Value Of A Bottomless Portafilter In Developing Skill? - Page 4

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks.
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slybarman

#31: Post by slybarman »

I rarely use my bottomless but this thread had me thinking about it, so I used it to pull a couple shots this morning. I was trying to evaluate why I don't use it on a regular basis (having nothing to do with its value as a tool for evaluating technique). I decided my two main reasons are:

1- Ergonomically speaking, I do not care for the weight of the bottomless - or I should say lack thereof. I really enjoy the heft and substantial feel of the spouted portafilter. This has no bearing whatsoever on the coffee in the cup, it is purely a sensory thing. I find much of making espresso is a sensory experience.

2. I feel compelled to squat down and watch every single shot as it develops. My technique is well dialed in. My shots are not channeling. They develop evenly and pour well. There really is nothing to see, yet I feel compelled to squat and watch each one. Yeah, I could get a mirror, but still . . . nothing to really see.

On the plus side, as mentioned above, clean up is quite quick and easy. I also like being able to tamp on the edge of the counter with the bottomless. It feels nicely balanced to do so. But, at the end of the day, I just really prefer the spouted filter for everyday use.

All of this is off-topic in that it has nothing to do with the value of the bottomless in developing one's technique. I am just offering a couple of rando observations. :lol:

Nate42

#32: Post by Nate42 »

SEMIJim wrote: Eyeballing the level of the beans in the scoop (I'm trying to do-away with having to use a scale every time)
About the only thing I would rate as more valuable than a bottomless portafilter is a scale. Don't "eyeball" ANYTHING, especially when learning.

Weigh your beans before you grind. Weigh what comes out of the grinder (at least until you are confident in how much retention you get). Weigh espresso output so you know your brew ratio and when to stop the shot. If you have a scale there is no good reason not to use it. I for one find it easier than futzing around with scoops, and WAY more accurate than your eyeballs. When it comes to weighing the final shot, 1 gram is roughly equal to a milliliter. (ok so density of espresso is less than water, but work with me here for sake of argument...). +/- 1 g is very easy to see and control when deciding when to stop your shot. And it makes a surprisingly big difference in taste. Whereas, I defy you to repeatably stop a shot by volume at +/- 1mL, even if you are pulling into a graduated shot glass. And definitely not by "eyeballing".

When you are learning in particular, you want to change one variable at a time, and if the other variables aren't under control it is impossible.

Back to the original topic of bottomless PF, besides the obvious benefit of being able to see if you channeling, they are just easier to keep clean. I never use anything else. The only benefit of a spouted portafilter is if you are going to split a double into two singles, which I have literally never wanted to do.

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spressomon

#33: Post by spressomon »

Bottomless PF usage is everyday here. I do have a double spouted PF for the Slayer but it seldom gets swapped in. But, if you are completely happy and content with the flavor of your espresso, then leave it alone. OTOH... :lol:
No Espresso = Depresso

PIXIllate
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#34: Post by PIXIllate »

Someone needs to show me how to be completely happy and content with ANYTHING. I'm envious of people who can do that.

erik82

#35: Post by erik82 »

SEMIJim wrote:I'm curious as to HB members' feelings on the relative value of a bottomless portafilter in developing one's espresso-making skill? Reason I ask is twofold: 1. They're kind of spendy, at $42-$65 on Amazon, and 2. It's a bit of a roll of the dice, since Breville, itself, doesn't make a 54mm bottomless portafilter.
A bottomless is really cheap as you should have a single and double spouted and only need one (or none of them). Just drill out the bottom of one of those and you're done. No need to buy aftermarket crap that doesn't fit well and give a lot of other problems. I've done it multiple times as my Bezzera Strega also had impossible dimensions and Bezzera didn't sell one in the beginning.

10 for me but my machine only has a bottomless portafilter. I think with all my machines in the past combined together I haven't used a normal portafilter in over 8 years. I really hate cleaning portafilters and you don't have to with a naked. Just because I'm lazy. And yes it can give a mess if your technique isn't spot on but that just means for me I need to pay more attention on my technique. You'll have some small spritzers along the way how experienced you are but not the big mess as in the beginning.

I'm making espresso for over 15 years now and still find it a must have. I just couldn't live without one.

baldheadracing
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#36: Post by baldheadracing »

PIXIllate wrote:Someone needs to show me how to be completely happy and content with ANYTHING. I'm envious of people who can do that.
:lol: I have no idea how old you are, but, for me, the turning point was retiring at, as we say in Canada, "Freedom 55."

In espresso, for me, it was after a few :oops: machines. On my last machine, I haven't measured anything - the Scace, pressure gauge, and refractometer haven't been used. I only weigh beans in. (I still use a bottomless for ease of clean-up.)

In coffee, it was home roasting (and cupping). Before, I'd get a nice cup from a well-regarded third-wave roaster, re-order the 'same' coffee right away, and occasionally get a roast that tasted different, and/or pulled differently. Drove me nuts.

PIXIllate
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#37: Post by PIXIllate »

baldheadracing wrote::lol: I have no idea how old you are, but, for me, the turning point was retiring at, as we say in Canada, "Freedom 55.

In coffee, it was home roasting (and cupping). Before, I'd get a nice cup from a well-regarded third-wave roaster, re-order the 'same' coffee right away, and occasionally get a roast that tasted different, and/or pulled differently. Drove me nuts.
I'm getting up there but I can guarantee that there will not be freedom at 55 for me.

In the past year I've tried a lot of Canadian roasters. Some of them multiple times. I don't want to be too quick to blame them for my inconsistent experiences but as my skill level evolves I'm starting to get more comfortable calling them out a bit.

To paraphrase Billy Joel, consistency seems to be hard to find. I know nothing about roasting so maybe a certain amount of it is unavoidable but for some of these roasters a $30 227g bag of coffee is a bit much to swallow if they can't identify a bad roast before they sell it to me.

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baldheadracing
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#38: Post by baldheadracing »

PIXIllate wrote:... To paraphrase Billy Joel, consistency seems to be hard to find. I know nothing about roasting so maybe a certain amount of it is unavoidable but for some of these roasters a $30 227g bag of coffee is a bit much to swallow if they can't identify a bad roast before they sell it to me.
It is avoidable. Roasting in and of itself isn't the issue - it's what the roaster does/doesn't do to check on the quality of roasts.

It seems that the bigger the company, the more likely there will be quality assurance plans and procedures in place. Industrial-sized roasting companies like illy generally have good Quality Assurance/Quality Control. Among smaller-volume roasters, I think that Tim Wendelboe has a reasonable plan in place. (I've worked a bit - and published a very little bit - in QA/QC.)

Unfortunately, I don't think that a plan like Tim Wendelboe's is common among smaller-volume roasters.

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LBIespresso
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#39: Post by LBIespresso » replying to baldheadracing »

Hmmm...Do I sense a new thread in the Roasting section of Home-Barista? "Tim Wendleboe Approach to Quality" by Baldheadracing ? :wink:

Pretty please?
LMWDP #580

randytsuch

#40: Post by randytsuch »

Bought a cheap chinese bottomless from ebay a few months ago.

It does the job, but it is feels light and cheap. Also the ears are thinner, so it goes past 6 oclock.
I might buy a better one at some point.