don’t worry.

  16. Well, to all you sceptics out there, I just have to say : Try it before you deny it. It won’t hurt you to be open minded and I don’t see anything wrong with the espresso technology changing for the better. Evolution is always hard to accept, and I am usually a sceptic, but not this time. Although it seems my brain is coated with Teflon sometimes due to bad memory, I am not hung up on teflon frying pans, etc. But the portaflon is sweet! That is all I have to say ;-)

  17. Wow, talk about taking an argument to the absurd! Just because someone would like a teflon coated portafilter does not mean everything should be teflon coated or never be cleaned. And Hugo – I’d love to have a sign saying: “Please do not enter wearing heavy cologne!” ;-)

    At our coffee shop we taste a huge improvement in shot quality after scrubbing the portafilters and seasoning them with a couple of shots. However, after something like 1½ hours of use, we begin to taste rancid oils again. This is even though we rinse the portafilter with water quite often. Changing the PFs out, scrubbing them, waiting for the new set to heat up etc. takes a lot of time. If we could improve shot quality and have more time on our hands it would be a good thing. So I’m eager to try the teflon PFs.

  18. Klaus. I don’t think I took the argument to the absurd at all. Where does one draw the line in the world of Telfon after it has been incorporated into what we do? Why stop at Teflon coated portafilters? I believe that is the point that Hugo, Pascal, and I are trying to make. And, why bother coating your portafilter with what could be a toxic material – when you could easily just utilize a naked PF? Isn’t that why they were invented… no rancid coffee oils… or brassy taste… ? Besides, the original post mentioned that they have already designed Teflon coated steam-wands. Are you guys secretly working for T-Fal???? Something is amiss… hmmm… :)

  19. Hey Klaus,

    As Robert mentioned I did make a point it was:
    *Use a naked portofilter if your that hung up.

    Don’t get me wrong, innovation is great, I am not that conservative when adopting new things, just like to know what I am in for.

    Having a teflon coated pf is not an improvement on a naked.
    On to my next point Teflon has been questioned in terms of health and not just when it has been heated, that’s proven beyond a doubt. That’s right proven toxic, sure when heated and it is very easy to heat to those temperatures on a stove. Now even if I was the biggest skeptic and I am, wouldn’t that get you thinking about what else you didn’t know about the stuff?

    At all temperatures any contact with the stuff causes wearing and thus particles of the stuff enter our bodies… this stuff as far as I know does not get broken down and may accumulate in our system. The telfon particles are very tough and may cause micro-tearing of arterial walls as they go wizzing through our system, decreasing elasticity, possible risk of thrombosis etc. I think I will leave it at that…

    The concept of combining teflon with a portofilter is novel and creative, I commend the concept. I just think that teflon and I were never meant to co-exist in any form.

    Now before anyone gets blockheaded google “danger teflon”, or any other combination. I heard about this first hand not from the internet, but the internet sure does help today.

  20. Ok. If you can give me a great single shot time after time on a naked PF without getting my cup messy and ugly, I will never try to make you use the teflon pf again.

  21. Hi Tim,

    Have we agreed on the teflon issue, as in posing very real dangers?

    Your onto another point now (purpose), getting a clean shot? Personally the whole teflon cleanliness is a non-issue, it’s a great idea just bad for you health. Alot of birth defects have been attributed to it, over a very long period of time. Like having a very small nuclear reactor right next to you.

    I think of it like a magician, don’t look at the dangers, look at the benefits? Kinda ignores the “look before you leap”? This is real guys.

    Tim, this bit here is to indulge you…

    Now this business of a clean shot without a mess, here are a few ideas:
    * firstly clean the pf every hour, or buy 5 more and cycle through them if your that busy.
    * the pf can be made from other materials, metals without taste, I know of several kinds and combinations that would do this.
    * Use fresher coffee, there’s way less pin-pricking, and far more consistancy… your welcome at my place anytime. Older coffee just does not extract the same, roast yourself and see. I can get consistant naked shots.. perhaps in a high pressure environment it may be more of a challenge… but then again I love challenges.
    * Practice more with a naked, if you can’t it’s not a problem with the naked, is it?
    * Personally I care more about my health than a mess in the cup.
    * Elevate the cup during extraction, especially easy with volumetric

    Use your ingenuity here for other alternatives… this was just off the bat without thinking, what do you think?

