Bottomless Portafilters: Why and How
If you've been making espresso at home for years and you're looking to improve your barista skills, one of the tools we get asked about the most is the bottomless or ‘naked' portafilter.
Picture your regular portafilter – there's the solid chrome-plated brass bottom of the basket with two spouts. The bottomless portafilter looks like a metal ring with a handle – no spouts.
Why switch? Well, there are a few reasons; first of all, it allows you to experiment with your grinding, dosing, and tamping techniques. It's a learning tool because you can see the extraction process as it flows through the exposed basket. The aim is to have the espresso flow through the puck into a single column of liquid. Another reason baristas love the bottomless portafilter is that you've got more room under the group-head for a larger cup.
Without a spout to travel through, you'll notice the espresso shot crema will be much more developed with a bottomless portafilter, so lovely bonus there! Minus the spouts, the portafilter sits flat on the counter for better tamping and can fit a deeper basket as well.
As with any new method, adjustments are all part of the learning process. If multiple streams of espresso develop, instead of a single column, that's called channeling, and it can mean that the grind wasn't quite right, or it could be an uneven tamp. Again, experimenting is what it's all about when you start to play with the bottomless portafilter.
All the major espresso machine manufacturers offer bottomless portafilters to fit their machines; here are the ones we carry at Espressotec
If we've piqued your interest in the bottomless portafilter, you're bound to have questions – so ask away – call or visit us at Espressotec, and we can give you more details.