Misc. brewing questions

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
jeffg2020

Postby jeffg2020 » Mar 12, 2018, 5:21 pm

Hi folks. A few brewing-related Qs that have been on my mind:

Is there any reason not to use a bottomless PF all the time? Do the spouts confer any advantage re shot quality?

Is there a good scale that both measures shot weight (in g's) and times the shot? Preferably thin enough so it doesn't push the cup up too far.

Should time increase proportionally to grams in and out at the same brewing ratio? Say you're doing a ristretto, 15 g in, 15 g out in about 20 seconds. If you increase to 20 g in/out that's a 33% increase. Should the shot then take about 33% longer for the same flavor profile?

A lot of attention is paid to tamping & distribution. But what about the moment when you tighten the PF into the group head? Seems to me if you do that w/ any force there's potential to make cracks in the puck & basically undo whatever good work you did w/ the grind & tamp.

RockyIII

Postby RockyIII » Mar 12, 2018, 8:16 pm

jeffg2020 wrote:Is there any reason not to use a bottomless PF all the time? Do the spouts confer any advantage re shot quality?


Jeff,

I don't know of any quality difference in flavor, but a bottomless is a little easier to keep clean with no gunk building up under the basket like can happen with a standard portafilter.

Generally I have always preferred using a bottomless portafilter just because the shot developing and flowing from underneath is pretty to watch. That was until I got a Cremina. Now I find the standard portafilter used without a spout very easy for tamping, but mainly I like the mass for cooling the group head between shots. I run it under cold water and lock it in empty for two minutes, which gets my machine back to the correct temperature for the next shot. With a bottomless, I was having to do the procedure twice.

Rocky

HH

Postby HH » Mar 12, 2018, 8:54 pm

Hi Jeff!

Is there any reason not to use a bottomless PF all the time? Do the spouts confer any advantage re shot quality?


None that I know of. When you start using it it can be unforgiving of poor distribution, so some avoid it because of this. I feel it's better to know about poor distribution so it can be remedied.

Is there a good scale that both measures shot weight (in g's) and times the shot? Preferably thin enough so it doesn't push the cup up too far.


There are several, I use a Brewista V2 which has as much functionality as any of them, being able to time manually as well as automatically from the moment espresso hits the cup.

A lot of attention is paid to tamping & distribution. But what about the moment when you tighten the PF into the group head? Seems to me if you do that w/ any force there's potential to make cracks in the puck & basically undo whatever good work you did w/ the grind & tamp.


Unless you're using a much bigger dose than recommended for the portafilter, there should be enough headspace above the pick to stop this from being an issue.
Hope this helps!

Henry

jeffg2020

Postby jeffg2020 » Mar 13, 2018, 4:04 pm

Henry, thx.

Regarding putting the PF into the group head, I wasn't thinking so much about the height, more about 2 things:
1) Unless you really minimize force, you're likely banging the PF against the sides OR top of the "armature" that grips it. Wouldn't take much force to knock cracks into your smoothly compressed puck
2) When you twist the PF in, it's largely but not 100% rigid: there could be torsion that's transmitted to the puck and shifts things around.

Now you could say I'm overthinking this! But people are so obsessive about other aspects, it occurred to me this was at least worth considering. [nerd emoji here]

HH

Postby HH » Mar 13, 2018, 4:27 pm

It's an interesting thought! I suppose we can only control such variables to a certain extent. I think I would struggle to do too much damage to the puck with torsional movement, given I tend to tamp to full compression. I'm not too worried about rotational movement around an axis anyway as it's a disc. In terms of banging the puck, I'm sure it does happen, but I haven't noticed it cause an increase in channeling or other observable negative outcome in my shots and they still taste good! I guess that's the nice thing about a naked PF in that things like flow and spritzers can be monitored and workflow altered if necessary.
Do you find you get much channeling with your pucks?

jeffg2020

Postby jeffg2020 » Mar 13, 2018, 4:52 pm

HH wrote: Do you find you get much channeling with your pucks?


My 1st bottomless PF arrived just a few days ago. So to be candid I'm not 100% sure what a "perfect" extraction looks like!

foreseeablebananas

Postby foreseeablebananas » Mar 14, 2018, 5:25 pm

jeffg2020 wrote:Hi folks. A few brewing-related Qs that have been on my mind:

Is there any reason not to use a bottomless PF all the time? Do the spouts confer any advantage re shot quality?

Is there a good scale that both measures shot weight (in g's) and times the shot? Preferably thin enough so it doesn't push the cup up too far.

Should time increase proportionally to grams in and out at the same brewing ratio? Say you're doing a ristretto, 15 g in, 15 g out in about 20 seconds. If you increase to 20 g in/out that's a 33% increase. Should the shot then take about 33% longer for the same flavor profile?

A lot of attention is paid to tamping & distribution. But what about the moment when you tighten the PF into the group head? Seems to me if you do that w/ any force there's potential to make cracks in the puck & basically undo whatever good work you did w/ the grind & tamp.


1) I prefer using spouts to minimize the mess that a side spurt would cause
2) Would recommend the Acaia Lunar—this is by far the best and most durable scale I've ever owned
3) Time should increase, but I wouldn't blindly aim for a certain proportion. Taste and adjust as necessary
4) Don't bang the portafilter on the machine, insert it gently. The impact force will make it more likely to channel (which is why hitting it with the tamper is no longer a thing in modern cafes).

daveR1

Postby daveR1 » Mar 15, 2018, 10:22 pm

HH wrote:When you start using it it can be unforgiving of poor distribution, so some avoid it because of this. I feel it's better to know about poor distribution so it can be remedied.


what he said