Best Espresso Puck Screen: Are They Worth It?

 Last Updated December 17, 2023

Espresso puck screens are trending in the world of espresso. But are they worth it? Or are they a cash grab from the humble home barista? After buying and using one myself, I can confirm they are worth it, but it depends on your coffee set up. In this post I'm taking a look at the best espresso puck screens and discussing the benefits they bring. 

Espresso puck screen

The espresso puck screen I tested.

I'll start off with my top recommendations, before explaining the benefits of puck screens, my experiences with them, and whether they are worth it for you.

Best espresso puck screens

Best for most

The reason Normcore tops our list is because they have a big range of puck sizes to fit the type of machine you have. Their sizes range from 51 mm to 58.5 mm. So they have a screen that will fit your machine.

This is the one I use at home for my machine and testing. The reason why I picked it is because it has no branding (a personal preference) and it works just as well as the Normcore. The reason why it's not the top pick is because it has a smaller range. But it does come in a handy two pack. 

This puck screen is interesting as it's very thin (0.8mm) and it has a double layer filter screen to help promote even better water flow. You will notice the circles help promote the water to flow evenly through the puck. The con is that it's a little bit more expensive.

What are espresso puck screens?

An espresso puck screen is a small metal mesh screen that you place on top of your coffee grounds (the puck) before you extract the espresso. This means that water flows through the screen first before hitting your ground coffee. 

Espresso puck screen in basket

My puck screen in my bottomless portafilter basket.

Why use a coffee puck screen?

The main benefits of a puck screen are: to promote water distribution, prevent channelling, and improve cleanliness.

Let's take a closer look at each of these benefits.

Promote water distribution

The main benefit of puck screens are to promote better water distribution through your coffee puck. The shower screen of an espresso machine is designed to do this, but depending on the type of machine you have, some do it better than others.

If you have an espresso machine that aggressively blasts water from its group, or you find that your extractions aren't even - you will get the most benefit from a puck screen.

A puck screen will seek to uniformly push water through your puck to produce more even distributions, resulting in better tasting coffee.

For my Rocket espresso machine, I made two shots of espresso to test this, one with the puck screen and one without. I found the shot without the puck screen to be more bitter compared to the puck screen shot, which was less bitter. Meaning, the shot was more even and balanced in flavor.

Puck screen taste test

The espresso shot with the puck screen (on the right) tasted less bitter.

Prevents channelling

The next benefit of a coffee puck screen is that they help prevent channelling. Channelling is when water runs unevenly through a coffee puck or breaks up the puck during the coffee making process.

You can tell if your puck has extracted evenly by the resulting coffee cake that comes out. I found when using a puck screen, my resulting coffee cake was more compressed, solid and not runny. When I did not use one, if my puck prep was not perfect, it would result in the puck breaking apart or runny.

You can see the difference in the images below. The coffee puck on the green saucer used a puck screen, while the one on the pink did not. It’s a big difference!

Espresso puck screen vs no puck screen

Puck screen coffee cake on the left vs no puck screen on the right.

No puck screen coffee cake

My coffee cake after extracting with no puck screen.

Clean shower screen

The final benefit of using a espresso shot screen is cleanliness, in particular the shower screen and espresso basket. When I used a puck screen, I found that less coffee was stuck on the shower screen post extraction (meaning less coffee grinds being sucked back into the coffee machine). I also found that the filter basket was much cleaner when using a screen.

Some people claim this means you will need to clean your machine less frequently with espresso machine cleaner, which will extend the life of your machine. But I personally think this claim is a little bit of a stretch.

But hey, I can confirm your machine will look a lot cleaner as seen by my pics below.

Portafilter clean after puck screen

This is my portafilter right after knocking my puck into my knock box. It's almost completely clean!

Shower screen no puck screen

Shower screen with no puck screen post shot.

Shower screen with puck screen

Shower screen with puck screen post shot.

Are puck screens worth it?

Now that we've gone through the benefits of puck screens, we can answer the question, are they worth it?

As mentioned at the start of the post, it really depends on your coffee set up and work flow. If you have a machine and shower screen that evenly flows water over your puck, and if your puck prep is even and consistent, you will not find much benefit other than cleanliness (which is still a pro). 

But if you find that your espresso machine is violent in its extractions or you often get channelling, you will benefit a lot more from puck screens and find your coffee tasting better.

At the end of the day these screens are not that expensive, and you can pick them up for cheap from Amazon here. And if you find that they're not for you, just return them and get your money back! This is why I got one myself, to test if they're worth it, and for me personally, they've been added to my coffee work flow.


Below are some common questions people have asked me about puck screens. Feel free to comment below if you have a question and I'll add it to the list.

Are metal puck screens better than paper screens?

Yes, metal puck screens are better than paper ones are as they're reusable, promote better water flow, and prevent more coffee from being stuck on your shower screen.

Do you need a puck screen to make good espresso?

No, you do not need a puck screen to make good espresso. But they can help you make better espresso if you're having issues with water flow or channelling. 

Why is my espresso puck soupy?

Your espresso puck is soupy as your coffee grinds were either too course and water flowed to quickly, or you did not prep your puck properly and channelling occurred. A shot screen can help prevent this channelling and produce a solid puck.


So there we have it, I hope you've learnt what puck screens are, their benefits, and if they're worth it. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below, or grab yourself a puck screen and let me know if you'll add one to your workflow. 

Best for most

The reason Normcore is our pick for most is because they have a big range of puck sizes to fit the type of machine you have. Their sizes range from 51 mm to 58.5 mm.

About The Author 

Ivan Bez

Ivan is the founder of Latte Art Guide and a barista with 10 years of experience. He loves coffee and aims to help people improve their coffee making skills.

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