Why Is Your Espresso Puck Sticking to the Group Head? Let’s Fix It!

crazy by Editorial Staff | Posted on March 31st, 2023

Hey there, fellow coffee enthusiast! Have you ever pulled a shot of espresso only to find the puck clinging to the group head? It’s not only frustrating, but it can be a bit of a mess to clean up.


But don’t worry—today, we’re going to demystify this pesky issue and help you brew your espresso with ease.

espresso puck

What’s the Deal with Stuck Espresso Pucks?

First, let’s get the basics down. An espresso puck is the compressed clump of coffee grounds that remains after you pull a shot of espresso. In an ideal world, the puck should come out nice and neat, ready to be knocked out of the portafilter with just a tap. But sometimes, the puck has other plans.

You might notice your puck is a little too wet or, worse yet, it’s stubbornly sticking to the group head screen. Ugh, right? Don’t worry, though—we’ve got your back. Let’s explore why this happens and how to make it a thing of the past.

Reasons for a Stubborn Puck

Here are the most common reasons for a stuck espresso puck, along with some handy tips to fix them:

Cause of Stuck PuckSolution
Overpacking the portafilterUse the right espresso ratio and weigh your coffee dose.
Uneven tampingPractice tamping evenly for consistent water flow.
Dirty group head screenRegularly clean the group head screen and backflush after use.
Environmental factorsBe mindful of changes in barometric pressure or humidity.

Easy Cleanup Techniques

If you find yourself with a stuck puck, fear not! Here are some handy techniques for a quick and mess-free cleanup:

  • The Portafilter Method: Place the portafilter back up near the group head (don’t lock it in). Align it with the puck and gently scrape it off.
  • The Paper Towel Trick: Grab a paper towel and cup it around the puck. A gentle tap and a bit of pressure from your fingers should do the trick. Careful if it’s hot!
  • The Shower Screen Solution: Don’t want to touch the grounds? Run the shower screen without the portafilter attached, and watch the puck fall off. It might be a tad messy, but it works.

Common Questions About Stuck Pucks

Q: Does a stuck puck mean my espresso shot is ruined? A: Not at all! Some of the best espresso shots might have a stuck puck. It’s not ideal, but it doesn’t mean the shot is wasted.

Q: How can I prevent the puck from sticking in the future? A: Weigh your coffee dose, tamp evenly, use the right basket size, keep the group head clean, and adjust the grind if needed.

Q: How often should I clean the group head screen? A: Ideally, clean the group head screen regularly and backflush after every use to prevent residue build-up.

Wrapping It Up

There you have it! A stuck puck can be a bit of a nuisance, but with a little know-how, you can keep your espresso game on point. And hey, even if your puck decides to stick around for a bit, it doesn’t mean your shot is ruined.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.