The E61 grouphead is one of the most iconic and widely used espresso machine components in the world. It was first introduced in 1961 by the Italian manufacturer Faema and quickly became the industry standard for commercial espresso machines. Today, the E61 grouphead remains a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts and professional baristas alike due to its exceptional temperature stability, reliability, and ease of use.

What is the E61 Grouphead?

At its core, the E61 grouphead is a mechanism that controls the flow of water and steam through an espresso machine. It consists of several key components, including a grouphead body, a brewing chamber, a shower screen, a dispersion plate, and a portafilter holder. The grouphead body is typically made of brass or copper and serves as the main housing for the brewing chamber and other internal parts.

The brewing chamber, which is also known as the grouphead valve, is responsible for regulating the flow of water and steam into the portafilter basket. The shower screen is a thin metal disk with tiny holes that is placed over the top of the brewing chamber to evenly distribute water and create a consistent extraction. The dispersion plate, also known as the diffuser or gicleur, is a small brass disc with a series of holes that further controls the water flow and creates a gentle pre-infusion before the full pressure of the brewing process begins.

One of the key features of the E61 grouphead is its unique thermal design, which allows for exceptional temperature stability during the brewing process. The grouphead body contains a large brass thermosyphon that circulates hot water from the boiler through the grouphead and back again, ensuring that the brewing temperature remains consistent even during high-volume use. The E61 grouphead also includes a built-in heat exchanger that preheats the water as it passes through the system, further improving temperature stability and reducing the risk of overheating.

In addition to its technical features, the E61 grouphead has become a beloved symbol of espresso culture and craftsmanship. Many coffee enthusiasts and baristas appreciate the simplicity and reliability of the design, as well as the way that it allows them to fully engage with the brewing process and craft the perfect shot of espresso. Whether you’re a professional barista or a passionate home coffee brewer, the E61 grouphead is an essential component that can help you achieve exceptional espresso flavor and quality.

History of the E61 Grouphead

The E61 grouphead is a legendary and iconic espresso machine component that has been around for over half a century. It is named after the year it was introduced, 1961, by the Italian company Faema, also know as the E61 Faema. The patent for the E61 is #3,230,974 and was filed September 25, 1961 by Ernesto Valente and approved on Jan 25, 1966. The invention was named after the way it worked: “Alternately Seating Valves.” and was referred to as the E-61 group.The E61 grouphead is an essential component of most high-end, commercial-grade espresso machines, and it has played a crucial role in the evolution of espresso coffee.

E61 Grouphead by Ernesto Valente and Faema

The E61 grouphead was a significant milestone in the history of espresso machines because it introduced several critical features that are still used today. The E61 was the first espresso machine to use a thermosiphon system to heat the water for brewing. This system uses a boiler to heat water to a high temperature, and then a thermosiphon tube circulates the hot water through the grouphead and back to the boiler, maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the brewing process.

Another essential feature of the E61 grouphead is its pre-infusion system. The pre-infusion system allows water to flow through the coffee grounds slowly and evenly before the brewing process begins. This helps to ensure that the coffee is extracted evenly and produces a consistent, high-quality espresso shot. The E61 grouphead was also the first to introduce a portafilter with a handle that could be locked in place, making it much easier to use and more convenient for baristas.

The E61 grouphead was quickly adopted by other espresso machine manufacturers, and it became the standard for high-end commercial-grade espresso machines. Today, the E61 grouphead is still in use in many commercial-grade espresso machines and is highly sought after by coffee enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Most would agree that the E61 grouphead is an iconic and essential component of most high-end, commercial-grade espresso machines. Its introduction in 1961 was a significant milestone in the history of espresso machines, and it introduced several critical features that are still used today. The E61 grouphead’s pre-infusion system, thermosiphon system, and portafilter handle locking mechanism are just a few of the many features that have made it a favorite among coffee enthusiasts and professionals.