Value Of A Bottomless Portafilter In Developing Skill? - Page 2

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.
SEMIJim (original poster)

#11: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

baldheadracing wrote:I'd counter by saying, "How do you know that the coffee is tasting as good as it can be?"
This would be part of it for sure.

The last four shots I've pulled, all with the freshly-roasted espresso blend I acquired from my local roaster, were good. The last two, this morning, were excellent. If I can consistently achieve the results I did this morning I'll be happy. But still...
baldheadracing wrote: I believe that the OP has had a decent espresso grinder for less than two weeks.
baldheadracing wrote: At that point, I'd say most folks would like to shorten the learning curve and minimize frustration. A bottomless helps do that.
I think I'm mostly past the frustration stage :) ("Think" being the operative word there.) Now I'm more in the "How to achieve consistent results with minimum fuss/maximum efficiency" stage.

The two shots I pulled this morning were by
  1. Eyeballing the level of the beans in the scoop (I'm trying to do-away with having to use a scale every time)
  2. Homogenizing the distribution in the basket with my homemade WDT tool (becoming a big believer in this tool!)
  3. Lightly tapping the PF to settle the grind
  4. Remove dosing funnel
  5. Lightly place distribution tool atop the grind and turn a couple times under its own weight
  6. Gradually bear down while turning until I'd done a couple full turns with the rim of the distribution tool firmly on the rim of the PF basket.
In both cases the pour started at about 7-8 seconds and lasted ±30 seconds. Had nice, but not excessive crema. The pucks came cleanly out of the PF with a sharp strike on the knock box bar. The first of last night's two was slightly sour. I dropped the Vario's micro setting one step.

I have the machine set to put out ±100ml of water flowing freely into a measuring cup. The last time I measured the output I was getting around 35g in the cup with ±17g of coffee in the PF.


#12: Post by SandraF »

I had been reading this forum a few months before I decided on what machine & grinder to buy. At the same time I bought the bottomless portafilter and it's invaluable as a learning tool. It tells me a lot and let's me know if my efforts have paid off or if I just made it worse.

I'm only a few months into this but I still watch my shot pulls every time I make espresso.

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#13: Post by baldheadracing »

SEMIJim wrote:...
The two shots I pulled this morning were by
  1. Eyeballing the level of the beans in the scoop (I'm trying to do-away with having to use a scale every time)
I'd recommend weighing all the time, and logging everything.

For example:
Weigh beans into the grinder if you are single-dosing. Weigh grounds coming out of the grinder (especially with an unmodified Vario). Final shot weight. Shot time. Taste. That's five items to log.

Once your log start looking like columns of pretty much the same numbers over and over within a bag of coffee, then consider dropping items.

I don't do all that regularly anymore - I only do it when I open a new bag/roast, but I still weigh beans going into the grinder every single time - doesn't matter if it is espresso or pourover or cold brew.

Consistency is the foundation of excellent espresso.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

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#14: Post by slybarman »

I give it an 8.

It is very useful, especially early on or when making changes to equipment or process. Also, when you tried everything else in a particular situation and just need a sanity check.

That said, it's not the end all, be all, and you can probably "get there" without one. It would likely just take longer and with more waste.

I prefer a spouted filter for everyday use.


#15: Post by Bluenoser »

It is so useful for newish users I still can't believe manufacturers still include the single spouted. Would be far more useful to more people to have a double and bottomless. It just shows the reluctance to change by many manufacturers. From what I read, for every user that uses the single, 10 have the back flush disk permanently installed.

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#16: Post by PIXIllate »

Essential. Anyone that doesn't use one regularly (at least while dialing in a new coffee) or all the time has no idea how their extractions are. Regardless of your experience level. Some coffees are just more demanding or, as I've just experienced, stale even though it was an expensive bag of coffee.

To paraphrase Dick Cheney, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.

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#17: Post by yakster »

9, you can live without it but you'll prolong developing and fine tuning your espresso skills quite a while if you don't have one. How much would you pay for a barista training course? Think of this tool as part of that training.

The only reason I didn't give this a 10 is because I started with a La Peppina lever where the handle of the portafilter connects to the spouts making a bottomless portafilter problematic; a few people have made their own handleless La Peppina bottomless portafilters with silicon bands to grip to be able to lock in and remove the portafilter from the group. Luckily the small 45 mm portafilter basket that the La Peppina uses is not especially prone to channeling.

LMWDP # 272

SEMIJim (original poster)

#18: Post by SEMIJim (original poster) »

another_jim wrote: Nothing like getting squirted in the eye to find out you have a lot to learn.
I couldn't figure out what you meant by this until I started reading reviews of a bottomless PF candidate on Amazon and read complaints from some about them spraying coffee all over creation. It would never have occurred to me that could or would happen. Hmmm...

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#19: Post by JR_Germantown »

PIXIllate wrote:To paraphrase Dick Cheney, there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.
Great quote, but I believe it's from Rumsfeld. ;)


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#20: Post by PIXIllate »

I unknowingly knew that.