Great question and post. I ruined my first portafilter trying to fix it myself without looking up instructions. Couldn't figure out how to get the parts to work properly. Thanks Henry for explaining in detail what to do. I was so afraid to take apart my current portafilter because of all the warnings I've read online. Your answer gave me the courage to take my portafilter apart and clean out all the crud that had accumulated over the last two years. No wonder my latte's haven't tasted good in awhile. I'm happy to say that after following your step by step instructions, my lattes are better than ever. Thanks again!!