How to Measure Portafilter Size

By Brooke Davis •  Updated: 11/19/20 •  4 min read

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If you want to know how to measure portafilter size properly, you’re in for a treat!

In the following article, we’ll walk you through a brief guide that shows you three different methods that you can use to get the correct measurements of your portafilter. Let’s hop in!

Why Measuring Portafilter Size is Important

Portafilters come in a variety of sizes to serve various needs, such as dosing the coffee grounds and preparing different espresso shots, such as double espresso.

Knowing your portafilter measurements is critical for a variety of reasons. Let’s have a quick look at them.

Critical for Following Recipes

In some cases, you might find a perfect espresso recipe that you want to replicate, only to find that the recipe doesn’t mention the amount of coffee added.

Instead, it uses the size of the portafilter as a reference, such as “the whole basket” or “exactly half the basket”.

In that case, you’ll need to know the size of your own portafilter, so you can follow the recipe to the word.

Knowing the Right Measurements Ensures Consistency

If you’re a barista or someone who enjoys making a consistent espresso shot, you’ll need to figure out the size of your portafilter.

Consistent espresso means that you’re extracting the right amount of coffee from the coffee grounds.

By knowing the measurements of your portafilter, you’ll be able to find the right brewing ratio when you factor in the size.

Help You Choose the Ideal Tamper Size

The previous two reasons are pretty critical. However, you’ll be able to get by if you opt for some other solutions.

However, if you want to choose the proper tamper size for your portafilter, there are almost no other ways to do it but to measure your portafilter basket, as tampers are supposed to be less than 0.75 mm smaller than a basket on average.

Tools You Might Need to Measure a Portafilter

For the following guide, you might need some tools to help you measure the portafilter properly. Here is what you need to know about them.


A caliper is a device used to give you the exact measurement of any object. Calipers can be digital or analog.

Ideally, you may want to get a digital caliper that can convert inches to millimeters (portafilter sizes are standardized in millimeters).

Steel Measuring Tape

Alternatively, you may use a measuring tape. While any measuring tape should do, you should get one with 1/32 divisions for the highest level of accuracy while measuring.


You’ll need it for some simple math, such as conversions from inches to millimeters and changing fractions to decimals. Keep in mind that your smartphone calculator will also do the trick.

How to Measure Portafilter Size – 3 Different Methods

There are 3 different ways to measure a portafilter, let’s have a look at each one of them!

Method 1: Using the Caliper

The caliper is the easiest method of them but requires you to buy one. Simply set the caliper to millimeters and measure exactly over the centerline of the portafilter.

How to measure portafilter size

Measuring a La Pavoni bottomless portafilter using Caliper

Method 2: Using a Steel Measuring Tape

  1. Apply the measuring over the diameter of the portafilter over the centerline.
  2. Convert the measurements into decimals. You can simply do this by typing your measurements. For example (type 2 1/3 to get 2.33)
  3. Convert the inches to millimeters by multiplying by 25.4 (2.33 x 25.4 = 59.18 mm)

Method 3: Referring to a Portafilter Sizing Chart

The hassle-free method to find out your portafilter size is by using a sizing chart. However, it might be the least accurate depending on your machine model.

You can refer to our portafilter sizing chart, which includes the recommended tamper size for a wide variety of the most popular espresso machine brands on the market.

How to Measure and Tamp Your Coffee for Consistent Espresso Shots

Now that you know your portafilter size, you’ll need to get the right time.

Ideally, the tamp’s diameter should be 0.75 mm smaller than your portafilter. Round it to the lower whole number approximation to get the proper tamp.

After grinding the coffee, measure the right amount of grounds into the basket lay it flat on the counter, then gently press the tamp while applying even pressure on all the ground.

Wrap Up

There you have it. A complete guide that shows you how to measure portafilter size using various methods.

As you can see, measuring the size of your portafilter basket is critical for consistency and making the most out of your coffee.

If you’re unsure about sizing your portafilter measurements, you can simply opt for our portafilter sizing chart for a quick and easy reference to get your portafilter measurements right.

Brooke Davis

Hi everyone, my name is Brooke and I’m a Barista and freelance writer. I love brewing coffee and my favorite coffee drink is without doubt an Americano (espresso with added hot water). When I’m not busy making or writing about coffee you’ll find me hanging out at the beach with friends in California where I am currently residing. Follow me on: Linkedin

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