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Espresso Machine Parts Glossary

espresso machineOne of the most common types of questions I see in my inbox goes like this: “What is boiler?” or “What is a portafilter?” People, who want to buy a new espresso machine rarely, really know what they should look for and how to choose the right one for their home or office. That fact makes the process very difficult and sometimes you may end up with a machine you don’t want. That is why you would find very helpful the following list, which will explain the different parts of the modern espresso machine.


The meaning of this essential part of the espresso machine is portable filter. It is made of metal and consists of a handle, a basket and some spouts. Experienced baristas recommend for the portafilter to be always warmed before it is used to make espresso. Its design varies from model to model, but the main job of the portafilter is the same – it filters the coffee and provides for its fragrance.


The tamper is used to press the ground coffee in the protafilter. There are different designs of tampers, some of which are hand tampers.

Group Head

The group head, known also as the brew head, is the part that holds the portafilter during the brewing process. It is situated at the front of the espresso machine and is another important part of it. Most customers categorize the machines according to the number of group heads they have – one, two, three or four.


This particular part of the espresso machine can vary in size and material. Most of them are made of brass and stainless steel. The size of the boiler is the most important thing about it, as large boilers heat up slowly and need more power to maintain the temperature, but also make it possible to make more cups of delicious espresso. Today, many espresso machines come with two separate boilers – one for brewing and one for steam.


The pump of the espresso machine is used to fill the boiler and to push the water through the group head. It is usually made of brass and has water in and water out fitting. In some machines the pump can be turned on and off manually.


The pod is a contained and pressed grounded coffee, placed inside perforated paper filter. You can buy them individually, as they come well wrapped up to preserve their freshness.

These are the major working parts or an espresso machine. What you should consider carefully is the make and model of the part you are buying, as well as that the brand of coffee you use for your espressos is of great importance.

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