For anyone looking to up their espresso without spending a ton of money, a bottomless or naked portafilter is one of the best ways to do so.
A bottomless portafilter is essentially a normal portafilter, but without spouts, leaving the brew basket completely exposed.
While it might not seem very different, the lack of spouts actually has a greater impact on the espresso shots than one would think.
Benefits of bottomless Portafilters
One of the best reasons to purchase this style of portafilter, or convert your existing one to it, is for higher quality espresso shots. Because there are no spouts for the espresso to pass through, the crema will be much more developed, as less of it will disintegrate in the spouts, which will lead to the shots having a better flavor.
While the shots are pulling, it is far easier to see how they develop on their way out of the brew basket, making the bottomless portafilter great for diagnosing a wide range of problems, such as uneven tamping, tamping too hard, or having the wrong grind. This will allow the user to fine tune their proportions in order pull the most consistent shots possible.
It will also highlight any issues in your machine where water is delivered to just one portion of the portafilter leading to an uneven extraction.
Another reason to go bottomless, is convenience. Cleaning a bottomless portafilter is much easier than its spouted counterpart, simply because you don’t need any little brushes to deep clean inside of the spouts. The lack of spouts also creates more headroom between the portafilter and the drip tray on the machine, meaning taller glasses can fit underneath, meaning shot glasses may be a thing of the past.
Not only will a bottomless portafilter yield better espresso shots, but it will also look so much better doing so. Because there are no spouts to get in the way, the espresso shots will pull in one continuous caramel striped stream into the shot glass.
Bottomless is definitely the way to go, especially if you’re after a beautiful aesthetic.
The only real downside of a bottomless portafilter, is that, unless you pull only a single shot of espresso, your double shot will need to be divided and measured out if only one shot is desired. Though, for most situations, a double shot is pulled by standard.
We love the range of bottomless portafilters on offer at www.naked-portafilter.com and thank them for supplying the attached image.
Customizing your portafilter to bottomless
As mentioned earlier, it is possible to convert certain spouted portafilters into bottomless, and depending on the material it is made of, it can either be pretty quick, or require more work.
Some commercial home espresso machines have valves or flow regulators after the coffee bed (usually housed in plastic). Removing this may upset the way the machine performs so we suggest you try and get a spare portafilter to experiment on if yours has a plastic valve. In some cases the valve can be removed allowing you to experiment before you commit to the cut.
For a stainless steel portafilter, one can simply take a hacksaw to the spout section, smooth the edges, and call it a day. Though, for one made of brass, it is recommended to have the steel finish re-electroplated. If you plan to do this, make sure that your portafilter can be cut in this manner and still work properly.
If not, a lot of companies offer do offer bottomless portafilters for their machines, which can save the effort and headache.