Please offer me guidance on how to use my "naked" portafilter

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by AUSTINrob »

I know my wife ordered me the naked portafilter that I requested for Christmas, but I don't know exactly how I should be using it.

1st off - I asked for it to see if i am making any major errors to my distributing/tamping technique - plus i've also read that some people prefer the texture of the espresso coming out of a naked portafilter...

Currently I have a double basket and have my grinder set up so I am pulling ~2.5 oz in ~30 seconds (1.25 oz to each cup). The new portafilter that we ordered comes with the triple basket. So, how should I start experimenting, should I put the double basket in it and just start by pouring a "double shot" to a single glass?

How do you folks manage using both a regular and a naked portafilter in your routine?

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#2: Post by HB »

The how-to Perfecting the Naked Extraction offers photos, tips and a problem checklist. The FAQs and Favorites links many threads on the subject under Extraction Diagnosis, among them my favorite videos When did this espresso extraction go blond?, slow motion (video quizzes), and Videos of espresso extractions.

I use a bottomless portafilter most of the time to check on the evenness of the extraction and because it eliminates the need to rinse the portafilter. I use a double basket and pull into one demitasse (usually around 1.5 to 1.75 ounces). If you're pulling 2.5 ounces, you'll need a demitasse used for macchiatos. My favorite is the ACF 'Nero' macchiato cup (3.0 ounces) - tell your wife it makes a great stocking stuffer. ;-)
Dan Kehn

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#3: Post by sweaner »

What Dan said. Also, you can experiment with the triple basket, but I usually still use the double. The naked is much easier to keep clean, and I still enjoy watching the extraction. Except for the occasional spritzer!
LMWDP #248

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#4: Post by TimEggers »

Bottomless portafilters can be a great tool and I would recommend looking at the articles Dan highlights and they can be very practical to keep clean. However don't become a "visual cupper" that is only sampling the shots that look the best.

I've just broke that habit and I hope I haven't wasted too many great shots. Remember the whole point of making espresso at home is to get the best flavor from the beans as possible, not make the prettiest extraction. I've made shots that looked off, but whose flavors came together beautifully in the cup, don't stop tasting your espresso and enjoy your bottomless portafilter.
Tim Eggers
LMWDP #202


#5: Post by zin1953 »

I, too, have "bottomless" ("naked") portafilters for two of my machines (the Elektra and the Valentina). I use them when I'm using a new (to me) coffee, as (at least, I'd like to think) it helps me "dial in" the right grind/dose/tamp. I also use them periodically as a "check" on my technique. That said, the overwhelming majority of the time, they stay on the shelf and I use my "spouted" portafilters for my shots.

A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

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Team HB

#6: Post by RapidCoffee »

AUSTINrob wrote:I know my wife ordered me the naked portafilter that I requested for Christmas, but I don't know exactly how I should be using it.
Use the bottomless PF exactly the same way that you use the regular PF.
AUSTINrob wrote:How do you folks manage using both a regular and a naked portafilter in your routine?
I've got two PFs for my Gaggia Factory (one bottomless) and five (!) PFs for my Vetrano (two bottomless). The bottomless PFs get used 99% of the time. There are practical reasons for this, but the primary reason is simple: I enjoy using the bottomless PF more. Watching the naked extraction adds a significant aesthetic component to the experience. Every now and then I pull a shot using the regular PF, but it's just not as much fun. So for the most part, my regular PFs are relegated to cleaning chores (PF wiggles and backflushes).


#7: Post by zin1953 »

zin1953 wrote:That said, the overwhelming majority of the time, they stay on the shelf and I use my "spouted" portafilters for my shots.
RapidCoffee wrote:The bottomless PFs get used 99% of the time.
So, in other words, YES -- use it however you want to! :wink:
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

AUSTINrob (original poster)

#8: Post by AUSTINrob (original poster) »

Cool - thanks for all the input.

I think if i just alter my current set-up from pulling two 1.25 shots to pulling two 1 ounce shots, then when I want to, I can seamlessly switch to the bottomless portafilter and pull a double into one cup and still use my normal demitasse cups. Problem solved.

I'm pretty pumped to have some new toys to play with - which is dangerous as my setup is over a year old and I still go to bed every night all excited thinking about the following mornings shot.

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#9: Post by cannonfodder »

Just don't lose focus. I found myself kneeling at the espresso alter every shot and not paying as much attention to the end product. I put the bottomless up and went back to the spouts after that realization. I still get it out particularly when I am working with a new coffee or trying some new variable. I also use it when I pull a triple.

While an ugly shot is usually not tasty, I have also had shot that looked perfect and tasted like dish water. I actually like my spouted portafilter better than my bottomless. I like the texture better. The crema from a bottomless tends to have a larger bubble, which is why the crema volume tends to be higher. From a spouted portafilter the crema tends to be denser and creamier most of the time. There are always exceptions to the rule. Use both and decide which you prefer.
Dave Stephens

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#10: Post by ChadTheNomad »

I was pulling naked triple ristrettos for a few years and got very consistent with dosing, tamping, distribution, etc. Beautiful shots almost every time, and I attribute it to some of the minor defects that I had in the process that the naked pf showed me.

I switched to a double, and found a few more defects. So, using the naked pf I was able to get my double back into shape, dial in my blend with the grinder, temperature, temp, etc.

So, it's a nice tool, imo. I like the texture, though even with my regular pf I took off the spouts. I love the almost frothy crema you can get from fresh beans, especially when making a cappuccino/macchiato where it sits on the surface. Delicious.