There's a lot of jargon in the world of espresso and even more when it comes to espresso machines. That's why in this guide we're listing every single core component of an espresso machine. After reading this guide I guarantee you will know the name of every espresso machine part and what they do.
Use the table below to jump to a coffee machine part. We've listed every main espresso machine component in alphabetical order, followed by a FAQ. Enjoy the guide!
This a one-way valve designed to close once steam begins to accumulate in the boiler. This action allows the boiler to build up pressure, essential for generating steam used in frothing milk.
Control boards are the electronic brains of an espresso machine, governing its various functions and settings. They manage operations like temperature control, water flow, and brewing time, and can be simple analog circuits or advanced digital interfaces.
This is the heart of the espresso machine, responsible for heating water to the precise temperature needed for brewing espresso and producing steam. There are 3 different types of boilers depending on the machine: single boiler, heat-exchange, or dual boiler. Boilers are typically made of copper or stainless steel.
Positioned below the group head and portafilter, this removable tray catches any spills or drips, keeping the workspace clean and dry. It's typically made of stainless for easy cleaning.
Typically a paddle on top of the group head that allows you to adjust the water flow rate through your coffee, which in turn allows you to alter extraction times and pressures for different flavor profiles.
This electronic or mechanical device measures the volume of water passing through the espresso machine, ensuring each shot of espresso has a consistent amount of water. Typically espresso machines with volumetric controls have these.
Also known as a group seal, it a seal usually made of rubber or silicone, that ensures a tight seal between the portafilter and the group head, preventing leaks during brewing.
Group Gasket Spacer
If your group gasket seal doesn't fit perfectly in your group head, you can buy little spacers to get the perfect snug fit.
The front-facing part of the machine where the portafilter attaches. It directs hot water from the boiler into the portafilter and is crucial for maintaining stable brewing temperature and pressure.
This component is inside the boiler and is responsible for heating the water. It's usually a coiled wire or metal plate that converts electrical energy into heat. On some machines these can be thermocoils/blocks or thermojets located inside the group head, like on Breville machines, to instantly heat brew water.
Hoses serve a fundamental role to allow the movement of water from one component to another in the espresso machine. They come in a bunch of sizes and build quality depending on the machine.
Hot Water Spout
A separate outlet that dispenses hot water for making Americanos, tea, or for pre-heating cups. It taps directly into the boiler or a dedicated hot water line. Most espresso machines have this.
Machine legs are the supports on which an espresso machine stands. They ensure stability and proper leveling, which is crucial for consistent espresso extraction. Some legs are adjustable, allowing the machine to be perfectly balanced on uneven surfaces.
An in-built grinder is a feature in some espresso machines that allows for grinding coffee beans directly into the portafilter. If you're interested in these types of machines we've created a list of them here.
These lights provide visual cues about the machine's status, such as when it's heating up, ready to brew, or needs water. Most machines have some sort of lights.
Over Pressure Valve
Also known as an expansion valve , this safety feature regulates the maximum pressure in the machine, preventing over-extraction of coffee and ensuring the machine operates within safe limits.
A PID (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) Controller continuously monitors the temperature inside the boiler and adjusts the heating element to maintain a consistent brewing temperature. Unlike Pressure Stats, which have a wider temperature swings, a PID keeps the temperature within a very narrow range. You find these in more modern PID espresso machines.
A key part of the portafilter is this metal container with tiny holes that holds the ground coffee. It's where the coffee becomes espresso. Portafilter baskets comes in different sizes for single, double, or triple shots.
An obvious one, it's the main control for turning the espresso machine on and off. Some dual boiler machines allow you to just turn on the brew boiler. Other machines also have power settings like eco-mode.
Typically located on the front panel and most machines have two. One gauge displays the bar pressure during extraction to monitor your brew pressure. While another shows the steam pressure within the steam boiler to know how much steam power you have.
Pressure Relief Valve
Also known as "Boiler Safety Valves", this valve automatically releases pressure from the boiler when it reaches a certain level, preventing potential overpressure damage.
A thermostat-like device that controls the pressure in the boiler, and in turns controls the temperature of the water used to extract your espresso. It works by switching the heating element on and off. Older and cheaper espresso machines typically have one, while newer machines have a PID system.
The pump is what drives water through the coffee grounds at high pressure, which is essential for creating espresso. There are two main types: vibratory and rotary pumps. A third type is magnetic gear that can vary pressure, which is only found in high end machines.
Also known as a group or dispersion screen, a shower screen is a metal disc with small holes located in the group head. Its function is to evenly distribute hot water over the coffee puck in the portafilter. This ensures uniform extraction.
A valve that controls water flow in the machine. It's often used to redirect water back to the reservoir or drip tray after a shot is pulled or pressure gets too great during an extraction.
Spouts connect to the bottom of a portafilter to allow the espresso to flow into your cup in a stream. They come in single and double spouts.
This is a metal tube that extends from the machine and is used to steam and froth milk. It usually has a knob or lever to control the steam flow.
Located at the end of the steam wand, the steam tip has small holes where the steam is released. The number of holes affect how fast the steam comes out of your steam wand.
Controls the temperature of the water and steam in the machine, ensuring that each component is operating at the optimal temperature for its function.
This can be a simple mechanical timer or an electronic one that shows the duration of the espresso shot, influencing the volume and strength of the espresso.
A heated area on top of the machine where cups can be stored. It's used to pre warm your cups before making espresso.
The container where water is stored before being heated and used for brewing espresso or generating steam. In larger or commercial machines, this might be directly plumbed into a water line.
Espresso Machine Components FAQ
Below are some common questions people have asked me about coffee maker parts. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any specific types.
Do E61 espresso machines share the same parts?
Yes and no. You will find that a lot of E61 brands share parts due to the shared group head design. However for internals, many brands have their own unique parts. So when buying a part for your E61 machine, it's best to research to make sure the part is right for your machine.
Where can you buy spare coffee machine components?
There are a lot of coffee retailers that sell coffee machine components online. Best to do a search online. However, if you are unsure how to install them yourself, consider taking the parts to a local technician.
What are the main parts of the portafilter?
There are three main parts to a portafilter: the handle, the basket holder, and the basket itself.
And Now You Know Every Espresso Machine Component!
We hope you've enjoyed this guide and it's helped you answer a question about what a particular part of a coffee machine is called and what it does. If we've left out a component you're interested in learning about, leave a comment below and we'll add it to the list!