[Homeroast] Turning Bottomless Portafilter

Bryan Wray bwray_thatcoffeeguy at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 30 21:57:44 CDT 2010

Just to weigh in late, without having read many of the discussion early on:
Re: Spouted vs. No-Spouts-     Most of the differences between spouted and spoutless PF have to do with the amount of crema each type of PF produces and which type of coffee.
First, the general facts:- Bottomless produce more crema- Crema leads to a fuzzy, thicker mouthfeel in espresso
My Opinions:- Crema (very generally) contains the majority of the sharp, sour flavors in espresso.  These flavors typically persist 2/3 of the way back and 1/2" off the centerline of the tongue in my experience, although there is not actually a "taste map" as many people think.- A great number of aromatics escape during the "scraping" of crema, which was previously acting as a crust.
My Conclusions from "Facts vs Opinions"A shot that has come from a spouted portafilter is going to taste more balanced, however, balance can often come across as lacking or boring to some.  When you reduce the amount of crema on the shot you also reduce the thick feeling of the espresso.  You also (in my opinion) decrease the amount of flavor in the shot because you have reduced the sharp, sour flavors.  The shot is, essentially, tamer and more "controlled."
Also, to speak to what Mike said, I've been using both styles of portafilters for 4 years now, often in side by side comparisons, and in my opinion it's a little silly to use portafilters with spouts.  They ARE dirtier, no matter how much scrubbing you think you are doing.  Dirty equipment= bitter shots.  Also, when something goes wrong on a bottomless portafilter you immediately know.  It jets/sprays/channels and you have a visible sign.  Why wouldn't you want to know immediately when something has gone wrong?  If your shot sprays, something IS wrong.  The only way to see spray is to go bottomless.
As a small side note... In regards to James' blog about crema scraping... I think it's important to know James when judging this post.  I've spoken with James a number of times at different trade-shows, jams and whatnot.  It isn't like we are best buds or anything, but you do get a sense of the type of person someone is by following their writing for a long time and I've been following James' blog for a number of years, rather religiously. He's a great guy and INCREDIBLY smart.  One of the first things you note when you meet James is how (sometimes somewhat annoyingly) inquisitive he is.  He challenges anyone to speak against his findings openly.  He wants as many people to go out and try to prove him wrong as possible, because at least then SOMEONE understands what is going on.  Sometimes this comes back to burn him later (think his infamous "Chemex technique" instructional video), but ultimately, he just wants to stir the pot and get people
 thinking.  Sometimes, it's purely for his own enjoyment, just to see how many people he can get on board with one of his ideas.  Blogs are just that... blogs.  Journals.  Thoughts that are often based solely on opinion.  I find it a little humorous that anyone on here with an espresso setup that has a price tag under $2000(ish) would be willing to completely write off James' conclusions about scraping crema.

Bryan Wray

Nor'West Coffee


Bryan at NorWestCoffee.com

It is my hope that people realize that coffee is more than just a caffeine delivery service, it can be a culinary art- Chris Owens

--- On Mon, 8/30/10, raymanowen at gmail.com <raymanowen at gmail.com> wrote:

From: raymanowen at gmail.com <raymanowen at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Homeroast] Turning Bottomless Portafilter
To: "A list to discuss home coffee roasting. There are rules for this list, available at http://www.sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html" <homeroast at lists.sweetmariascoffee.com>
Date: Monday, August 30, 2010, 2:22 PM

One more thing to add to this espresso brewing thread- This wannabe also
does not like the coffee grounds or fines of any kind to float up the column
of water from the group.

"...[miKe] can pull totally untamped nekkid shots no problem...
(Problem is tends to dirty up the group screen way fast.)"

Is that all- nothing north of the screen harbors some ultra-fine floaters in
the passages?

I have some hard white cereal bowls and saucers. Pure water from the wand
always makes a pristine crystal clear puddle when I'm pre-heating and
looking through the glass demi, then cycling some hot water back to the

100° F reservoir water doesn't bother the 55w vibe pump- ( Yay, Crapesso! )
but the thermoblock heater thinks it's growing muscles, when it's just
lifting smaller weights twice.

Temperature surfing to brew a shot of espresso is still a fact of life on
the little bugger, and a disc of bleached and rinsed filter paper retained
by a Gold [brass] mesh disc on top of the puck stops All the potential
grounds floaters. Maybe only stops 0.998, but of the Four Great Leaps
Forward in espresso brewing for me, this little pre-filter was #3.

#1 was the Grinder, and I thought "That's all, folks- can't get any better
than this."
#2 was flash or surface freezing the beans in a pressed-flat ZipLoc sandwich
bag before grinding. Better grinding and destroys heat in advance [That's
#3 Described above- [No flavors extraneous to the fresh grounds- Can't get
any better]
#4 was Vibro-compacting the grounds in the basket, followed by almost Zero
tamp- just enough tamp to smooth and level the top in conjunction with step
#3. [Shot got better yet]
#N Was ist um die Ecke? Es ist schon zu viel Spaß!
Cheers, Mabuhay, Prost -RayO, aka Opa!
Persist in old ways; expect new results - enjoy the Insanity...
Homeroast mailing list
Homeroast at host.sweetmariascoffee.com
Homeroast community pictures -upload yours!) : http://www.sweetmariascoffee.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=7820


More information about the Homeroast mailing list