  22. Well, Pascal. It only states that Teflon is bad for you when it is heated above 400 F. So I do not worry that much about it.
    I also know PF can made from other materials, but who sells them ?? I have heard about stainless, but there has got to be better materials like Titanium, etc. But that is WAY too expensive for most coffee shop owners. I have a tamper in titanium and it was bloody expensive.
    I still would clean the PF every 45 minutes to an hour in a bar, even with the teflon. Normally we would pop the filters out and replace them and scrub the PFs. The teflon coatesd just need a rinse with water or a wipe with a cloth and really makes my day easier.
    When it comes to fresher coffee, I normally use the one I roast after 7-9 days. I believe it tastes too smoky before that and I prefer to let the coffee rest for at least a week before I use it. Thanks for the invitation though.
    I could practice more with a single filter in a naked PF, and I think I will too(because I really like single espresso shots better than the double shots. ) I have several naked PFs at home, but I have never been blown away by it since I prefer the taste of the single shots better than a double. Lazy as I am I typically tend to use a double filterbasket even if I just need a single shot of espresso. So, tomorrow I will take out the single baskets and the naked and start the grinder.

    Only one thing that concerns me with the naked pf; If I get an order of 4 single cappuccinos in a bar..
    This leaves me to where we begun. I will still use the Portaflon until you send me a better alternative with 2 spouts on it.

    When it comes to the messy cups, I don’t see it as a problem, but it stresses me to death if I get served a messy cup ;-)

  23. Tim,

    I get your problem, I do. Teflon is present in 95% of the population. It isn’t surprising that although Dupont has lost court cases about these fatal chemicals they are denying that they are dangerous. It is proven also that these chemical are now clearly linked to cancer, birth defects, liver, kidney problems.
    Also there is mounting evidence that the stuff is ingested without heating, they did these test back in the 1960’s on hamburger. It doesn’t take a genius to see that cancer is on the rise in the population… I and others including in the medical profession e.g. immunologists etc. believe that it is due to chemicals that we ingest, Teflon included.

    Hey Tim, did you know that they use to have radiation therapy for beauticians for years they used these machines, then what do you think happened? Smoking was prescribed, tobacco companies claimed it was their products that caused cancer…

    That cool, don’t worry. Worry instead about your clean portofilter and how much a stainless pf costs.

    Your free to use a teflon pf, I won’t and I’ll voice my opinion, based on evidence and logical inference.

    Sure 4 caps at a bar aren’t easy on a naked, go stainless then, the water runs through metal too (copper anyway). Also use natural brush to scrub so no metalic taste. I doubt that Ti would taste better than a stainless, basically is high chromium usually >13%, however there are better combinations that will produce no taste difference. I doubt if money plays a major role in the cost of PF especially with all the money spent on high end machines, so cost is a pretty weak argument.

    If you get stressed by a messy cup, what can I say? There are far worst things happening in the world, this debate is one of indulgence compared to what the majority of the world faces everyday, let’s face facts.

  24. I have this non stick titanium frying pan which is excellent and far better than teflon since I can use metal utilities in it. That is why I probably would guess titanium pf’s would be very good.
    On coffeed, Nick addresses another interesting issue on how to improve the PFs with bigger holes for the espresso to run through. That sounds like an idea.

    So, where do you suggest I buy my stainless pf ?
    I think most coffeeshop owners would get shocked by the price of getting Titanium custom made things. My tamper piston was 1000 US$. Fortunately I did not have to pay for it :-) So if you pay almost as much for the pfs as you would for a machine it is starting to get ridiculous. I would rather scrub my brass pfs then.

