If there’s one thing no tired barista’s wrist appreciates at the end of a long and hectic shift of dosing and tamping, it’s scrubbing out the portafilters. Well-worn portafilters, no matter how long they’re soaked in any given detergent, will eventually develop a sort of espresso-imparted patina that gets harder and harder to completely scrub away, and yet the increasingly arduous task is a crucial component of maintaining clean-tasting espresso, and hygienic, long-lasting equipment.
Espresso machine manufacturer Nuova Simonelli has heard the call. Having already undertaken nanotechnological R&D to alter the surface of the steel out of which they forge their steam wands to achieve an inherently more hygienic, non-stick surface that does not depend on an additional coating that eventually wears off, the company has now employed that same technology to their portafilters. Going forward, all new NS machines will ship with filter-holders enhanced on the molecular level to be easier to clean.
“This innovation is the result of nanotechnology when processing the steel to prevent deposits forming,” the company stated in announcements issued in July. “Nanotech has enabled to develop the steam wand with a special certified formulation which changes, at the molecular scale, the chemical and physical properties of the treated surface. It is not, therefore, a simple coating, but a stainless steel surface with physical characteristics modified at the molecular level.”
Transferring the tech to their portafilters was a process made simpler by the fact that the treated steel had already been approved for Nuova Simonelli under the NSF 51 standard for contact with food. The company has stated that the new Nanotech filter holder is aesthetically identical to the old ones, different only in that the cleaning process should be “simpler, faster and with even better results.”
The new nanotech portafilters are currently shipping with new machines.