Rancilio/la Marzocco/Faema Pressurized Pod Portafilter
Pressurized Pod handle to extract the most flavour out of your pods - saves labour, eliminates a grinder and grind adjustments, and provides consistent results. Works with all Rancilio and E61 style groupheads.
This pressurized pod handle is compatible with E.S.E. (Easy Serving Espresso) pods on most E61 and Rancilio espresso machines. Extra heavy duty commercial quality build has a orange handle to quickly identify it and thick walled chromed brass head to retain heat.
The pressurized pod handle is adjustable which allows baristas to dial in the perfect extraction on any standard E.S.E. pod everytime. The bottom deck of the "basket" can be raised or lowered. This is so that when the handle is fully inserted, there is the correct spacing between the machine group screen and the "deck" of the portafilter. When a Pod is inserted and locked and loaded we want a tight fit for the pod. Too tight and the portafilter won't lock - too loose and water flows around the pod, not through it. E61 group head machines don't have a group screen screw, so a bit of trial and error may be required to get the pod height just perfect. All Rancilio machines (except levers) have a group screw, so the job is a bit easier visually - the screw should indent the top of the pod, but not so hard as to puncture the paper. Most times the handle is set very close from the factory, so little adjustment is normally required. A $1 or $2 dollar coin (Euro, loonie, etc) works well to adjust the deck height. Refer to the PDF adjustment guide for more detailed instructions.
Another reason you may wish to adjust the deck height is to allow the use of double shot Pods, which of course will be thicker. If you are planning to use both single and double pods, you will need to buy 2 handles and set each one accordingly.
The System works well because below the deck, is a spring and valve system, which does not release until sufficient pressure has built up. This maximizes crema development and in most of our testing, the crema is thick and durable and stands up well. Better than what most restaurants deliver on average in our experience.
So, if you add in the fact that you don't require a grinder, don't need to buy a pound of ground coffee (63 espressos), possibly not ground correctly, watch it get more stale by the day and don't need to scoop and measure and tamp (and pray), a compelling argument can be made for pod coffee in lower volume establishments. Consistency of Pods wins out many times over the numerous variables that often go wrong with grinders and untrained baristas!
If you are using a Rancilio machine made after January 2008 ( check the date on the machine nameplate),there is another option. A Rancilio Pod portafilter kit is available, which fits directly into the grouphead and includes a special pod basket. This means that this special handle is not required. Once installed, the group head can only be used for ESE pods. If you want to use a grinder and regular espresso, but want to use decaf pods, then keep the grouphead standard and use the pressurized pod portafilter for the best of both worlds!
Why Decaf Pods?
Decaf is often given short shrift by many restaurants and lower volume establishments due to the low demand. This often results in the use of stale coffee or throwing away old and stale decaf grind. To avoid this, many restaurant owners could enhance their decaf coffee quality and reduce costs by using decaf pods with the pressurized pod portafilter handle.