    But since you are concerned abouth healt. Have you ever thought about being copper poisoned by the copper boilers inside many machines ? In Norway, the old copper kettles are banned to use unless they are tin plated or nickel plated inside. Even though a copper poisoning is not dangerous, it still gives you a bad stomach.. It is really not an issue until you have descaled the machine. Then you might get into trouble if it is not thoroughly rinsed afterwards.. Anyway, just a funny thought.

    In terms of the world being an unfair place, I agree, and that is one of many reasons why I am in the coffee business. To make a difference.

    Ciao.

  25. You’ve got a titanium frying pan?!?

    Am I the only person that finds that faintly absurd?

    Have you ever tried heating a £10 iron pan for 10 minutes with salt, then dumping the salt and wiping with veg oil. So long as you don’t over wash it, it’s as good as teflon, though a little heavier than titanium. That way you can spend the other £400 on a case of great wine, a dozen eggs and a couple of truffles…. heaven!

    It’s not about the pan, it’s about the food and how you cook it.

    I had a Carbon Kevlar windsurfer once, looked the dogs, cost a fortune, went like a rocket, lasted less than a year. Replaced by a foam and plastic banana that looked like a turkey, cost half as much, went just as fast (it was the sail that made it go like a rocket) and is still being abused by the lucky git that bought it off me…. there’s a moral there somewhere.

  26. Hehehehe. The Titanium pan isn’t that expensive, and of course the good ol iron pan is excellent and I still use it from time to time, but the Titanium is excellent too. My biggest hobby is cooking and I am very much in to quality kitchen equipment. But I prefer the cutting knife instead of the cutting mandolin, etc. I love the old school way of cooking combined with new taste combinations. But I can still overcook my bacon in both pans if the morning newspaper is a bit too interesting…

  27. Tim,

    If your fry pan is non-stick, usually black, then it is Teflon. Your fry pan is Teflon, usually a tougher type and although they claim you can use metal utensils, crazy because your are giving yourself a dose of the stuff. Teflon has many marketing names, here I am going to say… Do some research, because at this point you don’t know what your got already.

    A stainless pf shouldn’t cost that much, it’s all about people profiteering, just like this concept. A stainless pot, knife etc are mass produced and inexpensive, people just like making lots of money.
    Where to get one… “look”.

    About cooking, I am a professional in that area. You might like my equipment and knives.

  28. Hi Tim,

    I have had scanpan, they do wear, overheating produces very sickening fumes, first hand experience on this one I assure you. I got sick from this stuff for 2 days, at first I could even breathe, lungs, headache… very bad experience.
    The stuff wears the same way, lasts longer than the tough variety of teflon. I am very suspicious of this stuff too.
    This is another one of those experiences that lead me to learn more about the stuff.

    The page that you post really doesn’t contain any technical information, except that they claim not to contain PFOA, just one of the problems in Teflon. I want to know what scanpan’s chemical name is, it chemical make up and the chemical and process used to make the stuff.

    Personally I stay away from these chemicals, I have had much experience in cooking and can tell you categorically that this stuff is terrible. Consumers like it because of the non-stick, less oil etc. and because they often have poor technique/knowledge/experience. Hugo’s post above was quick to point that out too.

    Scanpan now has alsp very bad reputation with everyone I speak to, it use to be expensive but now if you look around the price is much cheaper because consumers are starting to wake up. Now traditional real cookwear is getting sold… I think that there was a real drop in cookery and skill over the past few decades, however a re-awaking is occurring. A naked chef can only sell so much non-stick cookware, especially when no decent commercial chef will touch the stuff, we all know why now.

    Tim, I grown tired of this. I’ve said my piece, I am satisfied. Your clearly looking to keep your opinion. I could debate with till the cows come home and when it comes to cookery and the like, it just isn’t possible to see eye-to-eye, nor am I willing to go there with you.

