So you have a Delonghi espresso machine that uses these 5 piece portafilters? Are you unimpressed with the shot quality? Well I have a quick and easy way to turn your $100-250 steam toy into something that will pull a great shot without spending anything!
Warning: Likely to damage warrantee
(Not that anyone actually uses it these machines are pretty much disposable)
Warning 2: May lead to upgradeitus,
OK lets talk about warning 2. what I'm trying to get to with that statement is, that if you do this mod unless you posses a good burr grinder that is capable of grinding at true espresso or finer you will likely need to buy one in order to take advantage of the increased quality. For example using Lavazza pre-ground in your pressurized portafilter is fine because the pressurization mechanism regulates the pressure automatically. By removing that mechanism the pressurization lies solely in the grind and tamp of the coffee. You grind to fine or tamp to hard , the coffee will come out incredibly slow or not at all causing over extraction. You grind to coarse or Tamp to light and you will get a really fast flow but under extracted coffee. So the grinder is the most important part of espresso just behind the beans.
So you have a good grinder and want to increase your shot quality, here's what you do.
Step 1: Disassemble the portafilter you wish to depressurize.
Step 2: See this black plate that's your pressurization mechanism. See that little round plunger in the middle? You are going to remove that plunger. Either with a pair of side cutters or with a hack saw or some other way. Watch for flying springs when it finally lets go.
Step 3: Once the plunger is removed it should look like this.
Step 4: Reassemble.
Step 5: Make awesome coffee.
And the good thing about this mod. If you decide you want to use the pressurization again. Just replace the pressurization disc from the spare basket and you have a pressurized basket again.