    Final words, the PF that’s Teflon coated, there’s no way I’ll ever use one.

    All The Best,
    Pascal

  29. I did some more research on the scanpan this morning, since the link i posted was very propaganda-like. You’re right. it does contain teflon. I promise I will throw out my beloved frying pan today. Fortunately I have more frying pans available. But I won’t throw out my portaflon yet. Based on the low temperatures of the espresso machine.
    That doesnt mean I won’t do it eventually though.
    Thank you for informing us about this subject Pascal.

  30. Hey Pascal,

    Curious what you think about Jamie Oliver and his endorsement of his Tefal, “Jamie Oliver Professional Series” as a professional yourself in the chefing game (as is my brother)… This isn’t tongue in cheek, but an honest question… Is it a “Marketing” thing like what Paul Bassett has done with Sunbeam (and this is by no means a bad thing or belittling Paul Bassett – I think he has done the Espresso\Coffee scene a great service – especially in Australia, just an observation)

    Curious to read your thoughts… your objection to Teflon is interesting and has me rethinking the Teflon concept… the PF idea, while it carries some of merit, can be done with other materials… like the Swiss Diamond product… they claim, it is the actual metal that is non-stick, not the surface… perhaps casting the PFs in this material is an idea (granted, the cost wouldn’t be cheap)….

  31. Marc,
    Swiss Diamond is…. Telfon. Why people are suckered into thinking that one black surface coating isn’t teflon is beyond me. I’ll say this… If it’s a black non-stick coating on cookware, your guaranteed it’s telfon. So they add diamond grit into it, big deal! Still teflon.

    About Jamie Oliver, he was “discovered” helping in a pub, the producers thought he was cute and wanted to put him into a show. He couldn’t cook, and because the glory of TV and novelty, people think he’s somekind of cooking genius. It’s a joke and a shame that a public can be duped this way.
    Here’s a video to illustrate:
    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/2006/11/create-a-pop-star.html

    I don’t know Jamie Oliver personally and I’ll give credit where it is due, he has done more to change kids diets than any celebrity I know of. This is a wonderful and great thing that he has championed. For that he has done a lot more than other celebrities and for that he probably deserves his fame and fortune more than others.

    Of course perhaps if he knew about the dangers and potential dangers it might make him reconsider endorsing the stuff. But in a proper commercial kitchen the use of teflon is zero. I think this speaks for itself, so my suggestion here is that’s how the cookie crumbles, are we really that gullible to believe the world works another way?

  32. Marc,
    Swiss Diamond is…. Telfon. Why people are suckered into thinking that one black surface coating isn’t teflon is beyond me. I’ll say this… If it’s a black non-stick coating on cookware, your guaranteed it’s telfon. So they add diamond grit into it, big deal! Still teflon.

    About Jamie Oliver, he was “discovered” helping in a pub, the producers thought he was cute and wanted to put him into a show. He couldn’t cook, and because the glory of TV and novelty, people think he’s somekind of cooking genius. It’s a joke and a shame that a public can be duped this way.
    Here’s a video to illustrate:
    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/2006/11/create-a-pop-star.html

    I don’t know Jamie Oliver personally and I’ll give credit where it is due, he has done more to change kids diets than any celebrity I know of. This is a wonderful and great thing that he has championed. For that he has done a lot more than other celebrities and for that he probably deserves his fame and fortune more than others.

    Of course perhaps if he knew about the dangers and potential dangers it might make him reconsider endorsing the stuff. But in a proper commercial kitchen the use of teflon is zero. I think this speaks for itself, so my suggestion here is that’s how the cookie crumbles, are we really that gullible to believe the world works another way?

  33. And why is being found is a pub a bad thing Pascal, I can be found there most days 

    On a serious note I hate that elitism that he isn’t classically trained so he cant be a real Chef that’s just bull. He seems to have made quite a bit of money from his restaurants and has a lot of fans of his food (not just his personality.).

    Sorry for taking this way of course.

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